David Gemmell Wiki
David Gemmell Wiki

The Battle of Skeln Pass is a battle between between forces of the Drenai Republic and the Ventrian Empire in 1211.

The Drenai forces were led by a young Delnar - the Earl of Bronze whose daughter marries Regnak in Legend - and the Ventrians were led by Druss' old friends the Emperor Gorben and his General Bodasen


Since Druss had left Gorben's service, the emperor and his armies had marched across the continent installing vassal kings in some nations and conquering others with The Immortals creating a legend of their own as they had never been defeated.

Eventually, Gorben set his sights on the Drenai lands. The leaders of the Drenai expected the attack to come elsewhere and left only a token force to hold the pass under Delnar

Druss receives a request to visit the Skeln camp to raise morale and share some battle tips with the men, he is reluctant but his wife, Rowena, insists. He and Sieben set off, but the Sagamaster's appearance is far from welcome as Delnar harbors some serious ill will towards the man - Sieben, true to his usual form, had fooled around with Delnar's former wife.

The Battle[]

Shortly after Druss arrives, a messenger reaches the camp stating the Ventrians have been sighted closer to Drenan and the majority of the 2000 or so men ride away towards the capital. A small force remains behind and are soon faced with almost the full Ventrian army, including The Immortals, as Gorben had tricked the Drenai.

The battles ensues and Druss joins the fray, fighting in the front line. The pass itself is a bottleneck so a smaller force could hold a larger at bay for a time. Despite facing scythe chariots, the Drenai held their ground using some clever tactics and inspired by the presence of Druss. 

The Drenai even manage a night attack in which they attempt to kill Gorben, they do not achieve that goal, but Druss manages to kill Bodasen - the general of The Immortals and one of Druss' old friends.

The Immortals are sent in and the Drenai drive them back, inflicting the first ever defeat on Gorben's elite troops. They attack again seeking revenge and eventually start to gain ground, even the indomitable Druss is forced to gradually step back to find room to swing Snaga. Soon, the defenders are fighting in ever-shrinking rings surrounded by Immortals and here the ill Sieben makes a last stand receiving the wound that leads to his death shortly after. 

However, in their haste to erase the ignominy of their earlier defeat, The Immortals block the pass to the rest of the army as they set about eradicating the Drenai defenders, much to Gorben's frustration. 

Druss is knocked out and receives a lot of wounds, when he comes to, he is lying in a tent - the Drenai army had arrived and routed the Ventrians, just-in-time, and during their retreat to the ships Gorben is murdered by his own troops.

At the same time as the battle, Druss' wife - Rowena - dies in Skoda as her weak heart finally gives out, something she had foreseen and the reason she had sent her husband away.