The secret messenger informed Thalace that the Rekipii and rebel forces were coming from the back. There were not many, however; not more than seven hundred.
Thalace was puzzled. Why had they not sent more? He shrugged. It was a strangely benefiting situation. Thalace continued riding to talk to his men.
Within two hours the enemy forces had arrived. Fierce fighting ensued, but the enemy were outnumbered. After only an hour, it looked like the royals would win.
Then Sajti, General Hondoel’s assistant, rode to Thalace with news. Three thousand of the enemy troops were marching to the front of the palace. They were moving quickly and would certainly arrive in half an hour.
Thalace listened to him in shocked silence. How could he have been so foolish? Why did he always make the worst decisions? Of course the enemy would attack the weak front of the circle. It had barely any guard at all, especially now, with most of them fighting the enemies now at hand.
How had he been so stupid?
Thalace ordered his troops to hurry to the front of the circle, but many lay dead, and many could not hear him. Leaving Sajti and a few others to tell the men to change their direction, Thalace rode to the front.
Thalace could hear his foes approaching. The sound of marching feet and pounding hooves from such a startling sense of reality that for a moment Thalace was barely able to sit straight on his horse. The next moment his strength returned. Now was not the time for cowardice. Now was the time for bravery! Thalace remembered what Lachem had once said to him.
“The only way you can be brave, Thalace, is to fear. Bravery is not doing dangerous things because you are strong, but doing noble things because you fear what would happen if you did not. Cowardice is what happens when you let the fear overtake you.”
Gotta love those secret messengers.