The Battle of Tarros

26/4/3004
Tarros


Much has happened in the past week. Loven and Calliers both captured a town each. We need not be concerned about supplies for the time being. There have been several skirmishes between my men and the rebels. None lasted long and the casualties have been in single digits on either side. In order to fortify our camp I ordered my men to dig trenches and plant stakes around the base of the hill. Yesterday I received information from spies in the city that the rebels are planning to attack us. The scouts I ordered to run around the city were successful in distracting their patrollers and keeping them away from our camp. Loven devised a cunning and simple rope based mechanism by which the stakes can be kept lowered and out of sight and raised up when required.

Five hundred of my cavalry under Calliers are hiding in a thicket to the west. The horses were taken there in ones and twos and the men deprated tonight, their armour and weapons wrapped in cloth to prevent any glint in the moonlight.

Today, as my informers had told me, the rebels attacked. There were around five thousand of them, three thousand peasants and two thousand from the garrison, half of which were cavalry. The rebels had a numerical advantage but I had the advantage of terrain, better equipment, trained men and the hidden field fortifications. Yet I was very apprehensive because a defeat here would undermine my position as king of Escaria.

I lined up my archers behind the trenches which were covered with grass and the stakes. Loven and Warton commanded the cavalry at either flank, ready to ride out and strike when the need arises. The infantry stood some distance behind the archers.

The first attack consisted of only peasants. They were clad in mismatched armour of poor leather and wielded spears, axes and rusty swords. As they charged us in their disorderly fashion, howling their crude war cries, I felt nothing but contempt for them. I gave the order to fire as soon as they came with range. The first volley itself proved devastating, killing scores of men at the front ranks. Their confidence plummeted. The charge faltered. The men at front hesitated to advance, the still bodies of their comrades told of what awaited them. The next volley wreaked utter panic in their ranks. The men at front tried to run back while the men in the rear, having not yet witnessed the carnage at front, pushed them ahead. I ordered my archers to fire continuously. The constant rain of arrows was more than they could bear. They fled, leaving behind them over five hundred dead.

The commanders of the city garrison ran around, desperately trying to regroup the peasants with threats and force. The next charge consisted of the remaining peasants advancing in the same fashion. Their morale was significantly low. I ordered my archers to again rain arrows on them, causing panic among them. But this time the wrath of the garrison behind them deterred them from fleeing. They advanced unwillingly and without any cohesion. Loven and his light cavalry rode out to strike at the enemy's right. Faced by this sudden attack on their flank, the peasants were stunned. Loven did superbly well, striking and withdrawing swiftly before they could strike back. A group of peasants broke away from the ranks and pursued him. They were surrounded and slaughtered by the cavalry. Loven charged and withdrew again and again. The combined assault of arrows and the cavalry was devastating. The rabble scampered.

Now only the city garrison remained. Their cavalry, numbering around a thousand, charged. I had the archers pull back and ordered the infantry to form up behind the trenches in five ranks. As the enemy neared, their lances held ready, I signalled for the men to raise the stakes. The men pulled at the ropes that had been attached to the stakes and slipped in the wooden supports that would hold them in place. A wall of sharpened trunks rose up in front of the horses and spread panic among them. The riders desperately tried to evade the stakes but fear had made the horses disobedient. Many flung their riders off their backs, others rode straight into the stakes and were gored to death or fell into the trenches. The surviving cavalry beat a hasty retreat. Loven immediately set out in pursuit of the fleeing cavalry.

It was time to press the attack. I ordered the infantry forward. They marched in tight formation, spears levelled and shields raised. I rode with a hundred men to the infantry's left to prevent any flanking manouevre the rebels might attempt. I could see Lahk standing with the infantry, clad in expensive scale mail, clearly pillaged from the palace. He had no option but to commit his reserves. But these were all peasants and could not contribute much to their cause except increasing their numbers.

A line of skirmishers and archers ran ahead and began to fire at the infantry but owing to their heavy armour and tight formation not much damage was done. With Loven still engaged with the cavalry, I had to order Warton to ride out and attack them. The archers saw the approaching riders and began firing at them. Warton's men suffered some losses but the charge did not falter. His men cleaved into the skirmish line, scattering the men. The main body of their infantry advanced and Warton rode away to avoid contact with them. They had put the peasants in the front as arrow fodder while the city troops brought up the rear. Lahk stood some distance away with a detachment of the city garrison. Both armies loosened their formations and charged. The impact was deafening and men on both sides were swept off their feet. The peasants had the worst of it and my infatry was slowly pushing the rebels backwards, gaining ground steadily.

The odds were turning in our favour. I raised the flag that was the signal for Calliers to ride out with his men.

Their morale was crumbling. With the sudden approach of hundreds of mailclad cavalrymen from the rear all semblance of discipline vanished. The men broke formation and scattered but we had them surrounded. Calliers charged the rear and pinned the city troops. The infatry slaughtered those at front while Warton harried the left with his pincer attacks. I saw Lahk fleeing with his men and broke away from the battle in pursuit. Loven appeared in the nick of time and we surrounded Lahk and his men. Lahk immediately surrendered. I told Loven to handle the prisoners and rode back to the battle site. The battle was almost over. With their leader gone and no hope of victory left, the men dropped their arms and surrendered. We rounded up all the men and took them for prisoners.

It was some hours past noon when we rode into the city with the prisoners trailing behind us. There was some resistance in the city but it was disorganised and posed no threat to us. We secured the palace within the hour. In the dungeons we discovered that the Duke and his family had been beheaded days ago. The rebels called themselves brave warriors against injustice when in fact they were nothing but greedy opportunists who were bent upon creating chaos. I sent out men to round up all rebels and throw them in the dungeons. By the Grace of Mithros I emerged victorious once again over great odds. I have decided to appoint Astin Weller, one of the few noblemen of this region whose estates were not destroyed by the rebels as the Duke of the Province. He is a capable man with years of experience behind him and enjoys a certain amount of popularity among the people. Tomorrow I will decide what to do with Lahk and his minions.

2 comments:

As I said, I think you did a much better job of the detailing this time.
Maybe you should try writing when you are half asleep and being yelled at more often. :P

October 21, 2008 at 9:55 PM  

that was badly phrased. :|

October 21, 2008 at 9:57 PM  

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