Chapter 55: A Magnificent Plan

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The battering ram was an ugly thing. Made of solid wood and banded iron, it rolled on wheels pushed by the rebel forces. A roof of tattered leathers and makeshift shields covered the top of the siege weapon. The face of the ram was fashioned in the shape of an iron bull with long, pointed horns. A crude and brutal thing.

Libro stood on the parapet overlooking Third Gate alongside Lady Kent. The tunic and breeches she'd had from before had been replaced with a leather jerkin with chainmail woven into the sleeves and abdomen alongside a heavy lamellar coat draped over her body and legs. She was even sporting a conical helm with a chain curtain pinned over the lip. Say what you will about the nobility Libro thought to himself, but they sure knew how to dress for war.

Civis stood on the opposite side fielding the standard raiment of chainmail and leathers. He leaned heavy on a makeshift crutch, an axe sheathed at his side where his iconic sword had once been. Libro had wondered where the sword had gone too, but felt best to leave it be. Now wasn't the time to satisfy curiosities, not when the rebels were quite literally knocking at the door.

"That ram is going to be troublesome for my archers." Lady Kent said. "Those shields look thicker than a man's wrist."

"It is impressive I'll give you that," Civis leaned on his crutch to look over the lip of the parapet . "But will it even be able to break through Third Gate? Damn thing's made of solid iron for Nido's sake."

"It's not the gate we need to worry about. It's the beam holding it shut," Libro pointed out. "If that thing snaps from the impact then not even the counterweights will keep the gate shut for long."

"Then what do you propose we do then?" Civis asked. Libro held back giving a glibbed response. After their little talk on the balcony, before they'd almost been blown to pieces, he was trying better not to run his mouth. They were brothers after all, even if the other was still a colossal pain in the ass sometimes.

"We try and hold them back for now," Libro said before turning to Kent. "We'll need your levies at their peak performance, my Lady."

"As if you have to ask," Kent chuckled. "Fighting beside the Vangen has really inspired my men as of late. You guardsmen truly are a cut above the rest."

Libro didn't quite know what to say from such a compliment. He merely bowed and said, "You honor us."

"If you two are quite done," Civis cut in. "It looks like the rebels have reached Second Gate."

"Let's give them a warning shot then," Lady Kent said. She raised a fist into the air. Nearby, her First String mimicked her gesture before raising a warhorn to his lips. A mournful tune filled the air.

Kent's levies reacted almost instantly. Nearly a hundred bow strings sang in unison as they were pulled back. With a loud hum a flock of arrows ailed over Second Gate and plunged into the courtyard below. The sounds of screaming could be heard off in the distance.

"That got their attention it seems," Civis smiled, "But I doubt that's going to stop them."

"The first arrow is never the last," Lady Kent admitted. She raised her arm once more. Another flock of arrows came down and another racket of screams came up. Black robed rebels slipped through the cracked doors of Second Gate, trying fruitlessly to push it open wide enough to ease the battering ram through.

"Give them one more taste," "Libro said. "Then hold your fire. If the rebels can't get the ram through then we've already won." He held his breath expectantly as another salvo of arrows fell down into the crowd of rebels. Time ticked slowly by as more and more of the rebels gathered around the stone doors like ants, working together to do the impossible.

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