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Map Chain of Dogs 1

The Chain of Dogs march, part 1

"Each of the three forces outnumbered Coltaine's by a large margin."
―Duiker[src]

The Battle of Gelor Ridge was the third major battle during the Chain of Dogs. In the aftermath of the victory at Sekala Crossing, a captured Tithansi warleader revealed that Ubaryd had fallen and the Malaz 7th Army would receive no sanctuary there. This left Fist Coltaine with no other choice but to make for Aren, home of the Malazan High Command and a journey of over two hundred leagues and many months.[1]

Kamist Reloe sent his Tithansi raiders under a brilliant new commander to harry the Malazan train while his army prepared for Coltaine's arrival at Gelor Ridge.[2]

The BattlefieldEdit

Gelor Ridge was situated on the western side of a basin containing a dry lake bed through which the River P'atha ran. The lake bed was two thousand paces wide east to west, and four thousand paces long north to south. To the lake bed's north was a serrated ridge of bone white hills. To the lake bed's south was a "knotted jumble of arroyos, basoliths, screes and jagged outcroppings" as well as a pinnacle upon which the Gnet Monastery perched. The P'atha passed from north to south through the lake bed and was little more than ankle-deep and a dozen paces across. The east-west trader road crossed the river before proceeding west up the side of Gelor Ridge.

Reloe's sappers modified the gentle rise of the ridge so that it could only be scaled by use of a ramp of sandy earth which had high banks above it on both sides. On either side of the ramp's base, the ridge was carved away to create steep cliffs along the lake bed's edge. The battlefield had been designed to trap and channel Coltaine's forces into a predictable movement.[3]

Opposing ForcesEdit

MalazanEdit

Coltaine's army was arrayed like a spear pointing at the top of Gelor Ridge. At the spear's head was a wedge of 7th Army marines with Crow Clan riders on either side serving as the spear's barbs. Behind the spear's point were five thousand Foolish Dog Clan riders now mounted and armed as Heavy cavalry. These were followed by a ring of 7th Army infantry soldiers surrounding the wagons of wounded. At the army's tail were the loyal Hissar Guard and the 7th Army's cavalry.[4] Unknown to the army of the Apocalypse, Coltaine's sappers had already slipped through the lines and buried themselves within the ramp's banks.[5]

The army's fifty thousand refugees and herds of cattle were left behind to the southeast on a flat shelf of land known as the Shallows. They were guarded by the horse-warriors of the Weasel Clan, who had turned vicious and filed their teeth after their losses at Sekala.[6]

WhirlwindEdit

Kamist Reloe's army of 4 tribes and 6 city legions was broken into three groups, each much larger than Coltaine's entire force. Atop the ramp awaited the first group, Kamist and his legions of elite Semk and Guran Heavy infantry. On either side of the ramp's exit were positioned Can'eld archers.[7]

The second group formed in the northern portion of the dry lake bed.[8] It was made up of at least 3 Ubari legions as well as Sialk and Tepasi cavalry.[9]

The third group formed in the southern portion of the dry lake bed. It was made up of Tithansi archers, Debrahl cavalry, legions of Halafan infantry, and Sialk heavy infantry, among others.[10]

Unbeknownst to the Malazans, a fourth force of Tithansi cavalry led by the Semk godling lurked behind the Malazan lines.[11]

The BattleEdit

Coltaine surprised his enemy by marching directly into the trap and up the ramp towards Reloe's forces. While the marines punched into Reloe's elite infantry, Bult led the Crow Clan riders against the Can'eld archers. The warlocks Nil and Nether then performed a ritual on the horses of the Foolish Dog which allowed them to charge uphill at the same time the sappers revealed themselves. The marines split their formation to allow the Wickan heavy infantry and the munitions-bearing sappers to shatter Reloe's elite. The horsemen chased down the fleeing foot soldiers cutting them down on the run.[12]

On the dry lake bed below, Reloe's other two army groups recovered from the speed of the Malazan attack in time to strike the ring of 7th Army infantry. The infantry bent under the pressure of the Ubari legions, and the wagons rolled southward while the Hissar Guard died by the score under attacks from the Tepasi and Sialk cavalry. Coltaine ordered a recall of his heavy cavalry to support the troops in the basin when a large mounted force appeared from the east. It was the Weasel Clan and their Wickan cattle-dogs. The Tepasi and Sialk cavalry of the northern army group were caught completely unaware and quickly destroyed. Then the Weasel Clan turned on the Ubari infantry. Meanwhile, the Foolish Dog heavy infantry charged down the ramp into the southern army group. Soon both Whirlwind army groups broke and ran with Wickan horse-warriors in pursuit.[13]

AftermathEdit

"The count of losses was a numbing litany to war's futility."
―Duiker[src]

At battle's end it was discovered that the Semk godling and his Tithansi lancers had descended upon the Weasel Clan and the refugees earlier in the day. Although outnumbered four to one, the Wickans had prepared a trap of their own. Earth spirits ambushed the godling, tearing him to pieces, while the Wickans baited the lancers with the refugees. In the end, hundreds of refugees were killed or wounded, but the Tithansi were defeated. Between the losses at this battle and the larger one at Gelor Ridge the Tithan tribe ceased to exist.[14]

Notes and referencesEdit

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