Where Anyone is Possible
(All original Silverhide material provided by Titus Silverhide)
:: An old Chronicle society journal, located in Consequence. Written by Nicholas Dweef, Chronicle society reporter. The date has long since been scrubbed out. ::
Volume 2. The Silverhide art of war. (Silverhide warriors)
What do you do with a unit of 20 Silverhides? You send them into battle. From what I have observed so far, the Silverhides fresh out of training have fought and they have killed. But they have not fought in a Silverhide battle. They have fought together in Khorrn groups and learned about battle tactics and how to fight together with all the others. But it has all been theory until now. Battle is where a Silverhide truly emerges itself into not just a culture, but a way of life. Where a Silverhide hones its deadly skills.
During my 17 months in Halgan with the Silverhides I saw many skirmishes and fights. But I had the honor of only seeing one true battle. Most would think that would be enough, but I wanted to see more from these wolven warriors, who had so far exceeded all accounts I had previously heard. What a battle it was! Here I saw the true might of the Silverhides and how they fought together and integrated their young warriors. (Note this is not the manner in which Silverhides fight all of their battles, or so I was told.)
Alpha Swiftfang and the Silverhides had been in poor relations with a neighbouring horde of orcs for quite some time. The tribe led by an orc war-chief called Eycrush had expanded, fighting its way north over Hellifyno, taking over and integrating other migrating tribes on the way. It is said that Hellifyno drove the orcs North, away from their homes, bringing them to finally step into Halgan. Silverhide territory.
The orcs made the mistake of trying to pillage Halgan. A head count by a Silverhide scout estimated Eycrush's horde of tribes to be about 5000 strong.
I was there in Halgan when Alpha Swiftfang prepared his warriors for battle. Raising an army of 1000 Silverhides. This army was composed of 800 Silverhide warriors and 200 of the elite warrior class, Black-claws.
I was taken aback at first. I went to the Alpha Swiftfang, who was leading the battle against the orcs. I asked him how he thought he could defeat an army of 5000 orcs with just 1000 men.
He replied to me: “They are not just men, Nicholas... They are men and women. They are warriors. These soldiers can best armies of thousands.”
I was skeptical at first. I had seen how these warriors had been brought up and trained. Saw several skirmishes. True they were great warriors. But fighting overwhelming odds was another matter entirely. I travelled with the army personally to watch and take note.
The first thing that surprised me was that the Alpha and Blademasters, the higher ranking warriors did not sit at the back, planning and issuing orders like most of todays commanders. They were expected to lead by example, fight on the front lines.
I watched from a hill above the battlefield, alone with a single scout and observing the entire proceedings. Down below on the left, the orcs had lined up for battle. They were lumbering brutes, very strong and stupid with clubs, axes and battle axes. They were marauders and pillagers. Brutes. It was a typical horde, a mass of crooked lines that would break into a giant wave from the charge.
There were plains between the two assembled armies and they were spaced roughly 120 yards apart. The Silverhides had formed up in a different manner. Despite their savage looks and tribal weapons, they formed a very solid formation.
The core army was composed entirely of Silverhide warriors. 40 Khorrn units, each unit made up of 20 soldiers.
The first line of the Silverhide army was 20 soldiers abreast, an entire unit making up the first line.All of these warriors carried a Khagor, a large wolfstone shield that if used when crouching will cover a wolven Silverhide entirely. They also carried a huge, ten foot spear with a sharp wolfstone tip. Behind this front line was the second rank, carrying exactly the same equipment, 20 abreast.
Assembled behind the two ranks of Silverhide shields and spears stood rank 3 and 4, also 20 abreast. Though these wolves did not carry large shields and spears. They carried ordinary weapons, mostly two handed ones, battle-axes and great-swords. Then the process repeated itself with the following ranks. 2 ranks of spears and shields followed by 2 ranks of warriors with ordinary weapons, all the way to the back line. 800 strong standing in a solid wall, shoulder to shoulder, shields locked, spear out.
My first mistake was to believe this to be an ordinary type of phalanx formation.
The 200 Black-claws split into larger units of 50. Two on either side of the core army. Alpha Swiftfang was located at the front of the core army while Blademasters took control of a black-claw unit each. The Black-claws carried a variety of different weapons. These were Silverhide elitists who had proved themselves many times in battle.
The two armies finally charged. The 5000 orcs led by Eycrush charged in a wave at the Silverhides. The Silverhides in turn made their way forward slowly, in a trot. I watched the phalanx move slowly, the units of black claws either side of it fanning out diagonally.
The black-claws started to inch ahead of the main army and suddenly the two armies came into contact, clashing violently! The two black-claw units swept into the enemy with fury, starting to carve through the disorganized horde in no time. This savage fighting funnelled the bulk of the charging orc army down the centre where they slammed into the Silverhide phalanx!
Suddenly the Silverhide shields came crashing down! The front line kneeling, shields locked and held up, spears pointing out. The second line stepped forward, shields up, spears out and the orcs slammed into a heavy wall of huge wolven muscle and wolfstone shields! There was a crunch and the Orcs were blocked completely by a sturdy wall of shields. This is no easy feat given how strong orces are. A testament to how strong Silverhides are in wolven form.
Typical Phalanx, right? Wrong.
The second rank of Silverhides started stabbing down with their spears, the shield wall holding... Just like any other phalanx...
Then suddenly the command “Vor!” (Up!) Was shouted.
Without warning the front line of Silverhides, still kneeling used their shields to flip the orcs streaming constantly against the shield wall. Their shields served like scoopers, launching the orcs with their own charging momentum over their shoulders and into the Silverhide ranks.
Now it was apparent what the two lines behind the shield wall were for... In seconds the Silverhide shield wall was reformed, lines of spears giving the front line enough time to get back into a kneeling position again. The wall closed up and as the orcs that had been launched into the Silverhide ranks landed, they were butchered by the axe and sword wielding warriors. Most of them were killed before they even had time to get up.
This shocked the orcs. They were a horde of pillagers, looters and thuggish brutes. Used to weaker human and elven armies. They had warriors too... But they had never come face to face with foes like this before, foes who were born and bred to fight. Natural warriors.
The orc ranks slammed relentlessly into the Silverhide shields. The orcs were charging in a great mass at the phalanx, but they could not get around to flank them due to the units of ferocious black-claws, funnelling them down the middle. There was only one place to go. Right into the shield wall. As more and more orcs piled into the shield wall, the warriors with axes and swords and pushed into the back of frontlines, using their great sized weapons to help keep the men before them straight. The Silverhide army was pushing back!
Suddenly the orc army was trapped, flying into shields and stabbing spears, a forcefield of strength they could not puncture. Orcs started to get trampled, falling over the dead, tripping into shields and being crushed by those charging after them. It was a massacre.
Suddenly I heard Alpha Swiftfang shout: “Ukkor!” (Open!)
The shield wall suddenly opened up and took an inch of a step back. Many charging orcs stumbled through the wall.
The shield wall slammed shut again, trapping the groups of orcs in the Silverhide ranks where the axe and sword wielding wolves stopped pushing and butchered them.
It was almost beautiful to watch. Silverhides did fall and die, but they were not many. If one wolf did fall, the warrior behind him/her stepped forward to take his/her place. If he/she perished too, then the axe or sword wielding wolf behind, sheathed their current weapon and moved forward to pick up the fallen comrades shield.
Suddenly the orc numbers counted for nothing. In the space of a few hours, the larger half of their army had been decimated and butchered. The orcs tried to back off, away from the Silverhide army, but the black-claws kept the orcs on their toes.
“Kharak! Kharak Eualia Devor!” (War! To war!)
In an instant the shields were discarded and suddenly the Silverhides opened up, finally charging back at the orcs. Silverhides holding a position was one thing. Silverhides that killed thousands of your army suddenly charging at you and breaking formation was another thing entirely. It was here that the individual fighting techniques that they had learned came into use. The Silverhides were suddenly washing over the orcish army in a deadly dance of death that had truly been perfected over millennia.
War-chief Eycrush was killed and trampled. The orcs ending up fleeing the field.
When I assisted with the final body count after the battle, we calculated that the Orcs had lost a total of 3379 warriors. The Silverhides had lost only 108 soldiers. 77 Silverhide warriors and 31 Black-claws.
I was stunned... This was a breathtaking victory. But it was clear to me by how the Silverhides reacted after the battle that this was a fairly common occurrence, with figures always proportionately close to the number of fatalities in this battle.
I had seen first hand the military wonder the Silverhides had created and perfected over thousands of years. The basis of a culture.