For Another Day


On the second day of the siege, the outlanders seemed content to use their stone throwers and archers, harassing the defenders as they could, who responded in the same manner. Meanwhile, on the horizon, siege towers took shape, swiftly built by skilled craftsmen. On the third day, as soon as dawn allowed light to reach them, the towers began to move.


On the walls, they watched with astonishment and rising dread as the siege towers approached. Besides these implements for scaling the walls, the outlanders brought their usual weapons alongside. Raising shields, the mixture of Order soldiers and peasant levies protected themselves against arrows and rocks, waiting for the enemy. On the nearest towers, longbowmen aided as best they could, aiming to hit any exposed outlanders within range.

Rolling uphill, the siege towers moved slowly. Scores of men stood behind, pulling great chains through intricate machinery that transferred their strength to the siege machine; in this manner, even while standing behind, the soldiers could pull the tower forward. Next to them, others pushed wicker screens to protect against arrows. Even so, at times, one of the Anausa fell; quickly, someone further back would hurry forward to take his place. And with each pull of the chains, the towers moved inexorably closer to the walls.


Thanks to the open landscape that gently sloped downwards, most defenders on the fortifications could see the great siege engines rolling forward. That included Sir Richard, who had an excellent vantage point atop a turret. Large numbers of Order soldiers and levies stood ready on the nearby walls to compensate for reinforcements being further away.

"Hel on a horse," the knight mumbled. "Those madmen are actually pushing towers up the slope. Their backs must be breaking."

"At least they’re moving slowly," his sergeant remarked. "By the time they reach the walls, half the garrison will be waiting for them."

"At least they’re not moving towards us," someone else said, causing nervous laughter.

"Keep your opinion to yourself," Richard barked. "If I get anymore bored, my beard will fall out."

"Sir, you may have your wish." The sergeant leaned forward between the crenellations, pointing. In the distance, red robes moved forward swiftly towards their position.

The knight strained his eyes. "What do you see?"

"Riders carrying ladders, sir. They’ll be here quickly!"

"Same trick as Athelstan did. All bastards think alike," Richard muttered. "The towers are a diversion." He turned to look over his shoulder at an Order soldier holding a banner. "Get swinging! Here is where the fighting will be at!" While the standard bearer began waving his flag, signalling the need for reinforcements, the knight ran to the other edge of the tower, leaning over the parapet. "They are coming!" he roared at the soldiers below. "Get in ranks and get ready!"


To the west, the lord marshal watched the approaching siege tower. He stood on a turret without a catapult, leaving the defenders unable to destroy the oncoming siege engine. They could do nothing but fill the walls in close ranks and steel their nerves.

Nearer and nearer it moved, a monstrosity on wheels. Arrows were exchanged between defenders and attackers to little effect. Surrounded by Order soldiers, Sir William stood with drawn sword; his men all had spears, ready to create a wall of iron upon the wall of stone.

Finally, the siege tower reached its goal; it could go no further. The outlanders blocked the wheels, ensuring it stayed in place, and began to swarm up its inner ladders. Behind, thousands more approached to join in the assault, and the defending archers turned their arrows on them instead.

The Order soldiers waited, hands grasping hafts. Already, sweat formed on their brows, either from wearing heavy equipment under the sun or from fear. The sound of metal scraping reached them as chains moved through the siege tower; like a drawbridge, it opened up its maw to disgorge red-robed warriors. They leapt forward onto the wall, greeted by a host of spears.

Behind the first line of attackers, another wave threw fire pots. Where they landed, flames burst forth to disrupt the defenders. As some soldiers screamed in pain, their surcoats on fire, others recoiled in horror, and the orderly ranks were torn apart.

"Hold fast!" William shouted. "Defend!"

Seizing on the confusion, the outlanders poured onto the wall.


To the east, the same events had played out, allowing the outlanders to gain a foothold here as well. From the nearest tower, Athelstan watched his soldiers try in vain to repel the attackers; unlike the lord marshal, he had only levies at his disposal. Slowly, the outlanders fought their way towards his position; the turret provided access from the outer walls to the inner. "Get ready," he told the nearby soldiers before disappearing down the ladder.

The knight emerged on the lowest level to see the men under his command being slaughtered. "Fall back," he yelled. Only those close by could hear him over the noise of battle, but once they began to retreat, the others became aware and followed suit.

With victorious cries, the outlanders surged forward. They cut down the last defenders, rushing towards the entrance into the tower. Moments before they reached it, the door was shut. Two stragglers did not make it in time. They smashed their hands against the wood to no avail; the entry was shut, and behind the door, the soldiers piled up any furniture in the tower to act as a blockade. Pitiful cries turned to death screams as the outlanders cleared the wall and began hacking away at the door.

"Now!" Athelstan shouted up the ladder, and his command was repeated along the chain of his soldiers. As the attackers became pressed together, the defenders on the inner wall and tower began pelting them with rocks. Shields and helmets gave little protection with skulls breaking under the onslaught.

Realising their situation, the outlanders became desperate to break through the door, made of strong oak and reinforced by steel. A fire pot was thrown to set it aflame, followed by the blunt end of spears to batter it down. Every moment the door held, more outlanders fell to the hail of stones.

Finally, the planks splintered against the dual attack of fire and brute force. Tables and barrels greeted the outlanders, stacked to form a quick barricade. Wielding a spear with both hands, Athelstan stood directly behind to stab at anything within reach. Further back, two archers shot arrows through any opening. Hemmed in on all sides, the outlanders cried out for their god to help them; the few that could put all their strength towards pushing past the barricade, made further difficult by the bodies of their own fallen. As the dead piled up, it became clear that neither their prayers nor their efforts would avail them.


At the third point of attack, the outlanders had come further than anywhere else. Using twelve ladders and taking heavy losses, the Anausa had swarmed up the walls until they gained a foothold in several places. With the defenders split up, they eliminated the pockets of resistance and made for the nearest tower. Clearing it out, their own archers reached the top, finding large quantities of arrows intended for the defending bowmen. With this vantage point, they rained death upon the defenders on the inner wall, who fell in great numbers, trying to protect the entry from the tower onto those fortifications. Only a knight of the Order still held them back.

Standing in the doorway where the archers above could not reach, Sir Richard of Alwood swung his sword again and again. His surcoat was covered in blood and had burnt edges. "Come on, you bastards!"

The outlanders obliged him, but his heavy armour and great shield protected his short frame too well, and his position made it impossible to outflank him. Spears and arrows came against him to no avail; any warrior that dared approach felt his blade.

Corpses, whether attackers or defenders, littered the floor. The fighting had lasted half a day at this point, and sweat met blood on the knight’s brow. Still he stood, raising his shield against every assault.

An outlander appeared unlike his brethren. He had discarded his sword and shield, picking up a club from one of the dead levies instead. With a roar, he charged Richard, raising the blunt weapon only to swing low.

With a dreadful sound, the club struck the knight on his knee, making his leg collapse. Richard’s shield saved him as the edge struck the floor, allowing him to regain his balance, and his sword quickly struck to claim another soul. With a noise born of fury or pain, he rose again, raising his shield in anticipation of the next attack.

It did not come. Instead, sounds of fighting came from within the tower itself. From up the lower walls and into the turret, soldiers of the Star appeared; the reinforcements had arrived at last. Sweeping down the fortifications, aided by archers on the inner wall, they slaughtered the outlanders to a man; none of them tried to surrender. Letting his shield and sword fall, Richard all but fell to the floor, back against the very entry he had defended for three hours straight. Middanhal was safe for another day.

A note from Quill

Thank you Sparks2020 for the kind review.

Support "The Eagle's Flight"

About the author


Bio: Indie writer with various projects, currently focused on writing Firebrand. See my other fictions on this profile or my website for my previously completed projects.

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