Retreat was always the deadly part.
The generals had decided that the battle was lost, and I could agree with them. When I noticed the chariots on our flanks, I knew the Steppe tribesman had us beat. Their expertise on horseback – how could any man ride like that?! – as well as with the bow made them a fearful power to behold.
I marched with all my power. My sword was in its sheath so I could go faster, but I didn’t want to leave my cousin Nahim behind. He moved more slowly as he carried his bow.
An arrow hit me in the leg. I fell, and the men behind me parted – but not well enough. A couple tripped while I cried out. A man on horseback came immediately after.
He aimed between my eyes.
This was written for Sammi Cox’s Weekend writing prompt, ‘Arrow.’ This was also inspired by the Dan Carlin podcast, “Kings of Kings,” which was about ancient middle eastern warfare. I was impressed at the defensive capabilities of the Steppe tribesmen and their legendary use of cavalry and bows.