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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 83: Kondor 170
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Previous chapter: Chapter 82: Hastings 185
Kondor and Zeke stood in the observation room of the eastern tower, looking out over the wilderness. One of the Amir’s advisors was with them.
“Well, they’re not here yet,” Zeke observed.
“No,” Kondor replied, “but the question is which way they will come. At some point they have to cross the river. It’s a gentle enough current from here north that they could do so anywhere; it gets wider to the south, but as far as I know is still quite traversable by boat. If they’re hurrying, they might hit the shore right over there,” he pointed upstream slightly, above the curve in the river, “so they can beach down below the seawall and attack the city directly. It makes more sense, though, for them to cross somewhere upstream and attack by land--we can too easily repel an attempt to cross here. On the other hand, if they cross downstream we’re less likely to see them, and the overland route is not that bad.”
“So, pretty much even odds, then?”
Kondor took out the ranging binoculars. “The hope,” he said, “is that we can spot them from here, and so predict where they’re headed. The uncertainty arises because if they are smart enough and have the troops for it they’ll split their forces for a two-pronged approach, and hopefully divert our forces so that one of theirs can reach the city unopposed.”
“That’s why you’ve got the captain’s bars,” Zeke said. “Don’t think I’d have thought of that.”
“Well, that’s why officer training includes studying old battles. It’s pretty rare for someone to think up an entirely new effective strategy, but much more common to find one that’s worked before and use it again.” He scanned the distance. “It appears,” he began, “that they’re going to send troops to cross very near here.”
“So, the direct attack.”
“No, I think not.”
“But you just said--”
“Yes, I did--but it’s a small force. I think he’s diverting his main force to the north, to cross the river upstream and come down on the land route while we’re occupied with the attackers here.”
“So, what do we do?”
Kondor lowered the binoculars and began to stow them. “We,” he said, “prepare to repel efforts to cross the river here. The Amir’s army,” he turned and addressed the other advisor at this point, “should prepare to defend against an army coming from the north. Send a few men our direction as support--there’s no guarantee the two of us can stop them all.”
The advisor nodded and left.
“Well, let’s get our gear and grab some lunch. We might be out there for a while.” He led the way down the spiral stairs from the tower.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #347: Versers Scrambled. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: