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datatime: 2022-12-08 15:25:12 Author:ZpNCvvLD

"Tanus, the enemy horses that swam across last night?I must have them."

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.

However, Salitis had brought his transports up behind the screen of fighting galleys, and while the river battle still raged, he was able to embark almost two full regiments of horse and chariot, and ferry them intact to our side of the river, without our galleys being able to reach them.

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

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

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.

"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."

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

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

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.

"You crazy old fool." He forced a grin at me. "What, in the name of Horus, were you laughing about?"

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

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

"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?"

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.

"You crazy old fool." He forced a grin at me. "What, in the name of Horus, were you laughing about?"

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

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.

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

"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."

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

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.

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.

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

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