Friday, 14 October 2011

Vrcivans at the outpost - Part II

Four of the horsemen, two on either side, lit the torches they were carrying. Then the ten, galloped towards the settlement, picking more speed as they neared the outer perimeter made of dried wood and rope. The four horsemen in the centre, began to break free raising their spears and stone hammers. As they burst in through the open gate of the settlement, they swooped on anything that moved or was alive – men, cattle, dogs, fowl. They were followed by two horsemen, expert marksman, their arrows picking anyone that made an attempt to reach out for implements that could be used to retaliate or defend.

The ensuing chaos cleared the path for the torch bearing horsemen to pick those houses that could easily catch fire and they plunged the torches mercilessly, without any heed to the fact that the houses had women, children or even infants. Cattle fodder and the heat, just abetted the fire and soon the houses were in flames, with its occupants rushing out but only to fall to hammers, spears or arrows.

In a matter of minutes, the settlement was razed, its inhabitants either killed or maimed badly, unable to move or defend. For good measure, animals were not spared either, not even cattle. In a land where cattle was wealth and skirmishes took place all the time over them, this utter disregard and ruthlessness was deliberate. The Vrcivans were sending a strong message – cattle was not at stake any more. The bar had been raised, supremacy over the tribes was the ultimate and only goal, rules and ethics be dammed.

The horsemen surveyed the destruction with much satisfaction. Yes, there were a few of the wretched Panchalas still alive and they would live to recount the horror. They then turned and left the settlement, knowing well they would come back this way in a few days time.

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