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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 266 pages of information about The Ancient Allan.

With a cry of “Well done, Master!” Bes leapt upon the dead man and hewed his head from him, as already he had served the hawk-eyed noble.  Then gripping one head in each hand he held them up for the Easterns to see.

“Men of the Great King,” I said, “bear us witness that we have fought fairly, man to man, when we need not have done so.”

The ten of the Satrap’s guard stood silent, but my own shouted,

“Back, Shabaka!  The Easterns charge!”

I looked and saw them coming like waves of steel, then supported by my men and preceded by Bes who danced in front shaking the severed heads, I ran back to my own ranks where one gave me wine to drink and threw water over my hurts which were but slight.  Scarcely was it done when the battle closed in and soon in it I forgot the deaths of Idernes and the Eastern liar.

CHAPTER XIII

AMADA RETURNS TO ISIS

We fought a very terrible fight that evening there by the banks of Nile.  Our position was good, but we were outnumbered by four or five to one, and the Easterns and their mercenaries were mad at the death of the Satrap by my hand.  Time upon time they came on furiously, charging up the slope like wild bulls.  For the most part we relied upon our archers to drive them back, since our half-trained troops could scarcely hope to stand against the onset of veterans disciplined in war.  So taking cover behind the rocks we rained arrows on them, shooting the horses in the chariots, and when these were down, pouring our shafts upon the footmen behind.  Myself I took my great black bow and drew it thrice, and each time I saw a noble fall, for no mail could withstand the arrows which it sent, and of that art I was a master.  None in Egypt could shoot so far or so straight as I did, save perhaps Peroa himself.  I had no time to do more since always I must be moving up and down the line encouraging my men.

Three times we drove them back, after which they grew cunning.  Ceasing from a direct onslaught and keeping what remained of their chariots in reserve, they sent one body of men to climb along the slope of the hill where the rocks gave them cover from our arrows, and another to creep through the reeds and growing crops upon the bank of the river where we could not see to shoot them well, although the slingers in the ships did them some damage.

Thus they attacked us on either flank, and while we were thus engaged their centre made a charge.  Then came the bitterest of the fighting for now the bows were useless, and it was sword against sword and spear against spear.  Once we broke and I thought that they were through.  But I led a charge against them and drove them back a little way.  Still the issue was doubtful till I saw Bes rush past me grinning and leaping, and with him a small body of Greeks whom we held in reserve, and I think that the sight of the terrible dwarf whom they thought a devil, frightened the Easterns more than did the Greeks.

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