Ehlen March on Bakison Military Conflict in Nora | World Anvil

Ehlen March on Bakison

Massacre at Enomenolhi

 
"We were arrogant to think an invasion of the desert was impossible and thus were unprepared. We will not forget this, and the people of Enomenolhi will not forgive." - Ranna Linn, High Priestess of Enomenolhi
  While the march on Bakison is what is most widely discussed about the Ehlen assault, it first began with the assault on Enomenolhi. Enomenolhi is a Dahlen city to the northeast of Nioyaathep and is used as a training ground for prospective Dahlen troops. There has always been a standing guard and officers to educate the youth, but before the attack, it was primarily inhabited by unskilled, untrained young Dahlen. The priesthood never put much thought into the defenses of the city as they believed the desert would ward off any foe and whatever scraps leftover would be easy to handle. The massacre that followed has proven otherwise and has had a lasting effect on the city.   Ehlen soldiers were always believed to be either too prideful or too frail to brave the harsh desert. Queen Luthien Du'bose ordered her military to find a way to enter The Sands of Sturn and strike a blow on the arrogant Dahlen. Relyth Du'bose, her son and a general at the time, worked with Ehlen and Dwehrlen engineers to create uniforms and tools that would help them beat the weather. They wore new fabrics that resisted the sun and sands and brought with them collapsible shades and many mules and pack beasts were laden with water to keep them going until they reached a city. By covering themselves through the heat of the day and traveling during the cold night they managed to shake off most of the adverse temperatures and bore no casualties as they made it to Enomenolhi. On the final day before reaching the city they reversed their traveling pattern and slept lightly to march with the rising sun at their backs and avoid sight until it was too late.   The garrison within the city was light and thus were the watchers on the walls who grew bored of no actionable work and lazy with drink. Ehlen mages were already conjuring a great blast to tear down the gates before the first warning calls went out. Relyth had purchased a rough map of the city from a traveling merchant and used his knowledge of the layout to his troops' advantage. His archers quickly took over the walls of the city while foot soldiers and cavalry stormed the streets and established a perimeter around the main training grounds. The officer's barracks were set on fire with half their number still inside. It was a one-sided slaughter with hundreds of Dahlen left dead while the Ehlen lost barely a fraction of their number. What portion of the Dahlen force survived had managed to reach the temple of their High Priestess and barricaded themselves inside. The Ehlen knew this was a possibility and that sieging the temple was achievable but not worth the time and effort it would take them. Their forces collected their few dead, restocked their water from the wells within the city, and headed forth to Bakison. Against the queen's initial orders back home, Relyth ordered his men to spare the civilians within the city as they left.  

Ambush Among the Dunes

 
"Within the city, it would be a brawl. An assured victory for our forces, of course, but needless loss regardless. Out amongst the sands, however, my Dahlen are each worth ten of their number. I don't march towards death, my sisters, I march against it." - Dahmra Menes, High Priestess of Bakison
  Ranna Linn, the High Priestess of Enomenolhi during the attack, immediately used her scrying pool to send out emergency warnings to the remaining priesthood. They unanimously voted for Dahmra to bunker down within the Temple of Mortair within Bakison and ready the city's guards for the incoming Ehlen. Dahmra refused, assuring the others that she would march to meet the enemy in the desert and completely overwhelm them. Her fellow priestesses were left to argue amongst themselves as she left to gather her troops. The Dahlen rode off into the desert to meet their adversaries head-on.   The contingent of Ehlen held the same practiced travel methods they were counting on to get them safely to Bakison. They made most of the trek with little resistance, encountering little more than the occasional desert creature hidden among the sands. Running low on supplies and energy, it was barely two days' travel from Bakison where they set up camp to rest and regain their strength for the final push and assault on the Dahlen capital. As they were setting up their shades for cover against the rising sun, the ground around them began to tremble violently. They feared a terrible quake as the earth shook and their feet sank into the sands below. Many had heard the rumors of the Shasreel that wandered the desert and their companion beasts, but it wasn't until the serpents crested the dunes and came into view that they began to share the same fear as the residents of Enomenolhi did before them. The Nehebek, many of which were the size of six Ehlen footsoldiers, came at the invaders with incomprehensible speed and strength. Pulled behind them were the sand skiffs carrying their partner Shasreels armed with an assortment of javelins and hornbows.   Each time one of the serpents ran through the Ehlen camp they left with a man or two in their jaws while the riders aboard the skiffs attacked with ranged weapons and harrying tactics, first targeting the remaining mages and then the archers to leave nothing but melee footsoldiers left to fight so great a foe. This blitz of attacks lasted for just over an hour and it was all that was needed to cripple the Ehlen forces. Reduced to half their marching number that left Enomenolhi and completely exhausted from being deprived of their day of rest, they cheered as the Shasreel began to turn and retreat, leaving two dead behind. While they had prepared for the desert, nothing could have prepared them for the three united tribes of the Shasreel. This mysterious retreat was short-lived as a minor victory. As the shaking sands scattered in various directions and the terrifying sounds of the Nehebek grew ever more distant, it was soon replaced by the thundering footsteps of Dahlen cavalry.   Dahmra Menes stayed back at a large dune with a cleric and a small contingent of her cavalry as she watched her wave of mounted soldiers wash over the scattered and desperate Ehlen that were left by the Shasreel. Even though the wounded invaders struck down more horses than they did Nehebek, it was still a very much one-sided affair, just as the High Priestess had so accurately predicted. With less than thirty footsoldiers and a handful of pack beasts remaining, Relyth Du'bose surrendered and offered himself in exchange for the lives of his soldiers. Dahmra refused his offer, instead approaching herself and ordering her clerics to heal the injured Ehlen commander. She challenged the now-pristine Relyth to single combat with her own offer. If he wins, regardless if he left the desert alive, he will have killed the leader of the Dahlen. If he lost, he and his remaining troops would be escorted out of Nioyaathep, spreading news of their tragic defeat and owing her a personal favor. Relyth accepted the terms, confident in his strength as he originally planned to be the one to fight her within the temple at Bakison. He also knew that there were no other options.   Much to his surprise, none of the Dahlen interfered in their fight. He fought Dahmra with all the skill he could muster and believed that he was succeeding at beating her back as he pushed her up the dune. It was the first and only time he drew blood, slicing the priestess just below her breast, that a wicked smile crossed her face and revealed how much she was toying with him this far into the fight. Relyth was confident in his abilities and for good reason from his military career before this engagement. However, all of that was on solid ground and in his regalia of chainmail and plate, not on shifting sands and wrapped in a new fabric uniform. Dahmra was at home in her natural element as she turned the fight back on the invader. Dagger and sword in hand, she was a whirlwind of steel as her dancing prayers enhanced her speed and strength. Relyth was soundly defeated by the Dahlen leader.  
"I am beaten. Though it was our agreement, I could never owe a favor to you as a general of my people. Kill me now but spare these men if this displeases you so." Relyth admitted.   "Your pride would never allow you to deny me if you leave here alive." Replied Dahmra. "And live you shall, my darling enemy, your defeat at my hands staining you the rest of your days."
  Dahmra held to her word and sent a portion of her cavalry to escort the bloodied Ehlen back home. She returned home to an attempted coup thrown by her husband, which she quickly turned back over into the status quo. The other High Priestesses praised her skill and knowledge, refusing to question her on military decisions again. The Ehlen returned home and refused to speak to anyone save for the queen and other generals about what transpired. Although the war propaganda back in Amaranthine preached victory upon crippling the Dahlen military through the massacre at their 'largest military outpost', not a single soldier laid eyes upon their true target. Relyth retired shortly afterwards to Findolyr, where he now rules peacefully with his family.
Forces Involved   Ehlen troops under Relyth Dubose - Approx. 400 Footsoldiers, 50 Archers, 30 Cavalry including 5 Mounted Mages   Dahlen troops stationed at Enomenolhi - 10 Officers, 30 Guards, Approx. 300 Trainees   Dahlen troops under Dahmra Menes - 50 Cavalry including 20 Mounted Archers and 5 Clerics, Unknown number of Eyes of Dahlia   Shasreel Tribes - Unknown Number, Estimated at 15 Shasreel and 3 Shasdjed each with a partner Nehebek     Casualties by Location   Enomenolhi - Approx. 20 Ehlen Footsoldiers and 8 Cavalry including 2 Mounted Mages // 7 Dahlen Officers, 23 Guards, Approx. 200 Trainees   The Sands of Sturn - Approx. 350 Ehlen Footsoldiers, 50 Archers, 22 Cavalry including 2 Mounted Mages // 10 Dahlen Cavalry // 2 Shasreel

The Shasreel United

  In the battle, the Ehlen claimed to have seen as many as fifteen Nehebek with three identified Shasdjed riders. Many question the authenticity of this and believe it to be propaganda as the Shasreel tribes are meant to be separate from one another and would never work together as they did. It was ridiculous enough that the Shasreel would attack an Ehlen military force as they were known to have no love for the Dahlen priesthood in their cities. The Dahlen themselves question what manner of coincidences had led them to collaborating on this effort. Initial criticisms of Dahmra's 'suicide mission' to face a much larger invading force turned into praises on timing and knowledge of their attack right after the Shasreel had struck their crippling blow. Some citizens have ruled it to be too coincidental and call back to when Dahmra worked to halt the nomads' attacks on trade routes; what if this, too, was part of Dahmra's deal with the Shasdjed and another scheme decades in the making? The High Priestess of Bakison has received glowing praise since, through reverence from some and from fear for many more.

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