A bloody conflict it would be, but not for the Moonlyte people. Along the treacherous winding paths, canyons and valleys of the Moonlyt Peaks, the Karthmere soldiers, unused to the climate, became tired, weary, and homesick. Many attempted to desert, and many succeeded; it was a better fate than what was to be destined for the rest of the soldiers. For the near 100,000 soldiers -- almost all of Thyllanor's standing army in the time period -- that started on the campaign to Highmountain Hall, only 60,000 were representing Thyllanor for what the present day calls Thyllanor's greatest military disaster; the Disaster at Dimlight Pass. Within a day or two, an army reported at over 50 thousand strong just a week ago all vanished into thin air.
It is now known that nearly all 60,000 men were buried by an avalanche on a thin, narrow path overlooking a 150 foot drop full of crags and sharp stalagmite-like growths, likely impaling several men who were first subject to the fall. Most of them fell to their deaths or suffocated under the massive embankment of snow, and with the amount of displacement required to discover the bodies, it was easy to see why they went undiscovered for all this time.
It had puzzled historians for nearly a thousand years as to what truly happened at the pass, and when they had vanished. No one had ever heard from the battalion again, and they became referred to as the Lost Lion Brigade, or simply the Lost Lions. King Callen himself was travelling with the army, but his body was never discovered; it seems to be that he has been reported as missing in action for nearly a thousand years. He was declared dead in absentia by the Thyllanorian government, finally acknowledging the events publicly for the first time, on January 30th, 189 AC, still to not know what happened until about 150 years later when the bodies would be discovered.
Needless to say, without a standing army, Thyllanor was forced to quickly surrender, with both sides completely unbeknownst as to what happened to 60,000 men, who all seemed to vanish. The Moonlytes were able to establish dominance in the region that Thyllanor had held de jure territory in, and new borders were drawn as a result of the failure; Thyllanor was pushed further east, coming closer to the borders that exist today. There was no good to come out of this war for the Thyllanorians; it did not serve as a wake-up call for them and they spent nearly a whole generation trying to regain the same amount of men to serve in the army. This disaster and the sudden disappearance of the whole army discouraged many young men to enlist for hundreds of years. Because of the nature of the failure, the disaster was not acknowledged by the Thyllanorian government for nearly 800 years. It is now almost universally agreed, Thyllanorian or not, that Callen's war truly was folly.
Discovery of the Lost Lion Brigade
As for the 60,000 men, in an expedition by Helman Stone II in early 340 AC, while hiking up the same Dimlight Pass that the men are now known to have died at, he decided to take a detour down to the gully below itself, after seeing something that caught his eye; the faint outline of a shield peeking out from freshly laid snow. Getting down there with as much haste as safely possible, he dug out the shield, only to find a frozen, still-fleshly hand gripping onto it tightly. Alarmed, he began digging up the body it belonged to, and discovered that it wore a Karthmere tabard that matched depictions of the Sixth Era Thyllanorian army.
Other men in his entourage reported finding other bodies in the same location, and soon, a large excavation was done of Dimlight Pass; along a 5 mile stretch, in a canyon roughly 50 feet wide, over 50,000 bodies were discovered, overlooked by everyone because of the very heavy snowfall and lack of a melting season in the region. Most of the bodies were discovered in a thick layer of permafrost, making it very hard to recover any bodies. Those that could be recovered, or even studied at the site, were reported as having haunted gazes and emotions etched into their face that were near a thousand years old. It was a dark reminder that the bodies were well-preserved in the extreme cold and having little exposure to the elements.
Despite widespread search, Callen's body was never found and not all men died on the pass. Some may have survived for up to a week after the disaster, but with no supplies readily on hand and quickly losing body heat, hunger and thirst, and no clear path to civilization, they likely died of starvation, dehydration or disease before anyone could get word out.
It was also determined, in a study by the Moonlytes who conducted the excavation, that if Callen had likely just spent a few days with scouts determining the best routes through the mountains, Dimlight Pass may not have happened; a better, more safer way that ran along the Westfarer Route (an ancient road built in collaboration by the Wetlanders, Thyllanorians, Moonlytes and Gardorians thousands of years ago) would have taken the army straight to Highmountain Hall, with not nearly as many logistical issues leading up to the disaster, though records recovered from the Moonlyt Peaks indicated that the Moonlytes expected this, knowing this was the only infrastructure in the region that could support such a large army, and had prepared an assault to hold the route.