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The Siege of Syrn

by Josiah T.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a piece of a longer writing project. You can view the entire project here: The Siege of Syrn

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Josiah T. on February 7, 2008

The Siege of Syrn: Part XXV

Dirk awoke. He was lying on a straw pallet with a soft pillow beneath his head. He looked around. His sword was lying on the ground next to him, and he was wearing his chain mail and boots.

He sat up and yawned. Then he stretched his arms. He stood up and belted on his sword. A loaf of bread and a water skin laid next to the pallet. He ate hungrily, and drank the water. He felt much better than he'd felt since the Thargonites had penetrated the curtain wall.

He left the room and made his way out. He found Arem by the gate with many other soldiers, including the ones that had asked him to command the defense.

Arem ran up to him and embraced him. "How long was I asleep?" Dirk asked.

"It was just after midnight when they found you. It's around eight o'clock in the morning now. I trust that you are rested?"

"Yes, but what about you? Did you sleep at all?"

"I had a brief nap. I'm fine. We were just discussing what to do when the Thargonites attack again."

"And what did you decide?"

"Well, we haven't decided anything yet. We are fighting on a smaller wall. That means that there's less space for us to defend. But it also means that there's less space for them to overrun."

"I think that's a good thing. We can have more troops at a single location. By the way, does anyone know how many troops we have left?" This question suddenly came to Dirk's mind.

Arem's face fell. "I had them counted last night. We've got barely more than twelve hundred, including the peasants."

Dirk reeled in shock. "They killed that many?" he asked incredulously.

Arem nodded. "They did. Fewer escaped than we thought did."

"How many have been captured? I know for a fact that some have been."

"I don't know. And even if that many have been captured, they're most likely dead by now."

Dirk's mind was racing. "Is there any way that we can get to their prison encampment? The Thargonites always, always keep their prisoners in the rear of the army. And I doubt that they'll be under that heavy a guard once the fighting begins up here."

Arem looked at him in shock. "What are you suggesting? That we free the prisoners and turn them on the Thargonites?"

"It will be worth it, if they have enough captured to make a difference. And I don't think that they'll have killed them yet. I think that they'll try to use the prisoners as hostages. What I need to know right now is if there's any way, any way that I can get out of the city with, say, a dozen swordsmen. Is there any way?"

"Not that I know of. But I can ask around."

"Do so. Immediately."

Arem walked off. Dirk drew his sword and inspected it. There were a few chips in the blade, and a little dried blood. Otherwise it was in good condition. Someone must have cleaned it last night, he thought.

Arem came back in twenty minutes, his face ecstatic. "There's a passage that leads from the keep to a lookout tower at the top of the cliff! It's out of sight from city below, so you won't be seen, but it is on a very steep and long cliff. The problem will come once you get there, and need to get down again. You'll need to take some rope."

"Excellent!!" Shouted Dirk. He clapped Arem on the shoulder. "Now I just need to find myself some agile swordsmen. Now please go find me some rope. It needs to be strong enough to support us down the cliff, but light enough for us to carry up to the lookout tower without tiring."

Arem ran off again. Dirk spent the next half an hour looking for a dozen men that were strong enough and agile enough to climb down the cliff.

After he had compiled a group to his satisfaction, he took them into the council room in the keep.

He explained his plan to his men. "Once we get down the cliff, we'll have to get past the sentries at the outer edges of the camp. I suggest that we use arrows. Those will make the least noise, and we can then take their armor and move about in the camp.

"Then we'll have to find where the prisoners are located. Once we get there, we free them, and then find horses."

"Won't we be suspected? Even with the armor?" Asked one of the men.

"I do not believe so. Everybody will be at the gate trying to storm the city. I've studied the Thargonites enough to know that when they attack at this point in the battle, they attack to win. They will not leave any able troops behind, and the captains and commanders fight next to the men.

"After we find the horses," he continued, "We all ride back and at least create enough of a diversion to draw some of the troops back and give our men in the city a chance. I do not believe that they will make the same mistake again by attacking the walls. They will thrust the main body of their strength against the gate.

"We should also burn as much of their camp as we can. If they see that they will think that there's more of us than there really are, and we will do all in our power to keep them so illusioned. Are there any other questions?" Dirk finished describing his plan. "No? Good. We will leave for the lookout in half an hour. Get everything ready and meet me back here."

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