|Guldhirian conquest of the Rot Wuds|
Guldhirian soldiers, painting by unknown author
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
The Guldhirian conquest of the Rot Wuds was the successful conquest of the lands of Thaambaile by the Kingdom of Guldhir. To date, it was one of the largest military conflicts in modern Alathran history, as it involved most states across Kuthara.
On June 25, 4 AC, Jon Dodbane, the king of Guldhir, and two of his associates were travelling through Thaambaile. During their brief visit to the local inn, they were suddenly assaulted by locals who thought them to be spies associated with Blackthorn. The king and his company managed to eventually flee the town.
In response to the hostility shown towards their king, on Jule 11, Guldhir sent out a diplomatic mission lead by Lady Colette Beaumont. She met with the leaders of Thaambaile in their city centre later that day. During their meeting, Colette issued a demand on behalf of her king for Thaambaile to forfeit land on the peninsula west of their town. This was met with immediate disapproval by the head of Thaambaile, Timur Khan, who nevertheless wished to avoid an escalation to a war. Having been unsuccessful with her demands, Colette gave up negotiations and returned to Guldhir.
On Jule 12, 5 AC, the Kingdom of Guldhir issued a formal declaration of war against Thaambaile and its allied towns.
Course of the war
In an immediate response to the declaration, Thaambaile called upon their alliance, known as the Knights of the Rot Wuds, to take a stand against Guldhir. This resulted in the towns of Kherakar, Nightfall and Scarred Hallow joining the war. A settlement named Aakan, known to be in good relations with Thaambaile, was caught in the middle: under duress by Guldhirian forces, they eventually decided to formally merge with Guldhir.
King Dodbane reached out to his ally, the Commonwealth of Blackthorn, who answered the call to arms soon after. The involvement of Blackthorians sparked interest in Kalikhan, who still held relations with Blackthorn since the days they were both under the banner of the Triumvirate of Ceyreto. On Jule 16, 5 AC, Kalikhan also joined the war on the side of Guldhir.
As the number of Thaambaile forces grew, Guldhir reached out to mercenary groups in Kuthara, and was successful in recruiting the town of Cuttlassia on Jule 19, and finally a group of mercenaries from Lucredia on Jule 28.
Late on Jule 12, after Blackthorn had announced their participation in the war, a city district by the name of Fort Khirom declared themselves independent from Blackthorn and neutral in the conflict. Fort Khirom had long held a policy of pacifism, a standpoint that differed from the rest of the Commonwealth. This resulted in Khirom leadership opting out from the war and ultimately from the rest of the union.
Despite their claims of neutrality, however, Khirom forces set out to repeatedly raid Zethortal, the Commonwealth's capital. This prompted a response, whereupon the Prince of the newly independent city was captured and persuaded to pledge allegiance to the Commonwealth for a full pardon. Fort Khirom reunited with the Commonwealth on Jule 14.
As a part of their strategy to reduce the territorial control Thaambaile held, Guldhir constructed a river barrier that strategically cut off Thaambaile's connection to the ocean. Accordingly, the barrier was nicknamed as the Ocean Gate. The practicality of the Ocean Gate remains speculated, but Guldhir officials declared their blockade to be successful.
In the months following the start of the war, most action took place between small squads. Both sides conducted offensive patrols that often lead to combat engagements, resulting in the first minor casualties of the war. Thaambaile coordinated multiple attacks on Guldhirian structures, such as ships and railroads, while Guldhir focused their resources on reconnaissance missions. In response to the attacks, Guldhir declared the actions carried out by Thaambailian troops to be war crimes, and harshened their original war demands.
Siege of Nev'karlik
- For statistics, see Statistics of the siege of Nev'karlik
The main Guldhirian offensive began on Jule 29, 5 AC, with the siege of Nev'karlik, the mountain that held Thaambaile's main fortress. All of Guldhir's army took position to the east of the fort, where their cannons had good visibility and range on the castle walls. In the very beginning of the battle, artillery fire dealt heavy damage to the fortifications, but unfavourable terrain and night-time conditions proved a considerable danger to the first wave of attackers. Thaambailian defense noticed this, and ordered a charge, resulting in the two sides clashing for the first time in the valley outside castle walls.
Guldhir's first attack was slowed down considerably, and King Dodbane, who was leading the assault, ordered his forces to fall back to the artillery lines. Having successfully regrouped, they launched a second assault, this time with concentrated effort to breach past the first wall. Once inside the fortress, managing to take control of it was difficult, as the fort had a complex floor plan, and there were numerous false passageways set up ahead of the siege.
The siege lasted 3 days in total, and although Thaambaile suffered heavy casualties, they still kept some control over the fort. Guldhir forces were forced to retreat due to a shortage of essential supplies. Thaambaile was victorious, but their condition following the siege had worsened notably. It is unknown whether they had any realistic capability to conduct a counter-offensive or whether they would have survived another siege by Guldhir forces.
After the siege, Thaambaile kept suffering losses in people and overall morale. Reports of griefing surged and the town fell into disorder. Timur Khan had vanished and left the nation without leadership, which caused additional confusion in the ranks of those still loyal to Thaambaile's cause. On August 5, Tobias Frost, the king of Nightfall stepped up to recover what was left of the people and vacated the town, sailing east to establish a new settlement. That same month, the nation of Thaambaile fell, along with its towns.
The armies of Guldhir returned to their towns and started preparing for a counter-siege, which would never come. As Thaambaile was discovered abandoned by scout patrols, on August 5, Guldhir and its allies declared victory. All Thaambailian territories, with the exception of Kherakar, which was to go to the Commonwealth of Blackthorn, were absorbed into the Guldhir realm.