The 5th Legion: The Tree of Turquoise

Nullus status nisi bellum, nullus lingua nisi ferro
“No nation but battle, no language but steel.”

One of the three remaining Legions of the Caelian empire, mercenaries since the fall of the empire 300 years ago, the 5th numbered 5,500 men when Legate Anok-tah accepted a Contract from the Black Dukes to overthrow Ajax the Invincible.

The Black Dukes had a plan and on the basis of that plan the Legate accepted the contract. The Dukes claimed they knew the location of the fabled Shadow Pyramid. If the Tree of Turquoise could find it, they could challenge the unassailable might of the Korraj.

Many in the Legion considered attacking a flying city madness, but those from the Infinite Desert, including the Legate, knew the legend of the floating Shadow Pyramid and the power within. The Legate accepted the Contract on condition that the Dukes’ information proved accurate, and the Legion was able to gain the Pyramid and reactivate it.

It was. They did. Buried under the Iron Forest, the Legion located the abandoned pyramid and the soldiers excavated it while the sorcerers of the 5th researched and worked their magics until the pyramid fortress flew again.

Once lifted from the earth, the floating pyramid soared over the Iron Forest until it emerged over Upper Urland in the north of Ǽndrim. There, over the Kellmoss bog, the Legion’s floating pyramid met the Overlord’s flying city.

Company after company loosed itself from the Pyramid, until half the Legion were fighting on the Korraj, the other half held in reserve. For three days the soldiers of the legion assaulted the Overlord’s fabulous city-state, clashing through the streets and in the sky. But once disgorged from the pyramid, the soldiers of the 5th legion had no easy means of retreating back to their stone fortress. Retreat was impossible. They had to win or die.

But the hardbitten men of the Fifth Legion had never known retreat. All believed this was the battle they would be remembered for. Street to street, the Legion fought the soldiers of the Overlord until the city was theirs, and all that remained was the High Castle of the Korraj, guarded by the Overmen.

The Overlord was trapped within the high walls of his keep, and it seemed the Legion could wait him out. But while Anok-tah and his lieutenants prepared for a long siege and battle with the legendary Overmen and their Captain, Mandrake the Betrayer, the tide invisibly turned.

Mortum, the Overmage, the sorcerer who unlocked the secret of the floating Sky Elf cities and raised the Korraj seven years ago, used his Elf Magics to undo what once he had done. While the Legate and his lieutenants congratulated themselves on the steps of the High Castle, they watched as the Floating Pyramid faltered, listed, then slowly plunged out of view, down, into the swamp of the Kellmoss.

Half the Legion, all their reinforcements fresh and eager for battle were in the Pyramid when it fell. The other half, stunned by the site of their pyramid fortress plunging out of view, were taken by surprise when the Overmen poured out of the High Castle.

Divided, half the Legion mired in the swamp, the 5th was easy prey for Ajax’s Hawklords. Of the 5,500 men who participated in the Battle Over the Kellmoss, fewer than 500 managed to pull themselves through the swamp and scatter across Vasloria. The fate of those who remained on the Korraj to fight the Overmen remains unknown.

The Fifth Legion is broken. The Overlord remains…invincible.

The Name

Named for a prominent feature in A’at, the underworld of the Khem-hor of the Infinite Desert, the 5th legion was originally an Imperial Legion, one of six that projected the Caelian Empire’s power across Orden. Each legion took its name from an underworld of one of the six known regions of Orden.

The Standard of the Turquoise Tower

Like the standards of the other legions, the Standard of the 5th is said to be a legendary artifact. If this is true, the knowledge of how to use it is lost, and what powers it may have are now the stuff of legend. The Standard was lost on Day Two of the Battle Over the Kellmoss.


The Age of Conquest mattcolville