The northeastern gate, known as Malacac, was the farthest from the enemy advance, and so it was where most of the eastern city’s population was fleeing. Even two blocks out, Salek and Fror were fighting through packed streets full of terrified people rushing out of the dying metropolis.
Salek quickly realized that his bow would be of absolutely no use in such a crushing mob: the only combat here would be hand-to-hand, mere inches from the enemy. But there were buildings all around, squat little shops and taller two- and three-story apartments with wooden ladders and adobe stairs reaching up onto the roofs, where he could get a better vantage point.
“I’ll take the high ground,” shouted Salek as they neared the gate, leaping up onto a ladder, “and do some scouting!”
“Ha!” Fror responded with a wicked grin. “Whereas I’ll stay down here, and do the fighting!”
Halfway up the ladder, Salek paused to shoot an indignant glance over at the dwarf. His companion was already turning to face the oncoming troops, though, so Salek continued his climb.
Reaching the top, Salek could see that they had arrived just in time: the first invaders were only a few blocks away. Behind the building on which Salek stood was a large open square about fifty yards wide with buildings and alleys on either side, and the gate and the bridge beyond it. People were streaming in through every side-street and alleyway, even through rooms and windows in their rush to get out of the city.
The enemies, on the other hand, were all coming from the southwest. Two prongs were racing along parallel boulevards toward the gate. From his position atop the flat roof the building, Salek had a good angle down both routes.
Fror, on the other hand, found himself increasingly frustrated as the mass humans flooding past him made it all but impossible to see the oncoming enemies. Even as Salek began firing arrows down into the crowd, Fror had yet to lay eyes on a single target.
But then, as the crowd began to thin, he found himself confronted by an enemy soldier. It was an infantryman, a simple swordsman whose gaze was directed up toward Salek on the roof of the nearby building. Read More →