Count Viktor had successfully suppressed all military opposition to Drazkharov movements in the north. Pellenar remained a thorn in the side of Drazkharov ambitions and the Lord Titus Aureus was still at large. However, most of Pellenar’s contributions to the war effort were now reduced to low level guerrilla fighting that proved more an irritation to the rebels than a hindrance.
Seeing the power of House Drazkharov focused on the battles in the northern provinces House Larkin had joined the war in the fight against Rhan’k’adanra in the west. This was a bold move as it left little to military presence to defend Niederdam other than the standing militia. The imperial strategists had deemed the rebel armies too far away to pose an immediate threat to the city.
The Colleges of Magic were a prime target for the Drazkharovs, a seat of power and influence nestled behind the mighty walls of Niederdam. If they could seize control of the colleges, the Drazkharovs knew that they would effectively rob the Imperialist forces of any further support from the magi and wizards of the colleges. Instead they would bend that vast wealth of ancient lore and sorcerous knowledge to their own ends.
Upon learning that Niederdam was left all but lightly defended Viktor pounced. With alarming swiftness that astonished the imperial generals Viktor descended upon Niederdam and put the city under siege. The rebel armies seemed to materialize overnight, for neither the Imperial war council nor the City Watch realized the danger until it was too late. Niederdam found itself caught in the monster’s jaws as all supply routes were cut and all means of escape blocked. The City Watch barred the gates and prayed for deliverance.
Yet the city was far from lost. The outer wall was a towering redoubt that could withstand the most ferocious siege engine, the stones and mortar woven with centuries-old warding enchantments placed at the founding of the Colleges of Magic. Within, the wizards of the colleges were united in their determination to defend the city against the undead hordes waiting outside the gates. None relished the prospect in living in the thrall of the vampire counts.
As Viktor’s army battered the gates with monstrous siege rams, the City Watch mounted a stern resistance with shot and shell that hammered the rebel armies below the walls. The wizards gathered in the highest spires to hurl crackling storms and coruscating bolts into the midst of the flying undead terrors that spiraled over the city’s great towers, setting the twilight skies ablaze with incandescent magicks.
After weeks of isolation it seemed that Niederdam’s salvation was close at hand when the Watch espied the banners of House Larkin flying at the head an army marching with all haste down the Easting Road. But even as Larkin’s army closed the leagues to the rebel encampment to break the siege Viktor’s rams finally brought down the great Celestial Gates. As the breaking of a dam, the splintering gates let through the flood of undead that spilled through the breach.
As Lord Larkin’s vanguard clashed with the rebel army at the Battle of the Celestial Gates, Viktor’s monster prowled the alleys and parapets, making short work of the City Watch and the wizard council. Larkin’s relief force cut down swathes of zombies and ghouls, but the mass of twitching corpses (dead and undead alike) eventually slowed the advance. The Celestial Gate became choked with the mounting piles of the bodies until in place of the once mighty doors instead a mountain of rancid flesh now closed the way.
Lord Larkin was unable to press home the attack as Viktor’s troops manned the walls to secure the city. The bodies of the slain City Watchmen were seen rising up from the places where they had been struck down moments before, joining the ranks of Viktor's army and returning to their posts to keep a now eternal vigil over the ramparts for their new master. Niederdam had fallen to the rebels, the blood red standard of House Drazkharov now flying above the walls. The Colleges of Magic and all the arcane lore they contained would be turned to aid the Drazkharov cause.