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datatime: 2022-09-25 16:07:20 Author:LVtrKvsn

I had realized that this must happen, but I had refrained from warning either Tanus or my mistress of the likelihood, for I did not wish to add to the feeling of gloom, and heighten the despondency of our people. I had searched my heart for a counter to this move when Salitis and Intef made it, but there was none that I could think of. Therefore, since I could do nothing to allay these fears, I thought it best to keep them to myself.

"I can fight on, of course," Tanus agreed. "But in the end it will all be the same. We cannot prevail against their chariots."

"Now that he is across the river, can you check the barbarian?"

I had realized that this must happen, but I had refrained from warning either Tanus or my mistress of the likelihood, for I did not wish to add to the feeling of gloom, and heighten the despondency of our people. I had searched my heart for a counter to this move when Salitis and Intef made it, but there was none that I could think of. Therefore, since I could do nothing to allay these fears, I thought it best to keep them to myself.

But what truly filled me with joy was that he had forgiven me at last, and we were friends once more.

"Now that he is across the river, can you check the barbarian?"

"Your Majesty, I have forty chariots that I can send in to meet him. He has three hundred. My chariots are swifter than those of Salitis, but my men cannot match his in skill and training. There is also the matter of the wheels. I have not perfected them. Salitis will overwhelm and destroy us very easily. If I am given the time and the material, I can build new and better chariots with wheels that do not burst, but I cannot replace the horses. We dare not risk the horses. They are our only hope for eventual victory."

These regiments comprised nearly three hundred of Salitis" fast war chariots, his elite divisions which he led himself. At last he had turned our flank. There was nothing to stop him now, as his chariots came bowling southwards along our side of the river. All our galleys could do was to ny to keep pace with the dust-cloud he threw up, as he raced for the funerary temple of Mamose and all its treasures.

"I can fight on, of course," Tanus agreed. "But in the end it will all be the same. We cannot prevail against their chariots."

But what truly filled me with joy was that he had forgiven me at last, and we were friends once more.

"Don't worry that battered head of yours". I have already sent Hui to gather them up," he assured me. "If I am to have five hundred of those contraptions of yours for my new chariot division, I will need a thousand of those cursed brutes to pull them. However, those new-fangled wheels of yours " are more dangerous than a regiment of Hyksos. I will not ride with you again until you do something about them."

"Now that he is across the river, can you check the barbarian?"

QUEEN LOSTRIS CALLED HER WAR COUNCIL when the news of the Hyksos crossing reached us in the Palace of Memnon. She addressed her first question to Tanus.

For a moment it did not penetrate my aching skull, then I realized that it had happened. Tanus had quashed his pride, and given in to me. My orphan chariot squadron was at last to be part of the standing army, and he would give me the men and gold to build five hundred more. He would even ride with me again, if only I could fix my wheels.

I tried to sit up, but my head ached abominably and I groaned, then clutched his arm as it all came back to me.

Queen Lostris looked at me. "Taita, what about your chariots? Can they not give battle to the Hyksos?"

When it finally happened, and our spies on the east side of the river opposite Asyut warned us of the approach of this fleet from the Delta, Tanus rushed his own ships northwards to meet them. His fleet was superior in every way to the one which Salitis and Intef had assembled, but the battle they fought lasted for almost a week before Tanus destroyed or drove them back into the Delta.

Iwoke again under the awning on the deck of Tanus" flagship. I found myself lying on a sheepskin mattress, with Tanus leaning over me. As soon as he saw that I was conscious, he masked the expression of concern and worry that had twisted his features.

When we were alone, Tanus said softly, "Salitis has four regiments across the river. Six hundred chariots. It is over."

The messenger stuttered in fear of his life, "Divine Majesty, while our fleet was busy at Asyut, the barbarian made another crossing at Esna. They swam the horses over as they did before, but this time there were none of our galleys ready to turn back their boats. Two Hyksos regiments are across. Their horses are in the traces and they are coming on a cloud of dust, swiftly as the flight of the swallow. They will be here in three days."

"Now that he is across the river, can you check the barbarian?"

For a moment it did not penetrate my aching skull, then I realized that it had happened. Tanus had quashed his pride, and given in to me. My orphan chariot squadron was at last to be part of the standing army, and he would give me the men and gold to build five hundred more. He would even ride with me again, if only I could fix my wheels.

"Now that he is across the river, can you check the barbarian?"

"No" my mistress's voice shook with the force of her denial. "The gods cannot desert this very Egypt now. Our civilization cannot perish. We have too much to give to the world."

Queen Lostris looked at me. "Taita, what about your chariots? Can they not give battle to the Hyksos?"

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