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The Siege of Sophanem
Conflict
Al Kharidian-Menaphite War
Date
circa Year 42nd-Year 45th, Fifth Age
Place
Sophanem
Outcome
Pyrrhic Menaphite victory
Combatants
Sovereignty of Al Kharid

Western Mercenaries

The Menaphite Empire
Commanders
Mushir al-Afif

Kaymakam al-Gawdat Trevass Davaro

Pharaoh ?

Champion Pharzanses Champion's Hand Jek

Casualties
Kaymakam al-Gawdat

3/13 of all forces

Champion Pharzanses

2/11 of all forces

Previous
Battle of the Elidi Ridge
Next
Battle of Jaldraocht
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The Siege of Sophanem was a conflict that took place during the Al Kharidian-Menaphite War during the Fifth Age. The Siege, spanning several years, was arguably one of the most important events of the Al Kharidian-Menaphite War, the consequences and ramifications of the battle lasting for over a century. Its notoriety stems from the fact it took a heavy toll on the military strength of both factions.

The Siege of Sophanem has been referenced in Menaphitian literature numerous times, although the nature of which is prone to controversy and it remains a focal discussion. Critics claim that the cost of the victory was phenomenal to a point of humiliation, while others counter that the victory was hard fought and well deserved.

Factions

Al Kharid

The Al Kharidian forces consisted of an immense number of soldiers from within and around Al Kharid. These included infantry, archers and siege equipment. In the field, they were commanded by Mushir al-Afif and his co-commander, Kaymakam al-Gawdat.

Western Mercenaries

Enlisted to assist the Al Kharidian forces against the Menaphite Empire, these consisted of several thousand foreigners, generally from the Misthalin region, willing to be paid in exchange for their services. They were 'led' and directed, to an extent, by senior mercenary and warrior Trevass Davaro.

Menaphite Empire

The defenders of Sophanem, the Imperial Army of the Menaphite Empire, consisted of a fair number of troops that were positioned to defend the city. Initially it was a relatively small defending force before receiving reinforcements at a later point. Alongside the Pharaoh themself, the army's efforts was coordinated by the decorated Champion, Pharzanses, and his protégé, Jek.

Events

  • Al Kharid sends war ships to begin a blockade of Menaphitian ports in the immediate vicinity of Menaphos and Sophanem. Bar a few exceptions, most ships are unable to transport supplies into the twin cities.
  • Mushir al-Afif brings several thousand troops to initiate the siege around Sophanem, hoping to starve out the inhabitants and make them surrender.
  • Overwhelmed by the sheer force of the attackers, the defenders barely manage to keep the attackers out of Sophanem.
  • On the western side, closer to Menaphos, the besiegers continue to harass and demoralise the inhabitants by feigning retreats before re-emerging and attacking.
  • The Pharaoh, recognizing the crisis, calls for assistance from soldiers from concurrent engagements across the desert.
  • Menaphite Intelligence takes a heavy loss as spies are unable to report events from outside Sophanem.
  • Inspired by their apparent success, and confident in their secure victory, Kaymakam al-Gawdat arrives with additional soldiers to finalise the siege.
  • A push into the city is halted by civilians working alongside the Menaphite army.
  • Despite the blockade, the Menaphites are self-sufficient enough to last a while before starvation. Months go by, and little progress is made - the battle becomes a dreary stalemate.
  • The summer of the second year is particularly harsh and an agreement to cease hostilities is almost reached due to the sheer heat of the day.
  • Champion Pharzanses and Champion's Hand Jek's forces arrive from a previous battle, smuggled in by a treacherous Al Kharidian.
  • The presence of the decorated Pharzanses motivates the Menaphites to harden their resolve; morale is boosted.
  • Realising that the Menaphites are beginning to fight back hard, the Al Kharidians enlist the help of mercenaries, overseen by Trevass Davaro.
  • The addition of the mercenary fighters allow the siege equipment to break a portion of the wall in the north east; civilians in the immediate vicinity are slaughtered and the Champion's forces, in a brutal fight, manage to eliminate the Al Kharidians in the city and create a makeshift defence to prevent more coming in. The vulnerability in the wall continues to be further exploited with varying success.
  • The naval blockade of the Menaphite ports is broken. The tide turns in their favour.
  • Pharzanses leads a fatal counter-attack on the besiegers in an event known as 'the Night of a Thousand Cries'. While all the Menaphites in his counter-attack are killed, including the beloved Pharzanses, the tactic appears to work, as the Al Kharidians are left with significant casualties.
  • Trevass Davaro and his band of mercenaries lose faith in the leadership of al-Afif and lift their part of the siege.
  • Now the Champion by-default in a time of emergency, Jek coordinates the remainder of the besieged's forces. While they are saddened by the loss of their previous Champion, they remain optimistic that his sacrifice gave them a strong fighting chance and a clear strategic opening.
  • In a skirmish shortly after, a 'lucky' arrow to the abdomen renders Kaymakam al-Gawdat, al-Afif's right hand man, dead. The loss of al-Gawdat's charisma results in increased instability of the Al Kharidian forces.
  • Following in the steps of Davaro, his soldiers doubt his tactics, causing several to surrender, walk willingly to their deaths or resign in desperation.
  • Alongside the elite and veterans of the armies, Jek captures and routs the remaining Kharidians. The siege is lifted in its entirity.

Outcomes

  • Al Kharidians refuse to ransom their captured and they are either sold into slavery or executed.
  • Al Kharidians place political pressure on their leadership, concerned how the Menaphites retaliated from being close to defeat; Mushir al-Afif especially, who retreated from the siege, is met with ridicule and is publically disgraced.
  • Militaries weakened and unable to protect or regulate outlying settlements, marauding bandit tribes become increasingly problematic.
  • The Menaphites begin reconstruction of Sophanem; it will take years to rebuild all that was damaged.
  • Champion Jek is granted a significant monetary reward and eventually holds political power, guiding further events of the war. He founds House Jakkan but does not live to see the end of the war.
  • The Menaphite tactic becomes more aggressive; aware that they cannot afford another conflict so close to home, they intend for the fights to be further away from the capital.
  • Al Kharid places a bounty on Trevass Davaro for his 'betrayal' which is never claimed.
  • Both the Menaphites and Al Kharidians enforce the concept of conscription, taking young men to replace the fallen soldiers. Likewise a monetary incentive is improvised to encourage women to conceive.
  • The expenditure of the siege causes widespread poverty in districts of Sophanem.
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