As the second wave of arrows rained down upon them, the White Winged Cavalry’s petrified Deputy squad leader Walter eventually snapped out of his delusion.
He could by then confirm that this was not just some minor skirmish.
Even during the War of the Black Roses, he had never seen that many Skeleton Archers. Madara’s Dark Leader preferred separating his legion into small groups and individually commanding them. Usually, one necromancer would manipulate a dozen skeletons.
But it all depended on how many necromancers and Darkened knights the Dark Lord had in his legion. With their current formation in place, it appears the formation would be one where the hordes of skeleton soldiers were to be led by knights on horseback.
Only in a massive war setting would the mortals ever witness thousands upon thousands of skeleton armies controlled by Necromancers swarming towards them. It was the scenes of nightmares that would haunt the dreams of mortals.
Fortunately for them, an encounter like this even for the Black Rose of Bromantonu was particularly rare. First of all, to gather thousands of Necromancers was in its own a grueling task to complete, usually requiring the collective efforts of the many chieftains, and that was by far the hardest thing to achieve in Madara.
Hence, when Walter stared beyond the frontlines and noticed seemingly endless rows of impeccably lined skeleton archers, his first reaction was that he must have been played, for there were at least three to four Dark Leaders in tight cooperation, side by side.
Only then did he belatedly realize that the narrow strait over the Cielmann river bed was indeed the main attacking point of the Madaran army, despite its terrain clearly favoring the defensive side. Once he managed to wrap his head around the situation they were in, his next question was:
“What now? How do we deal with this? Can we even deal with this?”
The only leverage he could boast about then was that his army were all knights in contrast to the face of the footsoldiers that his opposing army was mainly composed of. Sure, the Madaran army had the Black Knights in their ranks too, but with so few to speak off, he knew they had a clear advantage in that regard.
The Deputy squad leader tried his best to calm down, but the assault came far too sudden, it was an ambush upon his legion that they could never have seen coming, and before they could fathom the circumstances they were thrown into, the entire outer circle of allied cavalries was swept out of play.
The cavalry might not be completely obliterated from the ambush, but with the survivors of the initial onslaught scattered across the battlefield, it would truly be a miracle if any form of organization could be built with their current situation. Knowing his subordinates well, he was not placing any faith in any of it happening, what he could plan ahead was the two divisions he had left with him.
And that was sufficient. It had to be.
“Gather to positions!” He finally made up his mind as he roared his order.
The orders miraculously did manage to pass down to the soldiers amidst the chaos, just when only two cavalry squads were left in the Cielmann river bed, frantically merging to fight the left-wing demon fire arrows from the skeleton archers. Just like Walter had predicted, the First Legion of the White Winged Cavalry was consumed into the chaos.
The commander of the First legion cavalry, mid Golden level knight Galin was tragically shot by the first round of the rain of fire arrows and died on the spot. Promptly after, the skeleton army crawled out of the ground where they stood, and the first legion was hence drawn into the war, prematurely and ill-prepared.
In less than half an hour, the Fourth middle squad was obliterated, the Seventh squad’s Captain Gates was killed, and the Eighth squad captain Oppomu was knocked unconscious. The responsibility was left on the only man in command, Deputy Captain of the Eighth squad, Portland.
That man however had no strategy in mind and did exactly the only thing he knew to do. He ordered the complete retreat of what was left within the first legion. The Madaran army had officially relinquished all disruptions.
The two remaining cavalry squads were now exposed to the full frontal of the offense.
Walter on the high ground witnessing the scene as it played out was enraged beyond comprehension, by then Oppomu must have been beheaded several times in his mind. Nevertheless, he was clear that there was no time to assign blame, what he could do instead was to hope the Madaran army would delay in shifting their offensive towards his direction, potentially buying his army time to regroup.
Or if his own army were stellar enough to withstand one or two waves of attack with minimal damage and then take the offensive to break through the skeleton archers. Once the enemy frontline formation was to be broken, the rest would be far more manageable. After all, the fact that they were all cavalry troops, while their adversary was overwhelmingly foot soldiers leveled the playing field.
If it was the War of the Black Roses, the White Winged Knights would have already crumbled by now. But it had been a year since, and the difference a year made for the mentality, experience, and composure of the knights were paramount.
In the hearts of the veterans of the preceding war, the skeletons had now once again reverted back to nothing more but obnoxious bone structures, and no longer the synonym of death they once were revered as.
Besides their obvious lack of emotion or senses, their physicalities were not even on par with ordinary human soldiers. The fear the mortals once had for the Black Roses of Bromantonu were now converted to no more than a bare inconvenience.
Walter thought about it, clenched his teeth, and mumbled his prayers, “O’ Marsha, may you watch over us, and ensure that Madara was not the only thing time has changed.”
The truth would turn out just as he assumed.
Patches of Magical Illumination went off on the battlefield, effectively illumining the stretch of earth between the hundreds to a thousand cavalry soldiers and their undead adversaries. Among the laggard cavalry squads, the mages one after another propelled themselves into mid-air.
With their magic, they would effectively place the White Winged Cavalry in the sights of the skeleton archers, but the knights were now on their final pursuit.
Under the darkness of the battlefield, the battle technique could not be utilized to its full potential. Even though some were rumored to be unaffected by the environment, the commanders at this point could afford no slip-ups.
The Captain of the Second cavalry division, Wunce, watched on as he was overtaken by one after another of his countrymen on horseback, as the entire Second division were in full acceleration. The First division was only less than a hundred meters away.
Valerie’s division was slightly ahead of them, for their objective was to break a wedge from within the sea of skeleton foot soldiers, and then subsequently hitting right where it was most crucial, the Necromancers.
Wind spells were beginning to show their effects on the knights and their mounts, more so than the eccentric magic spells that existed in the far corners of the world. Valerie could feel herself moving with the brace of the winds.
A product derived from the War of the Black Roses, the cavalry could now sustain a gallant charge in the dead of night despite the haphazard terrain.
Prior to the war, the royal army had always abided with the tactics gained from the First Holy War, which by then were already notably outdated and ineffective, revealing visible flaws in their subsequent battles against non-humans.
War was fair to both sides on the battlefield, even when the Madaran army before them was far stronger than they were before, there was something that remained the same since their last encounter, “Watch and see, you damn pile of bones!”
Excitedly waving his longsword, performing arguably the greatest creation in the history of wars of this world, the Cavalry Battle Technique. Utilizing this legendary formation, along with warhorses and heavily armored soldiers armed with longswords on both sides, they were essentially invincible.
Resembling a wall of steel and iron charging at full speed, every participant could feel the might imbued upon them. A power so great it would make the hunkiest man blush.
To Wunce, it was not much of a difference.
As arrows rained down upon them, and subsequently bounced off armor, hardly any damage was done. The cavalry’s horses were not close relatives of the workhorse, but instead were tamed monsters. Species-wise, they were actually much closer to that of a unicorn. Nevertheless, they were nowhere near the abilities of their wild cousins, but still far above regular animals.
After the barrage of arrows was largely negated by armor, whatever remained that came into contact with the soldiers were modest.
But the foremost knights had already begun howling in pain.
From that distance, magic strikes could now be made. Necromancy magic to be exact. The mages at the back were now in place, once they broke through the last barrier, what remained was a legion of the defenseless skeleton army.
Before the War of the Black Roses, there weren’t many that would go head-on against a skeleton legion. Nevertheless, times had changed for the better. On the mysterious fur coats donned by this legion, now faded in color from the years of fermenting in old closets, were veterans, notably those who fought in the first war. What they saw before them were nothing but loose structures of bones, and this time, for old feuds or new conflicts, they were here to pay it back twice.
The lower-ranked officers were rallying their new recruits, hoping that the idea was clear.
They were the cavalry, and the enemy were foot soldiers, and whatever the outcome of the war, the adversaries before themselves cannot possibly outrun them.
Their only concern was time.
As for the Black knights, given how dispersed the skeletons were, they were still manageable, and the opposing commanders did not seem to be too experienced in battle.
Vance did not notice the whereabouts of the Black knights, the riders and the Nightmare horses should not be able to hide in an open space this vast. The river beds were wide and hardly eluding, with the nearest hills over a thousand miles away. Wunce was certain they cannot possibly be in ambush, and let out a sigh of relief.
What he found deeply puzzling was that the anticipated magic strike had yet arrived.
“What is the Madara commander doing?” He thought to himself, baffled, as he stared into the direction of Valerie, “They are about to miss the final window of opportunity…”