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Out of Nowhere by Patrick LeClerc.
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The Battle of Alanay

by Branden Szabo


Excerpt from "Elza & the Forgotten Princess" (work in progress)

Written by Vivian Esteed

Edited by Wesson

 

Editor’s Note:

In my opinion, the author of this novel does not adequately explain the battle of Alanay.  So, given its importance to the storyline, I will venture to elucidate it further. 

Alanay is a small logging village in the steamy jungles of Amazonia.  These dark wilds are home to a matriarchal nation of ferocious warrior women known as the Amazons.  Contact with their civilization is next to impossible given their dislike of men.  Vivian Esteed, smelling an opportunity to write a new book, dispatched Elza into the jungle hoping that a woman might be able to do the impossible.

Elza wrote about her experience in Amazonia extensively.  She told of sky-scraping pyramids and angular roads made of carved stone.  Given the extreme heat, clothing was sparse to non-existent; many lower-class women didn’t wear anything at all besides tattoos and war-paint.  Given the one-gender environment, this was hardly controversial and Elza herself abandoned her clothes after only a week.

Just before Elza arrived, the Amazon queen expired of old age and her fourteen year old daughter C’leia assumed the throne.  Upon meeting her, Elza described the princess as a “petite but dangerous creature with bronze skin and cold eyes that weren’t afraid to stare you down”. 

Much to her dismay, Elza couldn’t court the tough princess’ favor.  While the details of their conversation are unknown to all but the parties involved, most speculate that the princess viewed Elza as a tamed woman who had surrendered all her natural instincts to a modern, male-dominated world. 

Disaster arrived on the shores of Amazonia in the form of invasion when peace talks between the Princess C’leia and the Varner Empire broke down.  Veteran regiments of free company soldiers landed to make war in the summer of R.E. 342.  Amazon warriors on all fronts were slowly pushed back by steady volleys of breech-load gunfire; even the capitol of Amazonia itself was threatened.  Princess C’leia worked herself to the point of exhaustion trying to maintain an effective defense of her ancient city.

Short on women, Elza volunteered to join the fight.  She suggested an attack on the village of Alanay at the center of the Empire’s lines: a wooded and nearly impassable spit of land the Empire had neglected. 

Long days of heat and disease had taken their toll on the men; Elza’s attack came as a terrible surprise.  Waves of Amazons armed with pet jaguars and the guns of their dead enemies assaulted Imperial soldiers.  Huts were set on fire causing thick smoke to settle over the battlefield like fog, further confusing the engagement.

It was here where fact and fiction becomes muddled.  Vivian asserts that Elza was a mercifully sensible leader who killed only when she had to and rescued the people of Alanay from their burning village. But primary sources present during the battle say Elza had developed a debilitating addiction to Amazonian rum by this time and in fact set the village on fire herself.  These same sources, many of which were not used by Vivian, portray Elza as a bloodthirsty drunk who killed with impunity and prejudice. 

This sordid tale reaches high tide when Elza supposedly executed an unconfirmed number of prisoners in a drunken stupor.

As the setting sun spilled its light over the green of the jungle, neither side had gained any ground.  Even so, the sheer loss of life in such a short amount of time caused the Varner army to withdraw from Amazonia that night.  Elza and the other warriors awoke to a jungle that was once again their own.

Elza’s effective albeit savage performance in battle earned her Princess C’leia’s elusive respect.  She immediately invited Elza into the Amazon sisterhood, an offer she declined with much difficulty.

In my opinion, both as an editor and a student of history, Elza was not the merciful angel Vivian describes her as.  The primary sources are both consistent and vivid.  That being said, it is impossible to say exactly how much of the battle Elza remembers due to her drinking but I would venture to guess it wasn’t much.  She suffered not from the trauma most soldiers experience after war and there are no records of her seeking therapy or medication. 

Personally, I wonder if she remembers any of it at all.




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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
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