“There are 500 archers at the front! 1.000 spearmen in the centre! Each of the wings has 250 light cavalry!”
He listens attentively to the report of the scout. Lukas repeated the addition of numbers in his mind. There are 2.000 enemies in total. Our side has 3.000. The numerical superiority is obvious and especially the cavalry side is overwhelming. Our side has 600 each of knights and light cavalry. If you add it up, that’s 1.200 in total.
The Knight Leader replies seriously. The surroundings are listening attentively, too. That’s only natural, Lukas thinks. It’s the enemy. The enemy is beyond this point. Moreover the aspect of their deployment is important.
“Have you been noticed?” (Knight Leader)
“No, it didn’t seem that way. They are continuing their advance towards the east.”
“How about the surroundings?” (Knight Leader)
“I haven’t seen any other units. However, I don’t understand the state of the enemy’s left at the northern side.”
Lukas swallowed his saliva consciously. It will be a surprise attack. This is a good opportunity for a surprise attack. Won’t we probably be able to hope for large military gains if we attacked them straight away from the enemy’s rear? His body trembled suddenly.
“Alright, reset the formation.” (Knight leader)
Upon the Knight Leader’s brisk command, 3.000 people consolidated according to each of their roles. Of the 1.800 foot soldiers in the centre, the spearmen went to the front and the archers lined up in the back. Splitting the light cavalry into 300 each and distributing them to both flanks, the knights likewise divided into 300 each and took position behind the light cavalry.
“Stay at my side, Young Master and Lord Daniel. Make sure to not get careless.” (Knight Leader)
“Got it.” (Lukas)
It is Lukas who replies laconically. Checking the sword belt of his long sword, he wiped the sweat on his hand holding the rider’s lance. From the deployment’s point of view, his opponent will be the light cavalry. It will turn into a clash of piercing and striking between lance and lance. It will become an exchange of lives with a lance having a length of around twice his body’s height. He looks at the tip of the lance. With its shortness and slenderness it’s a blade that has no other means but piercing. It’s extremely meagre if compared to the curvature and thickness of lances possessed by mighty warriors. However, this is the limit with his physical strength. Even in terms of his horse-riding proficiency, there will be many occasions where he will swing it with one hand. That’s because he isn’t able to steer the horse for a long time if he separates both hands from the reins.
“Once you pierce with it, you have to abandon it.” (Daniel)
He was startled. It’s Daniel. He himself doesn’t seem to hold any interest in his own rider’s lance and moreover he tells Lukas to abandon his own lance. It was an unexpected statement.
“Sensei, what do you mean by that?” (Lukas)
“It’s so that you don’t fall off the horse. You will die if you do.” (Daniel)
“That is… that might be so.” (Lukas)
Lukas found it hard to agree. The lance is not just a weapon but also my pride. I came to fight. Isn’t the matter of discarding it like abandoning my duty…? Lukas was perplexed because of his own obligation.
“At the critical moment, lower your own body and cling to the saddle’s edge. Escape while leaving the galloping to the horse… if you live even a bit longer, you will be able to attract the enemy, even if it ends up in you getting killed, for example. That’s a technique I saw the mounted bandits use.” (Daniel)
The quietly whispered details hadn’t a shred of anything like honour to them. It’s the kind of talk no soldier will speak of in Lukas’ surroundings… it’s a talk about defeat, death and the end. Such talk should be that of weaklings, but it tingled in Lukas’ ears more dreadfully than any other story he had heard.
“It’s splendid if you can find your own fate. If you are unable to desire that, you won’t put your life to good use. You have to exhaust everything… even if it’s throwing away your life or discarding your name… even if you are strangled or in pieces.” (Daniel)
It wasn’t to frighten him. I’m unable to sense any sorrowful mood. He is just quietly spinning his words. I can’t even feel any fervour from the things Daniel is talking about. There’s nothing like the battle intent shown by the knights. Even so, Daniel portrayed something terrifying to Lukas.
(I see… this is what’s hidden in sensei’s heart, isn’t it!?) (Lukas)
Lukas opened his eyes widely. The man called Daniel Hakkinen hides something… He realized that he was now peeking at the source of Daniel’s unshakable and unperturbed power in front of his eyes. I’m now able to catch a glimpse of his unknown true nature, which he always hid throughout the three years we spent together. However, what a strong resolution it is!
It’s no wonder that he differs from other nobles, Lukas grasped. I heard that his parents and older brother relinquished all of their territories feeling ashamed for being unable to protect the hero. They have even given up their peerage once. Although they were bestowed a new peerage by the king, that’s nothing but the treatment of fallen nobility. I also know that they went away from the capital and secluded themselves in a northern region.
How does that connect to such a resolution…? Lukas was dumbfounded. The newly risen questions are bigger than the previous ones. It had a feeling as if you tried to open the lid of a treasure box just to find the entrance to a labyrinth. Lukas has read such a illustrated story.
(I guess it’s different from him throwing away his life. Sensei’s speech and conduct aren’t going haywire. It’s not like he has given up. Even though there are many who have fallen as nobles… what’s this about?) (Lukas)
“Humans are books”, I wonder who said that. Lukas tried to recall it but resigned from the struggle with his memories as it looked like a difficult fight. The source doesn’t matter. If it’s a sword honed by anyone, it will be able to cut the things which can be cut. And he thought about Daniel. I want to know the mysteries of this person, he felt.
“As expected of Baron Hakkinen. I guess that has to be said, but…” (Knight Leader)
That was the Knight Leader. He has a somewhat uncomfortable expression while propping up the surface of his mantle with a hand.
“We are here for the sake of showing the valour of knights to the young master. I won’t say anything if it’s only a bit, but your example is just far too extreme.” (Knight Leader)
“Excuse me for this.” (Daniel)
The smiling Daniel shows no inkling of his previous atmosphere anymore. The steel, he bared, is wrapped in a fabric of gentleness. He has merely conveyed a hint of his steadfastness to Lukas.
“Well then, young master.” (Knight Leader)
“Our chivalric order will from now on attack the imperial army’s forces. Don’t do anything unreasonable by any means, so as to not get separated.” (Knight Leader)
“Got it. I believe it to be an honour to be able to experience the military prowess of the Four Swords Square banner.” (Lukas)
The Knight Leader’s orders were passed on.
The foot soldiers of the Sword Square Chivalric Order continue to advance step by step, with the orderly appearance of spears being thrust towards the sky by the dense rows of soldiers. The fluttering battle flag with its seal of the Four Swords Square, which is reigning over the four cardinal directions with the sword, is heroic. I’m able to see the battle formation of the infantrymen in their state worthy of an army… Himself being amongst the 300 knights at the rear of the right wing, Lukas felt the steps of the infantrymen to be reliable.
Both wings of the cavalry are in the process of separating from the rows of infantrymen. That’s because space is essential for a battle between cavalries. That’s especially obvious for the battle between light cavalry. For Lukas their mobility is something which felt like a gale. Currently they have the same pace as the knights which form the heavy cavalry, but they will nimbly swoop down on the enemy once the distance is appropriate.
Once they passed over two undulations of the terrain, Lukas’ eyes could see the figures of the enemy. Their flying battle flag has the design of a pterosaur. it’s the flag of the imperial armed forces which are the main forces of the Eberia Empire. It’s swaying busily even if seen from afar. This encounter with the enemy was faster than they anticipated. Sensing the approaching chivalric order belatedly, they stopped the troops and were rearranging the soldiers’ ranks, I guess. However, since that’s still in process, this is a good opportunity after all.
The light cavalry of the chivalric order made the first move.
They galloped while drawing an arc deciding to leave the knights behind. The enemy’s cavalry advances in order to respond to that. Disliking to circle around the outside, both parties expand their tracks into the plain. It seemed to Lukas like the enemy’s movements was tinged with hesitation in contrast to their side’s assertiveness. Since the number of light cavalry on both side isn’t that different, this is because of the pressure of the knights’ existence after all, he concludes. I have heard that the charge of a heavy cavalry breaks anything.
“Alright, we will advance as is is while abstaining from getting in touch with the enemy’s infantry and cavalry. Go forward at a trot!” (Knight Leader)
300 riders started to move and Lukas first battle began.
The heavily clothed cluster of cavalry advances while shaving off the ground roughly. Lukas observes the state of the infantrymen, with their spears held at the ready, approaching each other at the left front while the light cavalries are scrambling for positions at the right front. Arrows are flying about between the infantries. The exchange between the bowstrings’ ringing and the arrows’ cutting the wind felt somewhat lacking to Lukas with their nice sounds and good appearances. That’s called the leeway to take a sidelong glance, huh? However, confirming the situation of soldiers collapsing and cowering in the distance, he immediately experienced a welling up of his feelings. My cheeks and ears are hot.
Finally the line of spears held at the ready clashed.
The chivalric order’s subordinate knights… those carrying spears and those holding shields of both armies continue to raise war cries. Neither side stops firing arrows even though they are very close to each other. They shoot the arrows aiming at the rear by drawing parabolas in the arrows’ trajectories. The soil is crammed with countless footsteps and the sky was filled with angry roars. The enemy’s ranks and files are really weak. Little wonder that Lukas’ knight unit has decided to approach in the style of a flank assault. The enemy’s infantry unit was partially encircled.
“All of you! Display your honour as knights! Attack!” (Knight Leader)
The roaring battle cries repainted everything. A mounted charge by the knights!
Lukas bellowed too. He surrendered himself to the flow resembling a tempest of gruelling lances. Mysteriously it’s difficult for him to hear the sounds outside. His ears are filled with just the sounds released from within himself. He is in a place close to the centre of the 300 riders, thus his vicinity is only covered with friendly forces without him being able to see an enemy he should thrust his lance at. However, the enemy group is definitely outside of that. They will be destroyed and devoured while squeaking and spouting blood.
Because the horse broke its posture slightly, Lukas tasted the scary sensation of floating. He handles the reins in panic. That might be possible if it’s during a march, but he will end up isolated in the midst of the enemy if he stops the horse in the middle of this charge. Keeping composure in mind, he matched with the waves of his surroundings. That’s why he noticed it for the first time. The state of the ground he is traversing on.
It was the remains of what once was a human body.
The plain, which is usually covered in nothing but weeds, was now a field of flesh which had been levelled and trampled into little pieces in this situation. It’s a carpet of blood and oil such that one wouldn’t be even able to imagine that those were once the figures of people. Advancing while changing that which is beneath your feet into the military gains of the attack… That was a mounted charge.
As something struck his ears, he realized that it was a scream. It was a sound full of despair with a tone of voice unrelated to something like the bravery of someone fighting. When Lukas lifted his face, he didn’t see any infantry spears in his vicinity anymore. They came out. Breaking through the spear-wielding infantrymen’ ranks, they are progressing onwards. In that case the voice just now was probably from the people who were shooting arrows, he judges. Doing such analysis, Lukas treated it as somebody else’s problem.
The screaming doesn’t stop with one. As they advance, the number of screams rises in proportion.
Lukas continued to listen. Clearly listening to all of those now, he at last picked up even an interesting word with meaning. It was the name of someone. He was convinced of that. That’s because it was the name of a woman. He knew and comprehended it. In the empire women can become soldiers and knights. It’s not only the corpses of men he had been treading on. Why did the face of the person he didn’t want to remember right now the most, surfaced in Lukas’ mind? It was a smile filled with sadness.
Breaking through all of it at last, the landscape of the plain returned into his field of vision. He could see several backs. The imperial soldiers have scattered and are escaping. Taking their distance in account, he discovered that there are few of those who started running after their breakthrough. Many probably ran away at the moment when the mounted charge crashed into the infantry unit. Lukas checked their backs one-by-one without this action having any particular meaning. His look rested long on a person with long hair.
“Join up!” (Knight Leader)
He heard the command of the Knight Leader. Merging even while the knights, who charged in from the opposite site, were a bit late, the losses were quickly reported. The 600 mounted knights affiliated to the Sword Square Chivalric Order were all together without a single one missing. Although they linked up in formation, Lukas didn’t believe that there will be another mounted charge. The enemy’s foot soldiers caved in.
The chivalric order’s foot soldiers have linked up again too. However, even without receiving the report, it was obvious that their numbers had decreased. Lukas understands that. No matter how orderly and in what line of battle they gather and approach, the ranks of the other side had linked up with another platoon and were transporting injured comrades, he was able to grasp. Moreover, several familiar army mantles have collapsed on the other side and aren’t moving anymore.
How did the battle between the light cavalries turn out…? Turning his look here and there, Lukas opened his eyes widely. After looking out towards the west, the northern side is to his right. He was able to see the Heaven’s Boundary Mountain Range in the far distance.
The battle flag of the imperial army was fluttering.
At a terrain, which rose in elevation a bit, it’s a light cavalry deploying widely to the sides. One of the scouts said 「They are more than 1.000」. Lukas heard that while experiencing a terrible chill. ‘The fresh supply of troops, which exceeds a thousand, stares our way with an imposing air. The backs, which had dispersed all over, now, as if being attracted, were heading over there. They are running in hope for safety under the flag of their allies.
That is, in other words, the subordinate knights who galloped that way… it means that the 300 light cavalry of the left wing have been rendered powerless. None of those who separated while confronting the enemy’s 250 riders has returned here. I wonder whether that enemy cavalry is still alive on the other side. Or, are they not alive anymore either? The 300 riders of the right wing haven’t returned yet either. The lance is heavy, Lukas felt. No my whole body feels heavy. My throat is dry and the interior of my nose has an irritating cramp.
The infantrymen of the imperial army underneath the pterosaur flag and the injured soldiers of the chivalric order underneath the Four Swords Square flag; they are absorbed by their respective sides. Even when that is finished, both sides don’t move any further. It became a stand-off.
How long will the confrontation of armies continue…? Lukas doesn’t know that objective, accurate point. It seems like it will be very long. He had that feeling after a little period.
In the end the clash with that enemy never happened.
Nimbly turning the necks of their horses, the imperial army’s light cavalry, which surpasses a thousand, left towards the northwest. Right after that the right wing light cavalry, which headed to the south, returned from the southeast. They apparently drifted off to an unexpected distance while fighting the enemy’s light cavalry. Although it seems like the damage they incurred was shallow, they still reduced them by 20 riders. Not one horseman of the left wing returned.
Finishing it by quickly dealing with various issues, the chivalric order changed its direction. The army’s destination lies in the east. They will return to the front-line fortress. They don’t shirk on their vigilance towards their surroundings even a bit. The scouts were coming and going at a nervous rate.
Trying to calculate the military gains and losses along the journey, Lukas isn’t able to calculate the numbers readily. He abandoned that struggle in the middle. He devoted himself to simply clasping the reins with both hands amongst the knights. He gave the lance to Daniel. And it was only after returning that Lukas realized that his own assistants were safe.
The patrol of the 3.000 Sword Square Chivalric Order and 2 people concluded in a large military achievement and a loss of close to 20% of the total numbers.
In this manner… the first battle of Lukas Yurihalshira ended.