Iron Kingdoms 3.5
In Power: Kovnik Corinna Yurikevna
Population: Formerly 58,000 (mostly humans, several hundred dwarves, a few ogrun), now a few hundred scattered among nearby villages.
Military: A moderate regional occupation force of Winter Guard resides at a captured estate ten miles south of the burned ruins of Riversmet.
The razing of Riversmet, sometimes referred to as the “Massacre at Three Rivers Town,” is arguably the worst depravity of the Khadoran invasion. Certainly the story has fired the imaginations of Khador’s enemies. The tale is told frequently by traveling merchants, war-bards, and soldiers. Each telling is different, and many of the details are exaggerated, but the fundamental facts remain true: where once Riversmet stood a thriving city of 60,000, now lies a blasted ruin of charred remains. A few of the city’s survivors have returned to sift through the rubble, but most of them left Riversmet behind and either moved to nearby villages or fled to Rhydden, Corvis, or points beyond.
Riversmet’s destruction was more complicated than the stories convey. The town was actually the location of numerous difficult battles in the early months of the invasion. Both sides considered it crucial ground because of its location at the convergence of the Oldwick River and Rangercliffe Run, where these two rivers joined together to form the mighty Black River. The river and the roads crossing its bridges were a major trade hub for supplies from both Rhul and Leryn and made it a location Khador could not ignore. The first battle at Riversmet happened in the early weeks of the war on the 16th of Glaceus in 605 AR and inflicted relatively few civilian casualties. The Khadorans sought to control the bridges and lay the groundwork for further military efforts in Llael’s interior. Later hostilities were more entrenched and destructive and turned the town into a battleground.
For these reasons far fewer civilians actually lived in the city than the tales commonly relate. Indeed, by the time of the full-scale invasion, large sections of Riversmet had already burnt to ruins and most of the inhabitants had already pulled up roots and fled. This does not excuse the burning of the entire city to the ground or the associated slaughter of thousands of men, women, and children.
The Khadorans had a cold, rational reason for this act of obliteration: to break the morale and heart of the Order of the Golden Crucible at Leryn. The majority of Khador’s kommandants argue that they actually saved the lives of tens of thousands on both sides of the war by finding a way to defeat Leryn without firing a single shot. They make a strong argument, for very few cities had a stronger defensive position or could better withstand an extended siege. Many Khadoran soldiers are not proud of what happened at Riversmet, particularly pious leaders like Kommander Tarovic of Elsinberg, but even they admit the tactical genius that delivered Leryn into their hands. However, such slaugher shocked many Khadorans and sparked a debate mong Morrowan clergy over whether the city’s destruction saved more lives than it cost.