The two Amazon princesses, daughters of the great Queen, sat alone in the large command tent in the middle of the Amazon war camp. Livia, the older sister, the fiery woman with long straight auburn hair who was heiress to the throne, moved some figurines of army women across a map. “Take three brigades and attack the enemy on the other side of the island. I’ll take these five brigades here and attack that Katarina, that woman who fights for those men, and bring her down once and for all.”
Jenova, the calmer and more patient younger sister, ran a finger through her curly, shoulder-length jet black hair. “Only three? Let’s divide them evenly, four and four. The armies each of us will face are the same size.”
“You have the easy job,” said Livia. “All you have to do is defeat an army led by a man. I have to defeat a female commander. Now get your girls moving. You’ve got a long march ahead of you.”
“Yes, sister,” sighed Jenova reluctantly, departing the tent.
Livia watched her go, then ran her fingers over the map, knocking over the male figurines that represented the enemy. From the reports her scouts had brought her, Livia knew she would be facing perhaps 6000, or 6500 at the most, Royalist soldiers. Her force of 5000 Amazons should be able to defeat them easily. She had won facing worse odds many times before.
* * *
Princess Katarina, daughter of King Frederick IX and commander of the Royalist Army that had been sent to this island to defeat the Amazons, tossed and turned in her tent, unable to sleep. Every time she closed her eyes, she kept seeing those words from that letter from her father:
“I am naming your younger brother heir to the throne.”
Frederick Junior. Little F. Little Fuck-up. Her younger brother was far too incompetent to ever make a good king. But because of her father’s reasoning – that he feared she would be assassinated by power-hungry nobles who preferred the easy-to-manipulate Little F as ruler if she was named queen – the stupid young Little Fuck-up was being given this undeserved chance.
Despite his misguided decision, she loved her father. She would never betray him. As long as he was in charge, she would fight for king and country. But when Little F ascended to the throne…that would be a different story. Her two choices when that happened – obeying her idiotic little brother’s orders or committing treason – seemed equally repulsive. Luckily, it was a decision she would hopefully not have to make for many years. Her father was getting on in age, but was still strong and in good health.
She yawned. Running her fingers through her long silky black hair, she turned over and went to sleep.
* * *
General Norton sat on his horse, frowning as he surveyed his army. The general had been sent to lead this half of the Royalist relief force while Katarina led the other half. The army had marched out strong, 6000 infantry and 1000 cavalry, the same size as Katarina’s force. He wondered how she was doing, on the other side of the island. He was a capable officer – she wouldn’t have chosen him to lead if he had not been – but no man in the King’s army could match the Princess’s intelligence, leadership, or fighting skills.
His army was not so strong now, he thought worriedly. The small bands of Amazon troops had fallen back before the advance of his large force. But as they marched further inland, Amazon archers had begun nailing the fringes of his army with lethally accurate arrows, targeting officers first and always getting away before the Royalists could mount an effective response. Although the casualties they had taken were relatively light – about two hundred men dead – the disproportionate loss of officers and the fact that the Royalists had been unable to retaliate was crippling to morale. The biggest losses had come from desertion. Over a thousand men had deserted, some from simple cowardice and some tempted by greedy slick talkers who promised them riches and women if they became bandits roaming the countryside. Norton had ordered captured deserters beheaded to make examples of them, but still the desertions continued.
* * *
The band of 30 thuggish-looking deserters, hidden in the trees, smirked as they looked down at the three Amazon wagons passing by on the road below, each driven by a single teenage girl. After abandoning the Royalist army, they had raped and pillaged their way across the countryside, attacking their own citizens. Now, they would attack these girls. They didn’t care who they killed. They had lost all honor, if they had had any in the first place. The men aimed their muskets, waiting for the signal to fire.
But suddenly, all three wagon covers were ripped away, revealing half a dozen Amazon archers hidden in each wagon. With blinding speed and deadly accuracy, they released their arrows. Eighteen shots. Eighteen men dropped dead. At the same time, each of the girls driving the wagons drew hidden knives and threw them. Three more males dropped, blades driven straight into their hearts.
The survivors screamed in fear, panic, and shock. Some began running away, while others fired off their muskets, none of the bullets finding their mark. The Amazons reloaded and fired a second volley.
* * *
“My Princess Jenova. I bring you a gift,” said the slender, pretty teenage girl. She motioned with her slim wrist, bracelets sliding as she raised her arm, and two equally petite girls shoved forward two male captives, each wounded with an arrow right in their buttocks. The girls savagely kicked their victims, then yanked them up by their hair. “Show your faces to the Princess.”
“And what have we here?” asked Jenova.
“Deserters from the Royalist army, milady. They’ve been raping and pillaging their way across the countryside, attacking friend and foe alike. They thought they could ambush one of our caravans. Of course we outsmarted them. There were thirty of them. These are the only survivors.”
Jenova calmly walked up to the first prisoner. “You will tell me everything you know about the strength and position of the Royalist army.”
“Like hell I will, bitch,” he spat at her. Despite having deserted from the army and having no loyalty to it, he didn’t want to talk because he was a sexist pig who hated the idea of obeying a woman.
The Amazon princess, in one fluid motion, drew her sword and cut off his head. Ignoring the blood splattering all over her dress, she turned to the second captive and said, “You will tell me…”
“Yes, yes, of course! I’ll tell you everything!” He was shrieking, sobbing, begging for his life to be spared.
“Squeeze all you can out of him, then use him for target practice,” Jenova whispered to the teenage girl next to her. The girl nodded and smirked. Jenova crossed her slender but muscular arms in front of her as she watched. She wasn’t a sadist like her sister, but cowardly deserters who raped and pillaged even their own people deserved no mercy.
* * *
“The Amazons are coming! The Amazons are coming!” shouted the scout. “General Norton, the Amazons are charging! Cavalry coming up on us very fast! Infantry behind them!”
The general looked off into the distance in alarm. 500 Amazon heavy cavalry were charging the front part of his long column of marching soldiers, their lances already lowered. Further back, he could see a thousand female archers, accompanied by a thousand swordswomen, jogging towards the scene of the coming battle, their fit bodies showing no sign of getting tired. In the rear, Princess Jenova, in command, sat on her horse, calling out orders.
The Royalists were in panic mode, despite the attacking Amazon force being only half their size. Some fired their muskets wildly, but the ragged shots had no chance of stopping the powerful charge of the horsewomen. As they frantically tried to reload their muskets, they froze in fear as it became clear that the Amazons would crash into them before they could fire their second shots. Some of the men dropped their weapons and raised their hands in surrender. It did them no good. The sexy warrior maidens, showing no mercy, rode into them, impaling male soldiers with their lances or simply trampling them to death. Other men tried to run away, but they were swiftly ridden down by the girls or slain with well-aimed axe throws to their retreating backs.
“FORM SQUARES, YOU FOOLS!” roared General Norton. “FORM SQUARES!” The Royalist soldiers finally began forming up. It was too late for many of them, who were slaughtered by the Amazon riders before they could get into formation, but the surviving infantry managed to group themselves into four large squares of a thousand men each, with the commanding officers clustered in the center of each one. A thousand infantrymen already lay dead on the field.
General Norton and his staff officers, on a small hill to the rear of his army, barked more orders as he continued observing the scene. “Artillerymen, get those cannons set up, and start blasting the enemy! Cavalry, hold but be prepared to charge at a moment’s notice!”
The Royalist force was well-equipped with 20 cannons, but the slow, clumsy weapons took time to set up. Meanwhile, Jenova, recognizing the danger the squares would pose to her cavalry despite never having seen those tactics before, uttered a sharp command and through a rapid relay of signals, her horsewomen retreated under orders and regrouped in the rear.
In their place, the female archers marched up and began firing into the squares with their powerful longbows. Despite being outnumbered four to one, the longbow-women were able to dominate the field with their long-range weapons, which could kill at 300 yards, while the Royalists’ muskets had an effective range of only 100 yards. Slowly but steadily, male bodies began dropping with arrows impaled in them, while the musket balls they fired back at the enemy fell short into the ground.
Finally, the cannons, set up in four rows of five each, were ready. They began blasting the girl-archers with grapeshot and canister. The longbow-women’s arrows couldn’t reach the cannons, but they continued firing into the musketeers, who still couldn’t hit back with the shorter range of their weapons. “Infantry into line formation. Prepare to advance,” ordered General Norton.
Jenova scowled as she watched the scene. Livia had refused to allow her to take any of the cannons the Amazons had captured with her army, saying they had to march quickly across the island and the artillery would slow them down too much. Now she would have to make do with what she had.
She knew she had to act fast. As the blue-coated Royalists shifted from one formation to another, she gave a signal with her fist. Immediately, the thousand Amazon swordswomen charged straight at the male infantry with spine-chilling warrior cries. As soon as they got within a hundred yards, they threw their athletic female bodies into cartwheels followed by back handsprings, elegantly backflipping at incredible speed towards their targets.
The male soldiers were not yet properly formed into lines, and their musket fire was ragged and ineffective, only scoring a few lucky hits. The cannons fired into the charging swordswomen, but the Amazons were charging in a loose formation instead of being densely packed, limiting the effectiveness of the artillery. In less than twenty seconds, the rapidly flick-flacking girls crashed into the male soldiers, forcing the cannoneers to stop firing so they wouldn’t hit their own men. The swordswomen, each wielding a blade in each hand, easily sliced and diced their way through their male victims, the Royalists’ bayonets being no match for them. Slowly but steadily, they began chewing up the much larger male army.
Then a war horn sounded. The Amazon heavy cavalry were charging again. General Norton barked more orders. “Cavalry, intercept the enemy riders! Artillery, soften up the horsewomen, then switch to the archers when our boys ride into them!”
At first, it seemed to be working, although the cannons weren’t able to do much damage to the Amazon cavalry because of the speed of their charge. But the Royalist cavalry attacked their female counterparts, seemingly pinning them between the infantry and themselves…
Suddenly, 500 light horsewomen charged out of the nearby woods where they had been hiding. Jenova had kept them in reserve, waiting for a situation just like this. Now, the Amazon light cavalry attacked with arrows and thrown spears and axes from the other side, making it the Royalist cavalry’s turn to be facing a double-sided attack. Panicking, the surviving male riders urged their horses away in a rapid retreat until they were under the covering fire of the cannons.
Now freed, the Amazon heavy cavalry rode straight into the mass of male infantry, lancing and trampling everything in their path and splitting the Royalist force in two. They, along with the swordswomen, completely surrounded the far half of the male army, while horse archers and longbow-women fired over their comrades’ heads and into the trapped men. Meanwhile, Jenova detached part of the female infantry from the main Amazon army and personally charged forward to lead the small force of swordswomen and archers to attack the other half of the Royalist army.
“Retreat!” shouted General Norton. “First line of cannons, keep firing! Cover the retreat and hold off the enemy for as long as possible! Get the rest of the cannons hitched up to the horses and get them out of here!”
“My lord,” said one of his staff officers. “What about the men on the far side?”
The general shook his head. “They’re lost. All we can do now is save the other half of the army.”
“And the front line of cannons?”
“Better to lose five cannons than twenty.”
The staff officer gulped and nodded, glad that he was not one of the expendables.
Men, horses, and cannons hurried away from the battlefield as fast as they could. When they had passed, the soldiers manning the front line of five cannons that had been ordered to cover the retreat were left alone on a ridge, firing desperately at the screaming, charging Amazons led by sexy Jenova.
An explosion of canister blew several Amazons in the front rank to pieces and splattered Jenova with blood. Some of the younger girls began to hesitate, but the Amazon princess, with a shrill shriek, drew back her bow and fired a perfectly aimed shot right into the heart of a man just before he could light the fuse to another cannon. With cheers, the Amazons, now in archery range, fired a devastating volley into the cannoneers. The survivors turned and ran, but were all shot down by a second volley.
General Norton took one last, sad look at the scene below him before turning his horse away. In the distance, the surrounded men were screaming, begging, pleading, their horrified cries audible even at the great distance. He shook his head. It was them or the whole army.
“Secure these cannons!” Jenova ordered. “Drag them back to our lines. Archers, cover them and drive off anyone who tries to take the cannons back, but do not pursue.” With that, she rode back to the main force of Amazons.
In the middle of the deadly trap, there were only a few hundred men left alive, surrounded by piles of male corpses. The highest-ranking Royalist left, a colonel, raised a white flag of surrender.
“What say you, milady?” the commander of the archers asked Jenova. “Do we take prisoners or slaughter them all?”
“I’ll handle this,” said the Princess. “Cease fire!” she ordered. The girl-archers looked at her, most of them wanting to continue the massacre, but obeyed their Princess’s order.
“Drop your weapons!” Jenova ordered the men. “Form one line, facing me! Officers, stand in a separate group over there!”
The terrified males quickly obeyed her command. Because the Amazons were wearing their traditional leather uniforms of short shorts, tank tops, and knee-high boots, showing off their tanned, muscular bodies, many of the men had hard-ons despite their fear. Some of the men who were badly wounded remained on the ground, moaning. Even some of the wounded males had erections.
Jenova, smirking to herself at the men “standing at attention,” addressed the line of enlisted men. “Starting from this end, every third man step forward!”
Again they obeyed. The Amazon Princess raised her arm, then lowered it. A perfectly aimed volley of arrows slammed into the soldiers who had been ordered forward, each arrow striking its target right between the eyes. A hundred men fell dead in complete unison. The males still standing quivered in terror. Some wet their pants.
Jenova addressed the survivors coldly. “I am capable of showing mercy. I will never show weakness. That demonstration was to assure you that what I am showing now is the former and not the latter. You are now the property of the Amazon Nation. Accept your fate, and you will live. Resist, and you will die.”
Unarmed, she walked fearlessly up to the line of men, most of whom were taller than her and all of whom were heavier than the slender girl. She strolled in front of them, looking straight into the frightened eyes of each captive she passed, and stopped in front of one. “What are you?”
“I am a soldier of the Royalist army, loyal servant of His Majesty, King Fred…”
With lightning speed, Jenova performed a standing backflip, kicking the speaker in the underside of his jaw. Her backflip kick was so powerful that it broke his neck instantly with a sickening CRACK. The odd angle of his neck as he fell to the dirt left no doubt that he was now a corpse.
The Princess’s face remained expressionless as she landed perfectly on her booted feet. She turned to the next man. “What are y…”
“I am a humble male slave, the property of the Amazon Nation!” he cried in panic. She smirked. Looking at the other men, her gaze was met with submissive lowerings of heads. She nodded in satisfaction, then, with a series of elegant standing back handsprings, made her way back to her officers.
“Shackle the men and march them off with the other spoils of battle,” she ordered. “Keep the officers separate, I’m going to interrogate them later. Any man who is wounded too badly to walk…put him out of his misery.”
* * *
Princess Katarina’s army marched through the green, rolling hills towards Amazon territory. Like she had earlier, Katarina rode up and down the column, checking in with each of her high-ranking officers, making sure that everything was all right and keeping a sharp eye out for any Amazon ambushes.
Suddenly, there was a commotion from the rear. “A messenger!” came a shout. A haggard-looking soldier rode up and handed the Princess a sealed envelope.
“For your eyes only, my Lady.”
“Thank you.” She found a private spot to the side of the column, then opened the letter. She cursed as she read it.
Katarina rode over to her chief of staff. “Norton suffered a bad defeat. He lost half his army and five of his cannons. The survivors have retreated to our fortifications at San Sebastian, licking their wounds.”
The male officer shook his head. “Perhaps if I had been in command of that force…”
She gave him a hard stare. “Most likely, your army would have suffered the same fate. It appears that it takes a woman to stand up to the might of these Amazons. I hope you are not questioning my decisions on who to appoint as my division commanders.”
“Of c…course not, my Princess. I’m sorry.”
“That’s what I thought. Now, back to business. If we can defeat the enemy on this side of the island, we can secure the northern flank of our territory, then march south again and intercept any enemy that might be coming to attack.” She raised her arm, bracelets sliding down her slender wrist. “Messenger!”
The haggard rider hurried over. “Yes, milady?”
“Get a message to my father. I want two full divisions of reinforcements from the mainland. And one more message, this one for the Colonial Capital.” She whispered into his ear and he nodded.
“Yes, my Princess.” He swiftly rode off into the distance.
Katarina turned back to her chief of staff. “Until we get those reinforcements, with Norton’s losses we simply don’t have the manpower for large-scale offensive operations. After this battle we’ll have to confine ourselves to defending the part of the island between San Sebastian in the south and Fort Osweiler in the north until fresh troops arrive. Keep Norton’s defeat secret, I don’t want the men’s morale to drop into the toilet. I’m going up ahead to talk with the scouts.”
Katarina rode up to the scout commander. “What have you to report, Captain?”
“This open country continues for a little while longer, my Lady. However, sometime tomorrow the main route would take us into a narrow canyon. It would be…you know.”
She nodded. “Way too easy for the Amazons to ambush us there. We’ll have to come up with an alternate plan.” She looked at the sun, low in the western sky. “Keep on for another hour, then we’ll make camp for the night.”
TO BE CONTINUED…