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1215 RE-- Bloody Fields of Bazmel

Date: November 29, 1215
Outcome: Significant victory for Caliphate forces; ghuls driven from Bazmel
Belligerents/Parties: Ghuls vs. Caliphate forces and foreign allies (Sand Spire, Oresund expeditionary forces, Tarsikkan expeditionary forces, Left Hand of the Throne)
Caliphate Commanders: Vekil Sabit Orhan
Allied Commanders: Dame Jaana Kylli Seppänen; Sir Neferu Dusca, Stefania Iagasti; Amos Varr
Ghul Commanders: Unknown
Strength: Caliphate Army 450 spearmen, 200 irregular volunteers
      Oresund expeditionary force: 90 footmen & Shieldeaters
      Tarsikkan expeditionary force: 20 mounted knights, 230 footmen
      Left Hand of the Throne: 10 Accusers, 100 lay armsmen
      Ghul forces: 30 thrals, approximately 1600 ghuls
Casualties:Caliphate Army 70 spearmen, 49 irregular volunteers
      Oresund expeditionary force: 31 footmen
      Tarsikkan expeditionary force: 3 mounted knights, 98 footmen
      Left Hand of the Throne: 27 lay armsmen
      Ghul forces: 14 thrals, 872 ghuls

Following the sack of Khaldun, the ghul advance into Azdin Province was blunted by the sudden arrival of a combined force of warriors from Marath Suvla and Sand Spire soldiers from Darende. Whatever strategic mind guides the ghuls chose to withdraw eastward, rather than continuing an effort to invest the ruined city. The ghuls vanished into the borderlands between the Crusader State and the Caliphate of Dusk. A few months later, they emerged with reinforcements to threaten Bazmel, the City of Smoke.

Without the support of the Demeyen Bishak, the defense of Bazmel rested on the shoulders of the army of the Caliphate, under the local leadership of Sabit Orhan, the Vekil of Sirkaye Province; and a mission of the Left Hand of the Throne, under the nominal authority of Amos Varr, a hero of Koru Forest. Yet a few veterans of the Demeyen Bishak continued to serve, not only in battle but also in recruiting new allies to the war against the ghuls. In this way the City of Smoke came to be defended by Oresunders, Tarsikkans, and Verdiens as well as Akathians. Under night's cloak, the Oresunders linked up with a tiny band of Bishak scouts and fought their way out of a ghul ambush near the city. The lances and bright swords of the Silver Knights brought many ghuls and two thrals to a decisive end as well.

Yet the numbers of the ghuls grew daily, and it seemed that a new assault was inevitable. Within Bazmel, rumormongers led the people to believe that the ghuls would pass the city to strike deeper into Sirkaye Province, once all of the defenders were hemmed in. In a series of fiery public confrontations, such rumors were discredited, leading to a new surge in volunteers - undisciplined perhaps, but motivated.

On the 27th day of November, Vekil Sabit Orhan called Dame Jaana of the Phoenix Knights, Sir Neferu of the Silver Knights, Stefania Iagasti, and Amos Varr into military council, behind closed doors. According to the Vekil's assistants, they developed new tactics based on adapting the Sand Spire's spear-hedge to cooperate with the thundering charges of both the mounted Silver Knights and the unmounted, unarmored Shieldeaters. It is a situation nearly unprecedented in the whole of the Regnal Era, and perhaps earlier ages as well. That is not to say that there was not tension among these allies: many of the volunteers defending Bazmel are Tharici, despised by and despising the Tarsikkans and the servants of the Redwood Throne. Famed for its alchemists, the City of Smoke proved to be a most uncomfortable home for the warriors from Oresund, where alchemy is reviled. Whatever their differences, however, they all saw a chance to win glory against a common foe.

Sir Neferu Dusca, an Emirate expatriate who became a Silver Knight, led the charge on an Akathian stallion, smaller but fleeter of foot than Tarsikkan destriers. Even the swiftest ghuls cannot match such a beast at a full gallop, but after receiving several devastating charges from the tiny group of horsemen, the feral ghuls gave full pursuit, followed by those who had fed. In this way the ghul force was divided by its hunger and rage. The cavalry led their pursuers northward, away from the city, and into the ruins of some long-forgotten city. Working together, a team of wizards raised magical walls of ice behind the first rush of ghuls. The fighting was bitter and bloody among these ruins, as even outnumbered the ghuls are deadly, and the second portion of the ghul force was only delayed. After all, even several cabals working in concert could not have encircled the whole of the battle. They bought time - time enough for fell-handed sword-work.

They began to tire, for they had fought in hard battle, while the fed ghuls were not so much as winded from the chase. They let the walls fall, and withdrew back the way they had come, hindered only by the blood-soaked earth. A band of spearmen and Left Hand armsmen stood their ground as a doomed rearguard; none can say whether Tariq's children outshone the Churchmen's zeal. It is clear, however, that they bought their allies an escape to the fields east of the city, where in peaceful times one would find a busy caravanserai. Here the Akathians and their allies, bloodied but far from broken, rallied once again to stare down the wild rage of the ghuls and their dreadful thrals.

Here was bitter battle, for each approach of the thrals broke the spear-hedge and the shield-wall; what use are such formations, when a mighty fist can splinter them? Yet Bazmel brought forth its bounty, with alchemical ointments to heal even a mortal wound, so that each warrior fought thrice or more. The ghuls had only numbers to match against the mighty magics that the Accusers, the Oresunders, and the Tharici marshaled. In the end, the Akathian side lost many lives, but three ghuls died for every human that met an end that day. The ghuls fled southward, and have not been seen within twenty miles of Bazmel in the weeks since.