Author's note: My 6th grade Geography teacher inspired this story when he spent a week on Ancient Greece and... Show full author's note »
Mounted WarfareRemus locked his sword hilt with mine and pushed against it with his full force. My arms shook, he was stronger then I would ever be, being that I am a girl. I quickly stepped back, and brought my blade down, cutting open his arm. His blood dripped onto the dirt, and he wiped it away with no visible signs of pain. Typical Spartan.
“Very good Hippolyta,” he said. I brushed a strand of my dark hair behind my ear, and stared off into the hills, as always wishing to be off fighting alongside my countrymen.
As a child, only seven or so, my father had dressed me in boys clothing, and sent me away to train with the boys when the warriors were recruiting. I had learned from Remus, who had continued to train me even after they had discovered me a girl. The elders said I was too skilled, and too much time had been given towards my training for the legion master to kill me, that and my fathers’ social status as an Elder himself helped.
Still gazing far away, I saw something over the horizon. When they moved closer, I saw men on horseback carrying huge spears, and a phalanx carrying much smaller shields then those I know.
“Macedonians!” someone yelled. Luckily, the alarm was raised and soon men came out of countless houses, pulling on armor and handing out weapons, a small, ragtag army of two thousand or so. Still, the massive Macedonian army approached with agonizingly slow paces. The young king Alexander must be judging our strength. My sword, only moments before in its scabbard, now brandished in my right hand, my shield on my left arm, ready to kill, awaited battle alongside me.
Two men separated from the cavalry, and rode towards us. The rest of the army stayed back, awaiting command. As the two men approached, I saw one had black hair of medium length and a nose set high up the bridge, giving him a lion-like appearance. His brown eyes scrutinized every man, before falling on me.
“Please,” he asked gently upon nearing my post at the front line, “go into the city, the bloodshed is really nothing for a girl to witness, not even a Spartan girl.”
“You know not of my strength.” I snarled. He backed up his huge black horse, and a shocked expression crossed his battle-scarred face. He has never seen a girl fight like a man, but he has never met me. I ran forward, closing the distance between me and the king with three long strides. Alexander’s horse reared, kicking out, only to meet the bronze of my shield. I heard a sharp crack, and pulled back. If I broke my shield, Jason would have my head. Alexander drew his sword, unlike anything I have ever seen. It was shaped like the spine of a swaybacked horse, curving outward violently with all the weight focused on a single, thin cutting edge of a razor sharp iron blade.
“You are no match for me!” He yelled, meeting my blade with his and sending a shower of sparks flying.
“Get off your horse and fight on the ground like a real man!” I yelled back, furious that this challenger did not fight toe to toe.
“What? Can you not defeat me up here?” he taunted.
“Is that a challenge?” I asked, knowing that it was, and that I had to even the playing field. I turned slightly, seeing a small man on the back of a bay mare. Remus was having a difficult time of it, and through the chaos I could see that he would not get much assistance. I sprinted over, still locked on my main target. The man on the mare had not seen my quick assault, and I brought my shield over my back, and swung it forward. The edge met his torso with the hollow scrape of bronze on bronze, and he fell to the ground. Remus thanked me silently as I jumped onto the back of the bay mare. She didn’t seem to notice that her old rider had fallen, and she answered my request to charge Alexander by leaping into a gallop, and taking me for a perfect pass. I held out my short sword, and met his strange blade with mine. The sword flew from his hands, and impaled itself in the chest of an unarmored Macedonian.
“Girl can fight,” he mused, “but I am not defeated!” Alexander pulled his long spear from his back, and charged me, expecting to impale my heart, but only meeting my bronze breastplate. I moved the mare forward, snatching the end of the spear well above the tip, and pulled on it with all my strength. Alexander fell off his horse indignantly, with a loud thud. I held his spear, which had two tips, and prepared to throw it.
“Mercy,” he whimpered, knowing that he was just about defeated.
“I do not know the meaning of that word.” I seethed, thrusting the spear tip to the ground, and meeting the bronze of a shield. He had saved himself from a blow that would have most certainly killed him.