It was a long time before the Gorlacs were able to threaten the gates. The archers on the walls were kept very busy, and managed to take down hundreds of Gorlacs, but it wasn't enough. Huge waves of the enemy still poured through the two ruined outer gates. They filled the huge courtyard, then split to make room for the huge ram.
"Focus your fire on the Gorlacs moving the ram!" Fallin called, and all the nearby archers turned and started firing at the appointed target. He watched with a critical eye as dozens of Gorlacs fell with arrows in their necks. But as soon as a Gorlac fell, another quickly took its place. Within minutes, the ram was in position. Fallin turned and ran down the steps where the infantry was standing loosely.
"Form up!" He bellowed, shocking them into action. They jumped to attention, forming once more into a solid shield wall, though it was much smaller than it had originally been.
Jakos scrambled back into the line of shields. He was so tired. The sun wasn't even past its peak yet, and the Namorians were slowly being pushed into their own fort.
There was a moment of silence, then once again, the gate in front of Jakos exploded inwards, sending wooden shards everywhere. Most bounced harmlessly off the shields, but a few pierced stray arms and legs.
After that it was utter chaos. Hairy bodies poured through the newly made hole, flinging themselves at the line of infantry. Jakos fought with all he had, but it wasn't enough. Men all around him fell, gaping wounds weeping blood.
A sudden flash of blinding pain as a Gorlac hewed through his shield with an axe. Jakos stood there, too stunned to move. His arm hung limp. It was probably broken. He could only watch as the axe curved downward toward him, blood on the blade. Then the Gorlac suddenly twisted to the side, and Jakos could see an arrow sunken deep into the skull of the monster. The axe barely missed his shoulder and slammed into the ground next to him, shocking him into action. He scrambled backwards, his limp arm in agony at his side. He clutched his sword as hard as he could, but he was in no shape to fight. A gauntleted hand grabbed his good arm, and he twisted, searching to see who it was.
His heart rate calmed when he saw it was a fellow Namorian.
"Come with me. We'll get that arm fixed up. Just drop your sword. You don't need it anymore."
Jakos nodded numbly. Now that he was out of the thick of the battle, his adrenaline was fading, leaving him with tired limbs and aching muscles.
The Namorian steered him over to a nearby building. Jakos guessed that it was a makeshift infirmary. They must have set it up closer to the battle line, enabling wounded soldiers to be taken care of more quickly.
He was sat down on a cot, and the scout hurried off to summon a medic. Within a few minutes his arm was bandaged and a flask of water was being held to his mouth.
"Just stay here." The kindly voice of the medic broke through his numbness. "We'll move you if the infantry has to retreat."
Jakos nodded. That was all he could manage.
Ashe watched the increasingly smaller line of infantry desperately try to hold the Gorlacs at bay. It was a valiant attempt, but it wasn't going to be enough. His heart felt heavier as each soldier fell. As he watched, a flood of Gorlacs streamed through a newly made gap. They teared through the streets, heading straight for the command tower.
"Sir!" Ashe shouted, waving for Trena's attention. "The Gorlacs have broken through! They're coming straight for us!"
"Get the guards ready." Trena commanded, "and try to get a messenger to Captain Fallin!"
Ashe desperately tried to spot the proud figure of Fallin in the chaos below, but he could not. He hoped that the Captain was still there to receive a message.
There were a few tense minutes where everybody stood tensely, hearing the distant sound of battle below. Ashe nervously fingered the hilt of his sword, and he could see General Trena doing the same.
There was a sudden crash from the stairwell leading downward, then a blood-soaked soldier stumbled up the steps.
"I'm sorry, sir. They've broken through. They'll be here any..." he trailed off, then slowly bucked to his knees, face paling and eyes closing.
After a minute of shocked silence, Trena started giving orders.
"Get him!" He said, gesturing at the wounded soldier. "Prepare to make a stand. We cannot allow them to take this tower!"
Men scrambled to clear precious maps and diagrams from the large table in the center of the floor, then nervously drew their swords and formed into a loose formation. Ashe took his place next to Trena, sword drawn.
"Sir? I- um." He swallowed. "G-good luck."
Trena met his gaze, understanding what was left unsaid. "You too, Colonel."
There was a thudding of hairy feet on the stairwell, then a little piece of hell began.
Ashe slashed and hacked, trying his best to stay alive. The stinking smell of hair and crusted blood filled his nostrils as the Gorlacs pressed in on all sides. He could see General Trena a few feet to the right, incapacitating Gorlacs with each swipe of his sword.
An axeblade nearly connected with Ashe's skull, and he ducked, thrusting under the enemy's guard. He was lightly armored, so any hit from a weapon like that would be disastrous. The tip of the sword pierced through the tough leather armor, and the Gorlac howled, stumbling back. Ashe quickly spun, blocking another blade coming for his neck. They stood there, weapons locked together. As their eyes met, Ashe was shocked by the animalistic look in the Gorlacs eyes. They were brutal eyes, with no irises, just pupils that filled the eye with a black pit.
The Gorlac growled, then using his other arm, swiped at Ashe's side. Unprepared, Ashe groaned as the long claws slashed his flesh. He could feel blood trickling down, soaking his uniform.
He heard a yell from his right, and he glanced over, seeing General Trena down on his knees, clutching his shoulder.
I need to get to him.
The Gorlac that Ashe was locked with took advantage of his distraction and pulled his axe away. Too late, Ashe tried to dodge, but the axe buried itself into his sword arm.
He nearly blacked out from the pain. Blood flowed down his arm, turning the blue cloth dark.
The Gorlac yanked his axe out, and Ashe collapsed to the floor. He curled up, gasping for breath. A brutal laugh came from above him.
"Weakling. You cannot fight. You do not deserve a quick death."
It must be one of the leaders, Ashe thought fuzzily. They're more capable of individual thought.
Why was he thinking of that now? He must be going into shock. Get up.
Ashe reached out with his good arm, and could feel the hilt of his sword.
With one swift motion, he rolled to his knees and stabbed upwards, impaling the Gorlac. The monster let out a small snarl, then fell to the ground.
Ashe slumped as well, arm hanging limp at his side. Pain racked his body, making him dizzy.
He staggered to his feet, the ground swaying beneath him. Trena was nearly overrun, bravely trying to hold off three Gorlacs. Ashe rushed towards them, sword held tight in his off hand. Desperation numbed his pain and gave him strength.
He leaped, driving his bloodied sword into the exposed neck of a Gorlac. They fell to the ground, the hairy body thrashing beneath him. Ashe yanked his sword from the body, and attacked the next Gorlac.
A few moments later that one lay dead too, and Trena had managed to incapacitate the third. But more Gorlacs had arrived brutally slashing through the other remaining advisors.
With a small nod to each other, Ashe and the General went back to back, desperately defending against wave after wave of axes, spears, and other monstrous weapons.
They fought for what felt like hours, but it was probably only a few minutes. Ashe was quickly tiring, and he could feel Trena slowing behind him. Suddenly Trena's presence vanished, and Ashe heard him fall to the ground. Ashe hesitated for only an instant, trying to process what had happened, but it was enough time for another axe to take him in the leg. He collapsed, black spots dancing in his vision. He could feel Trena's body beside him.
"I'm sorry, sir." He whispered. "We failed."
The Gorlacs closed in, raising their weapons. Suddenly they froze, and seemed to be listening to something. Then in unison they turned, and silently marched back down the stairway.
What happened? Ashe wondered. He pushed himself to his knees, pain racking his body. Trailing blood, he crawled over to Trena, who lay on his back, blood seeping out of multiple serious wounds. He wasn't breathing.
"Sir?" Ashe whispered. No response. Ashe's dazed mind refused to accept the inevitable. Trena had been his mentor for years. He was infallible, invincible. He couldn't die now. Not when Cal-din needed him most.
But he had, and now Ashe was left alone. He was now the highest ranking officer.
I... I should be giving orders, org... organizing troops.
His mind was fuzzing, and he couldn't stay upright any longer. He fell foward, onto Trena's dead chest. With his good arm, he reached for his general's cold hand, and tears ran down his cheeks as he knew: this was the end.