Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction
The Siege of Syrn: Part XXVIThe men left, and Arem came in, carrying several ropes, each small in diameter, but they looked rugged. Arem placed them on the table.
Dirk looked at his friends eyes, dreading saying what he was about to say. "Arem." He said quietly. Arem looked at him. "I am giving command of the city and the defense over to you while I am gone. And you must understand, I will either succeed or die on this mission. You will succeed me, if I die, and you will fight the Thargonites with your dying breath if they take the gate, and you will command everyone to do so. Do you understand?"
"Yes. But you should say this in front of everybody, so that no one thinks I murdered you, or something."
"You gave me command without a ceremony, I don't see why I need to give you one. Now go. And good luck."
Arem nodded curtly and left.
Three quarters of an hour later, Dirk and his men were climbing through rough-hewn tunnel that sloped up rather steeply. Although it was steep, the floor had been carved into steps, which made the ascent much easier than walking up a sloped plane. They each carried a torch, and the firelight and shadows danced on the walls.
He was pleased with the rope that Arem had found him, it was light but strong, exactly what he had requested.
Each of them carried a sword, a bow, and a quiver full of arrows. They each had a small satchel of food at his belt, and they wore no armor. The clatter would attract too much attention.
After about twenty minutes of this steep climb, the slant tapered off and they came to an opening. Dirk stepped out. He was standing in a room that was also hewn from the rock. It was perhaps twenty feet long and fifteen or so wide. The ceiling, although it was uneven, was perhaps seven feet high.
A wooden door stood closed, to protect the post from the elements. Dirk pushed on it, and it swung open with a haunting creeek. They stepped out into the mid-morning sunlight. Dirk ordered them to extinguish their torches, for the smoke - however slight - could still be seen, and therein destroy the entire plan.
Outside the room there was a rock ledge, that was about thirty feet wide and twenty five long. Dirk looked out and could see for miles, deep into Thargonite territory, and as far as Uron, some thirty five miles distant.
He looked around, looking for the best place to descend. From the left he could see the city, perhaps three hundred feet below.
He could see the Thargonites moving a great battering ram toward the first gate, and he could see the Aidarians preparing to defend. He wondered how Arem was handling his new command. He felt badly for thrusting it on him so suddenly, and with the battle so near, but he had had no other choice.
He looked down again. Thargonites seemed to be passing through the first gate, and although the siege towers were still at the walls, they did not appear to be in use. He stared for a moment, and then said aloud, "Idiot! They just opened the gate from the inside, instead of knocking it down!" The men looked at him in surprise. He sat down on a rock slightly dejected and wondered what else he had overlooked, and wondered if any of it could cost the Aidarians below their lives.
The ledge was far enough back to avoid being seen from below, although if a person stood on the edge they could be seen. The enclosure was also set far enough back to be out of sight, even from the city below.
Dirk wondered why the outpost had been abandoned. One of the men told him. "This was first built before the city was built. When the city was completed, the Aidarians kept it a secret. There used to be a path over the mountains. This was a spying place on the Thargonites. When the city was built and in Aidarian hands this was still used, but it was abandoned when the towers were built. The commander of the city preferred to use the towers as lookout in his pride of having them built. Since then this place has never been used. Or so my father told me."
Dirk thought on this for a while.
After another ten minutes or so, a great crash echoed through the rocks, and shouts were heard below. The ram was at the gate, and had begun it's assault.
Dirk roused his men. "Quickly, now everything depends on speed."
They fastened ropes rocks on the top of the ledge, and, out of sight of the city, began to descend down the cliff. It was a slow and treacherous climb, but at last they reached the next ledge. From here, since they had no rope, they found natural footholds to the bottom of that cliff. They were now within twenty feet of the ground below.
Dirk unbuckled his sword and sat down at the edge. This descent was much less steep compared to the others. He slid on his bottom down to the bottom, and the others followed suit.
He estimated that they were about a mile and a half from the Thargonite camp, and about two miles from the main gate where the fighting was happening.
They buckled on their weapons and started off toward the camp.
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