History is filled with little-known stories lost to time. This one is for the birds.
The Great Chicken Chronicles
In the ancient past, roosters had a lot to crow about.
At a time before horses became the conveyance of choice for humankind, both in peace and especially in war, the great cattle herds of the Kankrej, Gujarat, and Ongole, had been tamed and girded for battle. Bearing shin guards of hammered copper, their upper legs and thighs equally protected, the mighty bulls -- with warriors astride their backs -- strode into combat against a fearsome breed of roosters which were sometimes used by warring tribes of that ancient age.
Naturally aggressive, their feathers dyed crimson and scarlet, and with a temperament towards bloodlust to match, the male chickens of the period were bred to twice and three times their normal size. The long, bony spurs which projected from their legs, typical of roosters, had also grown larger--and deadlier. Fitted with sharpened, metallic coverings, the pointed spines could pierce hide and skin with ease, leaving deep and bleeding cavities in their painful wake. To help guard their oversize bodies from archers' arrows, rocks and other projectiles, the roosters themselves wore hoods and vestments fashioned of the toughest pelts.
When attacked by only two of three of the flightless, nearly four-foot-tall creatures, both cattle and men might succumb, their bodies riddled with puncture wounds. And despite the extra defenses added to the necks and bellies of the heavy bulls, a combined assault by enough of the birds could fell the mightiest of their foes.
Particularly frightening and flooding the bravest of hearts with terror, the roosters' frenzied attacks could persist undeterred for brief but horrifying moments--despite their beheading from sword or dagger. Not until the fountains of blood which spurted from headless necks subsided, did the crimson cocks finally drop and die.
Only when the wandering bands and harems of wild horses had finally been broken, and used to replace the slow-moving herds of cattle, did the tide turn against the scarlet armies of the rooster barons. Only then did the thunderous, galloping hooves of advancing forces trample the ineffectual birds and crush them where they stood and fought.
Afterwards, the history of mortal human combat would be forever altered, as great cavalries of horsemen and lance bearers decimated the flocks of ornithischian warriors. So complete and devastating was the extermination of the roosters, that never again would their kind be used for other than singular combat among themselves, and only for wagering purposes.
Saved by farmers and fowlers alike, concerned that the species would be made extinct--killed off by those who feared a reemergence of the carmine-stained hordes--the chronicles of this forgotten chapter of ancient warfare is barely a footnote found among the scholarly volumes of historians.
On the contrary, the misplaced tales of killer roosters and herds of armored cattle has been relegated to little more than one of the better cock and bull stories I've written in a while.