As the Flame Legion surrounded Ascalon City for one final assault on the city's walls, the legion's imperator called the Fireshadows to him and ordered them to sneak into the city and assassinate King Adelbern. He believed that this would decapitate the Ascalonian forces, and in their despair they would be unable to mount a viable defense against the charr attack.
Frye and his warband of assassins scaled the city's wall that night and worked their way to the king's private chambers. They killed many guards along the way, silently dispatching them by sword and by spell.
When they made it to the king's private chambers, they found it empty. They thought that they had missed their hated Sorcerer-King, that perhaps they had learned of their mission and even set a trap for them. They had arrived in the middle of the night, after all, and he was not there.
The Fireshadows searched the royal quarters. That was when one charr stumbled upon the body of a human lying under a table in the king's private bedchamber.
Frye turned the human over. As he did, the human let out a deep breath and his expression flickered back to life. This human had a knife driven into his chest, but he still had enough breath in him to speak.
The dying human's name was Savione. He claimed to be the king's servant. It was clear even to Frye that he was no warrior.
"You must stop him", said Savione. "The king is mad with grief, and he plans to use a great magic. He will kill us all".
At this point, the servant choked on his own blood and nearly died, but one of the Fireshadows tended to him so that he could finish what he had to say.
The servant Savione opened his eyes again and spoke: "When Adelbern saw the legions amassing outside of the city, he despaired. We dug in and tried to withstand the siege for as long as we could. When we saw the latest wave of charr arrive, we knew our final moment had come, that our time had finally run out. His Majesty told me, 'This is no longer a siege, Savione. This will become an assault. But if force of arms fail us, force of will shall not. Where swords may fail, sorcery may succeed.'
"His Majesty bears on his hip a mighty blade, a relic of now-lost Orr and its City of the Gods". This was the sword Magdaer, twin to Sohothin. "He drew the sword and looked deep into its depths. The king said, 'I have long known that Magdaer had other powers—remnants of the gods themselves. We Ascalonians may be doomed, but Ascalon will live on forever!'"
The human looked at the charr, his life breath leaving his body. "He is in the throne room", said the servant, "surrounded by his Royal Guard and as many other soldiers as the walls can spare. He will unleash the power of his sacred sword, Magdaer. He means to kill all the charr—but the price, the sacrifice..."
Savione closed his eyes, and the Fireshadow healers could not do anything more for him. Frye took the counsel of his warband and made his decision. If the dying human spoke the truth, the entire legion was marching into a trap. The Sorcerer-King could be too well protected for them to reach him. They decided to abandon their mission and alert their imperator to the danger instead.
When Frye Fireburn and his warband returned to tell their imperator—who still bore the Claw of the Khan-Ur and the loyalty of the legions—about the Sorcerer-King's plan, he refused to listen to them. "We will breach the walls of the city tonight", the imperator said.
"It's a trap", argued Frye. "Once our forces enter the city, this mad king will kill us all."
The imperator spat on Frye and said, "You must truly fear my wrath to come up with such ridiculous tales to distract me from your failure. I sent you in to kill a king, and you come back with wild excuses. I do not accept such incompetence in the Flame Legion."
Frye and his warband protested the imperator's accusation. They insisted that every word they had told him was true, and they demanded that he halt the invasion until they could figure out how to deal with this new threat from the Sorcerer-King.
The imperator refused to listen to Frye and his fellows, and he had them arrested. "Because you have been faithful servants until this day", the imperator said, "I will not tear out your throats".
Instead, he ordered Frye and his fellows be bound hand and foot and tied to stakes placed on the Viewing Hill, which provided a clear line of sight into Ascalon City.
The imperator believed that this punishment would be worse than death. "You will witness the triumph of your legion, but you will not be part of it. You will have to bear that shame until the day our gods bless you with death."
After Frye and the others were staked out there according to the imperator's wishes, they howled at the stars as the walls of Ascalon City finally crumbled under the charr assault. They had long hoped to see this day, but they feared the imperator's hubris would ruin it all.
Frye and his warband watched, unable to turn away. Soon after the gates fell, the imperator stormed into the city's main square. Adelbern, the Sorcerer-King, stood defiant on the parapet of his tallest tower with his magical sword in his hands. It burned with a fire that swirled around its blade as if it were alive. He shouted at the soldiers below as they fled before the Flame Legion's forces, some of them escaping through the holes the charr had made in the walls.
"Retreat?", the Sorcerer-King shouted. "Retreat is not an option!"
With the Flame Legion flooding through the city's defenses, Ascalon City had already been lost. The human soldiers ignored their king's complaints as their retreat transformed into a rout.
The insane king raised his sword—a relic from the ancient land of Orr—over his head and bellowed down at his men, "We will never surrender! Never!"
Then he plunged his sword downward. As it struck the stones beneath his feet, a gout of white fire shaped like a blade shot from the tower's roof, enveloping Adelbern. The tower collapsed then, its very stones unable to withstand the power of the Foefire. Adelbern rode the battered rocks all the way down, disappearing in a cloud of shattered stones and dust.
The mystic light from the Foefire burned without abatement. When the last stone of the tower stopped tumbling, the light intensified for an instant, then burst out and engulfed the entire city. The wave of destruction spread out from there, soon engulfing nearly all of Ascalon.
The charr nearest the tower—the imperator and his victorious guard—were immolated in a heartbeat, their fur igniting like tinder, their flesh blasted by the unearthly flames. Yet, what happened to the humans in the blast was infinitely worse.
The air in Ascalon City rang with a choir of their screams as the humans died in their tracks. Their bodies were blasted into burning fragments, but their spirits remained standing. Their mortal forms were reduced to broken skeletons but their souls remained, eternally bound to Ascalon. Only the charr close to the city were destroyed in the blast, but every human for leagues around was suddenly transformed into a ghost.
This is why the charr call him the Sorcerer-King. He worked a spell as great as the Searing itself, and in a single blow denied the Flame Legion their ultimate victory and damned the humans of his own land. Before the night ended, not a single body in Ascalon City still drew a breath. The Foefire that towered over this carnage remains to this day.
Eventually, Frye managed to free himself and then the other charr in his warband. Unbound, they slunk away from the disaster, determined to bring news of the atrocity to the rest of the charr.
The Fireshadows returned to the invasion's staging grounds—the site of the Black Citadel today. When they delivered the news of the Flame imperator's defeat at Ascalon City, few who heard the news could believe their ears. Everyone who met Fireburn and his warband, though, trusted every word because they could see how the horrors they had witnessed had transformed them.
From head to toe, the fur of each of them had turned a snowy white.