'EHARA TAKU TOA I TE TOA TAKITAHI, ENGARI HE TOA TAKITINI'
-My strength is not that of a single warrior, but that of many
The mounted warrior looked deep into the blackness of the morning. His feathered mount snorted as it stomped the ground, its silver armour dull in the pre-dawn light. None of his men could see the captain’s eyes, deep set in his helmet. His cheeks were tight though. Teeth gritted, even if he didn't know it. The captain snorted and waved his Taiaha in a swift Kārearea move. The signal for attack.
The mounted bird warriors, mounts screeching, burst to the left. The warriors of foot flew in formation down the hill before shearing left and right.
Throwers of fire, hundreds of them, lit up the sky as they flew into the fortified pa.
The sounds of fires, the screaming, the running, the panic, the calls for water. The captain, frowned. Was this what it meant to be a warrior in this Emepara’s army? Attacking our own citizens. To what end? Because they refused to use the new coins? or because of the mines they controlled?
The captain had thought more about these questions recently. The Emepara had once seemed like a saviour. Uniting the divided Iwi into one mighty land. The Aotearoa Conclave. The most powerful nation in the world. On the edge of nowhere.
He'd been proud the day the fighting had stopped and peace looked close.
But there seemed to be a never ending tide of uprising against the Emepara’s edicts. At first it made sense. The more difficult resistance needed to be crushed like ants beneath the heel. It had been going for more than 10 years now.
This felt different somehow. Maybe the Emepara didn't know what it was like on the ground? These people only had minor objections to rule. Not outright rebellion. It left a sour taste in his mouth.
The terror raids in the capital had been someone from a neighbouring village. They’d razed that village. But was it right to attack this village? It had a similar worldview, religion. But no proof of involvement.
It seemed the Emepara wanted to prove something. The captain didn't know what. He dismissed the thoughts once again. It was time to finish this and go home. He'd be old enough to collect a pension soon.
The captain unrolled his bone Patu, the Skullcrusher. It's cool hard bone reassuring. He signaled his mount with his thighs, it burst into action, trained for battle; it headed towards the blood and screams.
The men sent out earlier had already opened the gates from the inside. All he had to do was go inside and await the inevitable outcome. His mouth was dry. The smell of dirt and wood palisade washed over him. A soldier followed orders, even if he disagreed with them.
He didn't even notice the shadows fleeing in front of him.