Obadiah smacked the balustrade with his palm. “Well, my king, Ben Hadad has brought come for a visit.” In the next moment he stiffened as t
Typo. Drop “brought”.You mention catapults amongst your siege equipment. Not sure they were a thing yet. When the Assyrians over ran Jerusalem a couple of hundred years later, they did have skin- covered rams and they did build siege ramps up to the walls of the city. And I believe they also tunneled under the walls. But I don’t think catapults had been invented yet. I can check if you want.But also, this would answer my question to you from the first reply. If BH has invaded with siege equipment then this isn’t a training exercise gone awry. It’s a full fledged invasion and his goal is either to partition off some of the NK or else take it over outright.If you stick with that as his motivation, then he’s got all his best generals in the field with him and will have cavalry at his flanks to scout and report. He probably does not have a big enough force to divide it and send parts to the key cities. If he’s trying to do this, he has screwed up and it’s why he’ll fail. In all likelihood, he’s destined for either Jezreel to cut off the heart of the economy. Or he’s headed for Samaria to overrun the seat of government. What he’s doing will be your call, but I doubt he could have a large enough force for it to be everywhere at once.
The elder waved his arm toward a group near the center of the patio. Obadiah knew them all. Four came from the tribe of Manasseh and three from Ephraim. The others represented Naphtali, Asher, Gad, and Reuben. They belonged to the council of seventy elders established by Moses. When elders came to town, their custom was to stay at the inn and, like responsible merchants and farmers, gather on the patio to chat about trade and crops. Yet, today, no doubt their topic was the Syrian invasion.
I like the way this flows, all of it. And I think you’ve got the flavor of what it would have been like for Ahab dealing with the tribal elders.Just in general I think there’s probably an anachronism in our idea of how an inn would have functioned in Iron II. We think of it as something out of Dickens and I doubt they would have existed in that form yet, but I don’t think any of your readers would be distressed by this little oversight. My guess is that “inn” here would mean about the same as “inn” in the Matthew account of the birth of Jesus. So I think it flies without issue. Just sayin’ in case it makes any difference to you.Depending on how courageous or weak you want to build Ahab you have some historical models to look at. There’s that wonderful account of the citizens of Melos telling the Athenians to take a hike, that given the choices the Athenians were offering them, they would rather die with their boots on than become Athenian slaves.And then there’s the Battered Bastards of Bastogne. They were offered terms for their surrender to the Germans who waaaaaay outnumbered them and the Colonel in charge famously answered “Nuts” and they went on to resist the Germans for a week before help arrived.I know I don’t have your full picture of Ahab yet, but some qualities he has to have had to have been the historically effective person we know he was: he has to be sly and wise in his own right. And he can’t be coward. He can be weak, but he can’t show it to his troops or advisors. He can be Anthony or Octavian, but he can’t be MacBeth. But he probably can show weakness to O b/c they’ve known each other since they were kids. Very few secrets between them.Would he have also confided in Jezebel? Is she the kind of consort/wife/advisor who has his best interests at heart? Who wants him to succeed? I think she is. It think that’s what motivated her to steal the wine groves for Ahab later on.
Here’s another thought about what BH is doing.IF he’s coming with siege equipment, then he’s going to lose it when the Israelites surprise him and drive him off. So when it’s all said and done, they’re going to gain some useful technology for the future. Maybe some other cool stuff too like the king’s chamber pot and who knows what all else left behind in the camp.Also, do the Damascenes come with plunder in mind? Have they been raping and pillaging as they come? Looting farms as they marched? Probably. But would they have come with the intent of destroying the vineyards and such? Or is it their intent to take over this thriving little operation for themselves. Breaks my heart to think they might be destroying olive groves and vineyards, but they might. Depends what their end game is.
Here’s another thought about what BH is doing.IF he’s coming with siege equipment, then he’s going to lose it when the Israelites surprise him and drive him off. So when it’s all said and done, they’re going to gain some useful technology for the future. Maybe some other cool stuff too like the king’s chamber pot and who knows what all else left behind in the camp.Also, do the Damascenes come with plunder in mind? Have they been raping and pillaging as they come? Looting farms as they marched? Probably. But would they have come with the intent of destroying the vineyards and such? Or is it their intent to take over this thriving little operation for themselves. Breaks my heart to think they might be destroying olive groves and vineyards, but they might. Depends what their end game is.This is real good. As a literary critique, I like the way it builds. There are some typos and such in it as it reads right now, but your editors can catch all that in proof.It wouldn’t hurt to develop the trust relationship between O and Ahab a little more at some point. These guys are about to do something really audacious. Something all their advisors think is nuts. But they trust each other. To them it’s just crazy enough to work.And here I would really urge you to find an account of what Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine did on the second day at Gettysburg. Many historians credit him with basically winning the day and assuring a Union victory. It’s great, great story in it’s own right, but hugely apropos what you’re boys are setting up to do against BH.
Chamberlain’s fame grew out of the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On July 2, 1863 — the second day of the three-day campaign — the colonel’s regiment had been ordered to occupy critical land between two hills, Big and Little Round Top. Their mission was to hold the far left flank of the Union line at all costs. If they didn’t, the entire Union position was in jeopardy.
The Confederate soldiers knew that, too.
Soon after they got into a defensive position, the 20th was bombarded with attacks from the Confederacy’s 15th and 47th Alabama regiments. They managed to fend off the enemy six times, but they were running low on ammunition.
Chamberlain knew the regiment wouldn’t be able to withstand a seventh barrage, so he ordered the 20th Maine Infantry to go on the offensive. With bayonets drawn, the soldiers charged down Little Round Top, startling enemy forces so much that they were able to force the enemy back and capture hundreds.
Samaria City, Samaria, Israel
On the final approach to the capital, Obadiah’s chariot swung wide around a switchback.
“Message for the king,” a rider called from behind.
As Obadiah’s bodyguards edged their horses over, the rider passed them on the inside, his dark gray horse dripping sweat. He wasted no energy on a gesture, yet his one word, “Syrians,” sounded clear over hoof beats and the crunch of chariot wheels. He whipped his horse and disappeared around the next turn.
While the chariot driver touched his team into a trot, Obadiah turned. Vultures circled beneath the clouds. He had left Yedidah and the children in Fort Jezreel, the safest place he knew. The fort lay out of sight beyond distant Dothan, a purple hump in the rolling hills. Jehu, the fort commander, was not easily alarmed. How many Syrian troops had his scouts sighted?
The rider of the dark gray horse had the information. Obadiah squeezed his driver’s shoulder. “Faster.”
I like what you did with O here and wonder if it might need a little expansion. Here’s your central character, a husband and a dad whose first thoughts will go to the safety of his family, naturally. But he’s also the king’s principle advisor, and you’ve caught that in his immediate strategic consideration of how big the force coming is. His second thought was that he will need to be prepared to advise the king based on good information.It’s up to you how much you want to get into O’s head, but it would be within bounds to show some more of this conflict going on within him. He’s got to be trying to think ahead about where troops are, who will be dependable to rally them, etc. All the while worrying about his family. There’s room for more here if you want to develop it. And, BTW, Ahab will be thinking about numbers of troops, strategy and such. O – if he’s the gifted advisor I think he is – will be thinking about how to supply the their troops if this gets to be a long campaign and how to starve the Syrians. It’s what the best generals do.As to Ben-Haddad’s force, now that I can “see them coming” from thru your characters’ eyes I think you want to sort out for yourself what exactly BH is doing here. Is this a raid? Did he intend to hit and run, but was discovered, so now he’s trying to bluff Ahab into giving the store away (kind of like Putin may be doing right now in Ukraine)? Or did he enter Ephraim in full battle array intending to conquer it? I doubt this was the scenario, but it can be if that’s what your plot needs.What drove him? Is this a training exercise for his guys gone wrong? It kind of sounds like it from the Kings narrative. He doesn’t sound like his heart is in it when the Israelites fall on him and his captains drunk in camp. Anyway, I think it’s now on your slim shoulders to know what BH is up to and what this incursion is all about. B/c that will drive why he decides to run and why to come back in the spring (was he humiliated at his own stupidity? Now he has to prove something to his own war council?) as well as how your characters choose to respond both this time and next.