'Crescent Cove, The War-horse'

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'A Tundra-Wolf Story'

Part Seven Crescent Cove "The WAR-HORSE"

     Anthon could see the little tree covered island ahead. The fighting to get to it was so intense he could not take time to check if any of his men were wounded. The Roman soldiers standing in front of the island  were much more disciplined, their lines much harder to break, even with the War-horses. Yet they were making headway, slow but sure.

     From the back of Arkumus he slashed, chopped and crushed everything in front of him with his blood-sword, all the time concerned for Granit. The Tundra-wolves were behind the War-horses dispatching any wounded Romans they deemed a threat as the line moved forward. Anthon could feel through the bond Granit wanted to charge the island, no matter the cost. It was everything he could do to keep the big wolf at bay.

     Anthon saw the enemy horse archers ride up to the island from the beach side and dismount with their bows. These men were not Romans he was told. Syrian auxilia they were called, men hoping to prove themselves in battle and by serving long enough to be rewarded with Roman citizenship. He was told these men were fearless warriors and very good with a bow. They were going to be a problem for his charge. With quick hand signals he ordered the archers on the hill and the Giants behind the shrubs to start sending arrows into the copse of trees on the beach. In seconds arrows flew over his head and the mournful whistle of incoming iron arrows came from the end of the cove. Anthon could not see what kind of battle was taking place at the end of the cove but he was thankful the Giants could still send their arrows. He was tempted for just a second to send in Wizard fire arrows to burn these Syrians out, but he did not want to contend with the flames when he got there.

     The entrance to the cove was still a mass of flames and smoke. The smoke was blowing back up the little canyon hampering the ability of the Romans to put out the fire. The Mansers were still firing their crossbows from above and sending their darts down to kill and wound Roman soldiers. They were dying themselves from the Roman archers and slingers below, but the barricade was holding.

     The iron arrows made terrifying screams as they fell down amongst the small grove of aspens. The enemy archers were already ducking arrow shots from the hill behind Anthon. When the iron arrows came down they shredded the little aspen grove, snapping trees and scattering leaves as they fell to the earth. Men were in impaled standing and crouching behind cover, most killed immediately or pinned in place. Only the most stout hearted of the Syrians stayed to send their arrows at the War-horses.

     As the Syrian auxilia fired their arrows the first real casualties happened to the Wolf Pack Rangers. Anthon watched as one Ranger took an arrow to the throat, and he saw several get hit in their arms and legs. Wolves roared in anger when they felt the pain of their bond-mates. A War-horse went down with an arrow to the eye and more were hit in their unprotected legs. None of the Tundras were injured as they surged forward keeping low to the ground running through the legs of the War-horses. Anthon could hold Granit no longer. The big wolf and his pack-mates charged forward as Rangers and War-horses were wounded and killed.

     The Rangers carrying horse bows began firing into the trees. More arrows came overhead from the hill behind as Mansers and men of the Thirteenth Wolf Pack let loose. Tundras now attacked the front lines as the War-horses knocked down the shield-wall to making openings for them. The fighting lines of the Romans in front of the little island started to collapse. Rangers on the backs of the fighting horses struck down in rage, the Romans did not stand a chance.

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     Legatus Lucius watched in horror as his centuries crumpled before him. His guards moved in closer and his Tribunes yelled at him to move off the island but Lucius was rooted in fear. He did not even draw his sword as he watched these monster horses and wolves come at him. This situation was beyond anything he had ever experienced, or even dreamed of. The men around him grimly pulled their swords and raised their shields in preparation of the enemy coming their way. Most could see their doom stalking towards them.

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