Odds

Mar. 21st, 2011 08:26 pm
inkydink: dwagon (Default)
[personal profile] inkydink
This was going to be inkstains entry for the week but I fell asleep. Oh well. :D

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Taera wasn't surprised by what her father said. The high priest, her six uncles, and her older brother were all  standing beside her father, and she already had an idea of what they had been saying. 

"You already gave your word, father. My soldiers are ready, and they have said goodbye to their families.  Is it right for a king to be going back on his words, especially to a member of his own family?"

The high priest whispered something in the king's ear. The king nodded. "Taera, child, be reasonable. Scouts have already sighted sixty thousand  Karu soldiers on horseback, your legion has no chance. "

Taera's  right eyebrow rose. 

The high priest coughed. "I have advised your father it might be in the best interests of the kingdom to sign the treaty..."

Taera's eyebrow rose even higher. "A treaty that will cede sovereignty to that empire? This is what you advise my father? Without a fight?" 

The oldest general, her uncle, stepped forward. "Taera, child..." 

"We are listening to advice from someone who have never been on the field of battle, much less on it? This cannot be right." 

The generals looked at each other, obviously uncomfortable. One of them, her uncle Ilan, coughed. "We do not have enough supplies for your legion, Taera. There is only enough food for perhaps two thousand, only a tenth as many horses... and six thousand against sixty thousand... those are not very good odds... "

""Many of my soldiers have spent half their lives feeding six people from supplies meant for only two. No one is faster than them on foot, and a great many of them can hit a cockroach with a rod at a hundred paces. We have enough, " she said, cutting him off.  "The odds are fine."

"You are sure of this?" her father asked, worry and hope fighting in his face. 

"My soldiers only fight battles they know they'll win. And they're much better at predicting outcomes than you, high priest."  Taera almost laughed, seeing the offended look on the high priest's face, then turned to her father. " Do not go back on your word, father.  You have promised us this battle, and my soldiers are itching to fight. They have assured me of victory, do not deny it to them-- to us. " 

The king sighed. " I have given my word. I suppose I must let you fight. But promise me you will win. " 

"We will, father, " Taera said, bowing. "Thank you." She turned to leave, and the seven generals followed. 

"You only need to hold them off for seven days, " her brother was saying, " The reinforcements from the East will have arrived by then."

"No, " Taera answered,  " We'll meet them on the plain of Zifa, far enough from the city's walls. The first few squads have started moving out tonight as we speak. This will be over in three days." 

It took them only a day and a half. 

Taera's Tigers, as they were called by the men in the days after,  met the emperor's soldiers on the Field of Zifa, one hundred of them on horseback, the rest on foot. There they fought, these mothers, wives, sisters and daughters, with such ferocity that  on the sunset of the first day, the emperor sent a messenger. "Call off your women, " the missive said. "The empire is no longer interested in adding the Kingdom of Hiala into its fold." 

"That is for us to decide," the women said. " No one hurts our sons, husbands, fathers and brothers, not without punishment."  

The fighting went on for half a day more, until only a few wounded were left, to be taken as slaves, for they did not wish to return home to the capital and say they had been defeated by women.  Of the six thousand Tigers, all returned victorious, though three had to be borne on their shields for their men to weep over. The rest cleaned off their shields, swords and rods, then put them away in their kitchens, behind the mops and brooms. .

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