Battles, Sieges, and Wars of Brother Betrayed

Brother Betrayed by Danielle Raver
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There are two elements of battle in this novel. First, the main characters are often engaged in hand to hand combat, their chosen weapons usually being swords. To write these scenes with some historical accuracy, I studied different types of swords and their uses in combat. It helps that my husband collects swords and built his own forge in the back yard. 

The other element of warfare in Brother, Betrayed comes from the main kingdom being at constant war with the surrounding tribes. These battles I modeled after battles fought in the Crusades. Though set in a fantasy world, there is a strong emphasis on knights, archers, cavalry, and siege weapons and tactics. 

Several sequences in Brother, Betrayed were based on the Siege of Antioch, where a small number of soldiers defended against a large army in the First Crusade.
An excerpt from a hand to hand combat scene from Brother, Betrayed:

The large man stepped back, drawing his sword. Syah watched him grasp the hilt with both hands and then stand still. “You strike first,” Malgar said, as usual, “gradually to start.”
Syah nodded again as he drew his sword. His mind moved ahead of his actions, calculating the trainer’s moves, his vulnerabilities with a larger, slower sword. The prince moved towards him, swinging his blade downward and stepping to the side.
Malgar parried. “Good, and again,” he ordered.
Syah turned and swung at him from the other side. The trainer parried again and the prince tried at him from a different angle.
“Now faster,” Malgar ordered, stepping back to avoid the prince’s novice blade. The prince could feel his breathing grow shallow and his pulse quicken. He felt a rush of energy, his mind clear, thinking ahead of his strikes, evaluating and executing.
“Good,” Malgar said, “now defend.” Syah changed his stance to block the trainer’s sword. He saw the man’s direction; he watched the position of his sword, predicting his actions. Syah felt satisfaction as he was able to block each of Malgar’s attacks.
“Very nice, you defend well,” the trainer praised. “You know the moves well. Now we’ll increase the speed.”
Syah shifted his sword as Malgar came towards him. The prince held his ground a moment, but stepped back after blocking several quick attacks. Malgar moved forward again. Syah glanced at the trainer’s face, seeing his eyes were narrow, resolute, angry. Syah tightened his hands on the hilt and continued to defensively position his sword to prevent Malgar’s attacks from following through. The weapons master pushed forward, but Syah was close to the wall and had no room to maneuver. The man’s flashing sword came at him faster; although the prince was able to block it, it was becoming more difficult. Syah tried to move to a more open position away from the wall, but his adversary’s sword prevented him.
Malgar emitted a low, furious battle cry and Syah shuddered.

The wars drive the tension between the brothers as they each try to prove their usefulness to the kingdom. Oman, the eldest, is schooled on war by the king:

“A battle is fluid, my son. We do not plan for a single moment, but a series of possible events.”
“Yes Father,” Oman answered.
“Commander Lenpece, you will lead the majority of our mounted troops behind the Marrian army and wait until we engage them. Then you will herd them towards the hills, where Oman will be waiting with a company of fighters and archers. We will keep some cavalry with the main force in case they decide to send archers to the hills to the west. And I will await them, blocking their way to Bafonville. They will perceive us as a possible victory, a fair fight, and perhaps they will grow spine enough to engage us in open battle.”
Oman watched his men gather around him as the king left, awaiting orders. The king looked back to him after mounting. “Shall the skies shine on our victory today,” he said and tugged on the reins.
“We shall let the king and his army gain ground. When the Marrians see him they will slow their advance. We desire our presence to be secret, so we will approach with care, and gain the opposite side of the hill, out of sight. It will be imperative that they see the king’s army first and decide to match them. We will attack at the opportune moment, giving their army a chance to pass us. When the king’s army tears them down and they retreat, they will be exposed to our attack from the hill. Mount, we will ride until we can see the eastern hills in the distance. Tell the archers to follow behind us. Be wary of enemy scouts crossing the area.” The prince mounted and was followed by his host of soldiers and knights.

Tags: war, fiction war novels, warfare, warriors,  Brother Betrayed by Danielle Raver, the Crusades, the Seige of Antioch, The First Crusade, knights, archers, siege, battles

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