"The Light and Order are behind us. We can't lose this battle! The gods are smiling at us! The victory is ours" -Hildetriel IV the Young, King of the Hill of the Galaw-Hebonnor Kingdom of the Mountains
The Battle of Cilfach was a major Negeémi victory against a numerically superior Hebonnor army in the Negeémi-Hebonnor War . The battle occurred on the 205 year of the Middle Age of Human Hegemony , the year 2.428 since the Aparition of Humanity, near Vergolea, in the centre of the Mountain elf Hebonnor kingdom.
Reasons for the Drow-Hebonnor WarEdit
The tense drow and mountain elf relations were a constantly antagonistic for centuries, but they got worse after the drow city state of Negeémiliel after the end of the First War of the Power conquered an important foothold on the surface:
Hildetriel IV the Young , a young Hebonnor king who wanted to rally support behind him and legitimize himself as a chief and warrior in front of the nobles after the suspicious death of his sister Brainne the crazy , heir to the throne of the Mountain Elves, so he decided to realize a series of raids against drow outposts, as a demonstration of strength.
However, what should have stayed just as another skirmish in the long history of drow-hebonnor aggressions, became the casus bellum due to some internal political interests of Negeémiliel : the already agitated Negeémi public opinion was moved by the Popular Negeémi faction, and the people of Negeémiliel claimed for war, meanwhile the popular controlled Negeémi Low Council sent away, to the surface, the more connotated officers and generals of the Conservative Negeémi faction , as a preparation to a coup d'etat to overthrow the High Council and government of the Empire.
First Stage of the WarEdit
The first Negeémi general sent into this campaign, upon seeing the internal situation of Negeémiliel, tried to avoid war, proposing negotiations to Hildetriel IV the Young , but he asked for territorial and economical concessions the Drow general didn't have the power to give:
So following the failure of negotiations with the Negeémi, Hildetriel IV commanded his army into a real invasion of the Negeémi surface territories, claiming that the drow had mocked his claims and ridiculed the King of the Hill himself.
Hildetriel's army invaded the 204 of the Middle Age of Human Hegemony (2427 a.a.H.), with an army of about 12,000 warriors, between his royal guards, Mountain elf and Galaw orc warriors, as well with Dwarf and Human mercenaries.
The drow commander, with a much weaker force of only around 2,000-3,000 troopers didn't face the enemy, instead retreating to fortified strongholds, but abandoning large portions of land to the Mountain Elves:
The army of Hildetriel IV were stopped then, laying siege to drow fortresses, and becoming weakened due to diseases and winter:
Drow Defeat at the Battle of High GadoliniaEdit
However, in the Low Council of Negeémiliel, the popular faction majority voted a condemnation to the conservative faction general, and after declaring her a coward and traitor, revoking her title of General, sending in her replacement a second army and a new general in charge--she was another obstacle for the planned coup d'etat.
Knowing the arrival of the new drow army, and reaching the end of the season of war, Hildetriel retired with his army (roughly 9,000) back to the Hebonnor region of Vergolea.
It was the winter of the 204-205, but the drow general, inexpert at surface war (unlike her predecessor), and worried for the political situation in the home front, wanted to achieve a complete victory to return triumphant to the city-state, securing the government: So she made the mistake to follow the Mountain elves' army in winter, into their territory:
The result was an important drow defeat in the Battle of High Gadolinia, and once again, a change in the Negeémi chain of command:
Leg of the Spider Dahl'Arak in CommandEdit
Dahl'Arak had as well experience in surface-war, but the army was demoralized, disorganized, and with an imminent coup d'etat or civil war back home, the new drow general needed to prepare:
defenses were built and the army prepared, but due to the political situation back home, once the spring of the 205 (2428 a.a.H.) came, Dahl'Arak doubted of risking the forces she will need to use in a possible civil war against the forces of Hildetriel IV, when it was learned that the Hebonnor were going to advance again:
Hildetriel IV massed a larger army, composed of 15,000 troopers (Mountain elves (Hebonnor), Southern Galaw High Orcs, Enkel humans and Kanovs, dwarven mercenaries), and worst of all, he had convinced the dwarves of the Mines of Nortunk to join his force, with an army of 2,000-3,000 dwarven warriors.
Dahl'Arak needed to act, and quickly, before the two enemies joined their forces, so she advanced with her roughly 6,000 Acolytes of Negeé and mercenaries into Vergolea, in enemy lands, to face the enemy in the Valley of Cilfach.
Preparation for battleEdit
The battle was fought in the narrow strip of open land of the valley of Cilfach, formed between the woods and mountains of Parca and Misarch. The Hebonnor army was positioned at the northern exit so as to bar the way to the fields of Vergolea.
Dahl'Arak deployed her army early on the morning (approximately 4,000 Acolytes of Negeé and 2,000 mercenaries) across a 750-yard part of the defile. The army was organized into three divisions:
In the centre, to receive the charge of the enemy, was a formation of pikewoman (veteran acolytes of Negeé) aided with women-at-arms mercenaries, meanwhile crossbowwomen placed in both flanks.
Dahl'Arak, to command the battle, formed with the acolytes' Light infantry, advancing across the western hills and woods of Misarch: From there, she observed and ordered her forces.
Hildetriel IV massed a large, but heterogeneous, army. Aside from his knights and royal guard, mounted by tradition, despite of the limited use of cavalry in the mountains, the only secure force, his galaws and hebonnor clansmen and warriors didn't fight as units, but in their own disorder, charging forwards, and they didn't trust their human and Kanov allies, meanwhile the dwarven heavy infantry and crossbowman were disciplined, but fought under their own commands: And the King of the Hill, despite his previous campaigns, wasn't especially talented, and so far the tactic of frontal charge with infantry and cavalry was enough to achieve victory, using the superior strength and vigor of his troopers over the drow.
For Hildetriel IV, seeing the enemy and ordering the attack was one single moment: Opening the fight with his dwarven crossbowmen mercenaries and Hebonnor archers, soon he became exasperated and wanted to decide the fight, so he ordered to attack his mountain elf and galaw infantry, who charged furiously...
only to meet the bolts of the drow, and when reaching the enemy lines, the pikes and swords of the enemies:
After several unsuccessful charges, Hildetriel IV threw his cavalry, personally commanded by him, with the same lack of significant results:
Then, he decided to make advance the heavy dwarven infantry, who thanks to their armors, advanced compact, and forced the drow pikewoman line to retreat, slowly...
But this was a planned movement, and rather predictable for another military commander:
Because, with the center retreating, the drow flanks were able to route the center... and Hildetriel fell completely in it:
Seeing how the enemy line was "broken", he charged again with his infantry and cavalry... but then, Dahl'Arak and the light infantry, who moved in silence in the forests and hills of Misarch, fell over the rear of the Hebonnor army, completely surprising them:
Soon, the battle became a slaughter, and the human and kanov auxiliaries deserted from the battlefield, before the battle was lost: this destroyed the moral of the Hebonnor army, and more tried to escape, but were surrounded by four sides by then:
Some desperate intents broke the formation of drow crossbowwomen, being able to escape across the hills and woods, but the Royal Guard and Hildetriel IV, the heart of the Hebonnor army, were captured in the trap of Dahl'Arak:
With the battle lost and his army fleeing, Hildetriel IV finally surrendered with his forces, putting an end to the battle.
(exception being made with the dwarven heavy infantry mercenaries, who fought to the last dwarf in a heroic resistance, but none of their other comrades corresponded the sacrifice.)
Not only did the Hebonnor lose the Battle of Cilfach, but they lost their whole army, their king, prisoner to the drow, and the war.
This lost battle was the end of the war. While, in theory, the Hebonnor might have been able to regroup and raise reinforcements, they were far too disorganized and demoralized to do so after such a complete loss when it seemed impossible for them to lose. There was no one who could take the place of the captured King of the Hill.
The mountain elves would no longer formally contest the presence of the drow holdings in the mountains, and would enter into a period of semi-vassalage to the drow, and their kingdom would enter a new decline as a result of this battle. But, in defeat, trade with the underworld of Kazrrad would greatly increase.
Despite the great victory and the 'destruction' of the Hebonnor army and the capture of Hildetriel IV the Young Due to their overall small numbers, the important defeat in the previous Battle of High Gadolinia, the losses of this battle and the overall war, and above all, the brewing civil war under the mountains (see: the Dahl'Arak Coup), there was really no way of swallowing the mountain elf kingdom, which would remain in chaos and certainly hostile to the drow or even travelers for some time.
The greatest achievement of this unexpected and lopsided victory was political, in that the commanding General Dahl'Arak could concentrate on issues in the capital and her victory shocked and upset the plans of the Negeémi Populist Party.
And, of course, the depredation of the occupation and raids of the mountain elves on the drow surface lands had been stopped, and their King of the Hill had been captured.