The Negeémi-Hebonnor War, specifically, the Negeémi-Hebonnor War of 2427-2428 a.a.H. was a contest between the Hebonnor Kingdom and its King of the Hill, Hildetriel IV the Young, and the Drow State of Negeémiliel.
The Hebonnor mountain elves live in the Southern Nohalion Mountains, or rather, live on their foothills, mountain valleys, and highland slopes. The drow live beneath those mountains, or within their mass, in that region of the underground cavernous world known as Kazrrad.
Reasons for the WarEdit
The supposed purpose for the war was the Hebonnor Kingdom taking back surface territory lost to the Negeémi Drow in the First War of the Power. The Drow, suffering endemic food shortages, were bound and determined to keep its surface lands for its need of food as well as national pride. However, both sides had more complex reasons; Hildetriel IV was a young ruler who had rose to the throne due to the likely assassination of his older sister Brainne the crazy who would have otherwise became the 'King of the Hill'. Hildetriel IV was determined to raid the drow surface holdings in a successful raiding campaign at worst, or a successful invasion at best.
The Negeémi Drow, for their part, were highly politically divided, and reacted to this attack in a complex and odd way. The Negeémi Populist Party that controlled their government's Low Council decried the invasion--and stifled every attempt to deal forcefully with it. This was a strategy of discrediting the otherwise ruling Negeémi Senatorial Party, and a general of the Senatorial Party who was tasked with defending the surface with too few troops. It also was a means to cut off a source of food from the surface, and to cause the food shortages and social unrest to spike. It also drove the people to demand action.
The Populist Party had decided on sending Senatorial forces to deal with the invading Hebonnor forces so as the Populists could enact a coup d'état so as to change the government by replacing the Senatorial members of the High Council. Or perhaps by making greater changes to the system of government, as two centuries earlier, the Populists had instituted a monarchy following a period of dictatorial rule.
But, following the downfall of the monarchy system shortly following the First War of the Power, the Populists lost their hold on power, and were seizing upon this surface war as a means of regaining it.
The core of Hebonnor horse-elves under the king's control, or his nobles, had helped bring early victories, as the Drow hadn't a full cavalry to bring to bear, and their infantry might generally be considered 'light'. There were usually insufficient forces on the surface to counter cavalry formations, the Drow are not often used to the tactics and strategies of surface warfare as might be imagined.
Speculation: The early success of cavalry might have influenced Hildetriel's later thinking? The Drow becoming always vulnerable to massed horse attacks in his mind?
Heavy Infantry MercenariesEdit
Hildetriel had Galaw Orc, Human, Kanov, and strongest of all, Dwarf mercenaries that increased the professionalism of his army, and stiffened and strengthened his infantry. Not all of these troops could be qualified as heavy infantry, nor were they all reliable in the end.
Head of StateEdit
Hildetriel IV and his court and government might seem unsophisticated, but despite the fractious divisions in his kingdom of power decentralized to often absentee nobles, he proved he could bring them together and keep most of them united under his command despite his youth and some trying circumstances.
He was able to entice mercenary houses, foreign aid, and even arrange an alliance with the Nortunk Dwarfs with his personality and successes.
The Hebonnor Kingdom very quickly developed a daring and talented spy corps with some dwarf heads and advisors, with skilled mountain elf officers and brave operatives. They were capable of navigating the underworld of Kazrrad, to gather valuable information, note the movement of the Drow armies, and even kill and capture several Drow Acolytes while still in the subterranean caverns and tunnels. Indeed, they ran a successful operation for several months.
Hildetriel IV was more aware of Drow actions than he might have seemed.
Their well trained infantry is the pride of the underworld of Kazrrad, and while surface fighting greatly reduces their effectiveness, the Negeémi commanders and instructors in their Academy are well aware of these problems and train to mitigate them. The Drow Acolytes are among the most well trained soldiers in the world, with skills honed over a childhood full of training, and overall experience that stretches for decades.
Mercenary soldiers are much less certain, but are nonetheless a cut above most professional soldiers from the surface. Particularly such mercenary houses as the Black Widows which commonly are found on battlefields alongside the acolyte forces.
As a hegemony with subject vassal drow states, Negeémiliel had units of professional soldiers they could call upon from outside their own military. Although, again, most were probably foreign drow mercenary fighters.
'As below--so above'. Just as the Negeémi soldiers are well trained and capable in a large number of situations, so too are their commanders, given long service and training in a meritocracy of advancement and the fierce nature of Kazrrad's chaotic warfare. Even so, the surface faces special threats that were difficult for drow commanders to learn or readily understand.
The advanced system of priestesses, sorceresses and general magic users in the Drow army was more deadly and capable than that of the mountain elves. Although this advantage may have been somewhat offset by the general weakening of the magic of the Drow for environmental factors of being on the surface rather than down in Kazrrad where the Drow are accustomed to using their magic.
Drow surface fortifications tend to run far more deep than high. There is typically little for opponents to siege, bombard or burn, with barracks and supplies kept meters below the surface, with tunnels allowing multiple exit points and potential staging areas, or sometimes even leading back to the underworld of Kazrrad. Sieges are less likely to be very effective against such tunnel works from attacking exits on the surface.
Negeémi forces could often surprise their Hebonnor adversaries carrying out raids and sieges. The Drow ability to act at night would often place the Hebonnor forces in danger when asleep or otherwise resting. They might be subject to a commando attack at any time. This would wear down the Hebonnor forces and make them especially suffer due to attrition, despite the Drow not having the numbers to take directly to the field throughout the summer and fall of 2427 a.a.H.
Overall, the divisive political situation and essentially treasonous manipulations of the army served the Negeémi military poorly. Losses would be suffered in the field above the home caverns of the Drow that were as bad or worse than the following civil war, (see Dahl'Arak Coup).
States that have few soldiers that are very well trained with all the resources expended to train and maintain those soldiers makes such forces expensive and hard to replace. Any lost battle is devastating to any State, but it is especially painful when those soldiers lost in battle represent so much in the way of resources.
First Stage of the WarEdit
Hildetriel harried the Drow positions, and not finding great resistance, forced them to retreat to their fortified positions, abandoning their surface lands until reinforcements arrived, proving that the Drow had insufficient force on the surface to guard against raids from a surface army.
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.
These initial successes emboldened Hildetriel, and led to more Hebonnor nobles calling forth their warriors, and Human and Dwarf mercenaries being hired turning a massive raiding campaign into an invasion.
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. The Negeémi forces kept besieged until time, individual nobles became discouraged, withdrawing their forces, attrition and communicative disease had significantly weakened the Hebonnor army, leading Hildetriel to retreat for the winter, having failed in ousting the Drow from their fortresses.
But, by the end of the year, Hildetriel's campaign would ultimately cost the Negeémi greatly in lost goods, raided and burned settlements, and effectively a lost harvest of crops in the invaded area, which badly effecting the economy and leading to hunger in the food supply of the capital city of Negeémiliel.
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 2427-2428 a.a.H., 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:
Spring Campaign of 2428 a.a.H.Edit
Hildetriel IV had indeed been busy, and had little trouble in reinvigorating his nobles for another campaign next year with the 'decisive' Battle of High Gadolinia being won. He 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.
Battle of CilfachEdit
Despite Hildetriel's considerable successes, and despite the defeat of the previous Negeémi general, in his opening moves in his new campaign of 2428 a.a.H., he came to a catastrophic defeat in a single battle. His large and diverse army would be intercepted by the reorganized Drow army while on the march, while still in Hebonnor territory, before he could link up with the Nortunk dwarfs. He would be finally defeated in the Battle of Cilfach, largely by exaggerating the benefit of his cavalry and the poor arrangement of his infantry forces, funneling himself into the valley and being encircled by drow, and being captured by the drow general Danieh'le Dahl'Arak, himself, and the core of his entire army.
Hildetriel IV would remain imprisoned for about two years, at which point in time, he would have given his captor, Danieh'le Dahl'Arak children, (see Xylinthia Dahl'Arak). He departed Kazrrad having signed a treaty with Negeémiliel, to remain as the King of the Hill, granting land and trade concessions to the Negeémi Drows. The Hebonnor kingdom would become a 'semi-vassal' to the Negeémi Drow State for some decades. As the losers of the war, the Hebonnor did gain increased trade for their aggression in their pursuit of a war.
The war was a brief moment when the Hebonnor Kingdom suddenly appeared powerful and capable. The loss would curtail the ambitions of the kingdom for years, and may have been the beginning of the kingdom's decline and eventual annexation to the later Loranor Kingdom in the following century.
While the victors of the war, the fact that the war occurred at all, or went on so long, was a symptom of a massive failure of their governance, and of treasonous plotting. The war was indeed seen as desirable to unseat the ruling Senatorial Party, and was an engineered event designed to be prolonged and create social unrest, and to engage and kill Senatorial acolytes. Victory resulting in some more Hebonnor land and trade was arguably rather paltry in relation to the loss of the Battle of High Gadolinia.
The Negeémi-Hebonnor War might be seen as part of the Negeémi Civil War which was effectively causing significant unnatural and unnecessary losses for the State before the actual open fighting between the two parties in the Dahl'Arak Coup, which was mercifully brief. But the civil war was NOT so brief when one adds the unnecessary war with the Hebonnor Kingdom, which could have been avoided or probably wrapped up far faster and with fewer losses. The Negeémi Hegemony might trace its own decline to this event and the losses and disunity of their loss at the Battle of High Gadolinia and their Civil War.