Monday, December 2, 2013

Page a Day: One Hundred Twenty Five

            We formed up. Jerem Cozak ordered a column three mastodons wide, all the space the greatship’s entrance would afford. He took the lead and I was glad that he, at least, would know the layout of the docks. I did not even know what we would be charging over. But we stood ten mastodons deep, all tossed trunks and heightened senses. The Never-born named Laches and Gorgias had mounted up behind me, clinging to the ropes that held them. And waited again, because the artillery still needed to break the gates. It took longer, because our line had fallen back so far that the artillery captains could not see what they were shooting.  
            But the walls fell, in time. In the fog I guessed it was about noon. I followed Jerem Cozak as we charged around the warehouse and across the plaza at full speed. They knew we were coming because they could see the breaches in the walls. Artillery fire bloomed around as we neared the gaps. Then it fell among us, behind me as the Augers tried to break our formation. Hair singed, mastodons roared and reared and some riders were blinded because I was momentarily so. I glanced back to see three mastodons fallen, struggling to pull themselves along the ground, their legs and sides charred ruins of flesh. The herd flowed around them. Jerem Cozak pressed on and the last mastodons cleared the wall two and three abreast. 
            Then we were on the docks and too close for the artillery’s calibrated range. The Augers were slow to adjust and we were moving three times as fast as any man could run. The docks were all clanking Profusionist metal beneath us and slick with the fog and we did not even slow as the greatships reared up ahead of us like sheer blocks of mountains. Other herds sped north and south along the docks to head for the other ships. Jerem Cozak steered straight for the one ahead of us. The ramp sloped down from its gaping maw like a great tongue and it vomited Augers, their shrouds awake and glowing the color of jade in the day’s diffuse light.   

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