“But why would uncle Srnjaya want to ally with us? Of what possible use can we be to him without an army?” asked Vadhryasva.
“War is more than just armies. And a protracted war, which this promises to be, will need constant supply of food, clothing, weapons, and healers to nurse the wounded soldiers.”
“With the grace of Pusan, we have more than adequate supply of cereals and meat. We can deploy our craftsmen to make weapons and chariots. Our healers are the best in the Arya land and we have more of them than any of the other tribes. Indeed there is a lot we can contribute in this war”, reasoned Dabhiti.
“And will the Anus agree?” queried an unsure Vadhyrasva.
“Yes, they have no option but to do so. Once the Vrcivans overcome us, the Anus will be their next target. They have much to lose if we are defeated. Besides, did you not notice the warmth with which Cayamana’s emissary greeted us? Surely, he would know why we are visiting the Rishi and he chose an appropriate time to send us the right message of friendship”, answered Dabhiti.
“Dabhiti is right, Cayamana is wise enough to know that their best chance of thwarting an eventual Vrcivan victory is through an alliance with you Panchalas”, said Bharadvaja, seconding Dabhiti.
“But is an alliance sufficient to ensure our victory?” asked Vadhryasva. “I hate to admit that the ruthless and savage reputation of the Vrcivan army pervades all of Arya land.”
“They can be defeated, if you convert their strength into a weakness.”
“Please explain.” Dabhiti and Vadhryasva ended up saying in tandem, with much hope and expectation.
“How would you describe their style of engaging in battle?”
“Well, a ferocious band is sent to raze a small settlement. Then after a few days, a contingent of no more than hundred men on foot and horses swoop on nearby settlements and take over, with little or no resistance, because their inhabitants are too terrified to fight”, replied Dabhiti.
“Exactly. This is how they managed to subdue the Turvashas. But mind you, they have never been tested by a strong or large army. You need to dictate the rules of engagement, and they have to be very different from what they are used to.”
“Second, draw them further and further into Panchala territory, conceding easy victories on the way. Then at an appropriate time, pinch the army from its base. Cut off from their supplies and drowned by over confidence, you will have the best chance to vanquish them.”
“Draw them to the Hariyuppa (river) and victory will be yours”, proclaimed Bharadvaja.
Dabhiti and Vadhryasva looked at each other, and then at the Rishi, awe and admiration written all over their faces.