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infantrymen with their lances. The lines had held."
I nodded, encouraging her to speak. Gorean infantry, with staggered lines and
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fixed pikes, their butts anchored in the earth, could usually turn an attack
of light cavalry.
"I cried out again to Alfred, but he paid me no attention," she said.
The red savages, I speculated, would have been surprised that they had been
unable to force their way, through the infantry lines. Such lines, of course,
can usually be outflanked.
"Men seemed everywhere," she said. "There was the clash of arms, the squealing
of kaiila. The savages now from the north and west swept through the wagons.
Some passed within feet of me. Some were naked, none seemed to wear more than
the breechclout. They screamed hideously. They were covered with paint, and
their mounts, too. Feathers were in their hair, and tied, too, in the silken
hair of their beasts. I saw a man's brains struck out not more than a few feet
from me."
"What of the beasts from your own wagons," I asked, those who can bear arms,
who can go on two feet when they chooser
She looked up at me.
"I know of them," I said. "Speak." I slapped the quirt solidly into my palm. I
would not have had the least compunction in laying it liberally to the beauty
of my fair interlocutress.
She seemed frighten
"How many of them were there?" I asked.
"Seventeen," she said.
"What became of them?" I asked.
"When the battle began they emerged from their wagons,* she said.
"Some killed some of the men about, even our own soldiers, who did not know
what they were. Some fought savages. Some were slain by savages.
Some, in a small group, together, made their way northward, through the
fighting. The savages seemed, on the whole, reluctant to attack them."
"How many escaped?" I asked.
"I do not know," she said. "Perhaps seven, perhaps eight."
This report seemed congruent with what I had learned from Pumpkin and the
Waniyanpi and with my own conjectures.
"Continue," I said to the girl.
'Taking advantage of the confusion, momentary, among the red savages,
following their failure to break the line of the infantry, Alfred ordered his
men through his own infantry lines, and led them again to the southeast. His
action disrupted the infantry, trampling soldiers, buffeting them aside the
red savages then poured through the breached line. Some perhaps pursued the
escaping column but most, I think, remained to finish their battle with the
infantry, with which they were then, following the escape of Alfred, much
embroiled."
 Too," I said, "they would presumably not wish to give the Infantry a chance
to reform, to close, its lines again and set up a solid perimeter."
She shrugged. "Perhaps not," she whispered. "Then it seemed, again, that all
about me were hurtling kaiila and screaming savages, and paint and feathers."
"These were doubtless the concerted forces of the red savages," I said, "being
applied to the destruction of the infantry
"I think so," she said.
"Were there any survivors?" I asked.
"I do not think so," she said.
"Alfred made good his escaper' I asked.
"I think so," she said.
"How many men did he have with him?" I asked.
"I do not know," she said. "Perhaps three hundred, perhaps four hundred."
"What did you do?" I asked.
"I lay down in the wagon, and hid," she said. "They found me later, in the
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afternoon, after the battle. Two men pulled me forth from the wagon bed.
They thrust back my veils and hood. I was thrown to my knees on the grass and
one of the men held my wrists, crossed, before my body. The other drew back a
heavy club, the termination of which contained a heavy, wooden, ball-like
knob. They were preparing, apparently, to dash out my brains. A
word was spoken. The men stepped back. I looked up to see a tall savage,
mounted astride a kaiila. It was he who had spoken. He motioned for me to rise
and, unsteadily, terrified, I did so. These men were all hideous, and fearful,
in their paint and feathers. He said another word and, in a moment, I
had been stripped before him, absolutely naked. He then leaned down from the [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]