A nice system of defenses
I do agree that it is impossible to defend your people. There really is no relationship to chess aside from the chessboard battleground. In chess, you can actually protect your pieces. In fact, it's one of the defining qualities of chess, and it's missing here.
Aside from that omission, it still requires tactics to play this game. I like how important it is to time the hard strikes.
But it is a nice little battle simulation. I would suggest the following to make the battles even more interesting:
* Include some possible terrain to use. I liked how the temple hallway was narrow. If a lake or something could be included, that would add some tactical sense. I haven't gotten that far yet, so I apologize if you added this later.
* Allow some pieces to defend others. Perhaps a Defender that goes on "overwatch" with some movement pieces. As an enemy tries to get at your more important pieces, the Defender slashes.
* Allow some pieces to modify the battlefield. Perhaps turn some squares into mud so it takes 2 moves. Or perhaps even erect barriers.
Keep up the good work.