A Lady's Tale - Part Twenty Six

Part Twenty Six
Battle on the Lake

Analsiel heard herself scream, but she didn't really think it was her. Her voice carried out over the whole field, and all her soldiers picked up her cry of "Galadriel!" Analsiel thought subconsciously that her men actually thought `Galadriel' was her battle call. Well, maybe it was. But then all similar thoughts faded out of her mind when the soldiers engaged the Mador-hai.

The Mador's were well prepared for battle, carrying rough short swords and round shields. So when they met her fighters, there was a tremendous clash of metal on metal. It was one hundred times louder than she would have thought, and she resisted the urge to clap her hands over her ears. In fact, every sound seemed magnified, as if it jumped off the surface of the lake and the ground, and echoed. All the archers on the wall jumped, and then put arrows to their strings. Luinduriel raised the red flag they had agreed upon as a signal, and swung it down. All archers released their bows. A storm of arrows fell towards the Mador-hai, and took down almost all. Analsiel grin wryly when she remembered that all her archers had been trained by Elves.

All was chaos. Analsiel drew her glowing blade, and used it to signal attack patterns and orders to her commanders. Within twenty minutes, though it seemed like twenty years, she sent out Nori and her group to support Carneth's weak right side. He couldn't spare any soldiers from his left side, so he signaled for more. Analsiel was itching to do it anyway. Nori went out quietly, without revealing her position, so that when the Mador's came down on her force, she repelled them easily, and slaughtered many purely by surprise.

Firnciliath and Waenaren's people were holding out strong, not permitting a single Mador to get past them. Herdil and Vanath had left them to it, and had separated themselves into 6 groups of ten, which struck randomly at small bunches of Mador-hai clustered together. Analsiel had barely finished signaling it to them before they knew what to do.

But fighting the Mador-hai was not like fighting Orcs. They were independent fighters, with even a few basic battle formations. These formations were ripped apart by Vanath and Herdil's small squad's, but it was unnerving to say the least to see them so organized in their killing.

The dark made it hard for her to see, and Analsiel assumed it must be worse down on the field. But it appeared that her men were being careful and not slaying their own in the blackness. Yet, they all seemed to be retreating. The Mador's were coming closer to the castle, and her men were losing ground. It wasn't fast, but she could see it.

Of course they're losing ground. she thought. They're untried in battle, they're fighting a new enemy, and it's dark, and the Mador's don't care if they kill friend or foe. We do, and that makes us weaker.
Then a ferocious scream rent the air. Analsiel whirled around just in time to see a Mador fall into the lake. Where he fell, steam arose, and his fellows backed away from the spot, howling in fear.

Then she realized. The last time, when they had fought in the rain, the Mador-hai had been beaten easily. They had been weaker and their fire had been magiced, and so many of them had clustered around it. Now they were winning, but they were afraid of water. They dissolved in a way, when they were submerged, or in large amounts of water.

Large amounts of water...Mador-hai winning...dissolving...large amounts of water...that was it, the lake, THE LAKE!

"Drive them toward the lake!" she screamed. Her voice, like everything else, was louder than she had thought it would be.

Carneth flashed his sword at her in salute, and then turned his men in the other direction. Now, suddenly, the Mador-hai were caught on all fronts. Everywhere they turned, they were surrounded. Their retreat was blocked off by Waenaren, who had moved his troops at Analsiel's command around Firnciliath's in a death trap for the Mador's. They were blocked by Carneth and Lhunidil, whom Analsiel sent out now in case the Mador's tried a last desperate attack. And lastly, they were blocked by their chief enemy, the lake.

The Mador-hai let out a collective call of anguish that echoed off the lake and shook the timbers of the ancient fortress on which Analsiel stood. They knew they had no hope now.

Analsiel turned away from the bloody slaughter that followed. Her commanders had done well, anticipating her plans before she told them. And now they had won, but their enemy had no chance of survival, and now it was mindless slaughter. So she smiled down at the men left in the courtyard, and called to them in a voice harsh from 4 hours disuse.

"We won! The day is ours, and the Mador's are driven back!"

A general murmur of excitement rose in the men, but none had the energy to really cheer. It had been a long wait and they just wanted to go back to bed.

But then the squadrons came riding through the gates in an exhausted huddle. Analsiel tried to run down the stairs of the wall to greet them, but her legs were stiff from being kept locked in one position for too long. So she merely called down to one of the soldiers to send them to the infirmary. Then she began to slowly relax her stiffened joints and muscles. At last, she pushed too hard on her knees and they gave way underneath her in a painful fall. By the time she hit the ground, she was already asleep.

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