The Siege of Thorn was a major conflict that occured during the course of the Accension War. It was fought between the Argonians of Argonia, aided by the Liilmothit of Caload and the Dunmer of Morrowind. The battle was a great success for the Argonians and resulted in the official support of Caload and the mass flock of Argonians to join the military and Naga Cult. At some point, Argonian reinforcements arrived and drove off the besieging Dunmer forces. Thorn being a major military bastion and trading center, it is highly likely that the Dunmer forces came well supplied, and with many siege engines, and equipment. After the battle Dres Ciloran was brought to trial, and a new commander was selected by the Dunmer Military Council.
After the glorious Argonian victory at Dorsza Pass, a morale boosting victory over the hated Dunmer of Morrowind, King Hlaalu Helseth declared war on Argonia and appointed Dres Ciloron as supreme commander of Dunmer forces. Ciloron quickly went on a recruiting drive in the House Dres lands to bolster the Dunmer armies weakened by the War of Seccession. With the Dunmer army rebuilt from the ground up, and supported by Ashlanders, Ciloron led a campaign into northern Argonia, also known as Black Marsh.
After a few minor raids on homesteads, and tiny villages, Ciloron decided that his forces were ready, and that a more visible sign of Dunmer military power was needed. Ciloron led his forces southward to attack the important Argonian city of Thorn, a military bastion and crucial trading center, that would provide the Dunmer with resources which could be used to prosecute the Northern Campaign more quickly and successfully. Catapults and a small siege force were sent ahead to besiege Thorn, while Ciloron and the bulk of his forces moved southward from their headquarters at Sotha Sil.
The Dunmer forces of Morrowind led by Duke Dres Ciloron of Tear, quickly moved into position around the city of Thorn as the seventy catapults and trebuchets that had been moved into position around the city several hours earlier, fired on the city in rapid succession. Under cover of the relentless bombardment, three towering siege towers were rolled slowly towards the city walls. Within the siege, towers were four floors reached by internal ladders, on which groups of Dunmer archers and javelinman knelt before arrow slits, bows, and javelins at the ready. On the top floor of each towering siege tower were thirty Dunmer warriors clad in leather and fur battle armor, and who were wielding maces, swords, and battle-axes.
Behind the siege towers, lines of infantry, including Ordinators and Buoyant Armigers, marched forward in formation carrying long ladders. Shortly after the initial catapult bombardment and probing attacks, the Argonian soldiers began to take cover behind the crevices and the Governor-General, Raven-Biter, quickly rushed reinforcements to bolster the defenders of the city's walls. Argonian archers answered the Dunmer attacks with arrows that turned the sky dark. Argonian soldiers primed catapults and ballistas mounted on the tower platforms that buttressed the walls. Even though more and more Dunmer soldiers were falling to the deadly hail of Argonian arrows, the Dunmer continued their assault on Thorn.
A heavy rain began, and soldiers on both sides lost their footing, siege engines became stuck in the quagmires of mud that had begun to form, and visibility was reduced to where the opposing soldiers could not see five feet in front of them, but the Dunmer continued to launch unceasing, and relentless attacks against the city.
As the Dunmer ladders reached the city walls, the Dunmer who had carried them began their slow ascent up the ladders. At this time however, Argonian reinforcements dispatched by Thoricles Romus, consisting of twelve thousand warriors and twenty thousand Liilmothit auxiliaries arrived under the command of Huleenapa, an Argonian general who had fought during the Oblivion Crisis, in the hills to the south of the city. After a few brief commands, the reinforcements were prepared for battle. All along the battle line, men moved into position, infantry jostling each other in order to move out of the way of the cavalry as the battle being waged at the city continued.
The command went up and the first cavalry of the Argonian elite charged their horses down the sloping hills. Within moments of the Argonian appearance, the horns blatted an alarm from the Dunmer camp that stretched along the plain between the city and the river. Dunmer cavalry, watching the battle from behind the lines, rushed to their horses, grabbing their weapons as the Dunmer advanced. The other siege towers had now reached the walls. Dunmer warriors spewed forth from the tops of the siege towers. Six ladders had also gone up against the wall, the Dunmer archers in the tower shooting at Argonians who were attempting to push the ladders down. More Dunmer warriors were climbing up through the siege towers to join their fellow warriors fighting fiercely on the ramparts, trying to push through the lines of the Argonians.
The Liilmothit were the first of Huleenapa's troops to reach the the Dunmer camp. Several catapults went still as the engineers who operated them were viciously cut down. The Liilmothiits' lightning raid and uncanny fighting skills were forcing the Dunmer to establish defensive lines. The wounded and sick Dunmer warriors were given no mercy as the battle crazed Liilmothit tossed flaming torches into the tents.
Huleenapa saw a line of Dunmer heavy cavalry approaching to the right, and with his men following him closely, launched himself into the fray. In the first seconds, the Argonian cavalry sheared through the tangle of mer and beast folk, but the cramped space soon became dangerous. The wet ground, covered with rocks and bodies, caused men and horses to slip and fall. Some Argonians were pulled from their horses and butchered by Dunmer warriors; others fell dying with a Dunmer arrow in his neck or were thrown from their saddles as stray blades slashed their horses.
By this time, two or more of the ladders had fallen and the catapults had quit firing. Thick smoke was rising from the Dunmer camp, but they had rallied and were pouring into the melee. Argonian soldiers were falling by the dozens.
Then the gates of Thorn opened, and the city's garrison was riding to their aid in the hundreds. Within moments, the battle turned. The Dunmer around Huleenapa, seeing the reinforcements pouring from the city, began to route. Their camp was in flames, their forces divided. Some men, locked in combat or too hemmed in to escape, fought to the death. Most fled, running to the river, where they swam to the other side, arrows from the Argonians who pursued them darting into the water around them.
After a siege that had lasted almost two weeks, with victory in sight, the Dunmer and their Ashlander allies were driven back across the river a weaker, smaller force, leaving a trail of dead and wounded behind them. As the fighting was ending and the last pockets of resistance were swiftly being dispatched, the Argonian forces celebrated their victory in Thorn.
After the Dunmer forces were harried across the Morrowind-Argonia border, Huleenapa announced the glorious victory to the Argonian populace through the use of the Black Horse Courier. Argonians swarmed to Lilmoth and the military headquarters, intent on joining up and defeating the Dunmer, who for so long had enslaved and defeated them. The Argonian military forces nearly tripled, and gained Argonia official support from the Liilmothit of Caload.
Dres Ciloran was recalled to Morrowind after his inglorious defeat and was put on trial for cowardice, and treason. King Hlaalu Helseth, during a speech to the Dunmer people, announced the defeat and vilified Dres Ciloran's part in the siege. The Dunmer Military Council, and the King Helseth then set about looking for a new general to be the commander of the southern campaign into Argonia.