The ancient Battle for Kormendale (3198 b.S.) - also called the Battle of the Thiándrín Fields - was the decisive battle of the Second Shadow War and is one of the history's turning points on the continent of Nybelmar. It marks the end of a centuries long holy war between the two greatest nations of that time and the end of an era. From the Korweynites' viewpoint, with the Fall of their last Emperor, an era of bliss, enlightenment and glory ended in blood and darkness. The following centuries in the aftermath of the war thus became known among most nations of Nybelmar as the "Dark Age" or the "Reign of the Second Shadow Realm" - Ehebion. Though the battle itself was the remarkable event leading to the total destruction of the first Korweyn Empire - also referred to as the Empire of Light - some historians place the beginning of the Dark Age several years after this battle, with the treaty between the Kingdoms of Anis-Anpagan and Ehebion.
Around the third millenium before Santhros
(SC) the southeast of
was dominated by two human empires: the first
Empire of Korweyn and the
These were two nations with opposite beliefs, very aware of each other and bent
on annihilating the other - as the necessary condition for their own survival.
Thus a holy war that lasted for almost two thousand years was waged between them
- so long that the war itself was almost like an institution. Nevertheless in
the end it had to end somehow and the Battle for Kormendale marks this end.
Towards the end of the year 3199 b.S. the situation looked grim for the Korweyn Empire. A series of incapable emperors had brought the Empire almost on the edge of disaster. In the east, the relentless Murmillion raids were getting stronger and stronger and under the leadership of a new King they managed to subdue all the regions east of the great Eypesh River. Most of the Korweynite provinces were in a state of open revolt and an exiled member of the imperial family, Narvé, was stirring up the pagan provinces in the far-west against the Kormendale's rule. The mad emperor Makelm had been poisoned by his succesor Finnás, and Narvé was claiming the throne - so the local lords were asked to choose between these two pretenders.
Taking advantage of their most recent victories which weakened the river defenses, the Murmillion armies managed to cross the Eypesh after a week long battle (3199 b.S.), thus having from now on an open road towards Kormendale. The harassings with the Kassite nomads didn't slow them down too much, thus in the winter of 3199-3198 b.S. they were dangerously closing on Kormendale. Finnás recalls every last army to Kormendale and asks all the vassals to send everything they had to defend the capitol. Although mostly only Kassite tribes answer this call, he managed to gather a sizeable enough army to face Ehebion's hordes. Pressed by the urgency of the uprises in the western provinces and being very aware of the Murmillions' determination in this particular moment of the war, Finnás sees his only chance in seeking a decisive battle on the fields outside the capitol (where the Korweynites would have held an advantage due to their superior cavalry).
Thus, several days from Kormendale, in the evening of the last day of the first month of the year 3198 b.S. the two great armies faced each other on the "Fields of Thiándrín". Lush grazing grounds on rolling hills, with only a few rocks offering cover. The Korweynites directly under the command of their Emperor, the Murmillions under the direct command of their King Sylas, and of his two most trusted generals, Theodunn, commanding the elite drakkar troops, and Kolos, commanding the common troops.
The Battle. Finnás took position on three hills hoping to let Sylas run his men tired against the shield wall of the Korweynite army until an opportunity would offer the Kassite cavalry to strike them on the flanks. Sylas took position on an opposing hill grouping his army in three units, the strong center being commanded by him, the left by Theodunn and the right by Kolos.
As the dusk was approaching, the drakkars began to murmur in excitement at the sight of the Korweynite legions. But after a short talk Sylas and Theodunn agreed to gamble their chances and risk everything calling the attack right away. Prayers were raised to the Lady of Dreams so that the moon would later show their path, and in the eerie light of a red setting sun Sylas spoke to his troops. Then, letting out the battlecry, he ordered the attack. "Let none alive! Send them into oblivion!" he shouted and the drakkars stormed the plains.
The Korweynite legions were shocked to see the enemy attack at once instead of waiting for the next day. The tales say that the soldiers started to shiver facing the ferocity and fanatism of the drakkars' cries, but Finnás dismounted from his noble warhorse and walked to the first battleline yelling: "Sons of Calderón, the time of trial has come! This night will prove your worth from now on to eternity. Helón!" Encouraged by these words the Korweynite men brazed themselves as Ehebion's black horde waved forward.
It is said that the moon showed up that night as it rarely can be seen, like a large red disk glowing on a cloudless purple sky. The Korweynites use to say now that in that night Thiát cried with tears of blood and Bothú's laughter had cracked the walls of Kormendale. The Murmillions fought with rage and fanatism, the Korweynites fought with the strength of the desperate. Beasts and men alike were slaughtered without mercy and the carnage lasted almost to the morning.
Soon after nightfall any tactic and organization had turned into an indistinctable mass of skirmishes and a murderous bloodbath. Both sides embraced themselves with such fanatism and hatred that the very thought of retreat seemed an impossibility. In the center both Finnás and Sylas kept their men together and the carnage was unspeakable, yet on the flanks only the fierce attacks of the Kassites kept the enemy at bay.
It was not before the first rays of the sun hitting the glistening iron and steel, when the right Korweynite flank collapsed. The Kassites had stormed too far and Theodunn striked back quickly, encircling and killing most of them. Soon the Korweynites on the right hill became outnumbered and their lines crumbled. Finnás saw this happen but he could not do anyhing about it, as the battle in the center also reached its climax. Yet spotting Sylas among the troops he called for his horse and gathered his own champions around him seeking the direct confrontation with his greatest enemy. Later Kassite tales compare Finnás in this charge with Korweyn the Great charging the Gates of the "Burning Mountains" and they also tell that the Korweynites stormed over the Murmillion drakkars like a scythe cutting through the grain. But just when Finnás seemed to have had overwhelmed all the opposition before Sylas, a dreadful shadow of a mounted warrior passed like a ghost behind him, thrusting a spear through his chest. Finnás fell from his horse and it is said that the Korweynite Emperor, despite his mortal wound, pressed on raising his sword and calling the Murmillion King. But with his wound he was no match for Sylas and thus the duel ended shortly. Still the Kassites tell that, raising the dead body in his scythar, Sylas threw it towards the Korweynite champions and all the drakkars cheered in glee knowing that, from this point on, the victory could not escape them anymore.
Without their Emperor, the Korweynites saw their doom coming but were not willing to submit. With a last "Helón!" on their lips they charged forward into their doom. The chronicles report that this very day not a single imperial soldier escaped the battlefield nor even tried to. Still it is known now that there were survivors. Besides those that were considered dead and lay hidden among the corpses until they could seize an opportunity to flee, there was a single detachment of Kassites that managed to escape this night of horrors. More of a legend actually, was that they saw a lightelf of the Kaýr appearing amongst one of the squadrons and ordering them to return to Kormendale. The story of this apparition and the words spoken to the Kassite leader, Kelam, are reported as follows by the chronist Redán, from the library of Gelm:
"The Fate of Korweyn and his blessed followers does not lie on this fields. Finnás redeemed the Korweynite Empire, that had fallen to darkness and as his soul is rising to the eternal sky, the Realm of the Korweynites shall rise again. The last child of Korweyn shall succeed where Finnás failed. And the deeds of the Kassites won't be forgotten in a thousand years."
Upon these words Kelam decided to abandon the fight despite the doubts of honour and managed to flee back to Kormendale. Yet because of him the Korweynite royal bloodline survived, as the Kassites took Finnás' heir with them and disappeared into the elven forests of Gaeldorioth.
Aftermath. As the sun rose again, a heavy mist was covering the earth and the corpses were forming a thick and compact layer blanketing the ground. The smell of death was breathtaking and every single survivor was covered in blood and entrails from head to toes, but although overtired of killing the drakkars still continued to chop the corpses of their foes into pieces. As Sylas asked before the battle: "Let none alive!"
But when everything was over and the remaining troops reorganized around their commanders a terrible news spreaded among the soldiers: Sylas was dead, and he did not die in battle - their king had been assasinated in his tent. Little was known until they would have turned on one another as the bloodlust was still glowing in their eyes, yet Theodunn managed to control them. As the highest in rank he asked his veteran drakkars to openly shout their loyalty to him. The other drakkar troops, some knowing Theodunn, some trusting the decision of the veterans, also pledged their loyalty to him. The common troops had no other choice than but to follow the drakkars. Messengers were sent to Ehebion and after the armies rested Theodunn marched with them into the defenseless city of Kormendale - officially ending the reign of the Korweynite Emperors. And by the time his troops were taking over the city, an answer came back from Ehebion: the new King of Murmillions, decided by the Council of the Cults, was to be from now on Theodunn of the House Pheronn, the conqueror of Kormendale.
The rule of Murmillions over this part of Nybelmar should last for centuries from now on. Still they didn't press too much to the west after this battle (as they only sought to secure a western border running along the upper Raneshar), thus much of the western Korweynite province was engulfed by the Narvé's new Kingdom, Anis-Anpagan. In time the Second Shadow Realm would crumble under its own weight, allowing Tiara - heir of the Korweynite throne and bearer of the imperial bloodline - to unify the more or less autonomous provinces into a new Korweynite Empire.