Princess Rama – a prepared battlefield…

Rama stared down the rakshasa army flooding toward her bloodied allies, and aimed Pinaka carefully. Or as carefully as a human could, with two giants’ footsteps shaking the ground as they met in a steely clash.

A giant blessed by the gods themselves…. If I ever get my hands on Brahma, I am going to give him such a shaking as will rattle his heavenly teeth!

A breath, and she loosed.

The moonbolt skipped over ground like a flat stone across a lake, killing rakshasas as it flew, searing off a half-foot of mud, earth, and what few weeds had survived the past few days’ battles. Brave and determined, the rakshasa horde pressed on over scorched earth, seeing how few whole vanaras stood before them-

Which was when the ground she’d weakened opened up and swallowed them.

Rama lowered Pinaka a moment, wincing at the screams and snap of broken bones. There were advantages to having a vanara engineer and an earth mage on her side.

“We are warrior-born, and this is supposed to be our life’s work.” Lakshmana drew and loosed as he identified rakshasas rallying the rest; peacock-feathered arrows carrying enchantments the vanaras had woven deep into rakshasa flesh, setting the determined leaders on fire. “I think, by the time this is over, I would be as happy to never draw a bow again.”

“You will,” Rama said softly. “I am certain of it. For you and Utmila should have long and happy lives, and your sons and daughters will need instruction in all the arts of archery. And who better to teach them of war than one who knows the cost?” She raised her head, putting aside softness. “But first, we must fight until this is over-”

Hanuman ducked, and a giant iron spike struck the ground like a falling star.


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