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Western Wall, Frontier City

The grinding siege towers slammed against the city walls with a bone-jolting crash and a ram dropped down against the battlements. War cries rang out by hundreds of throats followed the slave warriors as they leaped over the bodies of the dead and onto the walls where Captain Borse and his men had formed a shield wall before the ram.

"LOOSE!" Borsh roared as the Empire slave warriors charge out of the siege tower. Heavy twangs came from the crossbows and bows released by the double rank of archers sheltered behind the shield wall.

The volley of arrows and bolts hammered into the first wave of attackers, the force of the volley slammed bodies backward to their comrades behind. As the bodies fell, they caused the others at the rear to stumble over them.

Borse yelled the next command, "SPEARS! FORWARD THRUST!!!"

"HOOOO!" The men armed with spears thrust out from behind their protective shields, stabbing at the enemy while the bowmen reloaded. "AGAIN!"

"BOWS! LOOSE!" Another volley was fired out, the close distance ignored the light armor of the slave warriors and blood rained down to the lower floors.

The slave warriors screamed in pain and fear as they were brutally cut down by arrows and spears. Suddenly a heavy clash of shields came from behind and a phalanx of black shields appeared from the stairs of the siege tower.

"It's the Black Scorpions!" Someone yelled as the Imperial Legions shoved the slave warriors out of their way as they stormed across the ramp. Slaves fell screaming as they were knocked off the ramp and down to the hard ground below.

"LOOSE!" The bolts and arrows hammered into the shields of the Black Scorpions, some penetrating hard enough to nail the shield bearer arms to the shields. Suddenly the shields parted slightly, exposing a row of hand crossbows which shot out and slammed into the Last Company's shield line.

Some lucky bolts hit the exposed archers at the back and the veteran Legion charged across the short causeway. "CHARRRGEEEE!"

The two lines of shields slammed into each other and the heavier Legion infantry managed to win in mass and strength against the Last Company soldiers. The Last Company soldiers fell back and quickly reformed up and surrounded the group of Black Scorpion troops holding at the ramp.

"Don't let them have a foot hold on the walls!" Borse yelled while he put his weight behind one of the shield bearers. He grunted with effort as they attempted to shove the Black Legion troops off the ramp. "Push them back! Push them off the ramp!"

The archers abandoned their ranged weapons and added their weight to the shield line, both sides the men shoved and cursed, too close to use any weapons as they tried to push each other back.

More and more Last Company men came and supported the shield line while some archers kept at the flanks and attempted to snipe at the enemy.

As the wooden ramp was slick with blood, a couple of the soldiers slipped, which gave the opening needed by the Last Company, whom the men's muscle bugled and grunted with effort, shoving the enemy off the ramp and down the walls screaming to their deaths.

"Captain! Message from for you!"

Borse extracted himself from the shield wall and rested at the rear. "What is it?"

The messenger sent by Taris quickly detailed out the situation happening at the other section of the wall.

"What? Enemies are breaking in from the right flank?" Borse repeated in a low voice. The messager nodded in confirmation.

"Hell, what is going on here?" Borse turned back and look at the burning city. "Is the city burning more or is it just me?"

The messenger frowned and said, "It seems like the fire is spreading faster."

"Any news from the wall commander?" Borse asked.

"No sir," His men replied him.

"Something is wrong!" Borse stood up and looked around the chaos. "Go check on the commander!" He ordered his aides before joining in the shield wall to repeal the attackers again.

Pots of hot coals and boiling oil were carried carefully by the men who flung the contents of the pots into the opening of the siege tower. The scalding hot oil and red coals cooked the soldiers behind the shield walls, melting fire and setting the damp limbers of the siege tower on fire.

The siege towers were doused in water to prevent the defenders from setting the whole construct into flames easily but the flammable oil flowed over the timbers and cooked the men trapped inside. The men at the top tried to retreat down the stairs but the other soldiers at the bottom wanted to charge up, trapping everyone inside as they either cooked to death or died of asphyxiation and suffocation.

"Captain!" The men who went to look for the wall commander came running back, "We can't find the commander or any other nobles or officers!"

"What?" Borse stepped back from the burning tower.

"We saw what appeared to be soldiers with Imperial colors on the streets too!" One of the men reported. "I think the Northen Walls have fallen!"

"Damn!" Borse cursed as he glared at the burning city.

"What do we do now, Sir?" The men asked nervously. "Do we still fight or...?"

"Send word to Taris," Borse snapped. "Tell him to fall back to our area now! And bring as many troops as he can!"

-----

North Gate, Frontier City

The Rock rode leisurely through the gates flanked by two ranks of heavily armored soldiers and mages. He breathed in deeply at the smell of burnt flesh and ashes in the air and smiled, "Go, enjoy yourselves! Take the city! Take everything!"

His men gave a chorus of approval before they charge madly into the burning city while He laid his eyes on the Grey Lord's Castle in the distant.

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Western Wall

Taris stood behind a line of shields held by Meccan soldiers and lunged his rapier over the shoulders of the heaving men, striking an exposed arm or face with pinpoint accuracy. The Meccan officer, Lanser watched with wide eyed wonder at the way Taris worked his rapier with fitness.

He scrunched his face together as the healer crudely stitched the wound together on his shoulder where a flailing ax punched through his ornate armor. As he fell, his men nearly broke and ran away. It was when Taris suddenly appeared with a small troop of soldiers and he single-handedly rallied the soldiers to his side and rescued Lanser.

Should Taris be a few minutes late, Lanser's position would have been overrun by the Imperials. He leaned against the parapet of the wall while a healer fussed over his wound. Biting back the pain, Lanser stood up and looked around him. A broken siege tower sat just dozens of feet away from his section of the wall where several ballista bolts had pierced it, breaking the construct's protective spells before some mage managed to electrocute everyone inside the tower with some lightning spells.

"Captain! We can't find Commander Ottom!" One of Lanser aides reported, "And none of the staff nor nobles are around!"

"Where could they have gone?" Lanser frowned. He watched Taris fighting off the flood of blue Imperials pouring out from the wall tower. "Could they have all fled? But why?"

"Lord Taris!" A soldier from the Last Company called out, "The Captains wants you to fall back now! Seems like the North wall has fallen and the enemy is inside the city too!"

"What?" Taris and Lanser both looked surprised at the news, "Captain Lanser! Pull your men back! Tell those ballista crews in the towers to fall back towards Captain Borse now!"

"G- got it!" Lanser replied, getting his men to pull out of the walls. "What about you and your men?"

"We will hold the enemy off as the rear guard!" Taris grinned, "Don't worry, we are very experienced in rear guard combat! But leave your archers behind to support us!"

Lanser nodded, secretly impressed more and more by Taris's confidence. "Archers support the rear guard! The rest pull back and head to the next section! Move!"

The Meccan soldiers grabbed their wounded and started evacuating to the next section of the wall by moving through the connecting tower. The ballista crews warned about the fall of the Northern walls quickly abandoned their weapons but not before burning the ballistas to prevent the enemy from using it.

Taris and his men slowly step back as the Imperial troops constantly threw themselves against their flimsy shield wall while archers on both sides exchanged arrows and bolts.

"Grab all the oil and flammable things!" Taris ordered his men, who quickly scrounge up some lamp fuel and pots of still steaming oil. "Douse the wall with the oil!"

The men quickly pour the flammable liquid onto the floor, the oil mixing with the sticky blood and bodily fluids. The men holding off the Imperials carefully step back as they strained their bodies against the hammer blows of swords, spears, and arrows.

After backing off for more than 20 paces, Taris turned to the archers and yelled, "Flaming arrows! Set the ground on fire!"

The archers compiled by dipping their arrows heads into a sticky resin mixture and lit them on fire with a slow burning match. The volley of flaming arrows stuck around the area where they had doused it with oil but none of the flaming arrows managed to ignite the trap.

The archers in panic quickly shot off more flaming arrows, trying to hit the oil soaked ground but the crowd of Imperials was blocking most of the shots. Taris cursed inwardly as he saw the efforts of the archers were not working at all.

Suddenly a shrieking ball of fire landed among the Imperials and a split second later, the oil caught fire and flames licked up from underneath the armored boots of the Imperials. They screamed in panic and fear and attempt to beat the flames away by stamping on the fire, only to have to burn oil stick to their boots.

With the Imperial in disarray, the pressure against the shield wall lightened, allowing Taris and his men to disengage easily. As Taris entered the connecting tower, he saw sweating, pale face Lanser leaning against the wall heaving.

"Thanks for that spell!" Taris grinned and helped Lanser up.

"You saved me earlier, its the least I can do," Lanser smiled back and allowing Taris to support him. "But that's all I can cast, my magic aptitude is very low actually."

"That one fireball is more than enough, my friend," Taris replied as half carried Lanser through the tower to the other side of the walls. "Not bad for your virgin battle!"

-----

With the fall of the North Wall and the eventual retreat of forces from the West Wall, the Empire troops virtually faced no opposition as they flood in through the gates. Captain Borse noting the situation of the city has become dangerous, quickly ordered the men to form up and head towards their camp to escort their dependants to safety.

He had earlier sent several runners to order the camp to prepare to move in an instant as the enemy has breached the walls. His people being on the run for many a year has perfected the packing of the camp quickly despite having a soft life in the city for a few months.

By the time Borse and his men with other Meccan and Foralian soldiers that tagged along reached their camp. The people had already packed the tents and as many supplies as they could carry. Pack animals like land dragons and muffalos were stolen from nearby and were all hitched up and ready to move.

"Where to, now?" Taris asked.

Borse grabbed the reins of a war dragon and in a deft move, he mounted up onto the saddle. "To the West Gate."

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