Chapter 77 Lord of War Hasting part 1
The sun had just started to rise in the horizon when an early, chilly morning wind blew over the Primal Wildfire wilderness. A faint twilight revealed itself with the first rays of the sunlight. The cold wind swept over the Imperial Eagle flag fluttering on the flagpole.
The camp, situated just north of Primal Wildfire Town belonged to the Byzantine’s 2nd Army which was stationed here.
The 2nd Army, which was one of the Byzantine Empire’s regular armies, consisted purely of infantrymen. It was also one of the three armies that were included in the Byzantine emperor’s battle plan against the invasion of Odins in Primal Wildfire.
In the morning, this huge military camp was still quiet, with only the night watch patrols wandering around. The soldiers who were still standing at sentry posts, tightly wrapped themselves in their fur-lined robes and huddled their heads together in this cold wind. With somewhat of a listless appearance and bloodshot eyes, it was clear that it was because they had stayed up all night. The only thought they had in mind was to hang on until the shift change came to switch with them so they could go back and have a good sleep.
Damn this Primal Wildfire, the mornings are always so cold……
The General of the 2nd Army, Pelizzoli, was already awake. Just when he walked out of his big tent, he looked at the Praetorian Guard in front of his entrance, which was acting as a night watchman, holding his spear and dozing off. This now 40-year-old imperial could only casually smile. Walking towards him, he gently kicked his Praetorian Guard and the soldier immediately woke up with a tense look. However, the general only generously smiled back at him and departed with big steps.
General Pelizzoli was 40 years old and although he came from a respected family with a prominent aristocratic status, he could still be considered a humble person of the empire. His style in the military is simple but robust and there was no shortage of courage during battles. Having been in the army for twenty years, although he hasn’t performed anything of prominent merit, he hasn’t made any big mistakes either. He was the kind of person who could be classified with “even with no merits, there is a lot of effort”.
Pelizzoli didn’t pursue the misconduct of his Praetorian Guard falling asleep while on night watch, he simply took in several deep breathes. The freezing cold air faintly stabbed within his lung, making him silently curse. Taking some of his officers with him, he began to patrol the camp with a relaxed face.
In fact, as for now, everyone in the 2nd army was the same as their general and had a very relaxed mentality.
According to the strategy for this war, they had to divide into three groups in order to prevent the Odins from invading. However, the 2nd Army received a very easygoing position; they were positioned in the middle of Primal Wildfire, with two forests’ north of their position. The dwarfs’ territory was about two days further away, and at the northeast was the Red Wilderness which was occupied by goblins.
Such a geographical position gave them a very safe feeling. Even if these Odins really wanted to attack here, they were unlikely to choose this direction. Having the Dwarfs’ and the goblins’ territory placed in front of them, if the Odins wanted to come here, they had to cross through both territories and risk conflicts with the natives. Any commander who had a bit of intelligence would most likely not order such a stupid thing, especially since everyone knew of the Dwarfs’ strong fighting force. No one would want to waste their military strength on such places; therefore the 2nd Army had the Dwarfs and Goblins as a natural shield.
In fact, the 2nd Army was not known as an elite force in the Byzantine Empire. Their strength was probably in the middle of the second class; therefore they were put in such a relatively safe position.
According to General Pelizzoli speculation, the military headquarters placed his army in this position in order to prevent any smaller Odin units sneaking through the Dwarf’s territory any opportunity to attack his allies. However, the possibility of such a small enemy force sneaking through to attack was rather small.
Nevertheless, Pelizzoli still prepared some arrangements that would, in his opinion, make their position very safe. He set up four sentry posts north of the camp, with each sentry post spacing several miles between each other. The garrison would then take turns every second day, if the Odins really wanted to send a small strike force in a surprise attack, it would certainly not escape his eyes. However Pelizzoli thought that this possibility was very unlikely, but in addition to these four sentry posts, he also sent some other measurements as to prevent the Dwarfs in the north from suddenly going crazy from some unintended provocations.
As for the Odins…… According to their previous behaviours, they should be in the Al Bactre plains in the south, which was guarded by the 13th Army. According to the empire’s conventional practice, the most difficult battles were left to this iron army.
In this silent morning, General Pelizzoli led his men around to inspect the camp. It wasn’t his custom, but he knew that after this war he would be transferred from this army. After staying in it for four years, Pelizzoli was quite attached to it. Therefore he wanted…… to have a few more good looks at it before leaving it.
After finishing a tour, his body had already started slightly sweating from the activity. He looked at as his soldiers coming out of their tent to line up in formation one after another in preparation from the morning drill. A relaxed smile appeared on Pelizzoli’s face while watching this familiar scene.
However, his smile only stayed for a short moment before it deteriorated!!
Since he saw something…..
A sentry post north of their position ignited a beacon and the black smoke rose into the sky, the cold wind blew it apart after it reached dozens of meters high!
Moreover, this sentry post was unexpectedly the closest one from their camp!!
When Pelizzoli saw the beacon-fire his expression stiffened, before he had time to calm his surprised heart, his ears heard a terrifying noise……
Roooooaaaarrrr! It was the roaring of wild beasts, continuing for wave after wave. Nobody knew how many there were, perhaps it was a dozens, or maybe even several hundred? These roars, filled with vigour and violence, interweaved with each other and were brought over by the chilling wind, giving people’s scalp a tingling feeling!
The silent morning had immediately been destroyed by these dull roars.
Stunned for a moment, Pelizzoli’s expression instantly changed as he started to madly rush towards the entrance of the camp. Kicking away the soldiers who were still stunned by the roars, he quickly went up to the lookout and looked towards the north.
Subsequently, this imperial general’s face muscles immediately twisted and big beads of sweat started to roll down……
In the north, the sentry post closest to them had already become engulfed by a raging fire and a dense mass of shadows were approaching them with lightning speed on a stretch of land next to it. In the early morning’s dim light, they could see that this dense mass was increasing in numbers and swept over the hills like a dark cloud…
The roars which sent a cold chill into people’s heart came from there. Standing on the platform, General Pelizzoli quickly got a better view of these dark clouds……
One after another, fierce looking black bears assembled hillside, before lining up in rows. More than the eyes could count; the bodies of these black bears were even sturdier than normal bears. With fur darker than the night, these bear were dressed in rough, but heavy black armor. Moreover, their shoulder pads and arm protectors even had sharp spikes standing up in the air! These fellows stood there in lines, like humans, no one knew how many of them there were behind the ones they could see, they only knew that more and more of them were gathering……
What was even more frightening was that these bears, wearing thick heavy armor, carried something on their backs which seemed like a saddle. Moreover, these bears were carrying people on their backs! Odins! Those riding on the backs of these bears wore metal armors that were extremely rare for Odins. Even if the armors seemed unsophisticated, they had an extremely threatening appearance. Each of the riders had a military disciplined aura and held a thick axe in one hand, their other hand furiously pounded on their chests. Their bare arms were covered with black hairs and their roars were as terrifying as the bears they rode on.
When Pelizzoli saw the scene in front of his eyes, his heart instantaneously sank to the bottom. He felt as if his vision was darkening and his heart started to pump madly. Feeling somewhat breathless for a moment, he forcefully opened his mouth and fiercely bit his tongue. The severe pain finally temporarily released him from his huge shock.
On the observation platform, the general suddenly turned his head and crazily roared with a twisted expression.
“Enemy raid!!! It is the Odin’s ‘Berserkers ‘!!!”
His shrill voice instantly spread over the camp……
Without a horn or any battle drum signal, this group of bear riding Odins suddenly roared and frenziedly rushed down the hillside!
The black bears furiously sprinted downhill and several hundred of them swept over it like a torrent. Like dark clouds forming from a strong wind, they closed in on the Byzantine army’s camp with a crazy speed.
Hastily, horn noises sounded and panic could be heard from all four directions in the Byzantine’s barracks. Unprepared military officers started to order around unprepared soldiers as most of the soldiers only had time to crawl from the tents in full panic, before they were urged to line up in formation by their military officer. Most of the soldiers only had enough time to wear their robes; some didn’t even have their weapon in their hands.
Pelizzoli ordered his men to close the camp front entrance with a distorted expression and the general’s anxious roars kept sounding in the surrounding.
They were already too close! With their utmost effort, they garrison troops barely got 100 archers onto the wall, and they again only had enough time to shoot a single volley before the black bear soldiers rushed in front of the camp gate!
However, the wooden wall, with the height of a person, was easily crushed in front of the bear’s violent charge and the black bear soldiers frenziedly rushed into the camp. The guards from the barracks’ which had formed a temporary formation near the wall were instantly crushed, a dozen of them immediately died in the hands of those black bears’ large paws. The soldier’s’ flesh appeared extremely frail and several of them didn’t even have the time to scream before their heads were smashed. The second rows of soldiers instantly followed and were ripped to pieces! Several military officers tried to organize enough manpower to counter-attack, but the black bear soldiers who were flooding into the camp instantly threw themselves into the crowd. Just when a military officer wanted to wield his sword, he was sent flying by the black bear and the bones in his chest were crushed in midair. Another officer managed to chop at the black bear, but his longsword was easily broken under the inhumane strength of the black bear’s hand. The Odin warrior sitting on the bear’s back roared, wielded his axe and sent the officer’s head flying……
Several hundred men stood guard in formation at the entrance, but in the span of a few breaths, those hundreds of Byzantine soldiers were all killed! The camp’s wooden gate loudly collapsed and fifty meters of the wooden wall also came crashing down after hundreds of bears broke through it.
More and more black bear soldiers swarmed into the camp from the gaps and mixed with the already chaotic Byzantine army……
As one would expect, most Byzantine soldiers, having just woken up from their sleeps, most of them didn’t even have the time to put on their armor. Some didn’t even have a weapon or shields; this left their flesh and blood to be torn to pieces without any resistance under the black bear soldiers’ attack.
The centurion of the first legion in the 2nd Army led a counter-attack with a group that had just rotated from their patrol and barely resisted for a moment. This centurion had impressive martial arts skills and used his longsword, covered by battle ki, to cut down a black bear. However, shortly afterwards four black bears immediately jumped him and after a miserable shout, his body was torn to pieces! Both his internal organs and the remnant corpse flew everywhere……
The impact of the several hundred black bear soldiers was like throwing pebbles into water. It was small splashes at the beginning, but they soon devoured the entire camp.
Overall, the 2nd Army didn’t form much of an effective resistance and although the black bear soldiers only numbered several hundred, thanks to their violent impact they easily crushed the temporary defense that had gathered. After that…… it was basically just a slaughter fest!
The 2nd Army’s camp became an orgy of bloodshed and miserable roars and screams could be heard everywhere. The soldiers of 2nd Army, which were being slaughtered, didn’t have any fighting spirit left and became a flock of headless flies madly scattering in all directions in an attempt to flee. Trampling and colliding with each other, they were easily killed off by the bears pursuing them.
The black bear’s sharp claws and the Odin riders’ huge axes reaped lives like death gods ……
The chaotic situation was irresistible.
The assault formed by those several hundred black bear soldiers completely destroyed the courage of the 2nd Army. Soon after the first wave of surprise attack by the black bear soldiers, a large numbers of caribou riders also came rushing down the hillside. Several thousand of Odin caribou riders rushed into the military camp of 2nd Army from the gap in the wooden wall and dispersed while roaring. From all directions, they slowly defeated the routed troops of the 2nd Army……
On the hillside, a figure looked at the slaughter fest going on in the distance in silence. His pair of slender eyes looked completely indifferent.
This figure wasn’t tall and amongst the normally burly and powerfully built Odins, his appearance seemed particularly thin. This kind of physique would also only be considered average amongst the Byzantines.
However, this thin silhouette standing on the hillside with a black cloak fluttering in the cold wind gave off an imposing and mighty malignant influence. It was as if this figure, who was standing on the hillside with his thin body, dominated the whole mountain under his feet!
Behind this figure’s back, several hundred Odin soldiers stood quietly. The soldiers’ eyes were filled with a sense of frantic worship.
“Sound the horn.”
After watching for a while, this figure turned around. His facial characteristics were extremely mediocre; he had thin lips, a snub-nose. He probably wouldn’t be noticed inside a crowd with his mediocre look. His eyes were thin and long, with a slight upward corner, giving him a somewhat soft appearance. This man’s eyes looked completely indifferent, without the slightest trace of emotion to be sensed in them as he gave his orders in a low voice.
While talking, he slowly walked towards the subordinates behind him and someone quickly brought a warhorse to him. That warhorse was tall, with the height of two meters, and it could be said that it was an unusual godly steed. On its head there was a scar that cut past the horse’s left cheek, ending at its blind left eye.
The horse was wrapped in a light armor. Before climbing onto his horse, he turned around to receive a triangular spear from his subordinate. He reined his warhorse, and with a long neigh, he dashed forward. With four hooves speeding forwards, he rushed down the hillside with lightning speed as he headed towards the 2nd Army’s military camp!