The forests were uneasy and it called the attention of the northern alliance’s scouts. The kingdoms of Tassiar and Tersan, in union with the queendom of Bolsor, amassed thirty thousand warriors to defend their lands from the encroaching Thothlin Empire. For Fuir and the city-state Svitar were taken over by a force of fifty thousand Thoths. Svitar was an important trading center on the northern trade route and the incursion stopped the flow of goods like dried beef, salted pork and exotic fruits from places like the queendom of Vindar and kingdom of Doriddle. The Thoth’s naval blockade proved effective against their enemies. The ancient republic of Tan’tí’drí was overcome by the Thoths one hundred and fifty years earlier by a beach invasion of twenty thousand warriors under the control of the then emperor Volk Jokamen Grekor VI and stopped the main trade route for some time before Vindar and Doriddle picked up the task.
The north road was infested with Thoth patrols and warriors who made their new residence to lay siege to Tersan and Tassiar as soon as they could. Fifty-thousand Thoths split into two forces to lay siege to both kingdoms in unison. The Naldic League denied envoy’s requests to join the northern alliance. The alliance proceeded to attack the Thoths at the besieged kingdom of Tassiar. Though the Thoths deployed siege weapons, such as trebuchets, ballistae, and siege towers, the force of seven thousand warriors repelled the consecutive attacks of the Thoths for two days before the alliance’s reinforcements arrived. Twenty thousand warriors, men and women, were about to fall upon the ranks of the mighty Thothlin Empire.
“General Tagan, take your legions and attack from the west. I will take the cavalry and attack from the north. General Bolkan, take your legions and attack from the west behind Tagan, when you see a flaming arrow, Bolkan, come to my aid,” the queen of Bolsor, Hilde, commanded.
“Yes, my queen,” they both answered. The forces split off and Bolkon and Tagan led the warriors into the forest to the west to avoid Thoth lookouts. The cavalry of five hundred horsemen and women came to the edge of the Thoth lines within three hundred cubits and waited. The Thoth commander, Garton, saw this and sent two thousand warriors to engage his enemy. The cavalry simply pulled back slowly in a tactical retreat and lured the Thoths further away from their main lines. Within half an hour Tagan and Bolkan had placed their legions into position to attack from the west. Garton commanded five thousand more of his men to turn around and attack the warriors coming in from the west.
Tersan was too busy with defending their own siege to send any warriors to the aid of Tassiar. Bolsor’s was the only force they had hoped could alter the balance. Catapults were turned around and they launched flaming balls of oil-soaked twine toward Bolkan and Tagan’s forces. Tagan led his two legions into battle at a steady pace so as to not tire out his warriors. They formed a cregtar formation where they held their shields above their heads to block the catapulted missiles. There were three hundred archers behind the lines of the first legion of Bolsorians and they notched their arrows and launched them toward the oncoming Thoths who had quickly adapted and formed a cregtar formation as well. The warriors of both sides soon met and a bloody battle ensued where spears from the Bolsorian’s side were hurled at the Thoths and some went in between their shields and pierced their torsos and faces. Those that were hit fell backward and were trampled by the advancing Thoths from their rear. Within thirty minutes a total of two thousand men were killed and the legions of Bolsor were winning. Bolkan was still in the rear waiting to see battle when he saw the flaming arrow. He rallied his men to move to the north and came up behind the two-thousand Thoths that were lured away by queen Hilde. The ten thousand warriors engaged the Thoths and the Thoths gave them their full attention as they saw the queen’s riders go off into the distance at full speed. The queen circled around and commanded her cavalry to split in two and attack from the east and north-east in wedge formations and engaged their enemy. The force of two thousand Thoths were quickly overwhelmed and every surviving warrior that surrendered was summarily killed. The skirmish was won and they turned their full attention to attack the Thoths from the north. Tagan’s legions were preparing for victory when Garton halted the siege and turned the remainder of his men, some eighteen thousand warriors, around and attacked Tagan head on.
The queen and Bolkan came from the north and attacked the Thoth lines from their side, who had formed a force of just two thousand to face the oncoming combined force. Two hours passed and five thousand of Tagan’s men, nearly a whole legion, were killed and ten thousand of Garfon’s men were also dead. The battle kept up and soon the Thoth’s numbers dwindled to just five thousand warriors. The forces of Tassiar saw this as their moment to attack and their walls emptied and their cavalry of one thousand riders attacked the Thoths from the rear. Within an hour the remaining Thoths retreated to the south totaling just one thousand out of twenty-five thousand men. The Thoths sent riders to Tersan asking for reinforcements that had not reached them yet and the queen’s cavalry kept up pursuit of the fleeing Thoths for another thirty minutes before breaking off and returning to the main battlefield. Only a handful of Thoths escaped. They now had to go to Tersan to help lift the siege. The entire force of Tassiar had emptied except a few hundred archers and regathered their force outside of the main gates.
Queen Hilde gathered her forces and led the army toward Tersan. They had to go all the way around the mountains nearby and it took them a day’s travel. They were a force of nearly twenty thousand battle hardened men and women. The entire army was one fifth women. When they reached the outskirts of the kingdom of Tersan they saw siege weapons in use and the first wall gave way. The Thoths poured in. The queen stopped her legions half a league out and looked down from a large hill. Screams from the citizens of Tersan could be heard on the wind. Hilde raised her sword and turned her horse to face her warriors.
“We have won a great victory! Now we must fight! Now we must drive the Thoths back to drog and reclaim the lands of the alliance! Come to battle with me and claim your rightful place among the gods! What do you say? What do you say?” Hilde raised her sword again and everyone raised their swords. “Fight now!”
The warriors began marching forward and when they were three hundred cubits out, they started charging. The Thoths that were left outside of the fortress turned around and charged the oncoming warriors. They came up upon the rear siege weapons and overwhelmed the men manning them. The warriors of the alliance directed the weapons toward the rear lines of the Thoths and launched trebuchets and ballistae at the approaching army to reduce their morale with devastating effect.
Much of the alliance’s force crashed into the Thoth’s rear lines and overwhelmed them within two hours. The Tassiar cavalry, joined with Bolsor’s, galloped at full speed to flank the Thoths and went through their ranks going a quarter way through their side, pinching their lines, trapped them against the walls of Tersan. The arrows of the Bolsorian archers rained down their arrows into the Thoth lines, and they kept releasing shafts that were annihilating their enemies.
The Thoths that were inside of the fortress walls were still fighting the Tersans while being defeated on the outside. The Thoths were caught in a rough situation and soon enough had their force destroyed. Most of the Thothlin Empire’s armies were made up of conscripts from conquered lands. Another hour passed and the entire Thoth army was destroyed. Those that surrendered were taken as prisoners of war.
Hilde rode up to her generals and spoke to them, “Generals, I believe now we need to liberate Svitar and get our trade route reopened.”
“Your word, my hands, Majesty,” Bolkon said.
“A need indeed,” Tagan said.
Hilde had met with Balko, the king of Tersan, and told him that he does not need to join them on their campaign since he said he needed to repair his fortress and reestablish patrols on the north road. The king of Tassiar, Eter, said he would join them and leave a small force of five hundred of his own to guard Svitar from any further incursions. It had been a month since he had an orange from the southern end of Talsard and he was eager to get things in order once again.
Hilde took her cavalry to the front of the column heading east along the road heading to Svitar. She looked over at her daughter, Rarta, who was at her side.
“You did well today. I saw you slay at least five Thoths. How does it feel?”
“Fighting for my people is my duty. I feel like I could have done more.”
“You will, my daughter. You will.”
“When we retake Svitar where will we go?”
“I’ll establish patrols to monitor Thoth activity along the north road and we may even amass a fresh army to attack Thothlin.”
“May? Is it not our duty?”
“We would need to gather a considerable force to even think about attacking them. I have a task for you. You need to scout the Thoth numbers. Take fifty riders and go to the north road and report back to me.”
“Daughter, take heed. You may be trapped on the road. If you are, get out at all costs and come home.”
“I’ll be back, Mother.”
“Don’t underestimate the Thoth’s tactics. Go.”
Rarta rode to gather her men and meet with her lover, Argol. He was in a camp that was set up among other encampments to rest for the road ahead. The moon came out in full and lit up the ground. The light reflected in his green eyes and he saw Rarta ride up from the distance with fifty other riders. She slowed down her horse to stop in front of him and jumped off of it.
“Argol, the queen has tasked me to discover the Thoth numbers. I don’t want you to come. It will be too dangerous.”
“Danger is what I live for and I could not bear the thought of leaving you alone.” He grabbed her left shoulder and put his face close to hers.
“Still. You need to liberate Svitar. It’s likely the Thoths have landed their ships on the coast in great number. My mother will need you and your riders’ skills on the battlefield.”
“If you must go, take this with you.” He took off his amulet and placed it softly into her palm.
“Your amulet, I’ll wear it to remind me of you.”
“It was my grandfather’s. He wore it when he rode into battle fifty years ago against the Thoths. Their forces were destroyed and he was the only warrior to survive the battlefield of Valkon. He told me this amulet saved his life. When you hold it, it will show you if any enemies are near to you. Use it.”
“You will survive. Do you hear me?”
“And you must as well.”
“Keep these throwing knives and as you use them, remember me.”
“May the gods protect you.
Rarta took off with her riders toward the north road and went entered the forest of fuir. They were riding in the night and could see no sign of the Thoth’s presence. When they were ten leagues in a tree fell in front of their path and Thoth archers began pelting them with arrows. The horses reared up. Rarta called some of her riders to dismount while the rest of them spread out into the forest to kill the archers. Some were taken down with arrows in their chests and backs. The Thoth archers were excellent shots and ten riders were killed. Rarta came upon a group of three archers and threw one knife with her left-hand piercing one in the neck and brought up her sword with the other hand. She struck down on one and crushed his skull. She jumped off her horse and lunged at the last archer who drew back and launched an arrow at her. She dodged it. Then she swung with her sword at the archer who kept deflecting her attacks with his agaza bow that was tough as iron. He swung the bow at Rarta’s head and hit her; swiping across, and she fell over catching herself with her sword stuck into the ground. The archer pulled out a knife rushed toward her. She kicked him in the chest, pulled out a throwing knife and threw it at his chest right into his heart. He clutched the knife and fell to his knees. She then lunged her sword through his neck and pulled it back out. He fell down gurgling. The rest of the riders and dismounted warriors took out the archers. Rarta lost fifteen riders in total. She thought it would be a good idea so she clutched the amulet and she saw two archers hiding behind bushes twenty cubits away and ran toward them. They were the last ones left alive and when they saw Rarta come up on them with her sword pointing at them they raised their arms and dropped their bows.
“We surrender!” One of them said.
“Where are the rest of your warriors?” Rarta asked.
“They’ll kill us if we tell,” said the other.
“You should be more worried about me. Tell me and I’ll let you live.” They both pointed in the direction of their encampment. “Thank you. May the gods smile upon your deaths.” As she finished saying this, she raised her sword and they shouted as she struck down onto one’s shoulder. In a swift moment, she struck down on the other. She went back to the road and found her warriors cleaning their blades and searching the corpses for any valuable loot. “We have to get off the road. I found out where their encampment is. We need to proceed and avoid it. We go into the forest.”
“But, Rarta, we may get lost in there,” said one of her best warriors.”
“We won’t get lost, Dalron, as long as we have the stars.”
“I didn’t know you were a star-reader.”
“I learned in my younger years.”
She led her riders into the forest opposite the direction of the Thoth camp. Rarta was twenty-three years old and was being groomed to be a warrior queen like her mother. She had no brothers or sisters. She was next in line to the throne and had to show her people that she could rule them. This mission was to be the epitome of her efforts to prove herself to her mother. She wanted her mother’s approval and would go to any length to get it.