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INTRODUCTION
PROLOGUE
CHAPTER I - THE SWORD
CHAPTER II - MORAVIA
CHAPTER III - MARHAT
CHAPTER IV - TRIBECH
CHAPTER V - THE ARROW
CHAPTER VI – NITRAVA
CHAPTER VII - BOGATYGRAD
CHAPTER VIII – CLOTHAR
CHAPTER IX - DAGOBERT
CHAPTER X - RETALIATION
EXPLANATORY NOTES


CHAPTER VI – NITRAVA

“Samo, the army is prepared for the assault!” shouted Drahomir.

Soldiers were screaming and knocking swords on their shields. The main attack on the Zobor fortress was about to happen. The Venedian army moved out of the Tribech fortress at night and completely overran the Zubritsa hill between Tribech and Zobor, which was used for defense ages ago but not anymore. The reason was that the thunderer god got fed up with peoples living there and he made their stay there unbearable and so they moved out of Zubritsa.

But time has passed and now the area looked like a normal hill with trees growing everywhere. From there it was easy to spot enemy troops not only on the mountain ridge between Zobor and Zubritsa, but also in the city of Nitrava, the key objective of the liberation struggle.

“My fellow soldiers, my brothers, today we will capture Zobor and Nitrava and we will regain our independence!” Samo addressed his army. “Don’t forget that who controls Zobor controls Nitrava! And by PERUN we will succeed!” he added.

The army attacked the central fortified positions between Zubritsa and Zobor. Thousand years ago it would be extremely difficult to hack their way along the ridge filled with fortresses, but Avars were stationed mainly on Zobor and in the city of Nitrava and they used mounted units to attack Venedians on the mountain ridge. After capturing the hill Haranch, it wasn’t so difficult to push Avars back through another three hilltops until they had to fully retreat back to Zobor.

So after two hours the Venedian army reached the edge of the Zobor fortress. The plan was to stabilize the front line by encircling the fortress and making it look like the army wants to get into the fortress from two directions, the mountain ridge and from the north.

Another thing happened during the night. Reinforcements from the northern Venedian lands arrived and maybe Kvetoslava’s army didn’t have larger numbers than the remaining part of the Venedian forces, but her soldiers were definitely more skilled, dedicated and truly prepared to die for their beautiful leader. Kvetoslava was preparing her northern army for attack.

“Are you ready to crush our enemies and end their tyranny?” shouted Kvetoslava riding her horse in front of her army that started cheering. Avars stationed in the Zobor fortress began to worry.

Nevertheless, defenses of the Zobor fortress were too strong for a full frontal assault. As the attack started, vast amounts of arrows that were coming from the fortress made it look like it was raining and that this battle could not last long.

After about an hour of fighting, Samo sent Drahomir to get Kvetoslava and when she arrived, Samo told her: “Dear Kvetoslava, we could use some cover for our mission.”

“As you wish,” replied Kvetoslava and closed her eyes. Thick mist started to come out of the ground. It was like a smolder coming from an underground fire. Both parties stopped fighting because they couldn’t see the enemy and the Venedian army retreated to defensive positions.

As soon as the whole hill was covered with thick fog, Samo moved out with Vladislav and left Drahomir with the others to hold their lines.

“We have to move quietly but quicky as well,” said Samo and he led the way. After a short while they reached the southern rocky side of the fortress. They could not see a thing.

“Vladislav, don’t forget to just shoot the arrow in the sky and it will find its target,” whispered Samo. He already explained the dream about poisoning Zobor’s water reserves to Vladislav.

Vladislav took the arrow from his leather case, stretched his bow aiming into the sky and shot the arrow. The bizarre thing was that the bow didn’t even make a noise and the arrow was flying in complete silence somewhere to the northern part of the fortress. Samo and Vladislav didn’t know where it was really flying nor if it even hit something.

So they both went back to their army’s positions. Drahomir asked Samo: “Now what?”

“Now we have to wait,” Samo replied. And so they waited. After hours and hours it was still awfully quiet and the mist was still holding its ground around the whole hill. This way the Zobor fortress was not able to communicate with Nitrava.

Nitrava consisted of a slightly elevated city center with three hills, branched river Nitrava and several marshes surrounding it. These natural conditions provided important defense to the city, but the true key to its defense was always the Zobor fortress complex. Without it, Nitrava would never rise to this kind of importance. The Zobor hill predispositioned Nitrava for greatness.

Avar soldiers were tired from the assault from early in the morning. One by one they went to the fortresses’ water reservoir and drank from its water reserves. They did not realize that the magical arrow went directly into the reservoir and slowly poisoned them all.

In the evening they were all dead. Samo got impatient, so he sent scouts to the main wall and they were able to climb inside the fortress and witness the effects from first hand. The Venedian army captured the Zobor fortress quietly and waited out the whole night to perform their next step.

Avars stationed in Nitrava thought that the fortress is still surrounded by Venedian troops and that Venedians are waiting till the morning to perform a new attack. They were hugely mistaken.

Early in the morning the mist fell and with it the Venedian army stormed the ancient city of Nitrava with its main fortress on the banks of the likewise named river Nitrava. They completely overran the surprised Avars and liberated the city that meant so much to Venedian people. And its shiniest years were ahead of it.

After the turmoil passed and the situation normalized Drahomir asked Samo: “What shall we do with the Avar prisoners?”

“Give the women, children and elderly some food and let them go home to the south, so that they can tell the story of our victory,” replied Samo.

“And what about the men?” asked Drahomir.

“For their enslavement of our people, for all the hardships, terror, abuse and desecration, they will pay the ultimate price. We will reinstate an old Celtic tradition of constructing a wooden cage in the form of a human and we will burn them alive in it. Symbolically on Nitrava’s Execution Hill where Avars used to execute our fellow Venedians,” said Samo. “Fire will cleanse their crimes,” he added.

And so it happened. The burning wooden cage could be seen from Preslav and even from Avar lands in the south. Screams could be heard far and wide and even by the freed Avars fleeing Nitrava, who later ensured a strong echo of this act in all corners of the Avar Empire.


INTRODUCTION
PROLOGUE
CHAPTER I - THE SWORD
CHAPTER II - MORAVIA
CHAPTER III - MARHAT
CHAPTER IV - TRIBECH
CHAPTER V - THE ARROW
CHAPTER VI – NITRAVA
CHAPTER VII - BOGATYGRAD
CHAPTER VIII – CLOTHAR
CHAPTER IX - DAGOBERT
CHAPTER X - RETALIATION
EXPLANATORY NOTES