Enoch saw the siege towers approaching. Their gambit had worked, the enemy was on the back foot now. Enoch had been expecting the first wave to be in disarray, but Yomadan was too good a general for that, and his tactics now were a complete mystery.
“Dousers aim at the base of the towers,” said Enoch, “archers at the ready. When the base has been doused we rain fire down upon it, that should stop them dead in their tracks.”
The dousers attached vials full of Rüg’s Breath, the liquid they were using to set the invading army aflame. However, as they raised their bows to fire at the base of the approaching siege towers, a volley of concentrated arrow fire suddenly approached.
“Cover!” shouted Enoch, ducking behind the battlements. “Everyone take cover!”
Many of the dousers did not hear Enoch’s cry, but miraculously a lot of them managed to survive the volley. Enoch was shocked by this. Bazragahi archers were known for their accuracy. He thought for a moment that this might be the work of the alchemists that Eamus had consorted with but it seemed unlike them. The stories that Enoch had heard had portrayed them as far more grandiose in their sorcery. Their magic had hardly ever been described as subtle.
Once the volley ended, Enoch arose. “Scouts,” he said. “They must have scouts. Yomadan is trying to find the source of the flames.”
“We can still burn their towers my Lord!” cried Magnus, one of the senior archers in Enoch’s cadre.
Enoch nodded, but something was still bothering him. Yomadan must know that this would no work. No matter how good Bazragahi archers were, the siege towers had far too much ground to cover to make it. There was no point in sending the towers out unless…
“Don’t aim for the towers just yet,” said Enoch. “This is a distraction. Yomadan knows that there is no way they can make it to us. I doubt that there are any men in there, save for those that are required to keep the tower moving.”
“What do we do, my Lord?” asked Magnus.
Enoch thought for a moment and then said, “Aim but do not fire. Wait for the volley.”
The dousers obliged and sure enough the volley approached them, a storm cloud of arrows darkening the sky. This time everyone knew to take cover, so even the minimal casualties of before were avoided. When they arose again, Enoch told them to hold. He frantically swept the grounds but could see nothing, until he finally saw them.
“Look!” he shouted, “Men with ladders!”
There was an outcry among the archers and some started to knock their bows. “No!” cried Enoch. “Magnus, take a hundred men to the second lowest level. Aim from the windows. The rest of you stay with me.”
Enoch decided that they would continue trying to fire at the towers, and he dispatched a hundred men to ready the tar. Yomadan’s plan had been good but it was also desperate. Enoch had the upper hand.
“Aim,” said Enoch. “Steady. Fire!”
A volley from the dousers soaked the base of one of the siege towers in Rüg’s breath, just before a volley from the Bazragahi forces approached them. Many of the dousers died in this follow, so dedicated they were to hitting their mark that they were caught unawares by the fast approaching enemy arrows. Their sacrifice was not to go in vain, however. As soon as the volley ended, Enoch’s archers had two minutes to set their arrows aflame and fire them at the base of the towers. This was all the time they needed.
The base of one of the towers was set aflame, the tower stopped, and from behind the tower came swarming two hundred men with four ladders. Enoch’s plan to force the enemy out of their secure position had worked. Now Magnus and his men would be able to open fire on the approaching men with ladders and successfully repel them.
However, Enoch knew that they would not be able to stop the second siege tower in time. It had picked up pace after the men within it saw the other tower being set aflame. They would be able to stop the tower, but they would not be able to stop the men behind the tower from placing their ladders on the walls of the citadel and climbing up.
“Dousers aim,” said Enoch. “Archers at the ready. The rest of you, ready the bloody tar.”
After narrowly escaping devastation at the hands of a Bazragahi volley, the dousers met their mark with precision and the archers set it aflame shortly after. Magnus and his men were busy dealing with the force that escaped from behind the first tower, so this second unit was able to reach the walls relatively unscathed. The ladders were placed against the wall. The men started to climb, and in this moment Enoch gave his own men the order to tar the walls.
The enemy started to slip, many fell to the volley of arrows that Enoch’s archers were sending down upon them, but in spite of all of this about five dozen men managed to make it to the top. Enoch saw the fire in their eyes. These men were desperate to get to the wall, they had a hunger for blood in them that Enoch did not usually see in seasoned, professional soldiers which is what the Bazragahi were supposed to be. He wondered for a moment what
Eamus had said about them being desperate for their armor. He could see in their eyes now that this was true. These men cared not for their own lives. They were consumed with battle rage. This was going to make them an even more difficult opponent to fight.
As Enoch saw the enemy fast approaching he closed his eyes, took a deep breath and unsheathed his sword.