By 1E 2820, General Bucco's fourth legion was utterly decimated. What few troops remained were completely unable to defend themselves. After a near mutiny almost saw Bucco ousted from his own command, he finally ordered his remaining soldiers to retreat and exit the Marsh's interior. His prevailing assumption was that if the legion left the swamp, the Argonians would not follow.
After a withering ten-day withdrawal, what was left of the legion rallied at the foot of an ancient Argonian pyramid known as "Xi-tsei." The force consisted of barely three-hundred-and-fifty swords by that point. Bucco hoped that after a brief respite in the shadow of the pyramid, his remaining forces could fall back to the relative safety of Cyrodiil. This wish went unfulfilled. On the night of Last Seed 14, 1E 2820, what remained of Bucco's proud Fourth Legion was annihilated.
The specifics of the Xi-tsei massacre are a matter of much debate in the historical community. While there is broad agreement that Bucco's remaining forces were destroyed by a massive Argonian war party, the evidence supporting such a conclusion is spotty at best. Archaeological excavations around the pyramid found hundreds of bodies and discarded weapons, but the remains of at least one-hundred legionnaires were never recovered. This, of course, begs the question: what happened to those soldiers? There is no evidence that they were able to make it back to Cyrodiil, which leads to the possibility that they were taken prisoner. But excavations around known war camps have found no evidence of legionnaire prisoners, either. This is just another in a series of mysterious disappearances that occurred during the conflict. Argonians may know more, but none have volunteered the information to any historians.
This crushing defeat in Black Marsh was the last embarrassment that the Imperial Council could stand. Other hostile forces looked to Black Marsh and became emboldened by the apparent weakness of the once-dreaded Legion. In response to this, the Council reconstituted the Fourth Legion under the command of General Regulus Sardecus and began the second campaign of the Blackwater War.
|The Blackwater War|
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