The invasion of Tulwang
Copyright Eric Dubourg ©2001
Edited by Joe Mandala for The Guild Companion
Before Akhôrahil left for Mordor at his Master's bidding, he required Zâimbâr to conquer Tulwang. Consequently, the Warlord sent many spies into Tulwang to evaluate the strength of their defenses. He planned to measure the reported strengths against the newly reformed Army of the Southern Dragon, trained by Sangarunya and Bartolad, an Númenorian from Sakal an-Khâr. In Mizir 1643, Zâimbâr launched a series of short raids into Tulwang, further testing the strength of that realm. He held back the main body of his army, well out of reach of counter-attacking Sorijani.
These raids had two objectives; first, to spread fear among the populace, and second to cut land-bound supply routes into Tulwang. This tactic worked very well, in spite of Sorijan counter-offensives and the intermittent support of Bellakar. As the situation in Tulwang became desperate for the defenders, messengers at the Bellakarâni fortress on the Ajdak River were prepared to send for the aid of Bellakar.
Before the call for help could leave for Bellakar, though, Sangarunya executed the first phase of the invasion. The Army of the Southern Dragon had learned from its earlier failures, and the new leadership recognized that in order to take and hold Tulwang, three objectives would have to be taken. These included the two main centers of population, Norjadar and Khorsâj, and the Bellakarian fortress on the river Ajdak. Sangarunya, with a strong regiment composed of Mumâk companies, heavy infantry, and light cavalry struck toward the fort on the Ajdak. Bellakaze scouts warned of the approach of this force, and the messengers to Bellakar were immediately sent out. Most of the messengers were captured by Sangarunya's light cavalry, but one escaped by night and reached Bellakar to warn the King of the developing situation and ask for help.
"My King, Tulwang is under attack of the Thôn an-Khârlôkh. The people there are in need of powerful allies. Tumakveh Kings have never failed to aid them in the past - will you send help?"
"I will not be the first king to ignore the pleas of his subjects. A strong force will be sent to defend Tulwang, as has been done before," replied Khâruzîr.
Khâruzîr was extremely concerned with the situation in Tulwang, and sent an expeditionary force of 3,000 men in support, commanded by his second son Abâruzir. This was the largest force he could muster on short notice, as Umbarean pirates continued to threaten the coast. Not to be left out of the regional defense, the Katredala of Bozisha-dar dispatched 200 picked Visi and 2,000 Gusar clansmen to join the expedition. The allies arrived in Khorsâj on the 26th day of Vatrul, 1645.
While Sangarunya prosecuted the war along the River Ajdak, Zâimbâr's first target for conquest was Khorsâj. He wished to enter the city as a conqueror bearing the symbols of the Tumakveh, and to use the city as a staging area for the conquest of Bellakar. Abâruzir, however, was a tenacious general, and bore the qualities of both the Tumakveh and the Elendili. Though Zâimbâr initially took Khorsâj, a year of battle, retreat, and counter-attack eventually wore the Army of the Southern Dragon down, and Khorsâj was liberated in Darat 1646. One year after this hard-won victory, Abâruzir dealt Zâimbâr's host a humiliating defeat near Kanjar in Northern Tulwang in Vatrul 1647. Zâimbâr was nearly killed in the battle, but was saved by his Guard and taken from the field. Zâimbâr was forced to leave the entire cape of Bishra in the hands of his most hated enemy's son. He fled to Fult to recover, and awaited news of Sangarunya's campaign against the Fortress on the Ajdak.
Sangarunya's primary objective was the Bellakarian fort. After taking the fort, he would have access to Tulwang's interior, including the important cities of Norjadar and Qanath. After seven months of siege, in Najam 1646, the fort finally fell and the defenders were slaughtered. The road into the south of Tulwang was now open to the Army of the Southern Dragon. The young commander rebuilt the fort as best he could, and left a garrison to defend his supply route. He then conducted a deadly campaign against the Tulwanî coastal cities from the south. With reinforcements from Bartolad, Warlord of the South Wind, Sangarunya was able to sustain a long and bloody campaign while Zâimbâr recovered in Fult and received reinforcements of his own. In Sumat 1647, however, Gettaniyan tribesman stormed and took the fort on the River Ajdak.
At the end of the year 1647, only Norjadar and a few minor Sorijan ports remained defensible. In the last failed siege of Norjadar, the city had been partially burned, and the Army of the Southern Dragon did not withdraw as it had done in the past. The coming year would certainly see a major offensive against the last remaining interior city of Tulwang, and the Sorijans made hasty preparations. They rebuilt their walls as well as they could, and deployed their dwindling forces. When spring came, they would be as prepared as they could be, but they feared that their strength would not be enough. Without massive reinforcements from Bellakar (or elsewhere), the Sorijans held out little hope of victory.