Another excerpt from The Shadow of Troy. Warning: contains gore!
Agamemnon’s war-car surged through and ahead of the enemy infantry charge – the Great King wearing a lion hood and banded armour and his team of brightly-caparisoned horses braying. Sliding out either side of him came the chariots of Diomedes and old feather-crowned Nestor. Behind them, these three kings’ elite charioteers fanned out in a skein – a combined squadron of thirty.
‘Spears, level!’ Hattu echoed the command, he and his Hittite guards Bulhapa and Zupili bringing up their shields like interlocking tiles and training the tips of their lances. On their right, Masturi had his Seha Riverlanders did likewise, adjoining with the trio. But on his left the Ascanians simply stood in a swaying, disordered mass, holding short swords and cudgels – a hopeless defence against a chariot strike. Likewise many of the other allies. Only Prince Hektor and his Trojan Guardians and Sarpedon and his Lukkans presented a solid spear wall.
‘Spears!’ Hattu cried again, desperate. As the Ahhiyawan chariot front surged to within strides, Hattu saw the whites of their steeds’ eyes and the red wetness at the backs of the yelling charioteers’ throats. He had never been this close to meeting an enemy chariot charge in battle in such a disordered state. He had seen plenty of foes ruined by it though.
‘Yaaa!’ Agamemnon roared gleefully, guiding his chariotry towards Hattu and the weak spot of the Ascanians.
Hattu’s mouth dried to sand and his stomach twisted like a sack of snakes. He clung to his shield and spear just as the Ahhiyawan war-cars slammed against what should have been an allied wall.
His world turned upon its head. The breath leapt from his lungs as he tumbled backwards, his shield almost caving in, Agamemnon’s spear streaking down to stab into the earth a finger’s-width from where he landed.
Shadows, dust, chaos.
Cruel slashes of light shone down to reveal Zupili falling under the enemy king’s chariot wheel, his body and head crushed before the chariot ploughed on into the allied masses. He heard Ascanians behind him roar and scream, bodies punctured by charioteer’s javelins or burst under wheels. He had no sooner struggled to his feet than a chorus of roars washed over him, and the wall of Ahhiyawan infantry rushing in the wake of the chariots slammed into the allied lines.
With a deafening clatter of shields and scream of swords meeting, he found himself flailing backwards, he and Bulhapa almost surrounded. Cretan spear elites drove at him, shrieking, shouldering, stabbing. Hattu ducked back from one such, spearing the foe up through the soft tissue under the jaw, the tip raking through his grimacing teeth, severing the tongue then bursting out of the skull just behind the hairline. The man’s wild expression faded into an eternal, emotionless gaze, his eyes crying blood as death’s dark cloud closed around him.
Hattu pulled his spear back, a shower of blood and brain matter soaking him as the man’s face collapsed. As the warm, stinking mess ran in runnels down across his lips, forcing him to taste it, the Goddess Ishtar hissed in his mind: 𝘋𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘣𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦, 𝘒𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘏𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘶. 𝘈 𝘵𝘰𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘥…
Hope you liked! THE SHADOW OF TROY is out now in all formats!
Gordon Doherty, writer, history fan, explorer.
Empires of Bronze: The Shadow of Troy - a blistering new take on the legendary war from the dawn of history.