The time passed much quicker then Wintroq ever would have
guessed, and the month slowly dwindled away like specks of sand set up in an hourglass.
Anytime Vernok would send his tidings of war, and then sic his army out upon Laxcorna.
Still, none of Laxcorna's sister cities would step up to help, and still the Laxcornian
army trained to try and prepare itself.
"And here's a demonstration of an overhand swing,
and then you bring up your shield as Sir Wyol has to block. See, good. Now you
try it out. Strike, block, strike, block…"
Wintroq called out to all the pages that had
gathered around the practice grounds. He had more frequently gone there to help
teach the youngsters learn how to fight correctly.
"Wintroq!" The fire Zafara turned to see Bakel
come flying up in a huff of feathers. "Wintroq! Quickly get the young ones into
the safety of the castle walls. Vernok's army comes on the nigh!"
He quickly moved into action pushing and shoving
all of the fight wanting pages and other youngsters to the safety of the main
"I'll take it from here," Sir Wyol said as he
landed in front of Wintroq. Corinth summons you to the main gate!" He gave a
slight bow to the fire Zafara. "Take care Wintroq. Hurry it up all you kids!"
he yelled as he led the pages away.
As Wintroq made it to the main gate, Corinth
greeted him from atop the wall. "Hurry it up here Wintroq!" And he quickly did,
running up the steeps three at a time. "Look out there." And Corinth pointed
to the South.
The main gate was more like a tower upon the
wall that surrounded Laxcorna. Looking out across the lands from the main gate
would give you a clear view for miles. And looking out from the window in the
direction that Corinth pointed he could see what almost looked like an army
of ants approaching. Though as he looked at it, a deep fear wielded up inside
of him. Vernok's army was much bigger then he had ever guessed.
Wintroq gulped, but before anything was said,
Corinth turned a worried eye at him. "What do you think we can do? Vernok far
outmatches us in number…"
"We - we will just have to hold our own out
here… and hope that one of the ambassadors from the other cities will have decided
to come and help us."
Corinth shook his head, and then turned to a
Shoyru in full armor that also was in the room. Prepare the Laxcornian army,"
he said slowly. "Man the walls, and prepare our best defenses. Send out some
of our fastest fliers to the nearby cities. Our last hope lies with them." As
the Shoyru ran out the room to call out Corinth's orders, Corinth turned to
a Lupe who looked battle ready, holding a spear in his paws, and a sheathed
sword at his side. "Corum, you go shout out a warning to the villagers on the
outsides of the wall. Tell them that they must go in, or face destruction from
the advancing army."
"General, what about your family? Don't they
too live on the outskirts."
"Yes, but I have already had them sent to the
palace. Just go ahead and warn the villagers."
"Okay!" and Corum ran out the door speedily.
"Now all we do is wait," Corinth said with a
Night befell the creatures of Laxcorna sooner then they would like. The forces
of Gerake had neared, but were not yet there, though they would probably reach
the walls before the night had waned. Wintroq and the other soldiers looked
ahead with deep concern as thousands of torches lit up the night sky, and marched
The faces of the solders that were stationed
across the wall were grim, and more then a few voices could be heard murmuring
that they were doomed to failure. Wintroq heard these complaints, and even though
he felt mostly the same way himself, he knew that he had to try and bring up
the hopes of the army.
"It is just a trick," he said out loud for all
to hear. "Each soldier will carry two torches to make it look as if there are
more of them then there really is. Keep up your hope. We will not lose!" he
saw a few looks of hope, and that was enough to make him smile. At least all
were not giving up.
"What do you make of it?" Corinth said suddenly
appearing besides Wintroq.
"I would say probably a couple thousand men
on Gerake's side. Maybe a little more or less. You cannot tell in the dark.
They will most likely make it here by the time the moon reaches its highest
point in the sky." He let on a loose smile. "It may seem hopeless but I believe
that we can hold them off, perhaps long enough for one of our sister cities
"If they do come," Corinth muttered under his
breath before walking down the parapet to check on the defenders again.
Wintroq watched as the moon raised higher and higher into the sky, and it
was just reaching the highest point in the sky when the metallic sound of creatures
marching in armor could be heard. "They're here…" he whispered, and then ran
down to the parapet to command the defenders along with Corinth.
"What are your orders Wintroq!" a Kougra yelled.
"Prepare the archers, but don't fire until either
I or Corinth gives the word." The Kougra nodded, and then went to relay the
message to the archers just as the main force of Gerake's army marched up to
the face of the wall.
A sudden booming voice yelled out, "Creatures
of Laxcorna!" all eyes turned to find the source of the voice, but before it
was even found, Wintroq knew whom it belonged to. It was the voice of Vernok.
The brown Zafara stood at the front of his vast army, black armor shining with
a red dragon design on his chest. Spikes sprouted out from his shoulder armor,
and from the pieces on his elbow, and three spiked rings were upon his tail.
A blue and black cape hung down from his shoulders, and fluttered wildly with
"Creatures of Laxcorna!" he began again. "I
give you one last chance. Bring out the queen Laiondite!"
"I am already here!" she shouted, and Wintroq
looked wide-eyed at his queen. She was dressed in a battle outfit, her dress
replaced with a leather jerkin, and by the way she moved, he could tell that
she had some mail beneath the leather. Her ears were tied back with a blue ribbon,
and she held a glaive in her hands.
"I never guessed that she could fight," Wintroq
whispered to Corinth as he stared at his queen.
"She learned after our encounter with your sister.
She told me that that little misadventure taught her that you don't need to
own a sword to be destroyed by one, and that no harm would come from her learning
the use of a weapon. I am glad that she did. Her presence will push hope into
the faces of the defenders."
"Why do you invade my kingdom? We have never
done anything to spite you!" she shouted out bravely to Vernok.
The brown Zafara laughed, "We do not need a
reason, but even so, I can give you one if you would like." He turned his gaze
away from Queen Laiondite. "Wintroq! I know you're up there somewhere. I shall
destroy you for deserting me!" He looked back up at Laiondite. "This is your
last chance. I will let your city survive if you give in to my offer. Though
as a late fee, you will also hand over the traitor Wintroq. It is your choice.
You can easily save your people, just accept my offer." And Vernok smiled an
evil grin. "Liar," Laiondite said slowly. "I know your ways Vernok! You will
destroy my people through your taxes if I give in, and I will not give over
any of my people to you for you to torture. Especially such a good warrior as
Wintroq!" Wintroq uttered a silent thank you to the queen after she spoke.
"So be it," Vernok said pulling out his sword.
"Prepare to play war Laiondite!" and at those words, his army charged.
To be continued...