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Posted:|| March 7, 2022 Views: 148|
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Chapter 25 of the book The Chronicals Of Bethica: The Rise
Gangus may have underestimated his enemies
"The Chronicles of Bethica"
Gangus's bold move hits a snag. What happens next, leaves him and his troops devastated.
NOTE: The name, Nordoxz is singular and plural
Chapter 16 (part 2)
Clash of the Enemy
When Celio and the Volarian Guards returned home, they were given a hero's welcome after the missing scouts were spotted among them.
Just hours later, Gangus, General Dinary and the commanders worked feverishly constructing a strategy for the battle based on information interpreted from Raco's map.
According to Raco's eyewitness account, the Orcs appeared a legion strong (between three and six thousand); the Minotaurs, nearly half that strength. The Nordoxz, however, only allowed several hundred at a time to train openly in an attempt to obscure their true might. Nonetheless, Raco, with the best of his limited observation, had numbered them a few thousand as well.
After several weeks of planning, Gangus and his top brass felt ready. They loaded figs, dates, nuts, grain, and unleavened bread onto several beast-drawn carts. They packed medicinal supplies--strips of bandaging cloth, filled waterskins, and extra weapons. The troops would head out just before dawn, and planned to travel and sleep in the open to avoid a possible ambush.
The loved ones kissed the soldiers tearfully and gave items of scarfs, jewelry, and tiny statues of the deities, all as symbols for the troops' safe return.
Filing out of the guarded gate, Gangus, sitting majestically on his horse, led the way holding his staff like a scepter. Dinary and Celio rode by his side. In the beginning, they journeyed in silence as if a mere whisper could void their concentration. After weeks of traveling over the rocky terrain, enduring insect bites, and strange menacing critters wherever they'd camped, the Volarian army finally reached their destination.
The Orcs who had stalked them hid in the shadows of the thick forest. They had planned to attack them as they ate and slept but were ordered not to by their ally leader. "They will die soon enough," the arrogant Minotaur general said. "I'll not deprive my warriors of a 'face-to-face' blood bath."
"Nor I, my warriors for the slaughter of our comrades," the Orc leader blared.
The Volarian army comprised of three thousand, four hundred foot soldiers, and a Calvary of three thousand. Five hundred were left behind to guard the homeland.
As Gangus and his army approached the grassy terrain, he yelled, "Halt!" The order was repeated from the front to the rear in rapid succession by each commander until heard only as a faint cry.
That halt was not to announce a routine rest stop, but the ghastly sight of thousands of Orcs and Minotaurs on a high hill peering down at them, weapons pointed.
The Volarians' horses--spirited, snorted, clopped in place then stood still.
A long silence hovered over the full length of the terrain as if a shush from the lips of the gods had muzzled all creation. No birds flew, no critters scurried; the white clouds appeared as paintings on a huge blue canvas. A slight breeze stirred, but then stopped as if to withhold its breath and knew what was coming. The spotted creatures and the six-legged beast were nowhere in sight.
Gangus slowly raised his hand, and the sound of the war horn broke through the air. A battle cry echoed from the hill. The thunder of the horses' hooves on both sides rose from the ground like a rumbling earthquake. The heads of the horses bobbing--their noses widening, pulling into their lungs the air necessary for their long legs to eat up the ground.
The steeds met in the middle of the battlefield. Clanging sounds of metal striking metal filled the air as the steel swords whittled the iron blades of the Orcs, leaving many weaponless and headless on the dirt floor. Arrows flew through the air like wingless birds on both sides, killing Volarians and Orcs alike. Although iron was no match for steel, the wielding axes of the Orcs with their highly poisonous blades kept the death toll even. For the first time, Gangus's staff was useless; the clash had been too swift; the proximity of hand-to-hand combat made it impossible to execute wind strikes without hitting his men.
Nonetheless, the Orcs lost badly and retreated up the hill. Before Gangus and his men could recover and regroup, the Minotaurs had swooped upon them.
The Minotaurs, with their dark skin and dark horses, covered the battlefield like a humongous shadow. They were large creatures that could fight five opponents at a time; their three thousand were as ten thousand. Despite the Volarian steel, the battle against the Minotaurs lasted several hours, and the stench of death choked the air. Carnivorous birds came from all directions to feast on flesh that still twitched, though the strength to live was gone. Then suddenly, like the Orcs, the Minotaurs retreated up the hill.
"What games are these creatures playing?" Gangus snapped.
He had lost over seven hundred men. Hours dragged on as dozens of Medicus attended the wounded. Night came and Gangus walked among his men encouraging them--praising them; through blood-spotted bandages, his men managed a smile through their pain-twisted faces.
The night passed and in the dark-cloud morning as if to be an Omen to the victor, Gangus's eyes slowly lifted toward the hill and gazed upon the Nordoxz (those egregious spotted ones) fifteen thousand strong, including those strange beasts Raco had drawn. The Bohaus were the Nordoxz secret weapon, six-legged, large wolf-like creatures, dark coarse fur, and long snouts. They spurted foam that acted as acid--dissolving flesh in seconds. With their powerful jaws, they could crush bone and grind them into dust.
Unlike the Orcs and the Minotaurs, the Nordoxz did not rush them. Gangus seized the opportunity but choked on the word that activated his staff when a blue bolt of lightning flew from the clawed hand of a black hooded figure. It ripped the staff from Gangus's fist, causing it to land several feet across the terrain in two pieces. A guardsman heeled his horse and took off to retrieve it.
"WHOA!" voiced several Volarian cavalrymen; the roar-like growls of the beasts had frightened their horses; they stirred vigorously--whinnying, bobbing their heads, and clopping sideways. Their riders talked in their ears and patted their long necks to steady them. Then as gallant horse-soldiers, when the battle horn blew, the steeds took off like bats soaring from a cave, meeting the Bohaus head-on.
The horses did their best not to toss their riders as they maneuvered to stay clear of the Bohaus's sharp fangs. The steeds rose on hind legs, their riders holding tightly, and then stomped down on the Bohaus with iron-clad hooves, leaving their heads squashed and eyes protruding upon their snouts. Those that lost their riders, bucked and kicked, leaving the jaws of several Bohaus swinging like a broken gate on its hinges. However, the massive beasts were shorter, and many rammed the horses' legs--snapping them, like twigs, ripping out their throats, and mauling their riders to death when they fell.
The slaughter seemed like hours instead of minutes. Gangus lost thousands of men and horses. The steel just wasn't enough to defeat the notorious spotted ones. Plus the Nordoxz were able to grab up steel swords of Gangus's fallen comrades and use them against them. Gangus had no choice but to order the horn of retreat.
"Where are your gods now!" the Nordoxz general taunted.
"Perhaps they're napping!" the Minotaur general teased.
The Nordoxz, Minotaurs, and Orcs bellowed with laughter. The Bohaus, that were chained by then, reared on their hind legs, pulling--snarling, trying to get at the Volarian troops but were forcibly held back by their masters. The Volarian army fled in humiliation.
After weeks of traveling, Gangus, with his battered and shamed military, dragged across the landscape onto Volarian territory. Some of the men practically fell into the arms of their loved ones who, at the sight of them, wept. The news of their humiliating defeat spread throughout Bethica.
"You must eat something, my love," Brehira urged. "I cannot bear to see you this way."
Gangus didn't answer or move for hours from his large chair by the cold fireplace. More days like those followed, and Brehira, dismayed, left Gangus to his solitude.
The sunlight danced upon Gangus's face and woke him, making him squint against the steady stream. With Brehira nestled beside him, he silently wrestled with the devastating defeat. He felt the weight of its darkness crushing him, eyes darting back and forth under half-closed eyelids, replaying the battle over and over in his head.
Gangus could not conceive the possibility of those spotted creatures snatching the land the Volarians had traveled so far to obtain and fought so hard to keep. They had survived the Endless Sea, cannibal Ogrekins, attack of the undead, and had permanently extinguished the fiery breath of a terrible dragon. Volarians had given nearly forty years of their lives for that land.
"We will face them again," Gangus thought out loud, "but not alone this time." How then, he further thought, could he convince the other tribes to aid him? They weren't after 'their' land, or 'were' they? He shared his thoughts with his beloved. Both agonized over what to do and how to do it.
Finally, Brehira said, "I will write letters to the leaders of the five tribes informing them of our precarious situation and request a meeting."
"None is likely to attend, my love. They never get involved with anything that doesn't directly threaten them," he said. "They're a selfish lot."
"It won't hurt to try. It's all we have," she said, wide-eyed.
He studied her eyes momentarily. "As you wish, love."
Brehira sat and wrote letters to the Timbakni, Domari, Engamar, Aenwyns, and Qu'Venar tribes. She had a way with words and could be very persuasive. She ended each letter with,
Urgent. Please send a reply immediately. They waited for months but heard nothing.
Image: by Dantegrafice from Pixabay
Lord Gangus Abram Leader of his clan
Lady Brehira (Bree here rah) His wife
Dinary (Deh nah ry) Youngest Son
Celio (Seal le o) Soldier and close friend
Princess Netrekka (Neh trek kah) Dinary's Lover/wife
Olatunji (O Lah Tune Gee) Nigerian Soldier
Gangus's Staff Command Tierphenjinochun (Teer fen gin o tion)
Khimah (Kee ma) Eldest Son
Captain Dulcy P Dordrecht (Door check) Captain of the Cristofur
Judian (Jew-dee-in) Second in Command of the Christofur
Kofius (Ko fee us) The Sail Master
The Drake (like it's spelled) The menacing dragon
Raziel (Ray-zeal) God of gods
Dahlia (Doll-lee'ah) Goddess of Domaria--a kingdom ruled by women
Gailzur (Gale-zore) God of War
Nelchael (Nell-key-ol) God of the Underworld
Zakzakiel (Zak zah keel) God of Peace
Volarians (Vo lar rians) (Humans) 'Gangus's tribe'
Engamars (In ga mars) (Humanoids) aka, Red Beards 'Hate Aenwyns and Qu'Venars'
Aenwyns (An winds) (Humanoids) 'Adore Qu'Venars, hate Engamars'
Qu'Venars (Q' Vin nahs) (Humanoids) 'Adore Aenwyns can't tolerate the stubborn Engamars'
Nordoxz (Nor-docks) (Humanoid) 'Have multi-colored leathery skin like that of a serpent.'
Faerie (Far ree) (Another world) Origin of the Aenwyns
Book of the Month contest entry
When Lord Gangus Abram is awakened by a mysterious voice in the night and told to seek out the Oracle Naman, he must make a journey across the Endless Ocean to destroy the Nordoxz, an undefeated race of humanoids that are controlled by powerful forces of evil.
Lord Abrams plunges into a perilous trek to obey the gods and settle in Bethica, a land of dragons, cannibals, Fallen Angels, Amazonians, and Dark Lords. He is joined by his wife, Brehira, youngest son Dinary, comrade and friend, Celio, Shapeshifter and Beast Master, Olutunji, and 750 people willing to risk their lives for land and freedom.
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