A Valley Too Far

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Nica’s main body emerges from a woods & spies the Asterians across the field.

Lady Hecate of Nica commanded the forces occupying the fertile plains between the double bends of the Planetakore (“Wandering Maiden”) River. The plains had been won from a battle fought earlier in the year between the armies of Asteria & Nica. The battle had dealt a severe blow to the Asterians. Much of their army had been destroyed or captured & sold into slavery. It was at this battle that the gladiatrix Brisia had been captured, but that is another story.

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The left flank of Lady Hecate’s army has a good view of the ancient skull.

With the end of the harvest in sight, Lady Hecate sent spies across the river to discover the strength of enemy forces. When the spies reported the absence of enemy troops, Lady Hecate embarked on a daring plan to cross the river at the northern bend to take the city of Anados & its surrounding villages. Her purpose would be to free the Amazons of Anados from the tyranny of Asterian democracy.

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2 units of archers & 2 units of slingers of Hecate’s left flank

Her spies quickly infiltrated the city & surrounding villages. When her army arrived, she found the gates opened & the city councilwomen as her prisoners. She executed the councilwomen & any woman suspected of resisting Nycenean rule was bound into slavery & sent to Nica to be sold. Some did manage to escape, so Lady Hecate was not surprised to learn that an army from Asteria was on its way to confront her.

THE ARMIES

Both armies are from the Valkae list in “Rally Round the King.”

Nycenean Army commanded by Lady Hecate (545 pts.)
6 units of Nobles
4 units of Archers
3 units of Slingers
7 units of Warriors
2 units of Sword Maidens
1 unit of Cavalry
1 unit of Marines
1 level 1 Magic User
1 Hero

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The right flank can also see Asterians across the field, but a hill blocks sight of the main body.

Asterian Army commanded by Lady Phoebe (529 pts.)
5 units of Nobles
2 units of Archers
4 units of Slingers
7 units of Warriors
2 units of Shield Maidens
2 units of Cavalry
2 units of Marines
1 Hero

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The Asterian “hammer” looks across the field.

THE PLANS

The sorceress, Timandra, divined that the battle should be fought in a place of power. West of Anados lay the Valley of the Leviathan, a place where a giant creature of immense power had been slain. Its huge skull could still be seen upon the ground. This was the place she insisted would be ideal for the battle. Lady Hecate gathered her army & marched to the Valley of the Leviathan. In addition to Timandra, the hero Kynthia joined her retinue.

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The Asterians sing a hymn to the Goddess before advancing.

Lady Hecate was disappointed to discover that there was a hill in the center of the Valley of the Leviathan. Her scouts had informed her that the enemy had arrived on the western edge of the valley. Her success would depend on reaching the hill first & commanding the high ground.

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Lady Hecate’s initial deployment.

Lady Hecate’s army from Nica rolled the Penetrate Center battle tactic. In traditional hoplite fashion, she placed skirmishers on each flank. She & her retinue consisting of the hero & sorceress took the place of honor in the extreme right of the phalanx. From right to left the phalanx consisted of nobles, then warriors, & sword maidens on the extreme left of the phalanx. She kept 2 units of skirmishers, 1 unit of warriors, & 1 unit of marines behind the phalanx as a reserve.

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Lady Phoebe’s marines on her left flank.

Lady Phoebe commanded the Asterian army. On the march from Asteria, she had encountered the renown hero Pasiphae, who was also a great leader. As she studied the valley with its central hill she formulated a plan that would work no matter who seized the high ground first. But the plan had a weakness. A small force would have to hold the entire left flank.

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Initial deployment of Lady Phoebe’s Asterians with cavalry & archers in reserve.

Lady Phoebe’s army from Asteria rolled the Hammer & Anvil battle tactic. This meant that she would have to place a large number of units on her right flank to use as the hammer, her center would be the anvil, & a small number of units to contain her left. This is a risk in hoplite armies as the left usually faces the enemy’s best.

The “hammer” was placed under the command of the hero Pasiphae. It consisted of units of shield maidens in the front ranks supported by frenzied warriors in the rear ranks. The hammer had skirmishers on both sides.

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The Nyceneans move first, Lady Hecate gives the command to advance.

The “anvil” was under her command. Often in hoplite formations, the better troops would be in the right part of the phalanx, but Lady Phoebe couldn’t afford any weakness in the anvil. The entire front ranks were composed of elite trained “noble women” with the lesser disciplined citizen warriors in the rear ranks for support.

The small containment force on the left flank was composed of 2 units of marines. Knowing that the marines might need help, she composed her reserve of fast moving cavalry & archers.

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Nycenean skirmishers advance toward the skull of the Leviathan.

THE BATTLE

Turn 1:

The hill obscured her vision of the main Asterian lines of battle, but Lady Hecate knew they were there. She could hear them singing an Amazon hymn to the Goddess. To her right she could see a small force. She gave command & the army of Nica moved forward.

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Nycenean skirmishers advance on a small hill.

Lady Phoebe likewise heard the Nycenean command to advance & she ordered her own troops to advance. On the right, the skirmishers peeled off of the hammer seeking to harass & stall the enemy. The heavy infantry moved at a slow pace to give the skirmishers time to do their job. She looked behind her to see the cavalry and archers shift to the left to take up positions to aid the marines if needed.

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Skirmishers peel off of the Asterian “hammer”.
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The Asterian “anvil” begins its advance.
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Asterian cavalry moves up to support the marines.

Turn 2:

Lady Hecate’s army continued to advance. Her skirmishers & cavalry on the right had taken a smaller hill to the right. The skirmishers on the left had reached the giant skull of the Leviathan on the edge of a small woods. Her line was nearly to the top of the hill. She prayed silently that she would be the first to reach the top.

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Nycenean skirmishers take up position on the hill, while the cavalry advances on the Asterian marines.
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Lady Hecate’s phalanx is nearly to the top of the hill.
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Nycenean archers & slingers take up position at the Leviathan’s skull.

The Asterian skirmishers moved close enough to trade fire with the skirmishers near the giant skull. One unit of skirmishers hurled missiles at the unit of shield maidens on the end of the phalanx. This provoked the Nycenean shield maidens to charge the skirmishers, but the skirmishers were able to retire.

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Asterian skirmishers retire while the “hammer” advances.

The heavy infantry moved at full speed now & began its ascent up the hill. The hammer was slightly ahead of the anvil.

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The “anvil” ascends the hill.
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Archers advance to fill the gap between the “anvil” & the marines.

The marines attempted to charge the Nycenean cavalry. The cavalry quickly fired & then retired without doing any damage. The Asterian cavalry moved up to the hill occupied by the skirmishers & triggered an exchange of missile fire, which resulted in one unit of skirmishers fleeing the battlefield.

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Marines force Nycenean cavalry to retire. Asterian cavalry advances.

Turn 3:

The Nycenean skirmishers again fire at the Asterian cavalry. The cavalry holds & returns fire routing the skirmishers. The Nycenean cavalry cautiously moves into position to harass the Asterian cavalry. The collapse of the units on Lady Hecate’s right attracts the the attention of the hero Kynthia, who decides that she can single handedly hold the right. Kynthia leaves the phalanx & charges the Asterian marines. The marine archers fire at Kynthia, but to no avail. The frenzied Kynthia slams into the nearest marine unit. Neither side scores a wound & neither side gives an inch.

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Kynthia charges the marines.

Timandra casts Inspire on Lady Hecate as the main body reaches the top of the hill. Their appearance surprises the Asterians as they are also near the top. The enemy threat causes the Asterian line to halt.

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The Nyceneans reach the top of the hill first.

The skirmishers near the giant skull target the Asterian “hammer” & score a hit on an unit of shield maidens. The frenzied shield maidens are provoked into charging causing the skirmishers to retire.

The Asterian hammer catches up the the unit of shield maidens & begins wheeling toward the flank of the Nycenean phalanx. Pasiphae feels confident that her own skirmishers will keep the enemy skirmishers from interfering as the hammer prepares to strike.

The Asterian anvil activates & charges uphill into the Nycenean phalanx. The crash of shields & Amazon screams resound through the valley.

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The Asterian “anvil” crashes into the Nycenean phalanx.

The archers held in the Asterian reserve see that the Nycenean phalanx is longer than the Asterian phalanx. They move toward the Nycenean phalanx in hopes of preventing the Nyceneans from wrapping the flank of the “anvil.”

The 2 marine units are successful in wrapping Kynthia. Kynthia & the marines trade hits. Kynthia attempts to give ground, but the marines follow up.

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The marines attempt to swarm Kynthia.

The Asterian cavalry charges the Nycenean cavalry, which retires. The Asterians pursue & overtake the Nycenean cavalry forcing it to rout.

Turn 4:

Kynthia now finds herself alone on the flank battling 2 stubborn units of marines. She forces one of the units to give ground.

Lady Hecate gives the command to push forward with the othismos, but it is too early. The Asterian “anvil” is still fresh & gives no ground.

With the hammer completing its wheel, Lady Hecate’s reserve moves forward in an attempt to stop the hammer.

Nycenean skirmishers fire & rout an unit of Asterian skirmishers.

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The “hammer” strikes the “anvil”.

The “hammer” charges into the flank of the Nycenean phalanx. Nycenean shield maidens rout. In “pursuit” to begin rolling the Nycenean flank, the hammer runs into the Nycenean reserve. The skirmishing units in the reserve rout, the marines while taking serious hits from the hammer hold the hammer away from the main phalanx.

The “anvil” continues its scrum with the Nycenean phalanx. Another unit of Nycenean warriors is routed.

Turn 5:

Kynthia forces the other unit of Asterian marines to give ground.

Lady Hecate attempts to roll the flank of the Asterian “anvil,” but is halted by fire from Asterian archers.

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A frustrated Lady Hecate chases away a unit of archers.

The battle in the center begins to tip in Lady Phoebe’s favor. Two units of Nycenean warriors are routed. The “hammer” routs the reserve marines. The skirmish battle around the giant skull sees another Nycenean skirmisher unit rout.

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The Nycenean marines can’t hold back the hammer. Lady Hecate has chased away archers so the right of the Nycenean phalanx can maneuver.

Pasiphae leaves the “hammer” to begin seeking Kynthia. She charges the last unit of the Nycenean reserve causing it to rout. The hammer continues to roll the Nycenean flank; another unit of warriors routs.

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Pasiphae routs the last unit of Lady Hecate’s reserve.

Missile fire from the Asterian archers causes Lady Hecate to lead her unit out of the phalanx to chase away the archers. The 2 marine units are content to let their archers fire at Kynthia & not engage in melee.

The Asterian cavalry fires into the rear of the Nycenean phalanx routing an unit of warriors & forcing the unit containing the sorceress, Timandra to retire out of the phalanx.

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Asterian cavalry advances on the rear of the Nycenean phalanx.
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More cavalry behind the Nyceneans.

Turn 6:

Lady Hecate’s unit manages to wheel, but continues to receive fire from archers. Timandra’s unit wheels & joins Lady Hecate’s unit.

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Timandra’s unit joins Lady Hecate’s unit.

Asterian units begin to reform for a final epidromosas the hammer continues to move down the anvil.

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The Asterians begin to reform behind the “hammer”.

Turn 7:

Having had enough missile fire from the marines, Kynthia charges one of the units & after a brief melee, forces it to rout.

Lady Hecate’s 2 units charge one of the units of archers forcing it to fire & retire. But disaster strikes, Lady Hecate has taken too many risks & is slain by an arrow. A panic spreads through the Nycenean army, many units flee the field.

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Lady Hecate is slain.

The hammer continues rolling across the anvil 2 more units of Nycenean noble women are routed.

The Asterian cavalry attack the rear of nobles engaged with the anvil & cause that unit to rout.

Fire from the archers causes the unit containing the sorceress to rout.
The last remaining unit of nobles surrenders. The hero Kynthia escapes.

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Lady Phoebe raises her shield in triumph.
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Kynthia escapes.

THE AFTERMATH

For the rest of the day Lady Phoebe’s troops pursued the fleeing Nyceneans. Many were captured including the sorceress, Timandra, but Kynthia was no where to be found.

The following morning, after reviewing the prisoners, Lady Phoebe gave audience to Timandra. “Timandra of Anados, you abandoned your own people to join our enemy. For that, you should forfeit your life. Instead, we will keep you alive as an example to other sorceresses. You will be a slave in the silver mines for the rest of your life. Of course we can not allow you to practice magic.”

Lady Phoebe turned to her Adjunct, Penelope, “Remove her tongue & both index fingers. Then ship her to the mines.” Penelope motioned to the guards & they took Timandra away.

Lady Phoebe stepped out of her tent. Her aids followed. Looking at the prisoners she said “All of those who surrendered on the field of battle are to be ransomed. Of those that fled, one in ten are to be hung in the woods of the Leviathan as an offering.”

“And the remainder, my Lady?” asked Penelope.

“Give them a choice. Those who wish to serve Asteria can become slaves; those who want to go home can go home.”

“Go home? You mean to let them go free?”

“Yes, but take a hammer & break the toes on the feet of those who want to go home. Let them hobble home & let their crippled feet remind them not to make war on us ever again.”

“Yes, my Lady.” said Penelope with a note of satisfaction in her voice.

“One final thing, Penelope. Take the armor of Lady Hecate & construct a trophy offering to the Goddess on top of the hill.”

8 comments

    • I would, but I don’t have any male armies painted up for them to fight, yet. I am working on it, but the male armies I’m working on are also Classical Greek armies for the Peloponnesian Wars. I’m also slowly working on a wood elf army composed of mostly Foundry’s Nymphs for them to fight.

      Plus, they are further back in the painting queue. I’ve got Comanche on the paint table now & they will be followed by more African Female Tribal Warriors for Colonial Adventures.

      • Well, the Valkae who attacked me were represented by chaos warriors, high elves and imperial troops. I think that as long the soldier represents the type of troop everything goes. E.g. two mounted represent a mounted skirmish unit of what you want them to be 🙂
        But I see your point and I’m sure you’ll be welcome anytime you decide to join the party.
        Cheers

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