Monday, January 6, 2014

Page a Day: One Hundred Forty Two

                “It’s Marcus,” he said quietly. “He is caught across the valley. He was attacking the fortress there. But he would not have seen the citadel above him, where the ridges come together, until he was almost beneath it. He lacks artillery to counter both. And the route directly down the valley could not be managed in the rain. It is too steep. There are cliffs involved.
                "But the real problem is the massed disks and spearmen that lie between us and Marcus, a thousand paces out .They must have come from the fortress far out on this peninsula. They have cut off his retreat. It would only have been a matter of time.”
                “They’ve never been that strategic before,” I said. “Never anything like it.”
                His eyes found mine in the darkness. “They’ve never been this close before. They are coming. They reached you, and have contacted our opponents. The Augers were dreaming dreams last night.”
                “But who?” I demanded. “Who did this? And how would they know what’s happening here?”  
                But Jerem Cozak had already turned to give his commands. His strong baritone cut through the night.  “Thirty thousand spearmen and artillery wait between us and Marcus! That’s as many as us. And that’s as many as him. But it’s not as many as all of us together, and mastodons charging up some Auger rear! Double advance, swing formation! Artillery constant bearing until you reach the walls! Infantry, swift advance once you clear the field! Mastodons have the van! Move! Move! Move if you want to see your brothers in the Never-born again! Move out!”
                Move we did. The infantry pulled away from the line and double-timed to spread out in a line of squares ahead of us, ready to charge. Meanwhile, the artillery themselves had to swing out into the spaces vacated by the infantry. And everyone, everyone left enough room for the central column of mastodons to themselves advance and spread out in successive wedges for a charge.

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