The Elmon guards quickly escorted Rohl towards the east gate, it was located in the more residential and industrial area of the city not that Rohl was given much time to look around. Houses, shops and industry all flashed by in a blur as the guards all but ran him to the gate.
Civilians had long deserted the streets as the warning bells continued to sound, alerting all to the danger outside. Only soldiers and machines of war remained patrolling through the streets, it was like this all the way to the east gate. The gate was a smaller but still heavily fortified entrance to Elmon, every tower and inch of the wall had a guardsman or soldier defending it.
The monsters had surrounded the entire city, at every location they were attempting to break through the defensive enchantments around the city, all the while arrows and spells poured from the walls in a desperate attempt to slow them own. Only a clear magical barrier was all that kept the monster from reaching Elmon’s thick stone walls and even the barrier wouldn’t be able to hold much longer.
A powerful muscled horse stood waiting by the gate, its saddle empty and waiting. Rohl wasted no time in mounting it before realising he had no idea of how to actually ride a horse, fortunately, the most senior guardsmen had a solution for him.
His guards uniform was almost identical to the others except for the small badge just above his chest, it only added to the air of experience that surrounded him. “She’s a courier horse, just hold on and she will take you wherever you need, her innate magic will lead the way. Just try not to fall off. You ready?”
Rohl only nodded as he subconsciously held his breath in anticipation.
“Excellent, now once the gate opens our mages will cover you, they can provide a smokescreen and Petal here will get you through it without hitting any monsters. Soldiers raise the portcullis!” The guard shouted.
The thick metal portcullis was slowly raised as archers cut down any monsters that approached. As soon as it was raised enough, Petal bolted forwards. The horse raced through the gate as the mages and archers did their duty.
All Rohl could do was hold on. The monsters whilst numerous were not bundled and the chaos of magic and smoke allowed Petal to race past any monster in her way. Not even wendigos, wolves or manticores could catch the courier horse. Although there were times when the smoke was lighter, and monsters came too close for comfort. If it wasn’t for the cover provided from the walls, then it was likely the war bats would have caught them.
Petal rode at speeds much faster than a normal horse and cleared the monster army in less than a minute. A very tense minute, Rohl only knew they were safe when the walls erupted in celebration and he finally let out a deep shivering breath. The escape had gone much better than expected and the lack of shrieking led Rohl to believe that the sacrilegious beast that he was just calling the mimicker due to his poor naming skills, was indeed not tracking him down.
No monsters were giving chase and any that had tried were quickly targeted by mages. Fortunately only war bats had the speed to give chase and long-range magic was typically weak but enough to kill them. Ice shards could kill a bat but barely inconvenience a troll or golem but there was nothing he could do about them now.
All he could do was ride on through the countryside as the besieged Elmon loomed in the background. His eyes were glued to the area around him as if every tree or bush concealed a monster. The Glasshorn fields were a few days ride and the faster he got there; the fewer lives would be lost. Even now he could see smoke emerging from the countryside as villages fell to the monster swarm. He could not stop to check for survivors no matter how much it pained him.
For hours he rode until he could barely keep his eyes open, only now remembering that he had not slept for almost a day. Tiredness was overcoming him and the exhaustion from fighting, from running and from dying all weighed heavily upon him. He closed his eyes and trusted Petal to lead the way.
Petal did not disappoint, able to ride twice as long and twice as hard as a normal horse. She rode for hours on end, ignoring her own aching body and exhaustion. Petal was a courier horse, after all, a magical more intelligent breed of horse who was bred and raised in Elmon, she understood the stakes just as much as Rohl did and so she ran and ran as Rohl slept. Knowing that she could rest and recover as soon as she dropped the human off at his destination. It was not much further now, and the human was beginning to stir.