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1207 RE-- Kazlaj's Fall (The Battle of Mulawre Pass)

Date: December 30th, 1207 RE
Outcome: Victory for the Emirate/Caliphate Army
Belligerents/Parties: The Emirate of Rahaal and Caliphate forces, the Marrashi
Akathian Commanders: A Captain2, a commander1
Marrashi Commanders: Hurin Al-Kuzrim
Strength: Akathians: about 50 at start, 120 by end.
               Marrashi: About 70 Marrashi Elite Guards, 85 Skirmishers
Casualties: Atkathians: 5 dead, 20 wounded
                Marrashi: All units dead or captured.

The Battle of Mulawre [moo-LAW-ree] Pass, also known as Kazlaj’s Fall, is one of the very few decisive victories of the Emirate and Caliphate allied force during the war with the Marrashi. Like most of these battles, it was a retreating action, with the Emirate army pulling back towards the borders of the Caliphate. It was also something of an accident, at least in the setup.

The previous day, the Emir's army had been pushed into the region of Djuraze [joo-RAH-zee], which encompasses the northwest corner of the Emirate. This area is largely mesa and dunes, with some twisted rock formations full of long abandoned caves and carved out dwellings as one gets towards the border with the Caliphate. The terrain is treacherous and pitted with steep drops, crumbling sandstone, and very narrow passes, bad for armies in general, unless they are intimately familiar with the land. This was actually the reason why the army decided to retreat there, hoping that the Marrashi would not follow them there. Led by their scouts and Caracal, a Desert Screamer who had studied the history of the region, they were able to camp the bulk of their forces in a network of carved out caverns beneath a mesa, overlooking a set of steep dunes. Caracal remembered reading of this place as a settlement called Kazlaj's Fall, abandoned in the First Age, when drought and famine choked the land.

As the larger army dug in, the general in command of the army sent a number of units of scouts and skirmishers to track the movements of the Marrashi, and see if they looked likely to risk the Djuraze dunes. One of the lesser Commanders2 commandeered several groups of scouts, intending to find a lesser known passage through toward Mahalessi, that he claimed lay north of the place. These went with him for some ways, until night fell, and they began to get uneasy. The Captain3 of one such skirmishing unit confronted the Commander, and asked him by what orders he ordered them to do this thing. As far as the Captain could tell, they had been wandering aimlessly all night, though terrain that would thwart the very best of scouts and trackers. The Commander blustered and demanded whether the Captain intended to question his authority so disrespectfully. Realizing that the Commander had no such orders, The Captain took his unit of warriors off west, hoping to find Kazlaj’s Fall again before sunup.

Instead, he and his unit found themselves on a mesa overlooking a sunken piece of flatland called Mulawre Pass, a good five miles out of their way. Mulawre Pass snakes between numerous tall spires of sandstone formations and scrubby brush, and was known to be the most reasonable passage through Djuraze. As they made their way, another extremely keen-eyed scout4 caught sight of what looked like a group of soldiers, moving very slowly through the pass, some distance further south. Sending this Scout and another5 to investigate, they returned, reporting that it looked like a bunch of Marrashi elite guards and regulars, guiding a sedan chair. They had not noticed the Akathians at all, but the Akathians were also far outnumbered by the Marrashi. It seemed, initially, that they would have to simply lie low and let the Marrashi pass, but the Captain refused to allow that. Recalling that the second scout5 had some skill with traps, he inquired as to how long it would take to set up something in the valley they could use to impede the Marrashi, and maybe whittle them down a bit to make them a softer target. The second Scout informed the captain that, since the Marrashi were a ways off yet, she and another security-skilled soldier6 could probably handle it. The Captain gave the order, and the pair set up some very nasty poison traps at a choice location in the pass, while the Captain and the rest got to work arranging some rock falls above. The dark of the night and the slowness of the Marrashi aided them well. They finished just a little after midnight and settled in to wait.

The first traps began to go off after about ten minutes, to shouts and alarums from the Marrashi. The Marrashi bearing the sedan chair halted, and started to move backwards with a great deal more haste. The Akathians set off the rock traps, which dropped into the pass on top of the confused and scattered Marrashi. Unable to regroup properly, the Marrashi fell swiftly beneath the Akathian spears, even more so when the Commander2 appeared, having tracked the Captain to the pass. Realizing what was happening, he too committed his forces to the fray, and took the Marrashi commander, Hurin al-Kuzrim, prisoner.

As for the Captain, he and his men took down the sedan chair and its inhabitant, which turned out to be an old Marrashi priestess named Elishi El-Amin, and her assistants. They were transporting a number of texts and artifacts, many of which had been looted from Emirate towns to the south. The Akathians took possession of the texts, including some curious Marrashi books, such as a tract called A Grammar of the Undying and The Heart and The Six Pointed Star. Having their bearings from the Pass, the Captain and the Commander led their soldiers back to Kazlaj's Fall, where news of their victory was warmly received by the General, and the texts passed on to his Scribe7 for safekeeping and interpretation.

The Marrashi prisoners were ransomed for a much larger number of captured Akathian soldiers at the end of the war, despite the grave defeat Akathia had suffered, save for the priestess El-Amin, who died of illness while in captivity. After this, the tale of Mulware Pass and Kazlaj's Fall spread wide amongst veterans, the Caliphate, and even the Marrashi themselves. The name of the Captain, and to a lesser extent the Commander, are known and reviled among the Marrashi. Although al-Kuzrim reported the tale faithfully, many Marrashi do not believe that El-Amin died naturally, and have coined for the Captain the nicknames "The Blighter of Knowledge" or "Lightsnuffer," and believe him to be a servant of a great and unnamable evil.

As for the Commander and the Captain, they were both celebrated and given great honors after the war, and the two scouts whose traps made the ruse possible were given officer’s commissions and permitted induction into the Tower of Glass, if they so desired. The texts and other treasures were not returned to the Marrashi, but carried by the scribe to the Library of Khaldun.