Reach for the Light


The Princess and the Sultan – Chapter 7, part 1

The Princess and her Sultan

Abdullah had Mehmed right in front of him, he held his sword at the ready, his job was to guard Mehmed’s back. The subtle raise of a blood red flag indicated the start of the battle, the clearing went from eerie silence to furious hoofbeats and war cries near instantaneously. 

The hisan went charging downhill, trained cavalry-men wielding lighted lances with torches alight at the tips. The unit moved with deadly precision, advancing down the hill straight at the center of the barbarian settlement, intent on burning them out and ending the Vaishi threat once and for all. 

Warcries of the company rang in Abdullah’s ears, his view of the world sharpening into crystalline clarity. He trained his eyes forward onto their destination, his hand firming on his own lance, thumb aligned in the perfect position to stab forward and ignite. At the same time, Abdullah kept in sight the fierce line of Mehmed’s back and his steady charge forward.

They reached the ramshackle wooden and temporary shelters of the Nomadic Vaishis and the first soldier struck his lance upon the structures and with a mere glancing blow, set them alight. The anticipated screams and cries of pedestrians and civilians rang out, with nary a knight stopping to round them up. Corralling civilians was up to the following infantry units. 

The company fanned out, in a five pronged stream, moving forward in a relentless wave of flame, alighting the houses and buildings of Vaishi warriors, working fast and waiting with baited breath for the retaliation and push-back they had anticipated. But where most knights were not yet aware of the strangeness of this situation, Abdullah had been immediately plunged into dread. The only people they had encountered so far, were slaves, and prisoners,  though they were a quarter of the way into the camp, they had not come across even a single Vaishi Warrior. 

As he looked around, suspicion welling up within him, Mehmed’s voice rang out, full of authority, “Retreat! Warrior s of Troop 3, retreat! It’s a trap!”

In the the confusion of battle, and their straightforward charge, many of the knights did not hear him, and those that did, did jump to follow his command, as at the moment, he was not Emperor, but just a soldier. In the few seconds it took for Abdullah to comprehend this and take up his shout to retreat, it was already too late and they were besieged with a shower of arrows. 

Abdullah shouted out, “Troop three, Formation Andar, to me, shields up!” 

The rain of arrows was soon succeeded by a rush of Vaishi attack khuntas, large hair wolf-like creatures, with a thirst for human blood. Each was riden by a vicious Vaishi warrior, with their swords extended, and their trademark lassos held taught between two partners. Many a cavalryman fell to these pairs, as their hisan’s feet got entangled into the rope and they went toppling end over end. 

Abdullah’s own sword was out and he was right behind Mehmed, who had totally discarded his ordinary soldier persona, and was barking orders to the remainder of Troop 3. They had retreated towards them and naturally gravitated towards the one man who remained  steady and calm in sea of chaos. All around them, the screams an blood of their countrymwn was thick in the air as Abdullah finally dived into battle himself, parrying a blow meant for the distracted Mehmed, who was already engaged with a Vaishi who had been about to finish of a fallen warrior from their troop. 

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