Tag Archives: battle

Tales from the Amazon Wars, Episode 4

Early the next morning, as the army was on its way again, a squadron of scouts rode up to Roslyn. “My Princess. I think you’ll want to see this,” said their commander. They led her to a group of seven male heads, decapitated and impaled on pikes. The heads were those of Prince Antonius and his six generals.

“Bury those quickly, and don’t let the rest of the men see them,” she ordered. Roslyn shook her head. She knew she was “supposed” to feel sorrow for the loss of her brother, but he and his twin had been nothing but arrogant jerks to her all their lives. She just wasn’t feeling much at all.

It was around noon when it became clear that a major battle would start soon. The two sides’ cavalry had been skirmishing all morning, with the action steadily increasing in intensity. Finally, the Amazon horse archers approached the Imperial army en masse, preparing for a full-on attack.

The teenage Amazon princess whose little force of 2000 women had effortlessly slaughtered 20,000 men smirked arrogantly as her horse archers approached the enemy. She had cockily refused her Queen’s offer of reinforcements for the next battle, thinking that if her small army could exterminate 20,000 so easily, what was 9000 to them? Unfortunately for her, she had no idea that Roslyn was in command.

“This is it, men,” said Roslyn, riding back and forth across her force’s lines, trying to comfort and encourage the soldiers who knew what this girl-army had done to their comrades. “Stand strong. For the Empire! Archers, prepare to fire on my signal.”

And so it began, 1500 Imperial crossbowmen versus 1200 female horse archers. The crossbowmen readied their Mark VIIs. Roslyn’s trained eyes watched the enemy horsewomen ride closer and closer. When she judged the distance to be just right, she shouted, “FIRE!”

A volley of steel bolts flew towards the Amazons. Many fell short and many missed the petite, fast moving targets, but several dozen riders fell off their horses and hit the desert floor hard. The Amazons fired a volley of arrows in response, but the lesser range of their bows caused them to fall short.

“NOW! SHIELDS!” screamed Roslyn. The crossbowmen removed the massive shields they had been carrying on their backs and planted them into the ground. Ducking behind cover, they reloaded their weapons as the Amazons, whose bows could be fired much more quickly, sent another shower of projectiles.

The Amazon Princess cursed as she saw the arrows slam harmlessly into the shields. And she couldn’t order her force to ride around and attack the enemy from behind because the river was covering their rear. A lesser force, a force of men, would have ridden away. But the Amazons were women with balls (not literally, of course). The riders charged closer, screaming war cries. The crossbowmen fired another volley, dropping several dozen more Amazons, but now the girl-archers were in range themselves. Some of the fastest and most accurate markswomen were able to kill Imperial targets as they popped out from behind their shields to shoot.

Both Princess Roslyn and the Amazon Princess quickly ordered their troops to begin firing at will instead of using volleys. A nail-biting archery duel developed. At first, the Imperials had the upper hand thanks to the greater range of their weapons and their shields, but as the horsewomen drew closer, they were able to fire their bows at steep upward angles, avoiding the shields and nailing men in the backs of their necks or tops of their skulls. And the Imperials’ Mark VII crossbows, though much faster to fire than the Mark VIs that Antonius had foolishly used, were still a lot slower than the Amazon horse archers’ bows. Soon, male bodies began dropping much faster than females.

Roslyn was ready. “Cavalry charge!” she ordered, preparing to lead them herself. Trumpets blared as she led her 1500 light horsemen against the Amazon horse archers. Blocking an arrow with her shield, she killed the shooter with a well-aimed and powerfully thrown spear. There was a brief further exchange of arrows and thrown spears, resulting in a few dozen casualties on each side, before the Amazons retreated. Seeing the 800 Amazon heavy cavalry waiting in the distance, Roslyn ordered her own force to retreat as well.

“Now what?” asked one of her generals.

“We wait,” she said simply.

The Amazon commander cursed again as her horse archers retreated. “Attack! Attack, you cowards!” the hotheaded teenage girl screamed.

“My Princess, please,” said a middle-aged woman, an advisor who had been sent by the Queen to prevent the fiery princess from getting herself or her army into too much trouble. “They would have been caught between the enemy cavalry and the crossbows. They had to retreat. They had no choice.”

“Then send the heavy cavalry to attack!”

“My Lady, the enemy has spears backed with crossbows. It would be suicide. They outnumber us almost five to one. We must send for reinforcements. Then we will be able to defeat them.”

The teenage Amazon growled angrily. “We were able to defeat them effortlessly when they outnumbered us ten to one! Why do they fight like they have balls all of a sudden?!”

“I think I can answer that, my Princess,” said one of the horse archers. “I saw their commander. It’s a woman.”

Nods of understanding came from the Amazons at that. “But why would a woman fight for those males?” asked the Princess.

“That question will have to wait,” said the advisor. “Right now, we need to focus on getting those reinforcements.”

As the Amazons retreated into the distance on their horses, the Imperial army let out a loud cheer, whooping and hollering. Roslyn was about to remind them that all they had done was run off a force barely one-fifth their size, but stopped herself. Let them have this, she thought. It would be good for morale. The men certainly seemed happier and less frightened as they were setting up camp, the Imperial Princess thought as she stepped into the command tent that evening for a meeting with her senior officers.

“We lost slightly more than 200 men. The Amazons lost a little less than that,” one of her generals reported. “However, because their force was much smaller, proportionately they suffered a much greater percentage of casualties. They can’t sustain that, so I wouldn’t expect any more attacks until they get reinforcements.”

“Conventional attacks, yes,” said Roslyn. “But they may try more sneak attacks at night.” She had already ordered double sentries looking out over the desert and triple sentries on the river. “We’ll continue to advance along the river towards enemy territory. The big battle is yet to come.”

Suddenly, a man wearing the uniform of an Imperial Messenger burst into the tent. “My Lady,” he said, bowing to the Princess and handing her a sealed envelope. “From the King himself, for your eyes only.”

Roslyn thanked and dismissed him, then opened the letter. Her eyes widened as she read it:

“My dear daughter,

Your brother, Albert, has returned to the capital with the tattered remnants of an army, most of which he squandered in foolish suicide attacks against the barbarians of the north. That was the last straw. With the lack of intellect of both of my sons and the death of Antonius, I am naming you the heir to the throne. I know you will make a strong and wise Queen when it is your time.

Good luck in your battle and know that win or lose, a crown is waiting for you upon your return home.

Love, Father”

Roslyn pumped her fist in triumph, then noticed that all the men in the tent were staring at her. “You are dismissed,” she said quickly.

Three days later, a scout returned with the news the Imperials had all been anticipating. “An Amazon army marches on us. Their numbers match ours. Nine thousand men…er, women.”

“Thank you,” said Roslyn. She nodded to herself. Now would be the real test. Fighting against these lethal Amazons in numbers equal to her own.

The plain of battle was hot, dusty, and dry, with the fierce desert sun beating down on both armies. The Amazons had formed up in a strong defensive position to the east of Roslyn’s army, with the river covering one of their flanks and a mass of cavalry guarding the other. The girl-warriors were simply holding and making no move to charge. The Imperials would have to attack with the sun shining right at their faces.

“Clever,” Roslyn murmured. “They can outwait us. Our supply lines are longer and we don’t know this territory as well as they do. They’ve forced us onto the offensive in a disadvantageous postion.”

“Shall I order the men to begin advancing, my Lady?” one of her generals asked.

“Not yet. Give the sun a little time to rise further so it won’t be right in their eyes. Hold a defensive position for now in case they attack.”

As they waited, Roslyn ordered her light cavalry to use their spyglasses to gather as much information about the enemy as they could. “They have heavy and light cavalry massed at the north. Swordswomen lined up two deep facing us to the south of the riders, with archers right behind them and the main body of swordswomen in the rear,” came the report.

She nodded, looking at the sun. The angle wasn’t too bad now, and if she waited much longer it would get very hot. The heat would impact the heavily armored, cold-climate-dwelling Imperials much more than it would the lightly armored, darkly tanned Amazons. “Thank you. General, prepare your men to advance. Crossbowmen, load. Prepare to fire on my order.”

The Imperial crossbowmen, locked and loaded, marched forward. Roslyn’s trained eyes judged the distance as it grew closer and closer, waiting to deliver the first volley at their exact maximum range.

But suddenly, a barrage of arrows came flying at the crossbowmen. They slammed into the front ranks of males with devastating efficiency, dropping many dead and others with gory wounds from the thick, massive arrows. The Amazon archers, tall, ultra-muscular women with the enormous strength needed to draw back their lethal long-range longbows, laughed triumphantly and prepared to fire again.

Chaos erupted in the Imperial ranks. Some of the crossbowmen loosed their bolts, which fell short of the enemy. Others began to turn and run. “What devilry is this, bows with a longer range than ours?” cried an officer.

“Now is not the time to wonder about that,” said Roslyn, urging her horse forward. “HOLD, YOU FOOLS!” she screamed at the crossbowmen. “DON’T RETREAT! HOLD YOUR FIRE AND USE YOUR SHIELDS!”

Her strong leadership restored order, and the crossbowmen planted their shields into the ground, hiding behind them as the female archers fired another volley. Some men were too slow and dropped dead, but most of them were safe behind their shields this time.

“In range! NOW! FIRE!” she shouted. A barrage of steel bolts flew towards the Amazons. It was not as efficient as it should have been, since some of the men had foolishly fired earlier and were still reloading, but she knew that they had to get a first volley off before the enemy reloaded. Several dozen Amazons fell to the ground.

“Fire at will!” ordered Princess Roslyn and the commander of the girl-archers to their respective armies. Again an archery duel erupted. The Amazon longbows could fire ten arrows a minute compared with the Imperial crossbows’ four. At first, the males’ shields evened things out, only allowing the Amazons to hit them when they popped out to fire, but as the armies drew closer the female archers were able to shoot at steeper angles, sending arrows over the shields and into the men’s skulls. Once they were able to do that, the Amazons’ superior firepower and markswomanship meant that three or four males were dropping dead for every female.

Although few knights had traveled with the army, their leader, Duke Larssen, a fat fool who was called Duke Lardo behind his back, was there, along with about 80 other mounted noblemen. The duke growled, annoyed at having to serve under a woman and wanting glory for himself. “Prepare to charge!” he ordered his knights. “We’ll sweep those archer bitches off the field. Swordswomen just two ranks deep in front of them? We’ll mow them down like grass.”

“Crossbowmen, retreat under shields!” Roslyn ordered. “Infantry, first division, advan…what the fuck?”

With a roar, Duke Larssen and his 80 knights were charging across the plain. The Amazons pumped arrows into them. By the time they reached the enemy line, 60 of them were dead. The 20 survivors prepared to ride into the front ranks of swordswomen, but the girls suddenly picked up long spears that had been hiding in the dirt. The knights rode into them and were impaled and slaughtered to the last man. A slender teenage girl with dark brown skin and long silky black hair cut off the duke’s head with her sword and impaled it on a spear.

“Fucking idiots,” said Roslyn. “Now, back to real war. Infantry, first division, advance!” The Imperial infantry marched forward. Arrows slammed into their shields. Other men were not so lucky, as arrows nailed their heads from above. Behind them, Roslyn re-formed the crossbowmen. They fired over the infantry’s heads and into the Amazons, reducing the pressure somewhat.

In the front of the Amazon ranks, 150 teenage girls with swords and spears formed a thin brown line, guarding the Amazon archers firing over their heads behind them, standing with balls of steel as thousands of Imperial heavy infantrymen drew closer and closer. Though outnumbered 20 to 1 and occasionally being hit by bolts from the crossbowmen, they showed no fear.

Suddenly, with perfect coordination, the girls hurled their spears at the faces of the front ranks of Imperial infantry. Only a few men moved their shields upward in time and over a hundred males dropped stone cold dead. The girls then hurled themselves into cartwheels followed by back handsprings, elegantly backflipping towards their enemies with incredible speed. They finished their tumbling runs with high back tuck somersaults, flipping right over the first rank of Imperials, landing perfectly on their feet right behind them, and wreaking havoc with their swords on the men’s vulnerable backsides. With their speed, most of the girls were able to kill several men each before being cut down.

Meanwhile, the Amazons had moved the rest of their swordswomen to the front, with the longbow-women behind them. When the maneuver was complete, the survivors from the girls who had penetrated the male ranks quickly backflipped away.

As the two main bodies of infantry clashed, the Amazon cavalry charged. The Imperial light cavalry intercepted their Amazon counterparts, a bloody battle of arrows and thrown spears followed by hand-to-hand combat with swords and axes breaking out. Meanwhile, the Amazon heavy cavalry rode around the Imperials, preparing to attack their rear.

Roslyn gave a signal with a whistle from her full, pouty lips. A detachment of reserve infantry, shields and spears at the ready, formed up to guard the rear. Behind them, a force of crossbowmen moved into position, ready to fire over their comrades’ heads. She then rejoined her staff officers.

“Shit. Heavy cavalry to the west, light cavalry to the north, infantry to the east, and the river to the south. They’ve got us surrounded. We’re trapped!” a young officer panicked.

“Quiet, Major,” Princess Roslyn ordered him. “We’re surrounded. We’re not trapped. Spears backed with crossbows guard our western flank. Their cavalry can’t get past that. We are meant to *think* we are trapped, so we will panic. But we will not panic. Right, Major?”

“Right. Sorry, my Lady.”

From a small hill overlooking the battle, the hotheaded teenage Amazon princess in command of the female army smirked. “They’re surrounded. They must be panicking. Heavy cavalry, charge the line. They’ll turn and run. Then we can hit their main force from the rear, double envelop them, and finish them off.”

“My Princess, please,” said the middle-aged advisor. “If they *don’t* run, our girls will ride into a wall. Let’s just contain them for now and tighten the noose slowly.”

“Morwen, please,” said the Amazon Princess. “I’m in command here. They’ll run. Now give the signal to charge.”

800 Amazon heavy cavalry charged the western Imperial line. Roslyn rode over to her men. “Steady, boys. They’re trying to scare us. Don’t run.” The men, facing Amazon war horses thundering towards them, probably would have run if she hadn’t been there, but her presence was enough to bring calm and strength to them.

As the enemy riders entered crossbow range without turning away, she ordered, “Give them a volley.” A barrage of steel bolts flew towards the Amazons. A few dozen riders fell off their horses and into the desert sand. The cavalry commander wisely turned the rest of her girls away.

Meanwhile, in the main infantry battle, although both sides were taking heavy casualties, the heavy armor and large shields of the Imperials were actually doing some good. They were slowly pushing the Amazons back. “By the gods,” breathed one of Roslyn’s generals. “Could we actually win?”

Roslyn’s heart was pounding. She forced herself to remain calm, concentrating on keeping an eye on every part of the battle, not counting her chickens before they hatched.

The Amazon Princess scowled as Morwen gave her a look. “Don’t give me that ‘I told you so’ look,” she growled. “I’m going to win this battle, one way or another, and annihilate the enemy. Queen’s Guard! Forward, with me!”

The Amazon Queen’s Guard, a hand-picked elite corps of 300 ultra-lethal female warriors, the best of the best, who had each personally slain at least 50 men in combat, began advancing in perfect formation as the hotheaded princess dismounted her horse and joined them. The other Amazons parted to make way for them. Morwen sighed. She had no choice but to pray that this would work.

Roslyn raised her eyebrows as she noticed. “They’re going for the whole enchilada. They’re going to try to smash our lines. Imperial Guard! Forward, with me!”

The Imperial Guard, a hand-picked elite corps of 400 men, veterans of many wars and the best soldiers in the Imperial army, formed up and began advancing. Roslyn turned to the colonel who had survived Antonius’ foolish ambush. “Besides myself, you’re the strongest leader here. Protect our rear. Don’t let the men panic, and don’t let anything break this line. If it does, we’re doomed.” As an afterthought, she added, “No pressure,” hoping the joke would relieve the tension. It worked, as all the men laughed.

Turning serious again, Roslyn dismounted, exchanging her small round cavalry shield for a large, rectangular infantry one. She patted the sword sheathed on her hip, covered her head and face with a helmet, grabbed a spear, and hurried to catch up with the Imperial Guard, positioning herself in the front rank.

The regular Imperial infantry, who had been slowly pushing the enemy back, gasped in shock and fear when the lines of Amazons suddenly parted and 300 incredibly beautiful and muscular women were coming at them with elegant aerial cartwheels followed by whipbacks. They backflipped with lightning speed, crashing into the still-startled men and slicing, dicing, and decapitating their way through the male ranks. Now the momentum was reversed, with the female army advancing and the lucky men retreating – and the unlucky men dying.

The Amazon princess roared with laughter as she cut a man’s head off, sliced another in half, and slit the throats of two more. Men were slaughtered by the hundreds, and still none of the Amazon Queen’s Guard had suffered anything worse than a minor cut.

The regular male soldiers gladly parted to make way for the Imperial Guard. All of a sudden, Roslyn and her men were facing the Amazon Princess and her women. Two elite forces, the best of their respective armies. They stared at one another for a second.

Then they both charged, spears, swords, and shields clashing as they collided. Roslyn blocked a spear thrust with her shield and stabbed her attacker in the foot with her own spear. With a cry of pain, the Amazon’s shield dropped. Roslyn impaled her through the heart, then kicked the body off and slit another Amazon’s throat with the razor-sharp end of her spear.

A girl’s blade flashed. Roslyn moved just enough to avoid having her right arm cut off, although she still received a nasty gash on her shoulder, the pain causing her to involuntarily drop her spear. She lashed out with a kick, knocking her opponent back long enough for her to draw her sword. They battled, swords striking each other’s shields for a few seconds, until Roslyn suddenly backflip kicked the Amazon in the face, stunning her. Before she could recover, Roslyn cut off her head.

She glanced around, quickly guesstimating the dead on each side. Although the Imperial Guardsmen were much better fighters than the male regulars, she still counted two dead men for every dead woman. And her side only outnumbered the enemy 400 to 300. This wasn’t going to work. Already the men were being pushed back. If the Amazons broke through, the Imperial army would collapse.

She looked over at the Amazon Princess, who was gleefully slaughtering men left and right with incredible skill. If this had been a movie, she would have challenged her to Noble One-on-One Single Combat (TM), but this wasn’t a movie. The Amazon leader had foolishly and arrogantly not bothered to hide who she was. Roslyn, on the other hand, equipped with the same weapons and shield as her men and wearing the face mask, looked like any other soldier, though smaller. Still, none of the enemy knew who she was. If they did, she knew she would have been immediately targeted.

No, it was time to end this, once and for all. Snatching up her spear, she hurled it with perfect accuracy at the Amazon Princess. The weapon impaled her right in the throat, the tip sticking out of the back of her neck. She stood ramrod straight for a second, then collapsed. The Amazons froze in shock for just a split second. That was enough. With a high-pitched shriek, Roslyn led the Imperial Guard in a counterattack.

A piercing whistle cut across the battlefield. The surviving Queen’s Guardswomen began backflipping away like pro-gymnasts. A few of the men who had been standing too close had their necks broken by the powerful backflip kicks.

All across the battlefield, Amazons moved away in a calm and orderly retreat. “Let them go,” ordered Roslyn. “They have archers covering them, and we’ve been pounded enough.” She examined the wound on her shoulder. Nasty-looking, but not really serious. She could still swing her sword and throw her spear.

A ragged cheer went up from the bruised and battered men as the enemy disappeared into the distance. One of her generals rode up to her. “Congratulations on your victory, my Lady.”

Roslyn looked around, surveying the heaps of her dead men, including many high-ranking officers. “One more victory like this, and we are ruined,” she responded grimly.

In the fortified Imperial camp by the river, Roslyn met with her surviving senior officers in the command tent. “I have the count,” said a general. “2000 of our men are dead. 800 are wounded too badly to fight if the Amazons attack again, and another thousand are wounded but capable of combat.”

Roslyn shook her head. “One-third of our force is out of action, many of them permanently. How about the enemy?”

“We counted 1200 Amazons dead on the field. That’s all we killed, they didn’t have time to carry off their dead. We don’t know how many of them are wounded but the number will probably be lower than ours.”

“So not only do they outnumber us now, but they can get reinforcements quickly, while ours will take weeks. In addition, their foolish commander who made mistakes is dead and has in all likelihood been replaced by someone far smarter.” Roslyn wondered if she should have left the hotheaded Amazon alive, but it was only her death that had stopped the elite Amazons’ charge. It had been a no-win situation.

“Gentlemen, it’s time to face reality,” Roslyn continued. “If we fight them again, our chances of victory are very slim.”

“So what are we going to do?” asked a colonel. “Just retreat?”

“No,” said Roslyn. “If we did that, they would probably follow us. Most likely invade our territory. No, I think it’s time for a parley.”

“A parley? Those Amazons slaughtered the men from our first army who tried to surrender,” said a general. “I don’t think they’ll be very open to negotiation.”

“Not with a man. But I don’t believe they will harm a female emissary. And with that hotheaded princess dead, cooler heads should be in command now. I will send one of my female servants over to their camp with a flag of truce.”

“An enemy rider approaches! He carries a white flag,” an Amazon scout reported.

“He is a fool, then,” said a muscular female archer, reaching for an arrow.

“Wait,” said her commander. “The rider is a woman. Let’s see what she wants.”

* * *

“My Lady,” said the servant, bowing as she entered the Imperial command tent. “The enemy commander has agreed to a parley with you. Tomorrow at noon.”

“Thank you,” said Roslyn, squeezing the girl’s hand. “You were very brave. You will be rewarded for this.” She turned to her officers. “It is settled then. Tell the sentries to stay sharp. I don’t think they’ll try anything now but you never know.”

The night passed without incident, however. The next morning, the two armies formed up on the dusty desert plain, ready to fight if the negotiations went bad. The tension was thick as the forces faced each other. “Don’t let any of the men do anything stupid,” the Princess instructed her senior general.

“Yes, milady.” As she began riding away from her lines, he added, “Good luck.”

Roslyn looked at her counterpart as the two women rode towards each other. She was tall, slender, and beautiful, with long light brown hair and an elegant, high-cheekboned face. Though she was an older woman, probably in her forties, her hazel eyes still sparkled with energy.

The woman dismounted elegantly despite the long dress she was wearing. As Roslyn dismounted as well and looked into the other woman’s face, she saw a long scar running down her cheek, looking like it was from a battle many years ago.

“Princess Roslyn. I am Morwen, senior advisor to the Queen of the Amazon Nation.”

“It is good to meet you, Morwen,” said Roslyn formally.

“You may dispense with the pleasantries. I only agreed to this meeting because you are a woman in command of these men. If you have something you feel is worthy of my time, then speak it.”

Roslyn took a deep breath. Her opponent was clearly powerful and cunning. She would have to play this just right. The fate of thousands lay in her hands.

“If that is your wish, then so be it. We did not want a war with the Amazon Nation. This conflict began when one hundred of our men were slaughtered in an outpost on our own territory, without provocation.”

“Without provocation? I guess the one man our girls left alive just long enough to tell the story didn’t tell the whole truth. He didn’t tell you that those soldiers at the outpost decided to entertain themselves by sailing down the river into Amazon land and attempting to rape Amazon women. Of course that ended in the invaders being slaughtered. Then we nailed the rest of them at the outpost in retaliation.”

Roslyn stared in shock, then clenched her fists in anger. Those stupid fools, thinking with their cocks. They had gotten thousands killed. And their idiocy had placed her in a very difficult position.

“My Lady, I am sorry. I did not know. If I had known, things would have gone very differently.”

“Would they now.” Morwen’s tone showed no emotion at all.

“Yes. But at any rate, whether you believe me or not, that is in the past and cannot be undone. We must focus on the present. Many have died on both sides. Both our armies are battered. There is no need for more killing. I offer a treaty of peace.”

“Are you still under the command of your father?”

“Well, of course. He is the King…”

“The Amazon Nation does not sign treaties with men. However, I have an offer of my own. Join us. Become a general of the Amazon army. You know everything about those men. With your knowledge and our fighting skills, we will become an unstoppable force.”

“Treason?! I will not!”

“Why do you fight for a nation that regards women as inferior?”

“It is not quite so simple as that. This is my nation. This is my blood. There are many good men here. There are many men that I love. Including my father.”

“We will not treat with a land under the rule of a man. Now unless you have anything further…”

“I do.” Roslyn took out the letter from her father. “The King has named me his heir. I will become Queen.”

Morwen read the letter, appearing deep in thought. Roslyn could see the wheels turning as her counterpart went over possibilities and consequences like a chess player. Finally the Amazon said, “Under these circumstances, I can treat with you. If you can convince your father to leave the Amazon Nation alone, we can have peace. But this is contingent on you remaining heiress to the throne. If not, the treaty will become null and void.”

“Trust me,” said Roslyn. “You won’t have to worry about that happening.”

* * *

“Well?” said one of her officers excitedly. “How did it go, my Lady?”

“We have signed a treaty with the Amazons. The borders remain the same. The desert is a neutral zone. Anyone entering the desert does so at their own risk, and killings in the desert will not be considered a declaration of war. Both armies are to retreat immediately.”

The news was greeted with mixed emotions. Some of the men still wanted to fight the Amazons, but others recognized that the treaty was probably for the best, since they most likely would not have been able to defeat the female army. One loudmouthed officer shouted, “They butchered 20,000 of our men and we’re not going to take vengeance?!”

“Vengeance?” said Roslyn sharply. “Did you know that the soldiers at that outpost started this whole war by entering Amazon territory and trying to rape their women? The attack on the outpost was not unprovoked. THAT was vengeance.” The officer hung his head in shame.

As the army began preparing to move out, Roslyn thought about the offer Morwen had made. She had rejected it immediately. There was no reason for her to accept it, since her father had named her heir to the throne. But what if he had not? What if the idiotic Albert was to become king? She was willing to follow her father’s orders because he was an intelligent man. But could she have followed Albert’s? If it had come to that, Morwen’s offer would have been very tempting…

She snapped herself out of her thoughts. The Princess was sure of one thing. She was glad she wouldn’t have to make that decision. “All right, men,” Roslyn called out. “Let’s go home.”

“You surrendered to them? You coward!” spat Albert at his sister. “Daddy!” he whined. “This is why GIRLS shouldn’t be rulers! I should be king!”

“Shut the fuck up, you fool,” Roslyn snapped at her brother. “I didn’t surrender to anyone. I signed a treaty as an equal. And I saved thousands of lives. Maybe even yours.”

“Albert, calm yourself,” said King Frederick III.

“I will not! In fact, I will not accept this! Roslyn, I CHALLENGE YOU!” Albert drew his sword.

Roslyn drew her own blade. “I was hoping you’d say something like that.”

“Roslyn,” said her father. He had a tone of warning. She looked at him and read his expression. It said, “Don’t kill him. He may be an idiot but he’s still my son.” The king knew that Albert was no match for her and had no chance of winning. She smirked to herself at the thought. She nodded to her father and he nodded back.

“Well, bring it on, Fat Albert,” Roslyn taunted her opponent. The prince stared down in shame at his fat gut, wishing he had toned abs like his sister.

The fight didn’t last long. The Princess blocked her brother’s wild swing easily, popped him in the nose with her free fist, and gave him a small cut on his arm with her sword, causing him to drop his own weapon with a yelp. She then did a standing back handspring, kicking him in the jaw and sending him to the floor. Landing elegantly on her feet, she stood over him dominantly, her blade right in front of his face. “Some challenge,” she mocked him. Everyone in the room was laughing at the stupid prince.

When King Frederick III died five years later, Roslyn was crowned Queen Roslyn I. She stripped Albert of all his lands and noble titles, and forced him to live as a peasant commoner. The fat earl (remember him?) who had said that girls couldn’t fight and the loudmouthed officer (remember him?) who had wanted vengeance on the Amazons after the treaty had been signed received the same treatment.

Her reign was long and prosperous, and under her the Empire grew in size, although of course she respected the boundaries with the Amazons. No conflict occurred between the Amazons and the Empire during her rule. She fought many wars on other fronts, however, personally leading her soldiers in combat and winning stunning victories over larger enemy armies time and again.

On the domestic front, Queen Roslyn instituted an intelligent and workable policy towards sexual equality that combined real change and a genuine desire to make things better for women with respect for tradition and recognition of the realities of a medieval monarchy. The powerful trade guilds and the Imperial army became open to women, although both remained majority male.

Eventually, she married the smart colonel (remember him?) who had been the only survivor of Antonius’ doomed army. They had two sons together, and when they grew up, she declared her younger son to be her heir, as he was smarter than his older brother. He was eventually crowned King Frederick IV.

Although Frederick IV continued his mother’s policies of sexual equality, they couldn’t last forever. Only seven years into his reign, the new king was killed in battle against the barbarians of the north. His children were too young to rule directly, and the council of “advisors” that ruled in their place, after putting down a bloody coup attempt by Frederick IV’s older brother and beheading him, swiftly rolled back all the reforms that Queen Roslyn had made. Unsurprisingly, war with the Amazons erupted again. But that is a tale for another time.

Time marched on. Years, decades, centuries. Great sailing-ships were invented, along with cannons and muskets. The Empire began expanding across the sea, finding new islands to explore and conquer. The line of kings and queens continued, finally reaching King Frederick IX, father of Princess Katarina.

Katarina closed the journal. “Fascinating,” she said out loud. She loved history. Outside, the rain was still pounding her tent.

Another commotion came from outside. She opened the flap. “It’s okay. I’m still not sleeping.”

It was a Royal Messenger this time. “From your father, for your eyes only, my Lady,” he said, bowing and handing her a letter.

“Thank you,” said Katarina. She retreated back into her tent and opened the letter. She began to shake as she read it:

“My dearest Katarina,

It breaks my heart to say this, but I have decided that your brother will inherit the throne. Although you would make a far better ruler than he would, I have heard whispers of assassination should you become Queen, from evil men who do not want someone of your strength with the crown. I would much rather have you alive and not ruling than have you as a dead Queen. I know it will be tough, but in time I hope you will come to understand my decision.

Love, Father”

The Princess put her face in her hands. How could he?! She risked her life time and again in battle against REAL enemies. How could her father be more worried about POSSIBLE assassins?

Katarina remembered what she had just read, about Roslyn wondering if she would have switched sides and joined the Amazons if she had not been named heir to the throne. Well, now SHE was going to have to do more than wonder. She was going to have to make a decision…

TO BE CONTINUED…

Tales from the Amazon Wars, Episode 2

Tales from the Amazon Wars, Episode 2: Enter the Princess: Her Royal Highness is sent to stop the Amazons

The citizens of the Colonial Capital were frightened, and rightfully so. Two weeks earlier, eight thousand of their soldiers had been massacred by an army of just three thousand teenage Amazon girls. Only three male soldiers had escaped alive to tell the tale. Four others had been captured by the Amazons. The men who had died were luckier.

In the days that had followed, isolated outposts were overrun by roving bands of Amazon maidens. Garrisons were slaughtered to the last man. The people had fled into the few towns on this large, partially explored island that were protected by city walls, leaving the Amazons to rampage throughout the countryside, burning crops and buildings. The Colonial Governor had sent for help from His Majesty’s army on the mainland, but due to the four-week round-trip travel time, it would be another two weeks before the earliest help could be expected to arrive. The town watch, on double guard ever since news of the battle had broken, was full of jitters, expecting every day to see lethal Amazon warrioresses riding out of the woods. The Governor tried to calm the citizens’ fears. “Even if they do come,” he said, “they can’t breach our walls with their primitive weapons.”

“We lost twelve cannons at the massacre,” a lieutanant, one of the three men who had escaped from the battle, pointed out. “And more from the outposts that were captured by the Amazons.”

“How would they know how to use them?” asked the Governor. “We just need to sit tight and stay calm. Reinforcements will arrive soon. Then we can teach those arrogant Amazons a lesson.”

And so with those words, the citizens of the royal kingdom tried to find strength and comfort. But it was not to last. On the fifteenth day after the massacre, a guard up on the city wall was making his usual rounds. Thinking he saw something in the woods, he tried to get a better look. Suddenly, something was flying directly at him with incredible speed. He let out the beginning of a scream which was abruptly cut short.

Three of his comrades rushed over at the sound. They found him dead on the wall, the razor-sharp tip of a spear embedded in his skull. Three decapitated heads had already been impaled on the spear before it had been thrown by an obviously very powerful arm.

They recognized the heads immediately. They were those of Major General Donner, the commander of the ill-fated army that had been massacred by the Amazons, along with his chief of staff and his artillery commander. All three heads were covered with bloody cuts and scars. That, along with the expressions of terror frozen on their dead faces, indicated that they had been subjected to sadistic torture before meeting their grisly ends. The youngest guard fainted at the gory sight. Another began throwing up. The last guard, the oldest, managed to scream for his commander. “Milord! Look!”

The officer hurried over, gasping in shock at the scene. He opened his mouth, but before he could say anything, a cannon shot boomed. The stone wall in front of them crumbled away and all four men dropped stone cold dead, bodies blasted to pieces. More cannon fire came, more stones were blown loose from the wall, and more men dropped, some dead, some with arms and legs gruesomely blown off. “WHAT?!” The Governor came flying out of his mansion at the sound. All around the city, people were staring at the carnage that had come out of nowhere.

A figure emerged from the woods. It was a man, bloody, bruised, and battered, covered with scars from whips. His hands were tied, and on his broken body he wore the tattered remnants of a Royal Artillery captain’s uniform. Another figure came up behind him. This one was a girl, perhaps in her late teens, petite and slender, but well-muscled. Despite being far smaller than the man, she was clearly in dominant control of him.

She spoke in a commanding but feminine voice. “Cowards of the male kingdom! Did you think you would be safe behind your walls? Think again, fools! Your comrade here was kind enough to train us in the use of these cannons we captured from you, after a little ‘encouragement,’ of course. You cannot run and you cannot hide from the Amazon Nation! The Mother Goddess will never be denied her vengeance!”

“Kill her!” ordered the Governor. Dozens of muskets spit flame, but the girl had already begun executing a lightning-fast series of standing back handsprings, elegantly backflipping like a pro-gymnast into the cover of the woods, dodging all the musket balls easily. After she disappeared, the artillery officer was left standing there alone, staring up at the people he had betrayed. “Traitor! Coward!” came the shouts from the citizens.

“Please!” he begged. “They tortured me…”

“Silence, turncoat!” boomed the Governor. He pointed to the decapitated heads of the other three officers impaled on the spear. “They were tortured too, but they had the balls to stay loyal to their king and country! And you did not! By the authority vested in me by His Majesty, I sentence you to death for treason. Guards, kill him!”

The soldiers, in a bloodthirsty mood and wanting to lash out at something, needed no encouragement. They opened fire and the traitor dropped dead like a sack of potatoes, at least twenty musket balls in him. The citizens cheered at his death, the only thing they had to celebrate that day. Cheering loudest of all was the dead traitor’s own wife, a musket that she had snatched from a soldier in her silk-gloved hands. She had aimed for his groin and her shot had hit true.

The cheering stopped abruptly, however, as the Amazons began firing the captured cannons again. The soldiers fired back with the cannons mounted on the city walls, but the enemy guns were well hidden in the woods and trying to knock them out was blind guesswork.

And so it continued. Each day, another forty or fifty men died from Amazon cannon fire. Each day, the sturdy stone wall around the city grew a little weaker. To make matters worse, the Amazon girls also began using hit-and-run tactics, in which horsewomen would ride out from the woods, fire expertly aimed shots from their bows, dropping several males dead each time, and retreat back into cover before the defenders could respond. Soon, the wall became fully breached in several places, forcing men to be pulled off of other duties to keep each opening guarded. Makeshift barricades of overturned wagons and old furniture were placed at the gaps. Reserves for the dozens of soldiers who died each day were running thin, and boys and old men were starting to be pressed into military service. And to the defenders’ unending frustration, they had no way to tell whether their own cannon fire was having any effect on the enemy. The increase in the intensity of the enemy fire indicated that either it was not, the Amazons were bringing up more captured cannons from the overrun outposts, or both.

Getting news from the outside world was impossible. During the first few nights of the siege, scouts and spies had been sent out quietly from the walls to try to gather information about the enemy positions and what was happening in other towns. And each morning, like clockwork, the corpses of the spies sent out the previous night would be tossed out of the woods, perforated with arrows, impaled with spears, or simply sliced and diced into small pieces. After the fourth night, the Governor had ordered the spy patrols stopped.

The Amazon espionage missions had far more success. Under the cover of night, girl warriors snuck out of the woods with catlike stealth. Evading the gazes of the guards, they used their gymnast-like strength and agility to scale the walls, then wreaked havoc inside the town before escaping. Cannons were booby-trapped to explode when fired. Food, water, and ammunition were stolen. And men were executed by girl-assassins with knives, swords, axes, and bows. One night, two teenage girls slipped into the city, silently slaughtered thirty-seven male victims, and slipped back out into the woods without a single hair in their elegant coiffures being disturbed. Morale among the defenders plunged to rock bottom. As they waited for the inevitable mass attack, people even began talking about evacuating the city by sea. The great Colonial Capital that had stood proud and dominant on the island for two hundred years was being humbled by an army of tanned, long-haired, pretty girls.

The day of the attack was not long in coming. One cold morning, just before dawn, a terrifying, high-pitched female warrior cry came from the woods, directly opposite one of the breaches in the wall. The sound was accompanied by the pounding of footsteps and hoofbeats. “They’re coming! To arms, to arms! To the breach!”

Sleepy men grabbed their muskets and raced to the opening. “Positions! Take aim!” barked an officer. “Don’t fire until I give the order!”

The men waited. And waited. Suddenly, horrible screams came from across town, at one of the other breaches in the wall. The Amazons had cleverly lured the main body of soldiers to one part of the city, then attacked and overwhelmed the few defenders at one of the other openings. Amazon cavalry was riding through the city, shooting down men with their bows and decapitating them with their swords.

The soldiers manning the cannons on the wall prepared to fire. Suddenly, devastatingly accurate volleys of arrows slammed into the artillerymen. Male bodies dropped like flies, arrows sticking out of various parts of their corpses. The few survivors could do nothing more than crawl away. Meanwhile, as the main body of infantry turned to meet the threat inside the walls, a second wave of horsewomen rode out towards the breach they had orignally been guarding, ready to finish the trap.

From a window on the third floor of his mansion, the Governor looked out at the scene sadly. Was this how it was going to end?

Suddenly, just as the top of the sun peeked over the horizon in the eastern sky, there came the deep, familiar sound of a war horn. Not an Amazon war horn, but the one of the Royalist army!

A volley of artillery fire from a large mass of cannons boomed. Grapeshot and canister were poured into the horsewomen charging towards the gap in the wall, dropping many. Though taken completely by surprise, the Amazon riders reacted swiftly and efficiently. With expert coordination, the survivors wheeled about and rode back into the cover of the woods. The Amazon cavalry still inside the walls reacted with the same expert skill. Shooting or riding down anyone in their way, they fled as quickly as they had charged, mounted girl-archers in the rear firing backwards over their shoulders with impressive accuracy to discourage men from shooting them in the backs as they rode away.

Over the crest of a ridge in the east appeared a massive force of Royalist cavalry, three thousand riders. Leading them was a beautiful young woman on a white horse. “It’s the Princess!” came the joyous cry from the defenders of the city. “Princess Katarina has come!”

The Royalist cavalry formed up, the Princess riding in front of them, her sword raised. “Make safe our city, in the name of the King!” she cried, her commanding but feminine and musical voice audible even in the distance. “Forth, and fear no darkness!” As the war-horn bellowed again, the riders let out a roar and charged down the hill, following their female commander. The men in the city joined in the shouting.

The riders thundered across the plain towards the city and the woods. Suddenly, from the cover of the trees, a volley of Amazon arrows came flying towards them, followed immediately by another, two groups of girl-archers executing a well-coordinated attack. Princess Katarina, with her quick reflexes, raised the shield strapped to her slender left arm, stopping two arrows that would have hit her face. Most of the males near her, however, were not as quick. Some dropped dead instantly, arrows in their brains, throats, or hearts. Others, including some who had gotten their shields up, were hit in their exposed legs by the first volley. As they dropped their shields with cries of pain, the second barrage of arrows finished them off. Still others had thought they could save their money by buying cheap wooden shields instead of well-built metal ones. Their penny-pinching cost them their lives, as the powerful bows of the Amazons sent arrows straight through the wood and into male flesh.

More arrows came flying at them. A lesser commander would have turned and run, dooming many of his men to being shot in the back and wasting the effort of the charge. But the Princess had balls. Not literally, of course, but the figurative kind. She let out a high-pitched warrior shirek, rallying her men though soldiers and horses were dropping dead all around them, expertly deflecting another arrow with her shield, urging her soldiers on faster.

Another woman on a white horse was in the woods. She, too was a Princess, but a Princess of the Amazon nation. Her name was Jenova, and she was the second daughter of the Queen and the commander of the Amazon advance force in the forest.

“My Lady!” A mounted teenage girl-warrior with a bow in her hand rode up to her. “Forgive me, my lady Jenova. Our arrows were not enough to stop them. They’re going to ride into us.”

“Shh,” whispered Jenova. “You did well. You slew many of them. Now have your girls fire one more volley, then retreat. It’s time for another group to fight.”

“Yes, milady.” As the archer rode off, Jenova stared at the woman leading the charge in the distance, wondering who she was and why a girl was leading this band of males.

As the riders approached the trees, Katarina drew her double-barreled pistol, gripping it tightly in her leather-gloved right hand, her shield still on her other arm. Though riding at top speed, her trained dark brown eyes were carefully scanning the wall of green. Suddenly, a look of alarm appeared on her face. “Ambush! Ambush! They’re hiding in the branches!”

Sure enough, a petite but muscular Amazon girl, a blade in each hand, launched herself from the nearest tree with a powerful front tuck somersault directly at Katarina. The Princess fired her pistol, killing her attacker in midair. Another Amazon hurled a spear at her. Katarina ducked. “LOOK OUT!” she shouted. The male soldier riding directly behind her wasn’t fast enough, however, and got impaled right in the center of his chest, the powerful throw sending the spear straight through his armor.

As the Royalist cavalry rode into the forest, Amazon girls dropped on them like rain from high up in the trees. Thanks to Katarina’s warning, some of the men were able to save themselves with their pistols. Others, however, were blinded by the Amazons’ speed and gymnastic skills, and met gruesome ends by Amazon blades after missing their pistol shots. Katarina, seeing an enemy about to stab one of her men, fired her second barrel, shooting her straight through the heart. The Princess then drew her sword, decapitating an axe-wielding Amazon who was leaping at her.

The battle in the woods was long and bloody, and many died on both sides. But thanks to superior numbers and Katarina’s leadership, the Royalists won the fight. The surviving Amazon warriors retreated by backflipping away with incredible speed and agility, causing most of the shots fired at them by the male soldiers to miss.

Behind the cavalry, thousands of Royalist infantrymen marched down the hill, splitting into two columns and securing the space surrounding the Colonial Capital. Meanwhile, more Royalist infantry landed at the docks and marched directly into the city itself.

Princess Jenova of the Amazons rode up to her older sister, Princess Livia, heiress to the throne. The two made a striking pair. Both were incredibly beautiful, but Jenova’s curly shoulder-length black tresses contrasted sharply with Livia’s long, straight auburn hair. It had been Livia who had commanded the girl-army that had massacred the eight thousand Royalist soldiers in the earlier battle. The torture of the four male officers and the execution of three of them had also been done on Livia’s orders.

“We did what damage we could while preserving as much of our forces as we could,” Jenova reported. “We have about eight hundred dead and several hundred wounded, but the enemy has suffered heavy losses too. Our archers are still picking off men at the edges of their columns, but we’re going to have to retreat into the interior of the island soon, before they can organize a pursuit. Most of the wounded have already been put on horses and are back on their way to our fortifications.”

“Those males have been so cowardly and weak,” said Livia. “Why do they fight like they have balls all of a sudden? Our arrows should have cut their cavalry charge to pieces just like it did on the Plain of Victory four weeks ago. The city should be ours.”

“A woman leads them now,” Jenova replied.

“Ah, that explains that,” said Livia, nodding. “But that doesn’t explain why a woman is leading those males in the first place. Tell me, sister. What does she look like?”

“She is tall, slender, and beautiful. She would look exactly like one of us if she dressed like us. She even has darkly tanned brown skin like we do. It was her leadership that won the day for the enemy. Without her, the men would have crumbled. If we could capture her alive and convince her to join us, she could be a very powerful ally indeed.”

“An interesting idea, little sister. But we must also remember how dangerous she is. At any rate, now is not the time for such discussions. We must regroup and plan our next attack.” Livia clenched her fists. “I just hate losing battles. This is the first one I’ve ever lost. I need to let my rage out…hello, I think I see just what the herbalist ordered.” She turned to a young woman with a crossbow standing nearby. “Give me that.”

“Yes, milady.” The girl-archer bowed and handed the weapon over. About 300 yards away, a male soldier was helping a wounded comrade get up. He placed the injured man on a horse, then got on himself. Livia grinned wickedly and took careful aim. Her accuracy was lethal and perfect, despite the great distance. The large, thick, cruelly barbed steel bolt flew through the air with tremendous speed and power, impacting the second man in the back, driving all the way through his armor, through his torso, through the armor on his front side, and coming to rest in the body of the first man after penetrating his armor as well. Both soldiers dropped dead to the dirt. Livia handed back the crossbow, laughing aloud at her markswomanship. “Come on, let’s go.” She began to ride away, still smirking.

The Colonial Capital was saved. Two large scouting parties, one to the northwest and one to the southwest, had been sent out to investigate the status of other towns in the island colony. Cavalry now regularly patrolled the nearby woods. The broken sections of the city wall were already being repaired. “Thank you for saving us, Princess,” said the Governor, bowing before Katarina submissively.

“You may stand, Governor,” she responded. “You did the best you could with what little forces you had left, after General Donner foolishly squandered most of them.” The Governor smiled with relief.

“What news from the battle?” she asked her chief of staff.

“Milady, our army suffered a thousand men dead, seven hundred badly wounded, and six hundred walking wounded. That’s only from our arriving force, it’s not counting the casualties among the city guard and the civilians. We lost more men than horses, so we can reassign some of our infantry as cavalry. We estimate that we destroyed about one-fifth of the enemy force, though keep in mind that their army was significantly smaller than ours. Most of their cavalry escaped, and we only managed to recapture two cannons, so they still have significant artillery strength.”

“Thank you, General. And of the earlier battle, I heard there were three survivors?”

“Yes, Princess.”

“I wish to speak with them immediately. Have them brought to me. After that, I am calling a council of war in one hour at the Governor’s mansion. All officers of the rank of lieutenant colonel and above should be there.”

After the men scurried to carry out her orders, Princess Katarina, left alone in relative peace and quiet for the first time in a while, sat down on an ornately carved stone bench overlooking a fountain, the water still flowing despite the siege and battle. She put her head in her hands. A thousand of her men dead. Plus likely several hundred more dead in the city. It was a delicate balance inside her between the tough warrior who knew that deaths were inevitable and the compassionate leader who cared deeply for the soldiers under her command.

Her thoughts turned to the future. The Amazons. How was she going to handle this? Was she even capable of handling this? After a single battle, she could say without question that they were the toughest opponents she had ever faced. Her side had had every advantage. Superior numbers. The element of surprise. Superior artillery firepower. And yet, the battle had essentially ended in a draw, or at best a minor victory for her side. What was going to happen when she met the Amazons in an even fight?

After speaking with the survivors of the first battle, Katarina felt even more intimidated by the Amazons. The men had described the enemy as having near-superhuman speed, unbelievable accuracy with bows and thrown weapons, expert knowledge of tactics, unshakeable courage, and the ability to learn and adapt incredibly fast.

Katarina was a powerful warrior princess in her own right. Though only twenty-three years old, she had already fought many battles, personally slain dozens of men in combat, and led Royalist troops to victory over larger armies time and again. Tall and intimidating, slender but muscular, powerful yet feminine, she looked quite the stereotypical female warrior. The daughter of King Frederick IX and his first wife, an exotic-looking noblewoman from a far-southern tribe, she had inherited her mother’s long, silky black hair and darkly tanned brown skin. Some men joked that she looked almost like an Amazon herself, though the similar deep tans of the Amazons and those of her mother’s tribe simply came from both groups living in warm climates. Their homelands were thousands of miles apart.

Katarina did not think of herself as having much in common with the Amazons…at least not yet. For now, her curiosity about them was motivated simply by her desire to know her enemy. Yes, she came from a society with a long tradition of sexism. It was unusual for women, even princesses, to lead armies in the kingdom, and it had taken several victorious battles for her to become the well-respected leader she was today. Yes, women had far fewer rights than men in her country. But her father was a good man who was trying to make things better. He had issued an edict making wife-beating illegal, and another allowing women to join some of the guilds. Not all, but some. And the throne…

The throne. It might even be hers someday. According to the law of the kingdom, the eldest son was first in line to inherit the throne, and daughters got the monarchy only if there were no available sons. She had one sibling, a younger brother, also named Frederick, called Junior to his face, but Little F behind his back, for Little Fuck-up. Twenty-one-year old Little F was not only dim-witted and utterly incompetent at everything from battle to money management, but also a cruel sadist. Everyone knew that he would make a terrible king, though some people still supported him for their own reasons. Some were as sadistic as he was, some hated the idea of a woman in power, and some wanted an incompetent fool who would be easy to manipulate rather than a strong leader.

But there was the rule, the Roslyn Rule, named for the queen who had been a distant ancestor. Way back then, King Frederick III had named his intelligent daughter, Roslyn, the heiress to the throne over her incompetent brother. That had started the tradition of a monarch being able to name another of his children his heir, if he deemed the eldest son would be a danger on the throne. In the five hundred years the Roslyn Rule had been in existence, it had only been used twice after the original proclamation. By the gods, it was time for it to be used again. Surely her father would not let the useless Little F on the throne…

Katarina was used to being the only woman in a room, as she was now in this council of war, held in the large basement of the Governor’s mansion. She looked over the various males in attendance. Some were courageous and intelligent men that she could always trust in battle. Others were cowardly fools who had only risen to their ranks because of political connections.

“How many soldiers do we have available here in fighting shape?” she asked.

“Milady, we have 13,000 infantry, 2500 cavalry, and 55 cannons,” her chief of staff answered.

She nodded. “We will send out two armies, following the paths our scouting parties took, one to the northwest and one to the southwest, to reclaim our land. Each army will have 6000 infantry, a thousand cavalry, and 20 cannons. We’ll keep 15 cannons in defense of the Colonial Capital, and 500 riders to patrol around the city.”

“But milady, that would leave only a thousand infantry in the city,” said one of her generals.

“Yes, plus the town guard,” she responded.

“Princess, the men of the town guard were decimated by the Amazon attacks. There are few men among them fit to fight,” the Governor said.

“Few men. That is true.” Katarina tossed her long black hair. “But women, on the other hand…We should be able to recruit two thousand young, fit female citizens of the city and arm them with muskets and bayonets. With them, plus the men of the town guard, the thousand Royalist infantrymen, and the cannons, that should be enough to hold the walls.”

Murmurs and whispers broke out in the room at the Princess’s idea. Some of the men approved of it, some were stubborn sexists who did not approve, and some were closeted schmoes – men who were sexually attracted to dominant, aggressive, weapon-wielding women – who were secretly turned on by the plan, but felt the need to express opposition to it to cover up their fetish. Actually, there was quite a bit of overlap between the second and third groups.

“Young ladies defending the Colonial Capital with muskets and bayonets? Preposterous!” shouted a fat colonel. “Girls would run and hide as soon as they saw the enemy coming!”

“The enemy? You mean the Amazons? Who are girls, the last time I checked, and who have shown that they can fight damn well, a whole lot better than anyone else who has gone up against the King’s army. And probably a whole lot better than a fat rear echelon mother fucker like you,” Katarina snapped.

The overweight officer dropped to his knees. “Forgive me, my Princess,” he begged.

She rolled her eyes. “Get up, sit down, and just keep your fat stupid mouth shut.”

“Yes, milady.” His voice was now barely above a whisper. Some of the other men were snickering at him.

“Getting back to business,” said Katarina. She turned to her chief of staff. “Have the soldiers ready to move out as soon as the scouts return. Governor, you will be in charge of recruiting the young women for city guard duty. Together, we will restore this colony to its former greatness.”

As the people in the Colonial Capital waited for the scouts to bring back news, their mood was far brighter than it had been in the past few weeks, although fear of the Amazons still ran high. The calm presence and strong leadership of Princess Katarina, however, helped their morale immensely.

The training of the female militia was coming along well. It was customary for girls as well as boys to learn how to use muskets, swords, and bayonets while growing up, so most of the training they required was learning how to fight together as large, cohesive units. The girls picked their new skills up quickly, and many of the male citizens became intimidated by, and attracted to, the new look of their women.

As for the Amazons, they seemed to be laying low for now. Katarina had issued strict orders for the cavalry patrolling around the city not to ride past certain boundaries. One patrol ignored the order, went past the boundaries, and disappeared, never to be seen again, although other riders reported hearing terrified screams of men being tortured far in the distance. After that, the horsemen kept close to the town. The Amazons were staying away from the walls, at least for the moment.

There was a knock on the door of Katarina’s large bedroom. “Come in,” she said.

An officer entered. “You wished to see me, milady?”

“Yes, Major. I was told that you’re the best military historian we have here. You know more about the Amazons than anyone else. I need you to tell me everything you know about them. Have a seat, I expect this will take a while.”

“Thank you, Princess. As far as we can tell, the Amazons have been on this island for at least several hundred years, maybe longer. We don’t know if they were the first inhabitants or if they were later conquerors. What we do know is that until relatively recently, they were split into warring clans that fought with each other as well as with male armies from other peoples. About a hundred years ago, a great warrior queen became the leader of one clan and conquered and unified all the others. She set up a well-organized monarchy that has been passed down through generations of daughters. The unified female empire began making war on the various male-dominated indigenous tribes of the island. The males didn’t stand a chance and fell one after another. But then, the queen realized that if the Amazons didn’t have any outsiders to fight, they might break up into squabbling clans again. So they set up a system that continues to this day. Basically, they handle the male-ruled tribes like cattle, keeping them boxed in, culling them from time to time, but never completely finishing them off.”

“Most interesting,” said Katarina. “Is there any chance of our exploiting old clan divisions within the Amazon nation?”

“I’m afraid not, milady. Even in the ages of warring clans, the Amazons had a strict rule. No band of female warriors was ever allowed to make an alliance with outsiders against another group of Amazons. The old ‘me against my brother’ policy, but with sisters.”

“Me against my sister, me and my sister against my cousin, me, my sister, and my cousin against the clan, the clan against the nation, and all of us against the outsider,” said the Princess, nodding. “A primitive but effective policy. Now, you’ve talked about the Amazons’ relationships with other tribes, but what about with our kingdom?”

“Although we’ve never had diplomatic relations of any kind with the Amazons, there was a sort of unwritten rule that as long as we stayed on our part of the island and they stayed on theirs, there wouldn’t be any trouble. A gentlemen’s agreement, or in this case a gentlemen’s and ladies’ agreement. Sometimes small groups of curiosity seekers would go into Amazon territory. None of them ever came out alive. Since it was obvious that the intrusions weren’t sanctioned by the kingdom, the Amazons were content with taking vengeance on the explorers themselves and not starting any bigger wars with us. I think they feared our modern technology. Unfortunately, now that they’ve faced it and seen its limitations, they’ve lost their fear of us, permanently, I’m afraid.”

“Well, we’ll just have to rekindle that fear,” said Katarina with a slight smile. “We show them we are not to be trifled with, we can restore the old borders, end their attacks, and bring back peace. Now can you tell me something of their social structure?”

“The Amazons have a strict hierarchy based on class. At the top are the warrior women. Every girl is trained in the arts of war as she grows up. When she comes of age, she must pass a test. Those who make it join the ranks of warriors and become full-fledged citizens of the Amazon Nation, with all the rights and privileges that come with it. Girls who fail their warrior test are not allowed to join the army and become farmers or merchants. They are second class citizens. Below them are the male slaves. There are two categories of slaves, the higher category being breeders. Strong, athletic men who are needed to mate with the women to produce strong babies. At the very bottom is the other category of male slaves. Those are simple laborers and are usually treated with sadistic cruelty, and are sometimes hunted and killed for sport. It’s actually the second class women and the breeder slaves who are the most cruel. The second class females go through their whole lives with resentment at not passing their warrior test, and take it out on the slaves. And the breeder slaves take out their anger at their enslavement on the lower slaves, beating them and sometimes even buggering them.” The officer shuddered at the thought.

“Most interesting,” said the Princess. “Since it’s the lower class women who seem to be the most fanatical and violent, it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to use class divisions either against the Amazon power structure. Thank you, Major. You’ve been most informative. You are dismissed.”

“Thank you, milady.” The officer bowed and left the room. Katarina sat on her bed for a long time, thinking. Defeating these Amazons was not going to be easy, if it was even possible.

The Princess met with her senior officers again later that day. “We are going to make some changes,” she announced. “Too much of what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working. First of all, all infantry officers will instruct their men to fire at will in battle instead of firing volleys, which are too easy for the Amazons to dodge by doing timed backflips. Second, our armor. We’re getting rid of it. It can’t stop Amazon arrows from their longbows, it can’t stop bolts from their crossbows, and it can’t stop spears thrown by their powerful female arms. All it’s doing is slowing us down. Without it, we’ll be much faster both marching and riding. Cavalrymen will keep their shields. Any rider who somehow managed to survive the last battle with a cheap wooden shield is strongly urged to purchase a metal one instead.”

“Now, to the issue of command structure and rank. Those of you who reached your positions through nepotism, cronyism, or corruption, and you know who you are, hear this. You may be able to get away with the things you do on the mainland. But out here, there is no room for incompetence. I will be posting a list of officers whose rank has changed. Some of you will be promoted, and some demoted. If anyone has any objection to these changes and feels it is an insult to their honor, I am accepting challenges.”

As she had expected, there was quite a bit of grumbling among the officers who had been reduced in rank. Two former lieutanant colonels who had been busted down to major took her up on her offer and challenged her to duels. She chose pistols as the first weapon. Showing off her speed and markswomanship, Katarina shot her opponent in the hand before he could even take aim, causing him to drop his weapon with a cry of pain. For the second fight, she went with swords. She parried her attacker’s first swing easily, stunned him with a backflip kick to the face, and swiftly pressed her blade against his throat. After that, both officers humbly accepted their new positions, and there were no more challenges. The fat colonel (remember him?) who had objected to girls being made defenders of the city had been busted all the way down to private. He had blustered and threatened louder than anyone else, but hadn’t had the balls to challenge her. Everyone who had had to serve under him was overjoyed at his demotion, as he had been utterly incompetent and a total asshole.

TEN DAYS LATER

The scouts had returned, reports had been made, battle plans had been drawn up. The massive Royalist army was assembled in the main square of the Colonial Capital, standing at attention as Princess Katarina addressed them. “The day you have been waiting for has arrived!” she shouted. “It is time to reclaim the land that our forefathers paid for with their blood. Today, we march! As we planned earlier, we will divide our forces in two. I will personally command the first army, which will advance to the northwest, where the scouts reported that the largest force of Amazons is located. The other will be commanded by General Norton. His army will sweep towards the southwest, liberating our towns and neutralizing any Amazon forces they encounter along the way. Now advance, in the name of the King!” The soldiers let out a loud cheer.

Katarina’s army advanced cautiously towards the northwest, deeper into the interior of the island and away from the safety and familiarity of the coast. Knowing what the Amazons were capable of and having seen their feminine handiwork up close and personal, the men couldn’t help feeling nervous. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, and the birds were singing. Yet the cold fear was still there. Only the presence of Princess Katarina saved morale from getting too low. She rode from place to place along the long column of marching men, sometimes in the front, sometimes in the rear, speaking with them, checking if everything was okay, making sure that any problems that arose were nipped in the bud.

Right now, she was riding ahead of the main column with a scouting force of about fifty cavalrymen. She liked to spend as much time as she could with the scouts without neglecting her responsibilities to the rest of the army. She liked to know what was going on, what was coming up ahead.

As the trees on either side grew taller and thicker, she frowned. “I don’t like this, Captain,” she said to the scout commander. “The forest is getting so dense. It would be so easy for the Amazons to ambush us here.”

“The woods extend all across this part of the island, milady. There’s really no getting around them.”

“I understand, Captain. Still, we’d better be on extra alert until the trees thin out.”

“With respect, milady, I don’t expect an ambush here. We’re still relatively close to the coast, and our force is so large. I doubt the Amazons would bring an army of their own large enough to make an impact on us so far from their own lines.”

“Still, I just have this feeling…” She suddenly froze, stopping her horse. “Listen.”

“I don’t hear anything.”

“That’s just it. The birds. They’ve stopped singing.” She shouted as loudly as her feminine, musical voice would carry. “AMBUSH! WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!”

Even as she spoke, the arrows came flying. Katarina’s shout saved many lives, as men raised their shields or took cover behind the wagons. It could only do so much, however, and many Royalist soldiers still fell, arrows sticking out of their bodies. Then it got worse. Artillery, captured by the Amazons, began booming. More men fell, the grapeshot and canister taken from the King’s army doing devastating damage to the very forces that had invented it.

The Princess forced herself to remain calm. She saw men panicking all around her, some firing wildly into the trees, some curling up on the ground, simply waiting to be impaled with an arrow or blown apart by cannon fire. She knew she had to act fast. She began screaming orders, hoping to save as many of her men as she could. “Infantry! Don’t just sit there! Odd numbered companies, advance into the woods and flush them out! Don’t fire unless you have a target! Even numbered companies, guard the supplies and stay covered by the wagons! Cavalry, ride with me! For the King, for the land!”

All along the column, men sprang into action. Remembering their training and fighting their fear, the strong leadership of the Princess reminded them that curling up into a ball was not the best way to go. The Royalist infantry began advancing. Men were still falling from arrows and cannon fire, but the lines did not break.

Katarina issued fresh orders to her cavalry. “Six companies of riders,” she called out, pointing to the commanders of each. “Ride around and double back. Try to trap the enemy between yourselves and our infantry. The other four companies, follow me. We’re going straight for the Amazon artillery.”

The Amazon girls firing the cannons, gleefully laughing as each shot resulted in horrified male screams in the distance, were shocked to see four hundred male riders, led by a woman, burst out of the woods and charge straight for them. Katarina, her pistol in her right hand, fired both barrels, killing two girls who were about to light the fuses to cannons. The men joined in, firing their pistols and carbines, dropping more Amazons. Some of the artillerywomen managed to turn and fire their big guns, blowing a few dozen men and horses to pieces, but the charge had been too sudden and swift to be stopped.

A band of girl-archers that had been placed nearby for just such an occasion fired a volley, killing several men in the front line of cavalry who couldn’t get their shields up in time. The Amazons took the opportunity to begin doing their trademark back handsprings to retreat, elegantly backflipping like pro-gymnasts to their horses, which they quickly mounted and rode away. The Royalists only managed to shoot down a few of the flick-flacking, difficult to hit women, and the horses were well out of range before the men could get the cannons turned around.

Katarina turned to an officer next to her. “Stay here until you can have infantry called up to guard the cannons. Even then, don’t pursue the Amazons, they’ll be long gone. Just secure the area. I’m going to help our men in the woods.” With that, she rode off, reloading her pistol as her horse galloped.

The battle in the forest was brutal and bloody. An Amazon could get four or five shots off with her bow for each shot a Royalist musketeer could fire. Still, the men preferred shooting at a distance, because in hand-to-hand combat the girl warriors could literally slice males to pieces with their swords before the men could even try to make a stab with their bayonets. The Royalist infantry was losing, being slowly pushed back, until their cavalry suddenly appeared on the other side of the Amazons. Not wanting to be trapped, the female fighters moved swiftly to the south, away from both the Royalist infantry and cavalry, to escape, firing arrows to cover their retreat.

Just as Katarina was about to reach the trees, a lone Amazon burst of of the woods, running. She hurled an axe at the princess, who got her shield up just in time. The weapon buried itself in the shield with a THUNK. Katarina continued her charge, simply trampling the girl underneath her horse.

Amazons were retreating, swiftly but not panicking. Katarina shot two of them dead with her pistol, then rode through them, slaying several of them with her sword, dodging spears thrown at her, and blocking arrows with her shield. She met up with her cavalry officers in a small clearing. In the distance came the sound of muskets still firing and arrows still whooshing.

“How was it?” she asked. At the edge of the clearing, a male soldier had been pinned to a tree by an arrow through his heart. Next to him was a pile of arms, legs, torsos, and heads – it was difficult to tell how many men they had belonged to.

“Bad, but it could have been a lot worse. They ran when they saw us about to close the trap. It was a near run thing, our boys were losing.”

She nodded. “Get the wounded to the wagons and secure the area. When it’s safe, we’ll bury the dead.”

Livia and Jenova, the Amazon princesses, stood by the large command tent, watching as the female army that had been sent to ambush the Royalists came riding up. The leader of the strike force dismounted and bowed to the princesses. “My Ladies.”

“How did the battle go? Did you annihilate them?” Livia asked eagerly.

“Um…not exactly, my Princess. We got them good at first, but instead of sitting there and waiting to be slaughtered they actually found their balls and counterattacked. It was their female leader, she was the one who gave them that strength. Then we were beating them again, but their cavalry appeared behind us and we had to retreat to avoid being trapped. The good news is that our casualties were relatively light and we killed a lot more of theirs than they killed ours.”

“Where are the cannons?” Livia demanded.

“I’m sorry, milady. We had to leave them behind.”

“I see.” Livia turned her back, then, in a lightning move, drew her sword and brutally decapitated the girl!

Jenova grabbed her sister’s arm. “What the fuck are you doing?! This is not the Amazon way!”

Livia shook Jenova off. “It is MY way, and I am the heiress to the throne! This fool committed the ultimate sin! She let herself be run off by a group of MALES! That is unforgivable! And to add insult to injury, she lost ten cannons to the enemy! Not only that, but those males may be becoming less scared of us! We rely on our reputation as invincible goddesses to strike fear into the hearts of men before battle even begins! Do you know how much weaker we will be if we lose that?”

“In all fairness, sister, they were led by a woman. It’s not like she lost to a male commander. Anyway, you can’t just execute an Amazon warrior without trial. The Queen will not approve.”

“We shall see what the Queen approves. You do not speak for her, little sister. Now let’s get back to business. I guess the old saying is true. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. I will personally command the next attack. Now here’s what we’re going to do…”

The Royalist army had made camp for the night. The sentries were on double duty. Katarina turned to her chief of staff. “Do you have the count?”

“Yes, milady. Five hundred of our men are dead. Three hundred more are wounded too badly to fight, and will have to be evacuated to our nearest fort. Enemy casualties were relatively light, maybe 150 or 200 dead, but we recaptured all ten cannons they used in the ambush.”

The Princess nodded. “The men also now know that the Amazons are not invincible goddesses, and it is possible to survive an ambush by them. They are human. Extremely strong, fast, and lethal humans, but still just humans. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they are very swift at learning from their mistakes. I fully expect us to be ambushed again before we reach Amazon territory, and it will be more clever next time.”

Katarina saw several men gulp. She tried to give them an encouraging smile. Overhead, the once clear, starry sky was clouding up. Thunder rumbled ominously in the distance.

THE END…for now

 

 

 

Tales from the Amazon Wars, Episode 1

It was time. With trumpets blaring and banners waving, the royal army – seven thousand infantry, a thousand cavalry, and a dozen cannons – marched out of the gates of the colonial capital, ready to teach those arrogant Amazons a lesson.

Three weeks earlier, the ambassadors, five of them, had ridden into Amazon territory with a letter signed by His Majesty himself, King Frederick IX, demanding acceptance of the royal kingdom as the Amazons’ feudal overlords and a tribute of fifty of the Amazon tribes’ prettiest, most athletic young women per month for the sexual gratification of the royalist males. The response had come swiftly, in the form of a riderless horse, galloping back to royalist territory, carrying a bag filled with five decapitated heads. The colonial governor, with the blessing of His Majesty from across the sea, had quickly raised an army to punish this act of feminine treachery.

And now, as the soldiers headed off to battle, their spirits were high. How could mere girls defeat big, tough grown adult males, after all? Most of the men were thinking of a swift victory followed by the bounty of the spoils of war. The army’s commander, Major General Donner, had promised his men any girl-warrior they captured as a sex slave. Bulging hard-ons could be seen in many of the soldiers’ crotches as they marched, as they thought about their promised reward.

Two days’ march into Amazon territory, the royalist scouts returned with the news the men had been waiting for. An army of Amazon warrior maidens was advancing to meet them. Only three thousand in number, and armed with bows, swords, and spears against the royalist cannons and muskets, General Donner laughed arrogantly when he heard the report.

The general was a fat and stupid man, who had only risen to his rank because of his noble blood and political connections. His failures on the battlefield were many, and though they were never punished beyond mild reprimands because of his status, he longed for a great victory he could call his own. Now, here was the perfect opportunity, right in front of him. It was going to be so easy.

They drew themselves up in the standard battle formation of the day – infantry front and center, cavalry on the wings, artillery perched on a high bluff in the rear, ready to fire over the heads of the men below and straight into the Amazon ranks. The general and his staff officers sat on their horses by the cannons, watching the scene below on the grassy plain, a place that would become known as the Plain of Tears before the sun would set that day.

“Estimate front ranks of the enemy in cannon range, sir,” his artillery commander reported.

“Excellent. You may fire when ready,” he ordered. The artillery commander gave the order and one by one, the twelve cannons unleashed their projectiles, some falling short, some landing in the Amazon ranks, dropping a few girls here and there. The men waiting on the plain cheered at the sight of female warriors falling, but the effect was small compared to the size of the Amazon army.

As the artillerymen reloaded, a spine-chilling, high-pitched battle cry came from the Amazon girls. A second later, a barrage of arrows was flying towards the royalist army. General Donner snorted. “Arrows against the might of our cannons? They can’t hit us up here.”

“But they can hit them,” said one of his officers. Sure enough, the arrows slammed into the front ranks of the infantry with brutal efficiency, dropping a hundred men dead instantly, and leaving a hundred more howling in agony from gruesome wounds. The arrows were long and thick, fired from powerful bows, and had sadistically barbed arrowheads with multiple sharp points to cause particularly gory injuries.

The men fired back with their muskets, but their primitive firearms, with an effective range of only a hundred yards, were no match for the Amazon archers, who could hit targets at three hundred yards easily. The musket balls fell harmlessly into the dirt far in front of the Amazons, as another lethal volley of arrows came, causing more carnage among the helpless males.

General Donner dismounted his horse and began stamping his feet, shouting at his cannoneers. “Hurry it up, will you?”

“These things take time, sir,” responded the artillery commander. Two more devastating volleys of Amazon arrows slammed into the royalist infantry before the cannons finally fired again. Some more Amazon girls fell, but again some of the artillery fire fell short, and the damage was far less than what the girl-archers could do.

“They’re getting four or five volleys for every one we do,” moaned an officer. “We can’t go on like this!”

“Cavalry charge,” growled General Donner. “Sweep those archer bitches off the field.”

“Sir, if we do that, they’ll suffer terrible casualties from the arrows. Our cavalry is valuable. I recommed either a full infantry attack to accompany the cavalry, or a retreat while we let our artillery take care of business. If we stay stuck in the middle like this we’ll be slaughtered,” his chief of staff said.

“I am in command here, and I say cavalry charge!” Donner shouted. “Our riders will mow those girl-archers down like grass. After that, then the infantry can advance and crush the Amazon swordswomen.”

“Yes, sir. Cavalry charge it is.” A trumpet blared and the royalist cavalry, one thousand men and horses, began their fateful (and fatal) charge.

The Amazon archers turned their attention to the galloping cavalry. Their arrows rained death upon the riders. Despite the speed of the well-bred royalist horses, the girl-archers were so efficient and accurate that by the time the cavalry had almost reached the Amazons’ front line, more than half the riders were dead. Up on the bluff, the chief of staff shook his head sadly at the carnage he had warned his commander was coming.

The surviving cavalrymen lowered their lances as they reached the final phase of their charge. Now, they would get revenge for their fallen comrades. Now, they would make those bitches pay. The girls, wearing only leather armor, on foot, and carrying no hand-to-hand combat weapons other than short swords, would be no match for heavily armored riders with lances.

But not three seconds before the cavalry would have ridden into their enemies, the front rank of Amazons suddenly snatched up long, sharp spears that had been lying hidden in the grass. With lightning speed and perfect coordination, they formed a solid wall of lethal spear points. Too late to stop the charge, the first line of cavalry rode straight into their gruesome deaths, male voices screaming as they were impaled. The cavalry commander tried to rally his men, but a tall, slender, muscular Amazon maiden stood up, long hair blowing in the wind, and hurled her spear, sending it straight through his heavy armor, right through his heart, and through the armor on his back as well.

The surviving horsemen did the only thing they could do. They fled. The female archers were not going to let them get off so easy. They opened fire again, really showing off their markswomanship. Men fell dead by the dozens, arrows in their backs. Of the thousand cavalrymen who had begun the charge, less than twenty made it back to their own lines.

The royalist infantry was already advancing. The general’s chief of staff had ordered it and even Donner, fool that he was, had enough sense to realize they had to win this fight now if they were going to win at all. Arrows rained down on the infantrymen, killing many, as they advanced as rapidly as possible, trying to get into musket range.

The General and his officers watched anxiously from the top of the bluff as their numbers steadily shrank. The cannons were still firing, but couldn’t do more than drop a few women warriors here and there. A mass of Amazon swordswomen formed up rapidly in the front of their ranks. Behind them, the archer-girls were still firing, over their comrades’ heads and into the royalist infantry.

“Take aim-unh!” As an infantry colonel shouted his command, an arrow drove through his armor and into his right lung. He fell to the dirt, on his way to an excruciating death ten minutes later. His lieutenant colonel barked, “Take aim! Fire!”

As the ranks of muskets spit flame, the entire corps of Amazon swordswomen, with the grace, skill, and coordination of champion gymnasts, suddenly executed perfect, simultaneous standing back handsprings. The musket balls whizzed harmlessly between their legs as they were upside down. The swordswomen landed neatly on their feet as the musket balls landed in the dirt behind them. The female archers, still firing, had intelligently retreated out of musket range.

As the men stared in shock at the display of female athleticism that had completely and utterly shown them up, the swordswomen launched themselves into cartwheels followed by rapid back handsprings directly at the males, elegantly backflipping with amazing speed. Many of the soldiers developed hard-ons at the sight of such awe-inspiring female gymnastic skill. The royalist infantry reloaded and fired another volley. The swordswomen responded by increasing their speed just enough to time their perfectly coordinated flips so that they would be safely upside down when the musket balls reached them. Sure enough, once again the strategy worked to perfection, the rounds flying harmlessly between their legs.

“Fire at will, you fools! Fire at will!” an officer shouted. It was too late, however. The Amazon girls could backflip a hundred yards in less than thirty seconds, not enough time for a musketeer to get off a third shot. The officer drew his pistol, taking aim at a young woman in bright colors who seemed to be a warrior of high rank, but before he could fire, a perfectly thrown Amazon knife came flying and drove straight into his heart.

The girl-warriors finished their tumbling passes with various full and double full twists, landing right on the front ranks of royalist infantrymen and cutting them to pieces with their wickedly sharp swords. The Amazon swordswomen wielded a blade in each hand, and had a graceful but lethal attack style that was known as the dance of death. While the strongest and most muscular girls were chosen to become archers, as they could best handle the huge, heavy bows that the Amazons used, the swordswomen were chosen from the fastest, most agile girls. The men, trying to fight back with their bayonets, were utterly helpless against the blinding speed of the sexy swordswomen. Arms, legs, and heads flew off, guts were disemboweled, and some bodies were simply chopped in half as the warrior maidens sliced and diced their way through the male ranks.

General Donner and his staff were looking at the scene below them in pure shock. How could it have come to this? How could eight thousand of His Majesty’s finest men be defeated – not just defeated, but utterly annihilated – by three thousand teenage girls?

If the General and his staff officers were alarmed, the men below were in pure terror. Literally caught between a rock and a hard place, trapped with cliffs behind them and the relentless Amazon death machine in front of them, they knew they were doomed. The girls were so quick that they could cut the men in front to pieces before they could fire, and the soldiers in the rear couldn’t shoot without hitting their own men. Most of them simply threw down their muskets and prayed for a quick death – an arrow through the heart or a simple decapitation.

As the scene below continued to unfold – the color on the plain steadily turning from the blue and white uniforms of the Royalists to a simple brown, the brown leather and darkly tanned brown skin of the Amazon girls, his chief of staff tapped the General on the shoulder. “Beg pardon, milord, but I think it’s time to get these cannons out of here.”

General Donner sighed, his shoulders slumping. All the fight had gone out of him. “Yes. Make it so.” The artillerymen removed the cannons from their emplacements and began harnessing the draft horses to them. The one hundred men of the King’s Royal Guard, a hand-picked elite corps, stood at attention, ready to escort the artillery and their General to safety.

Suddenly, there was a terrifying, high-pitched female warrior cry from the nearby forest, followed by the thundering sound of hoofbeats. The men looked at one another in fear. “We were wondering where the Amazon cavalry was,” said one officer. “Well, I think we’ve found our answer.”

A volley of arrows came flying from the trees. “Of course,” said another officer, rolling his eyes. There was no cover. The lethal arrows slammed into the men with devastating efficiency. Sixty Guardsmen, half the artillerymen, and three staff officers collapsed to the dirt, dead or dying. The surviving cannoneers frantically tried to get the big guns turned around, but maneuvering the slow, clumsy weapons in time was hopeless.

The well-trained Guardsmen stood cold and still in the face of death, holding their fire, waiting for a target they could see. Then came the thrown weapons. Spears, axes, and knives, hurled with incredible strength and accuracy by the horsewomen still hidden in the cover of the trees. Dozens more men dropped dead with axes to their skulls, knives to their hearts, or simple good old impalements through the middle with spears.

They finally emerged from the trees, perhaps three hundred of them, slender, muscular, pretty teenage girls on horses, charging at full speed. The surviving Guardsmen had time to fire a single volley, bringing a few girls down, but the fight was already over. Spear-wielding horsewomen rode right into the Guardsmen, whose bayonets were no match for the long, sharp female spears. The men fell, disemboweled or impaled. Meanwhile, another group of horsewomen was riding down the artillerymen, decapitating them with their swords. Men who tried to run or ride away were shot down with expert precision by a group of horsewomen in the rear with bows, smaller than the massive ones fired by the infantry-women but well-designed and modified to be capable of piercing armor.

General Donner, his chief of staff, and two more of his officers were the only men left alive. The Amazons surrounded them, dozens of arrows and spears pointed at them as the men raised their hands in surrender.

The crowd of horsewomen parted and a young Amazon princess rode up. She smiled at her captives seductively and dominantly. “You fools. You cowards. Did you really think that your fires and explosions would be enough to defeat the Amazon Nation? Now you will pay for your arrogance.” She made a quick motion with her muscular, bracelet-adorned wrist and strong female arms seized the men. “You will now be taken to be sacrificed to the Mother Goddess. You will suffer. You will burn. And you will learn what all enemies of the Amazon Nation learn. Never let an Amazon girl take you alive, because you’d be better off dead.” The men trembled in fear. General Donner wet his pants.

“Riders approaching! Three of them. Our men,” said the scout from his lookout tower on the wall surrounding the Colonial Capital.

“Open the gate!” shouted another man. Three brusied, battered, weary looking riders, a young man in a lieutenant’s uniform and two enlisted soldiers, rode into town, gasping with extreme relief as the gates shut behind them. The Governor, having heard the commotion, hurried up to the scene. “What news from the battle, Lieutenant?”

“Milord…we’re it. We’re the only survivors. The Amazons… they slaughtered us all.”

“What?! Impossible! Eight thousand of His Majesty’s finest men? You must be mistaken. More men will be coming, I’m sure,” said the Governor, in denial.

“Even if more survivors come in, sir, they’ll just be a few more stragglers. I was there. I saw the whole battle. We were annihilated. Utterly annihilated. Those girls…they fought like demonesses. I’ve never seen anything like it…”

The Governor put his face in his hands. “All right. Get these men some food and water. When they’ve recovered, bring them to my mansion. I’ll want a full report on what happened,” he ordered. “Double the guards on the walls, right now. And send a messenger-ship to His Majesty.”

Thunder rumbled ominously in the distance as the men hurried to carry out the governor’s orders. A sense of doom and dread came over the town underneath the gray, rapidly darkening sky.

TO BE CONTINUED…