Frontier City

Grunts, curses, screams, and cries surrounded Borse as he hacked at the hooks of the siege ladder in front of him. Suddenly a wild-eyed warrior shrieking something unintelligible appeared before him on the ladder. The warrior leaped off the rungs of the ladder and crashed into one of his Last Company men, both of them rolling on the stone floor.

Borse gave a curse and slashed hard at the newcomer, his blunt blade leaving a white mark on the leather armor of the warrior before scoring a bloody line across the back of his arm. The warrior screamed in pain, rolling away from Borse and the Last Company soldier.

"Kill him!" Borse roared and charged together with his man, both of them attacking from two different directions and managed to deal a killing blow after a couple of bouts.

Turning back to the ladder, he saw a couple of Empire slave warriors had managed to climb up and clear a small space around them. "Stop them!" Borse yelled hoarsely. "Don't let them up!"

Suddenly a flash of silver and Taris appeared before the two slave warriors, his rapier darting in and piercing one of them in the eye before he pulled out rapidly and with an off-hand slash, he cut the throat of the other warrior all within a second.

The half blinded warrior screamed and died as several other Last Company soldiers rammed their spearheads into him and pushed the dead warrior off the battlements. "Push that ladder off!"

With the help of four others, Borse managed to shove the ladder back away, and he saw the surprised 'O' of one of the slave warriors at the top of the ladder as it toppled to the side.

Borse panted hard and dropped his blunt blade, picking up a leaf blade sword from one of the dead littered on the wall. "Kill those bastards!"


The day ended with yet another retreat beaten back by the weary defenders. Borse and his men gave a tired cheer as the pressure fell off and the Empire forces retreated, leaving behind broken bodies. The wounded and dying cried and scream rosed constantly from both sides where they laid fallen.

"Move all the wounded back!" Borse yelled hoarsely as the smelly oily smoke caused by the fires clogged up his dry throat. He hawked and spat out a glob of dirty spit before he yelled to the scared youngsters below the inner wall. "Water! Bring water up!"

The city urchins too young to wield a sword but wanting to fight the Empire climbed the stone steps of the tower, delivering buckets of cool clean water drawn from the city wells to the defenders.

"Captain, do you think they will attempt another attack?" Taris asked. He still looked neat and clean despite being constantly in the thick of the fiercest fighting. He swept his hair back with his hand like he was out having a stroll in a garden instead of a battle.

Borse growled, "Maybe, maybe not, this is the third attempt, they are just testing our strength." He raised his blood stain sword up, checking for nicks on the blade while ignoring the sticky dried blood.

"Get a rapier," Taris advised, "It doesn't get dulled easily and you use less strength and stamina."

"I wielded a sword for over fifteen years," Borse sighed, "I don't know all that fancy sword moves of you nobles."

"Ha, you just need fitness," Taris winked with posing in a rapier stance. "Just poke poke, perfect for stopping the enemy from climbing up the ladder."

"Just I want to poke an enemy, I will use a goddamn spear," Borse growled as he walked along the battlements checking on his men with Taris at his side.

"Brute force as usual," Taris smiled. "Oh well, I leave all the heavy work to you then!"

Borse snorted and picked up a ladle from the water bucket and quenched his dry throat, the cooling water tasting like nectar. "Go make yourself useful, find out how many are wounded and dead."

Taris's smile faded and his expression turned serious before he headed towards the tower. "I will do that."

"Bastards," Borse cursed as he looked over the battlements at the distant Empire camps. "Alright, clear the dead and the wounded, refill the arrow barrels and check your blades!"

The men carried out the orders by simply tipping the enemy death over the walls while they carried their own dead down and laid them neatly in the courtyard. Swords and spearheads were replaced and the company blacksmiths used pedal powered grindstones to sharpen the blades.

The tired men labored on till the sun came down before hot food from the kitchens were delivered. Most of them ate quickly and made used of the lull to sleep on the battlements.

Taris walked up with a bowl of thick porridge to Borse who was sleeping against the battlements and kicked him awake before handing him the bowl. "Eat."

Borse stood up and stretched his aching muscles before digging in the food. "Thanks."

"We got 47 dead and 31 seriously wounded," Taris sat down next to Borse and leaned back against the wall. "Another 400 with minor injuries and wounds."

Borse set down the half eaten bowl of porridge and cursed, "More of us gone. How are the conditions of the seriously wounded?"

"I paid off the healers to give our men treatment over the others," Taris replied, "but at least half of the men won't make it by tomorrow morning."

Borse nodded and continued eating, "Get some rest, we still haven't seen any signs of those undying soldiers nor the Black Scorpion Legion."

"Yes, it's just the first day," Taris replied. "Gods, I feel drained already!"

"Don't let the men hear that!" Borse snapped. "It's bad for morale!"

Taris grinned, "Sorry about that."

"Now get some sleep!"



Borse jolted awake from his sleep and sprung up. He looked over the battlements and saw fireballs flying towards him and he yelled in fright. "Taris! Get up!"

He reached down and dragged Taris who was still half asleep and pulled him away from the section of the wall they were at while yelling at the rest of the men to scatter.

Seconds later a loud whoosh roared and the area of the wall they were at burst into flames as the clay pots filled with flammable resin thrown by the Empire's trebuchet exploded.

Waves of heat washed up against the Borse and the rest who made it away in time, while those slower were caught by the sticky flaming resin which melts their flesh down to the bones.

Borse and his men could only watch their brothers in arms scream in pain and died painfully. Taris face turned ashen as he tried to use a water spell to extinguish the flames but it barely put out the fire.

The men growled in angry as they watched helplessly, some even tearing as they couldn't save their friends. Borse suddenly roared, "The Empire will pay! First, they took our lands, then our families, and now our friends and brothers!"

The men roared in anger and their spirits rosed as they stared with hurt filled eyes at the enemy camp in the distance. "Back to your posts! Watch out for enemy attacks!"


The siege of Frontier City went on for a week with the Empire trebuchets constantly flinging rocks or flammable materials into the city throughout the day and night. Thick smoke clouded the city as fires raged among the walls and buildings nearby and the festive feeling of the city faded slowly into fear.

Several rich merchants bribed the guards at the south harbor to allow them to flee the city onboard private yachts and cargo barges were met and dealt swiftly by Empire coastal ships raiding along the inland sea's coast.

Others attempted to leave from the Eastern Gate barely traveled half a day before getting ambushed by the Black Scorpion Legion's cavalry. Any other travelers or merchants attempting to reach Frontier City were also ambushed, captured or killed along the Main Eastern Road.

The constant bombardment by the Empire's siege engines soon took its toll on the defenders. The defenders knew that as long as the gates remained closed, the Empire could not enter the city and the city has more than enough supplies to last over three months.

But with the constant harassing attacks, drained the city's morale over time. Several commanders appealed to the Grey Lord to lead their men out to destroy the enemy's siege weapons were all rejected on the premise that the city walls were still strong enough to hold out against their bombardments.

The Black Scorpion Legion leaders gathered before their commander and watched the smoking city in the distance. "The Grey Lord is smart." The Rock said as he lowered his telescope.

"He probably knows that I have an ambush waiting for his troops to attack the siege engines," He said as he pointed to the row of trebuchets lined up behind a series of protective earthen berms.

"He also knows he has the advantage of the city walls and supplies, despite the fact that we can resupply via the inland rivers with our ships," The Rock frowned, "I think it is about time to deal a decisive strike at the city."

"Frontier City has never been captured since its founding," He looked at this men, "But because of that, they have turned complacent and slack. They think their high walls, magic defenses, and anti dragon ballistas will be enough to stop us."

"But they are wrong, tonight, we will open the gates and take the city!"


Borse wiped the sweat off his forehead as the heat inside the crowded tent rose. Other company captains, hundred man leaders, and their aides all squeezed into the Western Wall's commander's tent for a meeting.

The commander wore a gold lined tunic and sat on a throne-like chair with a couple of servants fanning him in the hot and stuffy tent. Despite looking muscular, the commander had a slight tummy that shows from his stretched tunic.

"My captains and leaders!" His voice cut the soft mutterings of the gathered soldiers, "The Grey Lord forbids a sally attack upon the enemies siege weapons for he knows its a trap to lure the troops out."

"So for the time being, please endure," He gave a small smile to the soldiers who frowned and mumbled among themselves in displeasure.

Borse cursed inwardly, knowing this was yet another waste of their time having this useless meeting. The commander continued to speak more of morale and failed badly at trying to give a rousing speech to the captains before he quickly dismissed the men from his tent to cover his embarrassment.

"Captain Borse?" Someone called out to Borse when he was enjoying the soft breeze outside the hot sweaty tent. He turned and saw a young Meccan soldier in a shiny plate mail with a captain's plume on the helmet he was holding.

"I'm Captain Lanser, leader of the 19th Guardians," the young Meccan soldier introduced himself. "I am assigned to the same Western Wall as you are, and will be holding at your right flank."

Borse gave a grunt of acknowledgment, as he checked out the Meccan soldier. "You look pretty young to be a captain."

"Ah..." Lanser's face turned slightly red, as he said in embarrassment, "Well, my father he gotten me this commission, he raised a company of soldiers to help fight against the evil Empire!"

"I see," Borse frowned at the young Meccan who looked barely old enough to even shave. "Is this your first time in a battle?"

"Y-yes, and since we are to be neighbors, I am hoping you could give me some pointers?" Lanser gave a hopeful look at Borse's frowning face.

Borse winced and closed his eyes before muttering a string of curses to the gods and the city lords. "You want some pointers? Take off your armor and go home, this way, your men and you won't die needlessly!"

A note from neo Koh

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