Chapter 1424: The Desperate Situation
Translator: Sean88888 Editor: Elkassar1
The horrible torrent swept over, surging and rolling with yellow mud, as if countless furious monsters were hiding underneath, swallowing everything in their paths.
The flood simply came too suddenly. Dry alfalfa leaves, broken pieces of houses, and woven reed mats rich with Gondorian motifs could be seen drifting around everywhere on the water, amidst white foams. The fishy smell of the river water was so strong that it was vomit-inducing.
A scene like this was vastly different from the normal impression one would have of the Anduin River – one of blue sky, white clouds, white sails and mirror-like water! Fortunately, although the flood seemed huge, when it overflowed onto the vast Pelennor Fields, the water level was not that high. In deeper places, the water was up to the waist, while in shallower places it only reached the shins. To be honest, a flood of this degree was probably a threat only to Gimli. The others just had to make sure they were not knocked down by the water, and there would not be much danger of drowning.
Ultimately, the Anduin River was the longest river on Middle Earth, comparable to the Mississippi River, the Amazon River and the Nile on Earth, so without any heavy construction machinery, it was unrealistic to completely block it off and use the accumulated water to drown out the enemy army.
In fact, a similar plan had actually been proposed by Knight’s think tank before they had even entered the world. The proposal was to build a dam, and when the river water had accumulated to a certain height, break the dam so that they water could wash away the enemy army. The reason the proposal was rejected was because, after detailed calculations and analysis, they concluded that the probability of success was simply too low. The preparation work for an attack using accumulated river water had to be done under utmost secrecy, but to perform such a large scale project in secret under the noses of 200,000 Orcs was close to impossible. At best, they would only cause a flood large enough to fill the passages made by the annual flood in the Pelennor Fields and provide fertilizers for the plain.
What good would that do?
Sure, creating a muddy land for the Orcs to roll around in sounded like fun, but it must never be forgotten that there was a very important host of reinforcements that came to Minas Tirith’s aid, and that was the Rohirrim cavalry. Without them, Minas Tirith would never be able to hold on until Aragorn led the Army of the Ghost to their rescue.
So, for the Minas Tirith alliance, flooding the Pelennor Fields would disgust the Orcs at best, while causing themselves great disadvantages instead!
Imagine how tragic it would be if the Rohirrim cavalry had to charge in muddy ground. They would completely lose their momentum and impact. Therefore, after Knight’s think tank suggested this plan, not only was it quickly rejected, they were also asked to keep it a secret. They had to pray that the enemy would not think of such a plan.
As the flood peak roared past, the morale of the remaining soldiers of the human alliance gradually recovered, because they found that after the first few strong waves at the beginning, which washed away dozens of people, the flood was starting to wane. Not only that, they found that the water level had reached their waist at most even at the peak of the flood. Their panic-stricken heart was slowly calming down.
However, unlike the soldiers, the emotions of Knight and the people around him were only getting gloomier by the minute. There is a saying that ignorance is bliss. They knew that the enemy definitely had something up their sleeves, and it must be something vicious!
Soon, the troops who were crawling around in the mud saw densely-packed wooden dinghies and rafts drifting over from afar! These small boats had very shallow drafts and could travel freely in the swamp. All of them were carrying corsairs who were shouting excitedly!!
These pirates had untidy hair and were dressed like villains. Their clothes were mainly black and were very ragged. There was a kind of flea-like parasite prevalent on Middle Earth that liked to hide in the hair, causing a lot of problems and spreading diseases, so about 30% of the pirates were bald. They had shaved their hair to prevent the infestation of the parasite.
The corsairs were all wearing standardised leather armour. From this point alone, one could tell that the rumours that the Corsairs of Umbar had almost formed a nation of their own was not an exaggeration. These leather armour were made from two layers of animal leather sandwiching a mat woven from the fibres of the local red coconuts in the middle. They offered very good protection against arrows and swords as well as against fire. Burning buckets could even be seen on some of the small boats, which were seemingly used for igniting torches and arrows.
It did not take much effort from the trusted crew Sheyan left behind to persuade these highly-suspicious corsairs to execute his plan. Instead of getting right into a direct confrontation with the enemy on the battlefield, they too felt that building a “dam” first to weaken the enemy was the most practical method. In fact, were they not bound by their faith in Sauron, this gang of unscrupulous lowlives might have already dispersed.
The biggest weakness of the corsairs was obviously their lack of organisation and discipline. This kind of mob was often looked down upon by regular armies. Under normal circumstances, if these tens of thousands of Corsairs of Umbar were to engage the thousands of remaining Minas Tirith elites on land, they were doomed for certain defeat.
Therefore, it was small wonder that their sense of existence was so weak. They were looked down upon by everyone.
But under Sheyan’s plotting, even scrap iron would shine like quality metal. Even a piece of tissue paper would only be thrown away after it was first used to wipe the face, then the table, and then the butt. Every bit of worth must be squeezed out of even the smallest pawn!
Sure, the Corsairs of Umbar were disorganised, but so were the Minas Tirith soldiers who had been washed over by the flood. Sheyan could think of no way to make the Corsairs of Umbar a disciplined and organised force in such a short amount of time, so he could only find a way to make the well-trained enemy army chaotic and disorderly!
This was the tactic of pitting chaos against chaos. Moreover, the corsairs were riding on boats, so that gave them an advantage over the enemies. This somewhat made up for their disadvantage in combat strength.
There was actually one more step in Sheyan’s plan, a very sinister one. The volume of water accumulated in such a short period of time was, after all, very limited. In about ten minutes, the flood would slowly subside from the Pelennor Fields, and the plain would become a temporary marsh for two or three days.
This means that even if the corsairs’ morale were to collapse later, the corsairs would not be able to flee by boat even if they wanted to. In such a muddy environment, the mobility of both sides would be restricted to the extreme. Once the battle had started, the losing side would no longer be able to run away, so they were doomed to fight for their lives!
That was the chaotic scramble Sheyan wished to see. He would trade the lives of the Corsairs of Umbar for the lives of enemy soldiers. Remember the battle plan that Sheyan had decided upon from the very beginning? The strength of individuals was insignificant in the grand scale of the entire campaign. Party Ace was merely a small ripple in a war which involved hundreds of thousands and would be quickly wiped away by the general situation. At most, they would affect the development in a small area on the battlefield.
However, by the time this battle involving the corsairs was over, the strength of Party Ace, plus the contribution points they had, would become very important!!
The endgame desperate situation Sheyan initially conceived was starting to take shape!
Of course, the success of a general was always built upon the bones of thousands of dead soldiers. As far as the Corsairs of Umbar were concerned, Sheyan had not taken into consideration how many of them would remain by the end of this battle. He only needed a thousand or so out of the tens of thousands of the corsairs to survive to provide powers of faith for the Source of Darkness hall. He believed Sauron would not concern himself with the life and death of these unimportant pawns anyway.
The subsequent bloodbath may not be as spectacular as the previous battle, but it was unbelievably tragic, unbelievably vicious!
Thanks to Sheyan’s scheming, both sides found themselves with no way out. They could only fight as ferociously as possible. The higher grounds on the Pelennor Fields became muddy lands after the flood receded, while the lower grounds formed puddles. The puddles contained not only water, but also eye-catching, bright red blood. Everywhere one looked, one could see the horrors left behind by the two sides mutually injuring each other.
A muddy environment like this was a paradise for long range attackers because it was very difficult for their targets to dodge their attacks. Their attacks almost never missed. But for those targeted, this place was hell.
In this kind of environment, Legolas was like a god of war, and there was nothing Sheyan could do about it. With his terrifying longbow, the Elf had the absolute advantage. Even the Maritime Alliance and the Blue-ray Party, who had rushed over upon hearing the news to take advantage of the situation, lost more than a dozen people to his arrows!
It must be known that all the contestants who had survived up to this point were core members of the parties! Losing more than a dozen core members was nothing short of a disaster for the two parties.
Of course, Aziz, Zi and Aldaris had also reaped an astonishing amount of benefits.
Knight had instructed a number of contestants proficient in earth magic to make a dry path out of the battlefield. In the end, thanks to Legolas’ outstanding solo efforts and Knight’s adjustments, about a thousand or two of the human soldiers managed to flee back to Minas Tirith. However, most of them were troops redeemed by contestants.
Compared with the regular army, the biggest disadvantage of these redeemed soldiers was that they were under the command of a large number of different people who each fought for themselves. Deaths were inevitable in a war, but contestants were more selfish than others, so they would usually send their redeemed soldiers forward first. It was for this reason that the accepted combat strength ratio of a redeemed soldier to a regular storyline character soldier was 2:3. In other words, it would take three hundred redeemed soldiers to perform the same task that two hundred storyline character soldiers could do. Therefore, the more redeemed soldiers there were among those who escaped back into the city, the happier Sheyan was.
Compared to that, nearly 3000 Corsairs of Umbar had survived. The muddy area had indeed provided them with home court advantage. Sheyan was not a cruel and oppressive commander. He decided not to make these surviving corsairs cannon fodder to storm the city. They only needed to stay back on defence. Their most important duty was to provide powers of faith to the Source of Darkness hall so that the hall could maintain its indestructible state.