The War of Liberation, as it would later be known, started primarily in two colonies: Berenwood and Lineon. The landlocked central colony enjoyed advantages of position – that is, it was connected to New Orwell, to the NE, and Prawthlesst, to the E, by only a few mountain passes and roads, all of which were collapsed during the first year of fighting. Separated from reinforcements and support, elven forces there were hemmed into a few towns and garrisons by the end of the first winter and unable to establish control over the countryside, thus enabling rebel forces to organize, train, and grow.
The colony became more of an armed camp and staging area in some parts than anything else, with many of those who’d lived in the small western communities, already displaced by the elves, choosing to move even farther west, out into The Wilds, to settle in new, although mostly temporary, camps. The towns and villages in the interior of the colony, several of which were occupied by elven forces, swung heavily toward the liberation movement, undermining governmental efforts to pacify them, and thus leaving the elves in the position of ever looking over their shoulders, and never gaining enough traction to take back key parts of the countryside.
Meanwhile, north in Lineon, a combination of factors contributed to elven troubles and colonial advantages. The Wolfen incursions from over the mountains started up again in Spring, while things were brewing in Berenwoon, and the elven response was to punish those they saw as violating settlement law, rather than dealing directly with the threat. Although Renlen, the NW-most town in all of Ahris, was not evacuated, it was garrisoned by troops and quickly became a symbol of elven oppression, rather than the standard of order and stability the elves perceived their actions as representing.
A small group of colonists, aided by a few men who wielded magic and a number of weapons and magic items reclaimed from a long-lost human empire once in control of the area, helped to organize and lead partisan attacks on the elves. These attacks destabilized the initial elven occupation, although governmental agents and informants were quite well-established throughout Lineon, resulting in many arrests, which in turn led to something of a civil war, between rebels and loyalists, in areas throughout that colony.
It was Berenwoon, however, that proved to be the critical element in what would become a pan-colonial war by the next summer, with hundreds of people making their way there to “accept the privilege” of being “granted elevation.” To be “elevated” meant to be allowed to be dunked in the enchanted pools within Crater Mountain, a site that by late winter would be locked down and protected by forces of the Liberation Army. Given its remote location the numbers who sought entry were necessarily restricted, but as word of the site spread, rebel leaders throughout the colonies sought admission for their chosen troops.
While this provided the Liberation Army, and broader rebel movement, with decisive assets in the form of arcane spellcasters, it also created internal political and social friction for the colonists, many of whom saw the Berenwoonan rebels as actively keeping a lid on something that should be available to all. The necessities of war, however, kept this friction from causing a fire – at least for the duration of the war.
Thus, a little over one year after Crater Mountain was discovered, all of Ahris, save for Teyess Minsha, the island, were in full rebellion against elven authority. New Orwell, the oldest and most settled, was the elves’ strongest base of operations. Berenwoon, by the next winter, would be effectively independent, with only a few, secret, passes open to other colonies and elven forces stuck there completely crushed. Fighters in Lineon had collapsed the bridge over the Tyragh River, cutting the colony into coastal and inland portions, and in so doing isolating the west from easy operations by the elves. The other colonies were all contested, with coastal regions generally under greater elven control, while the inland lands were either hotly contested or already lost.
Given the elves’ long view of all thing, an end, after over a year, was nowhere in sight.