The human-charr conflict is an ancient war between humans and charr that dates back to before the Exodus of the Gods, to when humans first arrived on the northern continent in 205 BE. Humans refer to this millennia-long war as the War of Ascalon Independence, while charr call it the Ascalon Insurrection.
The charr were in Tyria first and ran wild over the entire continent. When humans arrived, they were the first serious challenge to charr supremacy in centuries. Had it not been for the death of the Khan-Ur, humanity might not have survived those ancient days. The Khan-Ur's children, who were also his four imperators—leaders of their own personal legions—fell to squabbling over his mantle, each accusing the other of treachery. They set their legions against each other: Blood, Iron, Flame, and Ash. None of them were strong enough to defeat the other three, though, and in the course of the war the Claw of the Khan-Ur was lost. Yet, the charr's internal dissension gave humanity some breathing room to develop, and with that time humans conquered Ascalon.
Several generations later, when the charr got their act together, the humans fought to keep them out of what they now considered to be their land. To that end, the kings of Ascalon began building a massive wall that ran west from the Shiverpeaks all the way to the Blazeridge Mountains on the Eastern Frontier. It took nine hundred years to complete, but it kept the charr north of it. Backed by the strength of the wall, humans pushed charr even further north, so that for most Ascalonians the charr were a distant but always present threat.
The Northern Wall stood unbreached for nearly two hundred years, but in 1070 AE the charr discovered a great magic based on mighty cauldrons filled with mystic energy. The charr shamans, in particular those that commanded the Flame Legion, unlocked the secrets of the cauldrons and brought about the Searing. Great burning crystals fell from the sky and scourged the lands around them, breaking the Great Northern Wall.
The charr flowed through the wall in an unstoppable wave that washed all the way through Ascalon until it crashed on the shores of Orr. In Orr, Vizier Khilbron cast a forbidden spell of his own that stopped the charr cold, but at the sacrifice of his entire nation, sinking Orr beneath the sea.
The Searing forced King Adelbern to move his capital from Rin to Ascalon City, the only major city in his nation that still stood. There, he felt, he would make his last stand against the charr invasion.
The king's sole heir, Prince Rurik, disagreed with him and led a large portion of his people over the Shiverpeaks to safety in Kryta rather than wait for their doom with their king. Prince Rurik never made it to Kryta with his followers: he gave his own life so that they might find their freedom. It is said that Prince Rurik's death hurt King Adelbern worse than the fall of Rin itself.
Back in Ascalon City, the Flame Legion prepared for a final assault on the place's walls. The imperator of the Flame Legion somehow got his hands on the Claw of the Khan-Ur, a powerful weapon which would allow one to unite the legions under a single banner. However, the other legions had to be convinced that the wielder of the Claw earned the title of Khan-Ur. The Flame imperator believed that conquering Ascalon and beheading King Adelbern with the Claw would allow him to cement his claim.
The legions, led by the shamans of the Flame Legion, assaulted the walls of Ascalon City with their forces, their tamed siege devourers, and their magical cauldrons. The charr armies overran the defenders and surmounted the walls. Adelbern fought until the last, armed with his great magical sword, Magdaer. Magdaer was an ancient artifact from Arah, the City of the Gods, and infused with power. It is said that Magdaer's twin, Sohothin, was in the hands of his son, Rurik, when he died. In any event, Adelbern single-handedly brought down wave upon wave of charr warbands, making his last great stand on the battlements of his own tower.
The Foefire and fall of Ascalon
The Flame Legion and charr surrounded Ascalon City for a final assault and managed to breach the city's defenses. King Adelbern's soldiers, seeing how the charr had the upper-hand, wanted to retreat, but the mad Sorcerer-King refused. He shouted "We will never surrender! Never!" and plunged his sword Magdaer into the stones beneath him. A mystic light appeared where the sword had struck and eventually burst, spreading all throughout Ascalon in an event that became known as the Foefire.
The buildings, farms, and land were unharmed but every charr within its reach was destroyed. The humans, however, suffered a different fate. Their souls were peeled loose from their shredded bodies and they survived eternally as guardian ghosts that began jealously protecting the land. With the assistance of his cursed magic, King Adelbern managed to stop the charr for a time but doomed himself and his people for eternity. Since that day the ruins of Ascalon City became a dangerous area for any living being to traverse, and the Claw of the Khan-Ur was lost within the ruins for centuries.
Despite facing the endless wrath of the rejuvenating Ascalonian ghosts led by Adelbern, the charr legions eventually conquered Ascalon before succumbing to a civil war between the Flame Legion and the Ash, Blood and Iron Legions, which resulted in the three united High Legions casting out the Flame Legion and the shaman caste after the decisive battle on the Plains of Golghein. The Iron Legion took over Ascalon, building the Black Citadel atop the ruins of Rin while allowing Ash and Blood Legion members to operate in the region.
While fighting against the ever-present threat of Adelbern's ghost army and the surviving remnants of the Flame Legion, the High Legions also focused their efforts on besieging the Stronghold of Ebonhawke which was the last bastion of humanity left in Ascalon. However, despite centuries of siege the Legions were unable to breach Ebonhawke's walls as they no longer held the power of the searing cauldrons.
Towards a ceasefire
In 1320 AE, the charr prisoners and humans of Ebonhawke had to join forces against a bigger threat when the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik rose and Branded many Ascalonian ogres and charr warbands who then assaulted Ebonhawke in the Ogre Revolt while the Elder Dragon itself flew south past the stronghold. After the Branded had been lured away from Ebonhawke, the threat which the Elder Dragons posed to all of Tyria made Ash Imperator Malice Swordshadow and Queen Jennah realize the futility of the war between charr and humans. The respective leaders began working towards achieving a ceasefire in order to focus their forces and supplies elsewhere.
By the time Iron Imperator Smodur the Unflinching and Vigil General Almorra Soulkeeper got involved, these efforts towards a detenté led to the retrieval of the Claw of the Khan-Ur from the ruins of Ascalon City as a peace offering from humans to charr in 1324 AE, and the subsequent signing of an indefinite ceasefire known as the Ebonhawke Treaty which ended the centuries-long conflict in Ascalon. However, some dissidents remained on both sides and formed rebel groups to continue fighting. The suggested terms of the treaty itself received criticism even among supporters of the ceasefire, leading to lengthy, ongoing negotiations at Summit Peak.