|Period||1539 - 1551|
|Theater||Lands of Purity|
The Athena Crusade was a war between the goodly creatures of the Lands of Purity versus the undead hordes of the Black Tide of Thasmudyan. It involved a number of battles. The first engagement was the Severed Neck Battle. A series of great battles followed, each driving the evil hordes north and then east across the Lands of Purity. The Galathien sea was used to make amphibious landings against Elgatâz and flank attacks against the retreating armies of the Black Tide. The elves of the Galadriël prevented escape by way of the sea.
While these battles were raging across the Lands of Purity, another war against the Black Tide started in Lirgaza. This conflict became known as the Artery War. These two wars greatly reduced the fighting power of the Black Tide. They were caught between hostile empires in all directions. The outcome was quickly realized by the First Dead Council, but nothing could be done for their minions, their despicable hordes of undead, but the leaders could survive to fight another day, and this is what they did, they left their troops to be annihilated or scattered into the wilds.
In the last days of the Athena Crusade, the remnants of the Black Tide of Thasmudyan fled through the same lands that they once used to stage attacks on the Lands of Purity. During this great rout, many evil creatures fell, for all veteran commanders know that retreat is the period when the greatest losses can occur. Knights, griffon riders, gold dragons, silver dragons, flying mages, shedu, blink dogs, and even a few angels hotly pursued the hordes of evil. The Black Tide of Thasmudyan, many casting down their weapons and tossing aside their armor, fled east through the Marrow Fields and into the canyons of Sorrow Pass. When the goodly pursuers reached Khilag-Tarkin, a great event occurred, one that is spoken even today in reverence.
The five phoenixes of Viressur appeared over the battlefield, each flying next to each other and trailing wisps of fire in their wake. They called down firestorms and walls of fire upon hundreds of evil creatures, quickly reducing them to ash. The Firestorms of the Phoenix also halted the relentless pursuit by the forces of good. This event was a signal of mercy by the phoenixes. They were granting mercy to the terrified hordes of Thasmudyan, as any of true good know, mercy is perhaps the greatest goodly deed. The army of the Athena Crusade, thousands in numbers, in unison, bowed down and prayed, thanking their deities for granting them valor and blessing them with victory over the Black Tide of Thasmudyan. The Athena Crusade ended, but the plight of the fleeing evil hordes was yet to end, for they had to fight through the Sorrow Pass, with numerous attacks by the Orchish Empire and other groups preying on the weakened forces of Thasmudyan. On reaching Hells Womb, the greatly reduced armies of evil had to fight in the Artery War. The conflicts of the Athena Crusade and the Artery War were disastrous to the Black Tide of Thasmudyan. For a long time thereafter, they were a non-entity in the realm, yet some of the dark leaders of the Black Tide remained. Some of these fled back to Necrocrypt, leaving their beleaguered armies to fend for themselves.
Such is evil, when things get bad; it is every creature for themselves.
- Captain Halinymox, half-celestial of the Malacost Guards
A year after the Athena Crusade, a monolithic statue, weighing 200 tons, was erected at the site of the Firestorms of Phoenix. The statue is called the Phoenixes of Mercy. The place is one of the holy pilgrimages in the Lands of Purity. Its proximity to hostile borders required a fortress of equal grandeur to be erected around it. The fortress protecting the Phoenixes of Mercy is Gadyan.