‘‘Form ranks! Shoulder to shoulder! Step to it!’’ yelled their Zhengshi as he impatiently paced up and down the formation between lines of troops, as if searching for imperfections or weaknesses, ‘‘You know the drill, shields front, archers back, swords on standby!’’
Halatir had not received any real military equipment yet, so he was still fighting in his salvaged militia gear and robe, similarly to Xi-Wan, while the rest of the army wore otherwise sturdy leather, scaled, and plate armours, with varying weapons of much higher quality than what the militia was supplied with to sit on a rock. In only what seemed like three successive and simultaneous moves, the entire army turned and shifted in to position, the troops were tense, their faces grim. Sima-Ai was there, behind the shield wall on horseback overlooking the entire ordeal, shouting terse commands which the troops followed to the letter.
The Lun-Yiang heavy cavalry had gathered in the dead centre of the field, and began their charge, their infantry coming up behind them in a roar. Sima-Ai shifted his horse to fall back behind the lines of archers to not obstruct their view and line of fire from his horse, and yelled ‘‘Loose!’’
Arrows rained over the Sima shield wall and showered the field before it, many shots merely bounced off or were deflected by the cavalry’s armour, but those that did pierce it, or had hit a weak spot, were critical, if not fatal. Elves fell off of their horses when pierced, the horses tumbled in agony as an arrow would cut its way deep in to their muscle, hitting the ground with all their weight and armour, causing others who were fast behind them to run them over, and often times tumble to the ground themselves. The enemy had archers as well, and returned fire on the Sima army, showering it in its own hail of death. Most troops were shielded and could hide behind at least some cover, but the archers were completely exposed, and a number of them had died. The Sima archers fired yet one more volley before they fell back, the swordsmen ranks opening up just that little bit to let them slip through before closing together again, and swiftly stepping forth to fill their place, and just in time too.
The Lun heavy cavalry had reached the Sima wall of shields and spears, and slammed straight in to it. Naturally, the line broke under their weight and pressure, the sound of breaking shields, snapping spears, and the whaling of horses and elves alike filed the air. Horses collapsed dead with any surviving rider being butchered in seconds of landing behind the line of shields by the multitudes of swordsmen. Some of the heavy cavalry which remained at the broken front line remained however, and were soon to be reinforced by their foot soldiers, who charged and slammed in to the broken line of shields and spears. A savage close quarter melee followed as soldiers cut each other to pieces with limited elbow room.
The Lun light cavalry were meaning to flank the Sima army, but were occupied by Sima’s own cavalry units at the sides. The Sima archers meanwhile kept firing over the battlefield on to the Lun bowmen, who also kept firing back. Arrows flied back and forth across the sky in a merciless exchange as the battle unfolded in the middle, the width of it eventually extending outwards, allowing the melee combatants more manoeuvrability.