“Make haste, men!” cried Pentaur. “The three best horses for me, Horus, and Kaschta; the rest remain here.”
As the red-bearded soldier led the horses forward, the moon shone forth, and within an hour the travellers had reached the plain; they sprang on to the beasts and rode madly on towards the lake, which, when the sun rose, gleamed before them in silvery green. As they drew near to it they could discern, on its treeless western shore, black masses moving hither and thither; clouds of dust rose up from the plain, pierced by flashes of light, like the rays of the sun reflected from a moving mirror.
“The battle is begun!” cried Horus; and he fell sobbing on his horse’s neck.
“But all is not lost yet!” exclaimed the poet, spurring his horse to a final effort of strength. His companions did the same, but first Kaschta’s horse fell under him, then Horus’s broke down.
“Help may be given by the left wing!” cried Horus. “I will run as fast as I can on foot, I know where to find them. You will easily find the king if you follow the stream to the stone bridge. In the cross-valley about a thousand paces farther north—to the northwest of our stronghold—the surprise is to be effected. Try to get through, and warn Rameses; the Egyptian pass-word is ‘Bent-Anat,’ the name of the king’s favorite daughter. But even if you had wings, and could fly straight to him, they would overpower him if I cannot succeed in turning the left wing on the rear of the enemy.”
Pentaur galloped onwards; but it was not long before his horse too gave way, and he ran forward like a man who runs a race, and shouted the pass-word “Bent-Anat”—for the ring of her name seemed to give him vigor. Presently he came upon a mounted messenger of the enemy; he struck him down from his horse, flung himself into the saddle, and rushed on towards the camp; as if he were riding to his wedding.
During the night which had proved so eventful to our friends, much had occurred in the king’s camp, for the troops were to advance to the long-anticipated battle before sunrise.
Paaker had given his false report of the enemy’s movements to the Pharaoh with his own hand; a council of war had been held, and each division had received instructions as to where it was to take up its position. The corps, which bore the name of the Sungod Ra, advanced from the south towards Schabatun,
[Kadesh was the chief city of the Cheta, i. e. Aramaans, round which the united forces of all the peoples of western Asia had collected. There were several cities called Kadesh. That which frequently checked the forces of Thotmes III. may have been situated farther to the south; but the Cheta city of Kadesh, where Rameses ii. fought so hard a battle, was undoubtedly on the Orontes, for the river which is depicted on the pylon of the Ramesseum as parting into two streams which wash