One would think that a city of merchants wouldn't be hard to entice with trade opportunities but perhaps his offer had been too generous and they sensed a weakness to be exploited, or perhaps that vixen Sharazhad had hidden the offer. He had to admit to a certain fascination with the girl ever since their surprise New Year's encounter. Still, it had been a very generous offer to her as "Queen" of the break away city, third wife to the King of Turan for her, free trade for the city, the leaderless peasants to be granted overlords chosen from amongst the younger sons of the great Turanian houses, employment in the Turanian Border Patrols for the warriors. A very generous offer, he had even offered to take on three additional maidens of Sharazhad's choice into his harem despite the discord that might sow at home. And what was her response? The head of his envoy on a silver platter with certain body parts in place of a tongue! Obviously the girl was looking for a more strenuous wooing. It was time for the Host to Gather again!
In an effort to delay the Turanian advance while the main army mustered, Queen Sharazhad led a small force of archers with some catapults from the city defence to a pass near the border. Once the local levies were mustered she found herself with 1 unit of light cavalry horse archers, 3 units of infantry archers, 2 units of skirmishing archers and the unit of artillery.
The Turanian army, as usual, depended on chance for their order of battle. From the south came a column containing 1 unit of light cavalry, 3 units of skirmishers, and 2 units of spearmen. From the east came a column composed of 1 unit of light cavalry horse archers, 1 unit of infantry skirmishers, 1 unit of heavy horse archers, 1 of clibinari (armoured lance & bow), 1 of cataphracts and 1 elephant squadron.
With little room to maneuver, King Rossius pushed his light cavalry and skirmishers forward to cover the deployment of the heavy cavalry and elephants. The first unit of horse archers died quickly but while the left wing was unable to evict the enemy skirmishers from their hill, the day was well advanced before the final light cavalry unit broke.
Wheeling around, the Clibinari charged into the Queen and her archers just as the elephants lumbered up the hill from behind. The cataphracts sought to clinch the victory by charging back into the foot archers but had underestimated the effect of flanking fire from Marakandan skirmishers. (6 dice from the 2 units, 5 hits reduced to 3 by armour.) The Marakandan's were jubilant but, caught between lancers and elephants, the archers surrounding the Queen broke for the woods. The young Queen tried to rally them but she was pierced by an arrow. Luckily the woods were not far and her men gathered her up and carried her to safety. The Turanians had been bloodied but the pass was open and the sun still high in the sky. Luckily for Marakanda, King Rossius is not know for his speed or his single minded, aggressive prosecution of campaigns.
________________________________________________________________After the last game, I decided to go back to turn sequence and order dice as used for the games last winter. It was the right choice, the whole thing felt just right and gave an interesting game lasting a bit over an hour.
Now to muster the Marakandan heavy cavalry into their proper squadrons and to raise the city militia, and maybe some more Turanians.