After the hard-fought Battle of Corcivaetas ended indecisively, the Crown pulled back most of their levies to Dragonspire City (except for the large army of Daemalor Celtheon, which had been called to the north for a campaign against the Moonlyt Peaks and Thyllanor), where the semblance of a siege had already started to begin. Dalan II Karthmere, Highlord of Thyllanor, had arrived just three days after the battle's conclusion. Being the first one there on January 20th, he brought with him in his wake 8,000 battle-hardened troops -- that number was once 12,000, but the Battle of Corcivaetas saw many losses on the Karthmere and Grimolt flanks. Byron Grimolt arrived about a week later on the 28th, bringing with him 3,000 men and several frigates to blockade Dragonspire's ports. Despite this, Dragonspire still held a sizable garrison, and after a small battle between the Crown and the rebel forces to get inside the city, that garrison only increased in size, to the point where it would be impossible to assault the city directly.
Later on, the Crimson Lions and small detachment commanded by Adrian Karthmere had arrived. His forces had been pushed back during the battle, and only arrived at the Siege the next month, on February 26th. The Crimson Lions were dwindling, and small compared to present day -- only 2,000 of them were mustered outside the walls, bringing the grand total of the rebel forces outside the gates to roughly 13,000 men, with room for reinforcement. Starvation, however, soon became rampant within the siege camps, with the lack of any significant planning. The only advantage the rebels would have would be their strength in numbers; by the time any real fighting happened, most men were emaciated and many men fled, in search of food.
Main stretch of the siege
The siege in itself was a long, drawn-out process that was only prolonged by losses on certain flanks. A large sea battle outside of Dragonspire's ports resulted in the loss of the rebel's blockade, meaning that there were significantly fewer obstructions to supply the city. Days turned into weeks as both sides refused to give in; before long, winter had faded from memory, spring was a fading afterthought, and the summer was in full effect. A reinforcement troop that was promised from the north was wiped out in The Battle of Mountain's Tongue, ensuring that the siege would continue; the Dragomyr loyalists, on the other hand, continued to resupply with their open port. One particular moment during the siege, in July of 347 AC, was when the Crown decided to utilize newly-built siege weaponry that was stationed on the walls. The temperatures were scorching, and the rebel forces were dazed from the heat and the food problem which was quickly growing rampant. Confused on which tactic to use, a Shoreman general foolishly gave the order for the men to clump together; not only making them easier targets, but some men even fainted from overheating, and were left for dead.
Another issue was the lack of siege weaponry. Although there had been preparations to build siege weaponry within the first week that they had arrived, the siege engineers had been killed in the skirmish that resulted in the Crown army reinforcing Dragonspire City, and no one else in the besieging force knew how to begin construction of any such weapons. By August 3rd, Helman Stone II and his finest military mind Borus Haren, of the Stone Knights, had arrived to the siege with 5,000 more men. Helman was notable for nearly sacrificing himself at the Battle of Corcivaetas, successfully holding the remaining Crown forces at bay while the rest of the Rebel army moved to Dragonspire for the siege. Although hundreds had been lost to starvation, this gave the rebel force a much-needed boost, and the army sat comfortably at about 16,500 men. Helman had also brought his own military engineers, who had their share of feats from building in the mountains. Working quickly and efficiently, the first catapults were finished in mid-August, and a siege tower was complete by early September. Reports from agents who had infiltrated the city indicated that the garrison inside, while sizable and much more highly supplied, was also starting to dwindle. The garrison had totaled 7,000 defenders, while the army which had been trapped inside totaled around 9,000. While an assault was not viable, it remained a constant thought for as long as they held the numerical advantage on the rebel side.
By late September, however, a particular early cold frost had set in, and on the same ground where men had just been overheating, they were now freezing. Many had discarded any sort of thicker clothing during the summer, in an effort to deal with the heat. Those same individuals were now seen huddling together, in a last-ditch effort to remain alive. The frost faded, however, but it would certainly not be the last time that the rebels had been so drastically affected by the elements. October and November brought no new challenges, but another attempt at blockading Dragonspire was met with extreme resistance, and even the ships of the Grimolts could hardly go toe-to-toe with the Crown fleet defending the vital port. November once more brought the cold front, which was now going to be a permanent sensation; after November 30th, it is said, there was never a day without snow. The waters of the harbor froze over, forming a thick sheet of ice that only certain ships could break through.
"The Skirmish in the Snow" and withdrawal from the siege
Despite this, however, all rebel commanders that were present knew that something had to be done before the elements had claimed their men. A plan was drafted in secret between Dalan Karthmere and Helman Stone, both of whom had dealt with snowy conditions before, and whose families had even waged a war between each other in frigid conditions -- Callen's Folly. Drawing off of their military history, Thyllanor sought to do everything they could to avoid another situation such as Callen's Folly, while Helman gave pertinent advice on how to hold one's ground in these conditions. Pleased with their work, they presented it to Adrian and Byron the next day, and initiated a plan for "The Skirmish in the Snow" -- the battle which would prove to br a pyrrhic victory for the rebels, and the one that would force them to withdraw from the already-prolonged siege.
Giving quick lessons on what Dalan and Helman had prepared, a preparation to fight ran through the rebels, who had felt energized for the first time in months. The siege camps were never more lively, with the idea that they would win this siege and, ultimately, the war. On December 17th, the Skirmish in the Snow began. Dalan and Helman led the charge on the central flank, followed by Adrian Karthmere's forces on the right and Byron Grimolt on the left. Their well-amassed siege weapons, which had been built since the Moonlyt army arrived, were now attacking the gates directly, and three siege towers moved forward in an effort to breach the walls and catch the Dragomyrs by surprise. Unbeknownst to them, the Crown had assumed this would happen, and were well-defended in preparation for the assault. Ser Larys Carston, Aegor IV's finest general other than Celtheon himself, prepared the anti-charge, doing everything from fortifying walls to reconstructing granaries near the men to better distribute the food internally. Drawing strategies for where and when his men should be, they took their positions the day of the 20th, when the fighting would truly begin to intensify. Helman had also departed the ground troops at this point and put his naval expertise to good use, by commandeering a fleet of Moonlyt icebreaker frigates that were supplemented with Grimolt ships, many of which could use the Dragon's Breath.
The Dragomyr army, which had been cooped up in the city's confines since January, was now defending the gates from the approaching army. The defending garrison remained close behind, manning the walls with arrows and their own siege weaponry, firing upon the massive army moving towards the gate. A massive battle ensued, which lasted for nearly four weeks on-and-off. The untouched white of the snow soon turned to a slushy mix of footprints, later followed by blood. The "Skirmish in the Snow" was little more than a low-brow conflict -- instead of fighting one on one, men would often be tripped in the treacherous conditions and killed with their backs to the ground. Some rebel forces could hardly fight, with food running out completely and some starved before they even reached the battlefield. Here, the majority of the fighting was done near the siege camps, as within the first few days the rebels had been bold enough to push their front lines all the way to the Dragonspire City gates. Their lines collapsed, and they continued to be pushed back. Rolland Brackwater arrived on December 28th, after having waged a reasonably successful campaign in northeastern Thyllanor in the Duchy of Vaerikland.
Over time, the rebel army reached dangerously close to losing their morale and retreating, but the fight was restored when Albrod Calnus, auxiliary general of Thyllanor, arrived with a large reinforcement of troops and rations promised for the Karthmeres and the Grimolts. These troops, numbering just over 2,000, assaulted the rear of the Dragomyr flank. The terrain outside of the city was bloodstained and muddy -- any resemblance of snow having been there had been evaporated into the desecrated ground. The Dragomyrs being caught between two flanks resulted in their eventual loss and withdrawal back into the city on January 10th.
This victory was surely not without cost for the rebels, as nearly half of their standing forces had been rendered incapable of combat, and a quarter had been killed outright; just as they had regathered their able troops and prepared to strike against the city a second time in March, the largest Crown army in the war led by Daemalor Celtheon had returned from the north and came to assist in the siege; to the besiegers' surprise, however, they opted to attack the rebel-occupied city of Corcivaetas just a ways west of Dragonspire proper, and began destroying the city relentlessly, resulting in its Destruction. The Dragomyr forces had also become desperate, as even their supply lines had run thin and food within the city was running out as well. They scrambled out of Dragonspire, and moved to join the Destruction of Corcivaetas on a different path than the rebel forces.
For all intents and purposes, the First Siege ended as the rebel army hastily withdrew following the attack on Corcivaetas on March 11th, which would soon prove to be the bloodiest act of war ever committed. Just a few months later, the successful Second Siege of Dragonspire would begin, and the Civil War would end.