Translator, Editor and Proofread: theunfetteredsalmon
The Nanar brigade was in a large camp based along the shore, and north of it was Syah city. Several strategic bases had been built on the border. The frontline was relatively open. It was impossible to have a supreme mage scan such a large distance at all times, so it was not difficult to find a weakness.
To the south of the Charcoal Forest, near the newly-emerging fertile land, was a barren hill not far from the desert. After the floods, the environment around that area changed drastically. Now, it was inhabited by many wild beasts, big and small. Amon and Metatro recently passed by that area.
In a large grassy clearing amongst the trees were a bunch of horsemen, riding back and forth and hunting!
Not far away at the foot of the mountain was a large and magnificent tent that stood quietly. There were guards surrounding the tent. From the looks of the armour from afar, it was clear enough that the guards were the personal bodyguards of an important man, not an ordinary soldier. Few people had such a size of guards.
It was amazing that there were people setting up tents and hunting carefreely behind the frontline, even at such a pivotal moment of the war. Even the Head of any legion or brigade wouldn’t have such audacity. Idu wanted to hover closer to investigate, but Amon stopped him. “No, we cannot go any further. Chances are there is a supreme mage there. He may be on guard at all times.”
Idu frowned. He said, “The Crystal Shuttle received a wave of induction. Someone must be sweeping the sky with detection magic. Although it’s far away, it is definitely a supreme mage. We are now deep behind enemy lines. Exposure would prove very troublesome. We can’t get any closer.”
The faint ‘cloud’ in the sky then drifted away with the wind. Amon murmured, “Who would be hunting and cavorting with nature at such a time with the guard of a supreme mage?” Both Amon and Idu looked at each, but Amon was already aware of it. Idu remained relatively quiet.
Amon’s face turned grave. He said, “Let us return. I have a plan that we should discuss in detail. Although it is risky, it’s certainly a step up from serving the legion to the Hittites on a silver platter. It’s just a matter of whether you agree with me or not…”
At dusk, the two Lords returned to the camp of the An-Ra legion into the main tent, where the two men spent the night. The next day, the Nanar brigade saw that their efforts were about to be rewarded. Their scouts reported that some of the An-Ra legion was moving from the coastline, beelining for the desert towards the east, which was exactly the commanders’ prediction.
The An-Ra legion up and left early in the morning. There were about 1,500 troops led by the flag of the Head of the legion. The troops all looked elite. However, the rest of the legion still remained in the camp.
The Head of the Nanar brigade, Orbene, summoned his generals and commanders to determine the purpose of Amon’s march. The Chief Mage, Vyven, said, “The enemy shows caution. They must have sent the elite troops to clear the route ahead of them so that the heavy troops and supplies can follow. In this way, we can harass and retreat as necessary. We can set up blockades too. Amon, the Head of the legion, is in the front.”
Orbene added, “Lord Golier specifically reminded that although the An-Ra legion is not outstanding by any measure, the Head of the legion, Amon, is someone who is most familiar with the terrain around us, more so than any of our commanders.”
“So what?” Vyven smiled coldly. “It’s a battle between two nations, not his own adventure! The legion is walking to their death. We saw the Pharoah’s orders from the messengers we intercepted. Amon is just carrying them out. He has no other way to go. Dear Head of the brigade, when do you reckon is appropriate for us to attack?”
Orbene replied, “The order I received was very simple. That miscellaneous legion can be ignored if they did not move. If they chose to do otherwise, they would advance along the coastline to cut off our backup supplies and attack us from the rear. Go and mobilise to attack and monitor the movements of the enemy. Should the rest of the legion pull out, they must definitely be launching an attack.”
Vyven cautioned Orbene, “We have to attack their follow-up forces. We should be careful about getting flanked.”
“How strong could a miscellaneous army be?” Orbene asked. “If the vanguard is forced to withdraw, my goal would be achieved and the An-Ra legion will go nowhere. Are they not walking into the lions’ den? Such a move would only let us eat them as we want to.”
The Nanar brigade was mobilised and ready, but despite a whole day’s waiting, Amon’s vanguard troops did not stop moving while the rest of the legion remained motionless. The men in the brigade were already weary with anxiety. Orbene and Vyven found themselves constantly wondering what Amon was up to. Is the Head of the legion truly going to attempt a rescue of the Pharoah with nothing but 1,500 troops?
If Amon was really doing that, the quality of his military command would be as efficient as an idiot’s, but anything could happen in such a world. It was rumoured that the Head of the legion was an ordinary warrior with no prior experience and had never led a soldier into battle. The situation of the battlefield must adapt to changes. Orbene decided to wait longer for Amon and his vanguard to move further. He could take his troops to cover the back of the main army directly.
The soldiers had been nervous the entire day. Orbene ordered them to take a break and unload their equipment until the next morning. Suddenly, reports began flooding in simultaneously. Amon, who was slow to reveal his intentions, suddenly changed the direction of the vanguard and turned north. The 1,500 troops were looking to be marching straight towards the entirety of the Nanar brigade!
It was a very strange tactic that was highly unconventional, beyond anyone’s expectations.
Amon’s vanguard had cavalry and chariots, with long spears and lightly-armoured archers on the chariots. They were carrying only three days’ worth of grain and drinking water, so their mobility was high. During the day, they marched slowly to conserve energy against the blazing heat of the desert, but in the cool night, they suddenly turned and rushed northward, soon reaching the two strategic fortresses established between the somewhat scattered Nanar brigade.
Half of the brigade’s main force was concentrated in the coastal battalion, preparing to attack. The remaining forces were lined up along the border, relying on fortifications for defensive vigilance. As such, their forces were dispersed. Although defensive warfare provides a lot of advantage, Amon reduced his 1,500 elites to direct a focused attack. There were only three hundred regular defenders in the two fortresses.
Although they were under close surveillance, the vanguard changed its direction too suddenly in a forced march. Amon had no intention of capturing the fortresses. They wanted to break through the defensive line and march towards the rear of the city of Syah. The defenders fought hard but failed to repel Amon.
Amon’s chariot rushed forward between two wings, leading his own cavalry in a wedge formation. As they approached the line of defence, the Ejyptian archers unleashed volleys of arrows under the shields of the spearmen. They rushed forward with the cover of constant missile fire. On such a small battlefield, the missiles inserted into the ground like a porcupine’s spines in a sponge.
The Guard under Metatro’s command then charged on horseback with all their heavy steeds and swords. The fifteen hundred cavalrymen and chariots moved at full speed accompanied by the insistent arrow, javelin and stone fire. After losing only a few dozen horsemen, they defeated the garrisons, who fled back into the fortresses. The Hittites had almost two hundred casualties.
In the first battle of the An-Ra legion, Amon had achieved victory!
This victory was too important for the soldiers of the An-Ra, who had never fought a real battle before and were always under the impression that the miscellaneous An-Ra legion was one with no combat effectiveness. With Amon’s rectification of the legion, their first battle was a great victory with minimal losses. Confidence and morale were soaring through the roof, while the same could not be said for the enemy. This battle was going to be contemplated by leaders and commanders alike, pinpointing what had gone wrong.
However, if such a tactic was seen from the perspective of the war, it was utterly foolish! Utilising the most mobile units to charge at full speed to break through a line of defence despite the superiority of the strength and combat effectiveness of their enemies was a tactic that was used only in times of desperate measure and escape. Even if Amon wanted to escape, he ran in the wrong direction, fleeing into the territory of the Kingdom of Hittite!
How could there be such a stupid commander under the glorious sun? Although the opposition was caught with their pants down, as long as their forces were gathered in the right place, Amon’s vanguard could be chopped into mince.
Despite all that, the Head of the Nanar brigade, Orbene, was shocked and horrified on receiving the urgent report. According to normal operational command, all he had to do was order the line of defence to encroach on the enemy vanguard to cut off the road behind them. Then, it would be possible to flank and attack the vanguard from both wings or harass and skirmish with them until they were exhausted. However, Orbene did not have the guts to make such an order. Instead, he ordered the army of the two wings of the defence line to retreat, insisting on intercepting Amon head-on.
At the same time, the main force of the Nanar brigade, which had just rested, was dispatched. The light cavalry was in front of the force while the chariots followed close behind. The heavy riders and infantry phalanxes were left behind in an effort to reengage Amon at the fastest speed possible. The reason for doing this was very simple. If Amon went too deep behind the lines he was dead, but he could not encounter King Lucier, no matter the cost.
The thought of his failure causing disturbance to the King made him lose his appetite and gave him insomnia. He had already promised the King that it was absolutely safe and that their army was now awaiting nothing but victory.
On the contrary, Vyven consoled him by saying, “His Majesty’s camp is far from the defensive line. The movement speed of the An-Ra vanguard is not fast enough. Even warhorses and cavalrymen have to rest. Not to mention, we have an interception on the way, which will most certainly reach them before they can even lay eyes on His Majesty the King. Since they clearly want to die, is this not ideal? Once this vanguard unit is tidied up, we can turn our attention to the rest of the legion by the coast. All the credit for this will be ours, and it will happen right in front of the King!”
Unfortunately for them, Amon’s march exceeded their expectations. It was simply stunning. It was late into the night, just a dozen miles past the initial defence line when he ordered his soldiers to rest and the other horsemen to care for the horses. At night, it was not conducive to march. Amon also ordered all the troops to rest in darkness; no torches or sources of light was allowed.
Meanwhile, the remnants of the defence line gathered and rushed ahead to intercept the vanguard. Amon’s sudden halt was tantamount to a spit in the face to them. When the sky was twilight, the Hittites realised that Amon had not moved forward at all, so they regathered to advance and engage Amon. The main interception force of the Nanar brigade was arriving as well.
Then, Amon issued another order for his troops to board the chariots and mount the horses to gallop at full speed, but the destination was southwest, where the An-Ra legion camp was. They had only been out for a day and night but they withdrew with lightning speed! This battle had a barrage of surprises.
Escaping was no easy task. On the way back, the vanguard happened to encounter the wing of the primary Nanar interception forces. Fortunately, they did not meet the reinforcing Nanar army head-on as their initial direction was to intercept the perceived path of the vanguard party. On the way, they received news that Amon had retreated, forcing them to turn to the side and readjust their pathing. The fastest enemy forces happened to meet them diagonally.
This was a hard battle. The An-Ra vanguard rushed to the front and assaulted both wings of the Nanar troops. When both sides clashed, the direction of the battlefield turned upside down. At the critical moment, the Guard under Metatro moved to the forefront. The commander, in this case, was not Metatro but Hardedef, with a shield in one hand and a long axe in the other.
Hardedef seemed to be in a state of insanity. He swung his axe crazily, creating a trace of swirling silver light. Under the protection of the armoured guards, he rushed into the centre of the enemy line with ferocity. He showed nothing but strength, no less than that of a supreme warrior. The captain of the Nanar cavalry was caught off guard by Hardedef’s rashness, and within a few seconds, he was cut down.
Amon was also missing from the Head’s chariot. Idu the supreme mage was in command of the battle. A team of twenty mages, escorted by chariot soldiers, were also on the battlefield. They cast magic and chanted and sang, imbuing the Ejyptian soldiers with power and making them forget the feeling of pain, awakening the conviction of victory and emboldening their energy.
The soldiers of the vanguard had adequate rest from the night and high morale from winning the previous battle. The Nanar troops were made up of only light cavalry of around 600 in numbers. Although the battle was tough, the An-Ra vanguard routed the light cavalry but had to abandon their spoils. They continued moving at full speed towards the rest of the legion.
This was not a passive escape, but in accordance with the original plan, the two consecutive victories made the soldiers very confident. Cooperation between the soldiers and their commanders were now smoother than ever. The chariots were at the back of the line during the rapid retreat. The spearmen held their long shields at the rear of the chariots for defence. Archers continued using the cover of the shields to fire volley after volley of arrows.
theunfetteredsalmon: I’ll be busy packing, moving and attending graduations for the next week or two. It is highly likely that I will be unable to produce any chapters for next weekend. If there are any, they will be posted, but otherwise, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Thank you for reading! You’re one of my only sources of motivation for translating, no matter how difficult it is.
Silavin: I actually posted two for the last two weeks to maintain at least some form of consistency… my friend here has been busy.