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1213 RE-- The Smiths, in Ashes

Date: August 30, 1213
Outcome: Heavy casualties among the Imperial Smiths; their guildhall is lost
Belligerents/Parties: The Imperial Smiths and the Hulder Guard against an unknown group of assailants
Smiths Commanders: Master Smiths, including Master Bauschlosser, Master Dorin Kovac, and Master Aliedis
Enemy Commanders: An unidentified figure in a mask of hammered metal
Strength: Smiths 20 master smiths, 41 smiths of lesser degree, 33 support staff; 53 members of the Hulder Watch
      Enemies unclear; estimated between 30 and 50.
Casualties: Smiths Smiths: 18 confirmed dead, 38 missing; Guards: 7 dead, 12 critically injured
     Enemies 13 confirmed dead

In the Free City of the Hulder, the guildhalls of the six Great Guilds are some of the largest, busiest, and most famous buildings. From an hour before dawn until midnight, foot traffic and horse-drawn wains crowd the streets and the yards around them. In the pre-dawn hours of the 30th day of August, the Hulder Guard was summoned to the guildhall of the Imperial Smiths and the city's bells sounded an alarm, for the mighty hall was aflame.

The Hulder Guard moved quickly to break down the great doors of the hall, but they proved remarkably resistant: not entirely surprising given the skill of the guild's security smiths. In the windows of the highest floors, they saw men and women struggle to escape the flames within the guildhall. One new recruit(1) saw bared weapons and heard the clash of steel; the guards began to suspect that this was something quite apart from an apprentice growing careless at the forge. Another guard found a side door that gave way to axe blows, and the guards rushed inside the burning hall. The first one through the door was senior guardsman Otto of Marronberg; no sooner had he passed the threshold than he stumbled back out, a long iron dart in his throat. Though the appropriate salves were administered with haste, he was the first guard to die in what would be a most dangerous day.

The guards entered the hall with greater caution; here matters grow confused. Some of the Imperial Smiths resisted the guards' aid in evacuating the burning hall, even to the point of gravely wounding some of them. Some guild members showed clear signs of death by violence rather than fire or smoke inhalation. The guards spread out within the hall, in teams of four, to effect as many rescues as possible. One team reported seeing a figure wearing a silver mask striding heedlessly through the flames and fallen timbers to attack Master Sophia Aliedis. The valiant guards interposed themselves(2+), and were gravely wounded for their efforts, narrowly escaping the collapse of the burning roof into the room afterward.

A number of guild-affiliated smiths from Marath Suvla were involved in the incident as well. Masters Bauschlosser, Eitrison, Kovac, and Urza don Crucible were in the Free City at the time, though they had been lodged at the Hawk and Lion, an inn near the guildhall, on the evening of the 30th. The four of them, along with Master Vargus of the Imperial Scribes, arrived quickly as the alarm spread throughout the city. Master Vargus, who is also journeyman physicker, committed magical scrolls and her expertise to saving the injured who were brought out of the guildhall. The four Master Smiths and a small group of apprentices and support staff(3,4+) rendered their assistance to Master Aliedis, venturing into the below-ground levels of the guildhall to aid in saving as many of the guild's texts as possible.

What is clear in the aftermath is that the Imperial Smiths suffered a terrible loss of life and property. Nearly two score of smiths remain unaccounted for, and the identity of the masked assailant and his lackeys is no clearer. No sign of any such figure was found in the ashes of the guildhall, leading many to question the report. The Imperial Smiths reported that the fire spread even to their underground chambers, where some of the most rare and precious formulae and records were stored. Many of the dead are among the guild's most senior and accomplished masters, including Master Goetzer, who had held the sole privilege of attending to the Imperial Regalia for the last fifty-three years.

The surviving masters convened in the Amphitheater of Tomal Agio the Younger, leased to them by the Imperial Society of Alchemists for one silver tower.