The sky was clear and blue. The refreshing breeze carried a faint scent of earth mixed with the rustling of leaves. On the top of the rocky hill, King Arthur was sitting on top of his horse, overlooking the situation unfolding in the Northern Plains below, accompanied by his loyal allies.
Next to him were several golden knights standing: Gawain, Yvain, Percival, Bors and Dagonat, who were wearing their brilliant golden armor. Meanwhile, the Logress Queen Gwen and Gaious, the Logress wizard, stood close to the Logress King.
The main force they had managed to muster consisted of 9000 men in total, with 2000 riders, 1000 archers and 6000 infantry.
A few minutes earlier, the scouts had returned, reporting the enemy had around 13000 men in their main force. But out of that, they only had at most two or three hundred cavalry and a thousand archers, while the rest were infantry units.
Even though their opponents were mostly just light infantry with minimum equipment, Arthur knew the battle would be disastrous if he underestimated them.
In fact, the northern tribes were known for their extraordinary physical strength. They had lived in the untamed lands for most of their lives, where danger lurked at every corner. The remarkable way of living they went through tempered them into battle-hardened individuals.
But on the other side of the spectrum, they lacked the necessary strategy and the ability to coordinate their attacks. Hence their constant failure at invading Britannia territory for hundreds of years.
This time, however, that lack of strategy had largely been rendered obsolete thanks to their partnership with Norgales. Things could really get very tricky for the allied force.
After making sure the information about the enemy was correct, Arthur proceeded to prepare the formation as swiftly and effectively as possible.
3000 infantry units would be placed as the vanguard unit, another 2000 would form barricade lines behind the first one and act as the second unit. Then, 1000 units would be ordered to stand by as the reserve unit. All archery and cavalry units would be ordered to keep their vigilance and prepare themselves, as they had to be ready to strike when the moment was right.
Arthur observed the lines his forces made from the top of the hill where he stood, ensuring their formation was as tight as possible, to minimize the risk of enemies breaking their formation. They could act as both a shield, a wall and a weapon, moving as one.
Time passed with a palpable mix of anticipation and dread, as the allied force waited for the northern tribe's assault. Even from above, Arthur could feel the tension among the ranks gradually rising.
The few minutes of wait felt like an eternity, before Arthur and the forces finally heard the unmistakable sound of a horn. After ten blows of such horn echoed through the plains, the sounds of quick footsteps could be heard from the distance.
Norgales Kingdom was a veteran in the battlefield and it would be no exaggeration to say their soldiers had spent at least half their life in the chaos of battle. With that in mind, Arthur expected an odd formation, or a classic yet effective tactic the other party could safely employ due to their numbers.
Unexpectedly, As the enemies flooded the battlefield from far away, Arthur could not help but notice that there was no semblance of formation at all from them.
Every single knight and soldier who marched in the middle of the plains bore the signature colors of Norgales banner, yet, apart from the standard number of knights and soldiers on each row, they did not seem tense nor did they make the effort to maintain a proper formation.
Meanwhile, the northern tribes poured into the battlefield, filling the left and right wing as they followed the Norgales forces soon after. And just like the former, they did not even bother to maintain formation. Every single one of the fur and leather-clothed warriors only ran with their weapons brandished, accompanied with a fierce battle cry.
Arthur took another long look at the enemy to ensure there was no ploy that could catch him off guard, before telling the knights gathered around him.
"On the first horn, Yvain and Percival will lead the main unit and meet them head-on. On the second horn, you will feign retreat. The third horn will act as a signal for Sir Bors and Sir Dagonat to lead the cavalry surrounding them, together with Gawain to reinforce the line." Arthur gave orders in rapid succession, looking around to make sure everyone understood. "Is everything clear?"
The main focus of this tactic was to fool the enemy into thinking of winning before eventually breaking through their formation. The feign retreat would also lure the enemies into the killing zone, where the other forces would proceed to obliterate them.
The tactic was simple and easy to understand, bit undoubtedly effective when the beliefs about the barbarians were taken into account.
On the other hand, the tactic would crumble at the slightest mistiming. Moreover, it required a good leader to make sure no soldier stray away from formation and destroyed the element of surprise. That was where the golden knights would come into play.
All the golden knights nodded, before they ran to descend from the hill and return to their respective lines.
The enemy lines were clearly visible now, like a swarm of multicolored dots swarming in to cover the lush green of the beautiful plains with their existence. As the golden knights arrived at their groups, they ordered the men to take out a pouch that was given to them earlier.
The pouch contained a bluish powder that gleamed white under the light of the sun. Immediately after, each of the men were ordered to spread the powder on their arms and legs. The powder disappeared right as their muscles stiffened; each person felt their limbs brimming with strength.
This blue powder was the [Strength Paste] the wizard Gaious had painstakingly made for the last 4 days. It was truly a fortunate thing the man managed to make enough to provide the whole infantry units in such a limited period of time.
The first horn resounded from near Arthur's position. In a few seconds, the distinct noises of a clash could clearly be heard between the first unit of 3000 men led by Yvain and Percival....
There were screams from both sides. A flood of red quickly forming beneath their feet.
Even though they were prepared for the battle, the opening clash was as brutal as it possibly could be, because the first unit were fighting the force three times their size.
If it wasn't for the [strength paste], they would certainly not be able to hold on for long.
The opponents kept pushing on. They trampled on the bodies of their former comrades as they died. Whenever Yvain or Percival forces slayed one enemy, another would take their place within seconds.
A few minutes passed, the second horn finally resounded. It was their cue to retreat, as Sir Yvain and Percival immediately ordered their forces to fall back.
As expected, the enemies immediately gave chase while also not forgetting to shout countless profanities and curse words in the process.
When the enemy finally entered the killing zone, a resounding horn could be heard from around them. The indication for their execution.
Sir Gawain raised his weapons high and shouted, which was then followed by the cavalry units led by the two brothers Sir Bors and Dagonat charging the trapped enemies. Caught off guard, many of them were impaled to their deaths and left as nothing but red smears beneath the horses' hooves.
The scale suddenly tipped towards the allied force's favor. The sight of their enemies dying immediately invigorated their spirits.
Yvain and Percival worked as one, barking orders at the other soldiers, while cleaving some of the enemies that managed to get past the cavalry units.
Percival's huge axe went through three tribe warriors as if their leather armor was nothing but paper. The three unfortunate men only had half a second to gape in shock before they fell to the grassy ground.
Meanwhile, Yvain took a more active approach instead, as he got close and personal with the enemy, hacking and killing them with his sword. He even sometimes picked up one of the fallen enemy spears to throw towards far-away targets.
Gawain, Bors and Dagonat also fought valiantly in their respective side of the battlefield.
However, in the end, the allied force's soldiers started to fall to exhaustion, following the fact that the element of surprise was no longer on their side. Enemies started to overwhelm them, the front lines started to crumble under the relentless attacks of both the Norgales and the northern tribe warriors.
Arthur was in a position that was able to observe everything below. He realized the forces of Norgales' alliance remained strong despite his knights' valiant attempts.
Indeed, some who were caught off guard were dead, but a significant number of the soldiers were still able to avoid it. Without the element of surprise, the cavalry started to suffer a setback, some even falling from their horses.
Arthur observed the situation and gripped his blade, while Gwen looked at him in concern. He took a deep breath, looked away from the battlefield and said.
"They really are strong warriors…!"
He steeled his resolve and gave Gwen his best reassuring smile, before he took half of the reserve unit and bravely descended down the hill.
Gwen's gaze was focused on Arthur, as he charged down toward the enemies.
She hoped he would be safe, but her thoughts quickly drifted to the other group trying to persist in the east.
Apparently, the battle in the north would take much more time than expected.
Despite what she knew, however, she could do nothing but wait and hope they would be able to hold on until Arthur and the forces stationed here managed to win the battle on this side.
Written by Avans, Published exclusively by W.e.b.n.o.v.e.l,