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The sky was black and the air was cold. A small breeze flickered on and off every now and then. The moonlight pierced through the clouds that raced from one end of the sky to the other. Sparkles from the brazier to the left floated into the air and vanished. The castle walls cast a shadow across the lit grass.
Horace looked towards the other watchtower on the left. It was garrisoned with three men, just like his. Their eyes were all fixed on one thing, on the ground far below them, lay the encampment of raiders. The castle was under siege and has been for two days now. The raiders were surely going to attack soon. The guards were constantly on watch, waiting for the siege to begin.
A soldier approached Horace frowning slightly. “They probably won’t attack till’ dawn Horace. Go ahead and get some rest, you’ll need it.
“Alright, I guess you’re right. Wake me before the arrows start fallen’” replied Horace. He grabbed a sack of wheat and through it on the floor, and lay on it like a pillow. He was still atop the tower, sleeping on the hard wooden floor. The other garrisoned men were still staring down at the camp. It looked like they were building a ram and some extra ballistae just to be safe. The battle was going to be brutal.
The castle was the only thing that stood as a frontier. The raiders would have to take it to get into the mainland, and if they did that, then the country would surely fall. Basically, the fortress was the only thing stopping the countries total destruction. Garrisoned with at least eighty men, taking the castle would be no easy task.
“Horace wake up now! Quickly! You need to get up now! It’s begun! They’re…” said one of the guards just before an arrow nailed into his chest. Horace woke then, hearing the sounds of yelling and screaming. The air filled with the sounds of bowstrings’ slingshots and the sound of running footsteps across the stone walls. Horace sat up and quickly grabbed his sword and sheath and latched it to his belt. Then he reached down and grabbed his bow and quiver.
Bow drawn and his quiver slung across his back, Horace rushed to the edge of the massive watchtower he was stationed at. He looked down and saw disorder and havoc.
There were huge shields, that looked like they were built from sticks and twigs posted everywhere around the castle, dug into the ground. Archers stood behind them, firing a constant stream of arrows at the walls. The ballistae were firing huge harpoon like arrows at the walls, and gates. Even some were hitting the men on the walls. Boulders were hammering the walls from trebuchets, and the walls wouldn’t last long. Then there were ladders everywhere approaching the walls and soldiers were running amok. Then he sighted generals behind the scene, watching their plan unfold. It didn’t look good.
That’s when Horace decided to relocate to the center wall where most of the garrisoned men were. He rushed to the door on the wooden floor and opened it. He climbed down the ladder, almost falling and rushed out to the main gate. Most of the action was occurring on the wall. He looked at his comrades, and saw that they were stricken with fear, but still, they volleyed arrows across the sky. There were bodies on the wall, stricken with arrows and spears. He looked backwards toward the courtyard and saw two bodies, plunged with the giant ballistae harpoons. He looked back toward the enemy, and sighted a siege tower to his left that was on fire. It was crumbling on top of the men that were pushing it.
Finally, he drew his bowstring back, arrow notched, and fired. The arrow hit one of the shields posted around the castle. Horace cursed under his breath and drew another arrow. He notched it back, but this time, he fired it at the men pushing the ram. The arrow struck a man in his calf muscle, and he cried out in pain. That’s when Horace noticed how close the ram was to the gate. He yelled to his comrade “We need to stop that ram!” he urged. The other man nodded.
Quickly they rushed to the gatehouse, bows drawn. On the way there, they passed by men fighting on the walls. The ladders and siege towers have met the walls; therefore most of the fight was now on the walls. They’d pass by bodies, arrows would miss them by inches, and soldiers were struggling to hold them back. The clanging of swords and spears grew louder and louder, along with the shields clattering against steel weapons. The catapults were still firing at the towers inside the walls perimeter, and shattered some of them too.
Finally, the run that seemed so long had come to an end. They had reached the gatehouse. Horace and his comrade drew arrows both alike. They fired over and over again at the men manning the ram. Every time a man fell to the ground, a replacement would take his place on the ram. More and more archers began to manifest to the gatehouse to fir down upon their enemies. Soon it was just a large group of archers on the gatehouse, reigning death down. One after another the ram started slowing down significantly. Soon, they’ll have to just give up, thought Horace. He had thought wrong.
Eventually, someone fired an arrow lit with fire onto the ram and it burst into flames. But they had another ram! The raiders were pushing their spare up to the gates! Horace and the others looked to the left, as the raider gained the upper hand on the walls. They had no choice but to charge into melee combat. They each drew their swords, reluctantly. There were only about six of them. Suddenly, they broke out into a sprint towards the enemies on the wall. Horace was shaking.
Horace met the enemies head on, along with the other archers that followed him. Horace slashed at a man diagonally, but if was deflected away from a shield. Then another archer behind Horace thrust his sword and it met its mark, into the raider’s chest. He cried with pain. Another raider approached them. He was holding a two handed axe. His build was huge and bulky. He was a brute.
Horace charged at him and swung his sword towards him. The sword sliced into his left thy and he went into a rampage. His facial expression looked like a madman who had gone insane. He swung his axe, horizontally and impetuously, towards Horace. Horace ducked and countered him with an uppercut to the chin. The brute was swiped from under his feet, and smashed onto his back. Still, the man got up, bleeding excessively. Finally, Horace raised his sword into the air and sent it plunging into the other mans shoulder and he finally dropped dead.
Three more raiders approached Horace. They all charged and one bashed Horace off the wall with his shield. All he remembered was feeling metal against his face and landing on hard rocks. He woke up fifteen minutes later on top of the tower he was stationed at before. He stood up and looked out towards a massive army of raiders, ten times larger than the one he had just dreamed about.
Cave Creek, Arizona
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