Rhidayar Border Skirmish
The Siege and Final Battle
On the 19th of Chandra 1457 (the year that would later to be known as 29 BH), a division of Rhidayan soldiers, led by General Belim-Sha-har, approached the Vharkylia outpost of Altaza. While his government would later denounce the general’s actions and claim that he acted solely on his own, it is unlikely that he was anything other than an early scouting mission to take out the three minor outlying vykati outposts, Altaza being the central, that would inhibit a direct march on the capital, Drtithen.
Altaza was an ancient chapel complex that had been converted, only a few years previous, to a military outpost that housed an artillery battalion lead by Lieutenant Colonel Malita Adida. Officially, the outpost housed 100 soldiers, but it is possible that civilians stationed there were also able to defend it. These could account for as many as 10 additional defenders, but no account ever mentions them.
Malita Adida was a fierce and, despite the legend she would become as a result of the battle, not always well-liked commander. Her peers respected her, but she was known as a strict disciplinarian that had at one time been censored by Benayle himself for going too far with her punishments. Her troops feared her a little, but loyalty to country and a grudging respect for her skill and ideals kept them in line.
Malita received the report of the approaching army on the evening of 16 Chandra, when General Belim-Sha’har’s forces were still three days out. Before she even finished reading all of the details, she dispatched a civilian to request reinforcements from the nearest outpost, about two days away, where the 2-22 Infantry was stationed under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Rass “Claw” Ghenis.
After finishing the report, she gathered all one hundred of her troops together and placed her sword on the ground between herself and them. She informed them that the approaching force numbered about 5,000 infantry and cavalry with a few cannons. And then, she told them: “There is no cowardice in refusing to face such odds as we face now. There is no hope for us, only hope that we can slow the advance long enough to protect our people. Here I stand. This I will defend. Cross by my sword and add yours to the line only if you are willing to die for your country.” Not a single soldier refused.
While there would later be some debate (entirely outside of Vharkylia) as to why she worried about holding the ground against such odds, the areas beyond were farmlands and small cities, all of which would have been easy prey for such a force, well before Colonel Ghenis’ forces could arrive. Even their combined forces would have been outnumbered more than four to one. Malita was apparently banking on her slightly fortified position being better than open ground.
The actual siege of Altaza took three days. Malita’s almost ruthless drilling of her troops provided hyper-accurate artillery fire, that stopped the first four enemy charges. Since the only account of the events is the journal of one of her soldiers and that soldier had no time to write after her final words shortly after Malita’s now famous speech, not much is known of the exact events. Colonel Ghenis conjectured that there were five charges. The first four were from each side of the outpost, with the fifth being from all four sides at once. By the time of the final charge, Malita’s troops were almost completely out of ammunition and unable to effectively fire with their cannons spread between all sides. The siege cost the Rhidayan forces half of their number and the Vharkylia forces all of theirs.
No physical remains of the defenders was ever found. General Belim-Sha’har apparently did not want to face any of them again.
Significance and Effects Altaza is the single most decisive victory of wolf forces in the history of the vykati. While all of the defenders fell, the following reinforcements from the 2-22nd, although still outnumbered 2 to 1, were able to completely eliminate the threat, with General Bahim-Sha’har falling at the beginning of the battle and his demoralized and disoriented troops falling easy prey to Colonel Ghenis’ forces fighting in the same jungles they’d trained in. Total losses for the vykati were 452 verses 5,024 on the Rhidayan side.
Benayle addressed the Drtithen Council as soon as word reached the capital on the 26th of Chandra and requested that wolf pack forces be mustered immediately for a retaliatory strike to finally wipe out their ancient enemy. It is the only time since his rise to current position that he has ever proposed a violent solution to a problem.
Cooler heads prevailed and made his proposal the only time that they ever rejected one of his rare requests. Timing was largely responsible for this happening. Only a day before, a special envoy had arrived from Rhidayar to warn the council that a rogue general had led a large force into their country, but that his actions directly opposed the wishes of the government. Benayle, knowing that the envoy had flown into the country and aware that the she most likely left a few days after the defeat of the invading forces, surmised that the statement was just a cover for their failed attempt. He told the council as much, but between the denial and the fact that even reduced by about 5% of their forces, Rhidayar would be a formidable foe that could keep them at war for years to come, the measure failed by a wide margin.
A measure did pass that requires all school children in Vharkylia to memorize Malita’s speech and many schools adopted her phrase “This I will defend” (Kra’la al’ark in the vykati language) as their motto.
Twenty years after the battle, Malita’s daughter Sajani used the final part of her mother’s speech and the crossing of the swords while recruiting her crew of privateers. Given how well known the battle and her comments and actions are, it is unlikely that any of the 37 vykati that joined her that day was unaware of the reference.