The once proud and mighty warriors staggered through the
unfamiliar land, bloody and beaten, but not yet defeated.
Just over 130 warriors of the original landing party now
remained, all of them carrying wounds of one sort or another.
They barely managed to keep ahead of the following horde that
had chased them for two days and two nights, ever since the
battle at Bajhin. Cut off from their ships by the surprise
arrival of a large force of soldiers from a neighboring city,
Clan Chieftain Lashki and what was left of his followers had
been driven inland by the larger army.
The relentless pursuit, the countless small battles and
numerous skirmishes over the past two days had left Lashki and
his warriors depleted and exhausted. Many of his comrades had
already died and not a few more were near death's doorway by
the morning of the third day. Without food or water, save for
what they could scavenge during their flight, the men were all
close to the end of their rope. They had tried to swing back
toward the safety of the coast several times, where their
ships could hopefully pick them up, but were always driven
back inland by the pursing soldiers, almost as if the army at
their heels was herding them toward a specific goal.
Lashki and his clan of warriors from the Northern Islands
had been raiding up and down this section of coast near Bajhin
for a number of years and had never before come up against any
structured resistance. This time, however, their progress down
the coast must have been watched from recently established
lookout positions and warnings had gone out ahead of their
ships, allowing the local army to be ready for their landing.
Surprised and outnumbered on the open plain after nearly
three hours of siege fighting outside the walls of Bajhin and
cut off from the sea by the unexpected arrival of enemy
forces, Lashki had no choice but to retreat into the thick,
surrounding forest, where he had hoped to lose his pursuers.
The leader of the local army, however, knowing the reputation
of his opponent, had orders to bring back the head of Lashki,
no matter how long it took. Nearly 100 of Lashki's forces had
already been killed or captured during the battle and retreat
from Bajhin, with even more falling during the past two days
of forced march and the pursuit would continue until all of
the invaders were captured, or preferably killed.
On the afternoon of the third day of pursuit, Lashki and
his band entered a wide valley. Mountains began to rise on
either side of them as they were driven forward and they all
knew that somewhere within this valleywas where they would
make their final stand.
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