Nanteka walked through the camp, watching the soldiers with a critical eye. They trained on the sand dunes to the north side of the tents. The general paced the perimeter of the camp, checking the status of the supplies, dinosaurs, and slaves with equal scrutiny. In times of invasion, every aspect of the military was important.
A group of lesser ranked officers, politicians, and clergy followed in his wake. He heard their gossip and the sounds of their white linen robes trailing in the sand. He wasn’t sure why they bothered, he never paid them any attention, but still they followed him like suitors to the emperor. He crested a dune on the eastern edge and walked towards the large pen that held a massive God of the Temple. The ferocious creature watched his approach with anticipation. Nanteka knew that they had run out of prisoners to feed the great beast, and last night one of the slaves had not been careful enough when it was repairing the fence.
He glanced back and saw that the entourage decided to stay back on the top of the hill. He chuckled to himself and made his way to the silk tent located right next to pen. High priest Ramesu knelt on the sand with his arms outstretched and shaven head facing straight into sun’s rays. Nanteka stopped nearby and waited. Minutes passed before the priest turned his head. “You wonder something,” he said.
The general cleared the emotions from his face and stated clearly. “I had heard that looking into the sun would steal your sight.”
“I gave my vision to Ra long ago. I can no longer see as you do. What he gave me in return is much different. I can sense everything that the rays of light touch.”
“Do you sense the invaders?”
The priest rose to his feet and brushed the sand from his ornate robes. “Ra sees the barbarians. Ships are landing at a village to the northwest of here. The slave army will never make it in time. Take every Great Lizard you can and hurry. You may be able to stop them.”
General Nanteka hesitated for a moment. “Were you shown anything else?”
“Many things. That is why I will not be joining you.”
“Where are you headed?”
“That is not your concern soldier,” the priest said as he turned towards his tent and motioned for his slaves.
Nanteka bit his tongue and turned away. It had been many years since he had been referred to as only a soldier. He pushed past the entourage and made his way into the camp. “Warriors, mount up,” he bellowed. “Overlords pack the camp and follow us to the north west. Sisters of Venom, prepare your poison, we have found the barbarians and we go to save our countrymen.”
Silence followed his orders, then the bustle of activity. He ignored the mass of people as they flowed around him. He walked to the other side of the camp and came to where the pen that held his mount was. Slaves were already on ladders strapping the saddle to the Horn Lord’s back. It turned its massive head towards him in frustration. It’s jaws opened wide exposing rows of jagged teeth, almost as long as his hand. The great dinosaur roared and Nanteka felt anxious, inspired, and eager for battle.
The general climbed the ladder and reached out with his mind and connected with the massive beast as it straightened up on its hind legs. Nanteka looked down on the tents, soldiers, and everything else. As he steered his mount north of the camp everyone scurried away, more from the terror that his mount inspired than the respect his position gave.
General Nanteka looked forward to the directness of battle. There was something calming for him in the midst of battle. Everything else fell away and it was the only time he could truly focus. He could feel the Horn Lord surging with excitement of the coming battle. Nanteka could never see eye to eye with the soldiers that fought for him, but he always agreed with his mount.