Battle of Awanath Cliffs
|Battle of Awanath Cliffs|
|Event Name||Battle of Awanath Cliffs|
|Dates and Times||June 12th, 109 AC|
|Location||Awanath, Asha Isles|
|People Involved||Altalar slavers, Asha Corsairs|
The Battle of Awanath Cliffs was a decisive victory that put an end to what was nearly a three-year-long campaign waged by Altalar slavers against the Asha, where the last Altalar slaving fleet was led into a cunning trap by a ramshackle force of Ashan C’Senn. By 106 AC, the Altalar were forced to settle for only raiding small coastal settlements, but in the process, they managed to put several minor Corsair Lords in chains after their futile efforts to repel the slaving fleet individually. However, the campaign took a dramatic turn when an emboldened Admiral Sïlaynel, leading a large force of Altalar Peth’sella into the center of the island chain, was met by a smaller force of Asha C’Senn led by Corsair Lord Nkosi Omara. In current times, the battle is seen by many as the death of the Altalar slave trades extending into foreign lands, as well as a prime example of the ferocity of Ashan marines.
The Altalar have historically raided the Asha for a consistent source of slave labor and continued to do so well after the Cataclysm. However, hundreds of Allorn ships were lost during the Cataclysm along with the infrastructure to create more of them, severely kneecapping the capacity of the Altalar to sustain their trade in the long run as any single ship lost was one which would likely never be replenished. This meant that dwindling fleets had to gradually lessen their standards for targets, seldom taking opposing fleets on in head to head battles and preferring to attack isolated settlements, dashing away with a relatively paltry number of captives. This made the Asha coastal cities prime targets as communication was lacking in speed and the Corsair Fleets were rarely near one another unless they were in combat or had to fend off a mutual threat.
As these coastal raids went on and more Ashan ships were sunk, increasingly minuscule Corsair fleets began to retreat from the raiding fleet rather than make a stand. In response, Admiral Sïlaynel began to drive his campaign towards more populated regions, winning a series of decisive victories in which the fleet sustained few losses. Further emboldened by rising profits, the fleet sailed towards the large coastal city of Awanath.
Calm Seas And Uncontested Moorings
With a host of seventeen oar-propelled Altalar Peth’sella, Admiral Sïlaynel sailed for the cliff walled bay city of Awanath, an Asha settlement known for its calm, shallow waters and easy sailing. En route, the Altalar fleet encountered no resistance, only spotting a few Ashan C’Senn which quickly turned and retreated in the opposite direction of the vastly numerically superior opponent. They had reached the bay in only a matter of days after pulling from the port, setting anchor next to the white, sandy beaches of the city which contrasted sharply with the steep, cragged stone walls around the rest of the bay, setting the stage of the seemingly easy battle to come.
Easy Pickings, Slavers Poised to Strike
The ding of alarm bells began to resound within the city of Awanath as the sight of Altalar banners were confirmed. Sharifa, the Nefer governor of the city, began frantically raising a motley crew of city guard, mercenaries, and stranded Corsairs to man the city walls as dozens of landing craft began to ferry a host of nearly three thousand Altalar swordsmen along with battering rams, chains, and slaves to the beaches, leaving their ships to be manned by skeleton crews. As the day came to a close, the situation seemed hopeless for the city of Awanath, as no Corsair Fleets had come to their aid, and the nearest city was nearly a two days walk for even the most experienced letter runner. Unrest crept into the local population of the city but the words of the rulers kept the peace, even unifying and further bolstering the city walls with more volunteers as a result of the inspirational words of Sharifa herself.
The Battle Unfurls, And Tables Turn
As day broke, the Altalar raiding force took up formation and broke camp, marching to the gate of the city with their battering rams, banners, and slaves on full display in an attempt to break the morale of the city guard through intimidation. A heavy silence fell over the city only to be broken by the blaring of trumpets and calls for the leadership of the city to come and speak their terms of surrender with General Tevunilläs, the right hand of Admiral Sïlaynel, who breached his lines to ride ahead on a white stallion. Sharifa, with hopes to try and negotiate for the safety of her beloved city, stood atop the battlements of the gates, fruitlessly trying to reason with Tevunilläs. After thirty minutes of tense negotiation, neither side could reach some form of surrender, and calls to prepare for battle were made.
Soon after the militia officers began to bark their commands, the Asha of Awanath scrambled, readying archers on the battlements, and rolling vats of hot oil above the gates, an eerie silence spreading across the walls as they braced for the Altalar force to begin their assault. Before any such thing could occur, the sounds of bells again grabbed the attention of both Asha and Altalar alike, confusion spreading amongst their ranks as to why. Jubilant cheers erupted from the Ashan militia, while Altalar began to break rank to run for the landing vessels back on the beach at the sight of a Corsair fleet, twelve C’Senn strong, entering the bay and bearing down upon the Altalar slave ships moored within at a frighteningly fast pace.
At sea, similar chaos was unfolding as the Altalar fleet was caught with their pants down. The majority of their fighting force was currently on land barring a single regiment of archers, who rushed to prepare to fight off the inevitable boarding parties of corsairs. Admiral Sïlaynel, in a display of his prowess at sea, expertly organized his fleet into a blockade across the center of the bay with few errors made by the seasoned Altalar captains under his command. Unfortunately, this did not improve the morale of the Admiral and his cabinet, who had realized that they had been duped by a coalition of Corsairs and walked straight into the trap set by the Asha over the past week. The vessels they had seen earlier were not rogue flotillas, but scouting vessels reporting on the location of the Altalar fleet back to Corsair Lord Nkosi Omari, who had laid in wait on the other side of Awanath’s high cliffs and now finally sprung his trap.
Battle is Joined
Back on land, there could be no testament to the expertise of the Altalar high command as the low command’s objectives were suddenly split in half, and chaos ensued. The army began to fracture in half as hundreds began to retreat towards the transports left on the beach, beginning to hurriedly and carelessly load themselves back onto the ships, and begin to push off to attempt to join the battle at sea. Meanwhile, General Tevunilläs and the 2,200 men who remained at the city tried to salvage the siege, only to find themselves pelted with arrows, javelins, slings, and flaming pieces of rubbish. The Elven forces were thrown into further disarray after their general was put into critical condition by a well-placed javelin after the general had mistakenly ended up caught in the front lines. Thus began a slow route back to the beaches and out of range of the Awanath who had suddenly gained the upper hand, with few casualties being sustained by the routed force.
At sea, the battle had just begun, as seven of the Ashan C’Senn had crashed into the leftmost four Altalar ships, the shuddering and groaning of their hulls sending shivers down the spines of the out of element archers and skeleton crews of marines prepared for the boarding crew. A brief moment where nothing but the lapping of waves against the hulls of ships could be heard, before the savage battle cries of the Asha hidden below the decks of each ship resounded through the air. Hatches opened on all ships, and a flood of Merew, Senef, and the rare Rakhet rushed out to board the four ships. The initial waves of the Asha were mowed down by Altalar archers, but as that volley ended, the odds were immediately in the favor of the Corsairs who had ships full of warriors, and the Altalar had only the bare essentials to keep the slaves below deck in line. The fight was hard but ended nearly as quickly as it began, the four ships being overrun and their Altalar crews slaughtered after a brief struggle. The Asha freed the slave rowers, some of whom were hesitant to join the carnage as many were Ailor but also some who were the very Ashan corsairs captured months or years earlier. The latter quickly fell back in with their brothers in arms, commandeering two of the Ships while the other two were quickly abandoned so the Asha could rejoin the fight.
With the tide of battle beginning to shift ever more in favor of the Ashan corsairs, the Altalar discipline began to waver once again. However, as the transports from land finally reached their destination, bringing with them troops better fitted to combat boarding parties, fresh men, and leaders, it immediately resolved any wavering morale. This came just in time, as the remaining five Corsairs crashed directly into the Altalar flagship and it’s two escorts, both Altalar and Ashan boarding parties flooding onto the decks of the three ships to decide the battle.
Admiral Nkosi’s Gambit
With both sides engaging in brutal close-quarters atop the Altalar High Command ships, the remaining 10 Altalar ships began the slow process of maneuvering themselves to face their broadsides to the center, their archers beginning to prepare to launch volleys at Corsair Lord Nkosi’s forces which stormed the ships. Meanwhile, a nearly endless tide of Altalar footmen, only now joining the battle, further complicated matters for the Corsairs. Even with the ferocity of the Ashan boarding parties, it could only do so much in the face of sheer numbers. Swiftly, Nkosi leaped from his own C’Senn to one of the two previously commandeered Peth’sella, bellowing his orders to the Corsairs aboard. In a hurry, the oars of the ship destined for scuttling began to dip into the water, and the ship began to lurch forwards, cutting through the waves, and down the line of the Altalar.
On the High Command Ships, the battle raged on, having locked into a stalemate as bodies piled further and further on the decks, commanders on both sides screaming their throats hoarse. However, the Altalar commanders still on the transports began to suddenly shout in dismay and surprise, before they were suddenly silenced by the splintering of both bone and timber, screams shortly followed by gurgles as the Peth’sella, rowed by Corsair crews, bore through the smaller Altalar troop transports which swarmed about the sides of the High Command ships, crushing them under its bow. Suddenly, the tide had turned once again, and the Asha, emboldened by the victory, flooded the High Command’s ship. Taking Admiral Sïlaynel hostage and forcing the remaining Altalar forces to surrender, peace was negotiated over the course of the next three hours for the safe return of their commanding officer. Humiliating terms were piled atop the Slavers, including the liberation of every Slave within their Fleet and the scuttling of all but three of their vessels.
The Battle of Awanath was a brutal and bloody battle that sent shockwaves through the local regions, and to the Altalar who had all but lost hope of once again exerting their slave trades across Aloria. In total, 2,500 Asha were killed in the battle, either on the ships or from infections sustained from wounds. Meanwhile, the Altalar had lost approximately 4,000 warriors in the battle alone, and upwards of 8,000 slaves which were used to propel the ships were liberated. To further rub salt in the wounds, all but three Altalar Peth’sella were scuttled in the bay, and the remaining Altalar who were alive afterward were forced to navigate and row their way back to Teled Methen. As this was one of the few Slaver fleets which still existed, and there were few means for the Altalar to reproduce such works again, this battle meant the end of their slaver fleets extending their reach to foreign nations and dealt a great blow to the pride of the race as they were defeated by a force which, in open combat, they should have crushed.
- There are rumors that one of the Altalar ships which was scuttled, carried a large cache of valuable metals such as gold, silver, and even rumors of a sliver of a cherished Starris dagger. However, these rumors have never been confirmed as nobody can reach the wrecks of the ships.
- Some of the wrecks can still be found on the coastline to this day, heavily decayed, some half under the waves, some just under the surface. They have obviously been picked bare, but continue to be a testament to Altalar ship making, outlasting other shipwrecks by dozens of years so close to the surface.
- Many of the ships in the battle bore the papyrus reed symbol, a symbol belonging to that particular sect of slave ships. Since this battle, the papyrus reed symbol has become cursed in Altalar society.