Battle of Belgera, part nine

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There was fighting a few houses down the street. The men of Belgera had gathered and charged their outworlder enemy. A storm of outworlder weapons screeched. Not even the shrill cries of men cut to shreds managed to be more than barely audible over the constant hammering of gunfire.

Trindai ordered his men back. They could do nothing on the wide main street, and for all the bravery of the defenders, neither could they. The charge never even made it across the street. Just before he headed for cover Trindai could see the ghastly dance of bodies not yet understanding they were dead; arms and legs moving rhythmically to the percussions of outworlder thunder.

Trindai ran down a side street with a group of his men following him. Behind him the shattering roar continued. There was nothing he could do for the dying defenders. They attacked the outworlders with swords, daggers and spears.

Two thousand had died ten years earlier home in Keen charging over an open field. On the wide streets and squares here the outworlders ruled supreme.

A woman ran out from a house, cradling a child in her arms and followed his group in search for safety. Trindai could see her face white with fear, but there was no safety where he was heading. They quickly left her behind. In battle he had no time herding civilians.

He turned left at a square and followed another main street. Several houses uphill he saw half of Nakora's troops positioned behind a barricade of furniture, doors and bed clothing.

Idiots! That's a deathtrap, not protection.

Trindai heard screams behind him. The outworlders must have caught up with some of the civilians trying to escape. No matter how well equipped the outworlders were they were not very disciplined, firing indiscriminately at anything they saw. He wouldn't have time to regroup with his men if he tried to take them all the way to the barricade.

"Colonel!"

Trindai threw a sideways glance. Ah, Major Terwin, excellent! And he has a group with him. "In here! Load crossbows! Lose at will when they pass!"

He turned sharply to the right and unhooked his crossbow. They would get one chance at the flank if the outworlders stormed blindly ahead.

Waiting was, as always, unnerving, and cold. Running had been hot work, but winter made itself remembered as they prepared for the ambush.

Nothing, no gunfire, no running steps. Just an eerie silence broken only by far away wails when survivors discovered the destruction the outworlders had wrought. Then a dull boom shortly followed by a sharp explosion. It was repeated twice. Trindai waved his men back as he crawled back to the main street.

Peering to the left he saw the outworlders taking potshots at the barricade with a large gun, almost like a raider ship from the west. Within range of a crossbow from where he was. The mercenaries from Ri Khi were too far away from the gun emplacement. Not even the over sized crossbows they used could cover the distance. Trindai waved his men to him.

"To the left. Nine men, one raider gun. On the street, two lines, one volley and back here. Go!"

They rushed out on the street, two groups, one group kneeling and one standing behind. Sixteen quarrels flew and they scrambled back to safety, but not before the attackers had taken a toll. Terwin dragged a wounded soldier to safety.

Darkness! Did we get any? Trindai peered around the corner. Yes, three down. Then several more outworlders came into sight and they started advancing up the street continuously firing blindly ahead of them.

"Fall back!"

They retreated. Two men fell. There was nothing they could do to match the superior weaponry available to the outworlders.

Trindai swore as he sprinted to relative safety while outworlder weapons tore chips of stone from the wall above his head. He'd already lost five men trying to rescue Nakora's troops from getting annihilated.

Lazy mercenaries. You should have trained when you had a chance.

A few more steps brought him over a heap of rubble and he threw himself flat on the other side of it. There had been fighting here as well. A flash of fire told him they had managed to lure the enemy into another ambush. The battle mages Neritan must have led here quickly had to retreat when weapons were trained at them.

A sudden roar sucked all breath from Trindai. When he came to his senses again something heavy fell on his back. He grasped behind him and held an arm in his hands. The rest of the body was gone. Dizzy from the blow Trindai groaned, dizzy and weak from having had all breath beaten out of him.

It doesn't matter if we're better trained. We can't stop them.

Another detonation threw him backwards and he crawled behind a corner after he landed. It was protection of sorts he noted, but not for long. The outworlders had weapons that could tear down a building.

There would be no escape from a battle he had already lost.

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