Aryas had a solemn duty to spread the True Religion to all corners of the Known World. Only chaos and evil could exist outside the borders of the Arkan Empire. Why any Province would choose to rebel was beyond his comprehension. But it wasn’t his task to question anything, he had orders.
The rain was dripping from Aryas’ helmet, the soaked red plume from front to back only hinting at its usual majesty. The water found its way across his iron armor, decorated with an eagle, and down his leather skirt. Mud covered half of his face and he had big rings under his eyes. In fact his face looked like he had already lost the war.
But it was not over yet, now that he was in command he had devised a new plan to take the last city of the Avarrian rebels. Along with his officers he had gathered right outside the reach of the enemy archers. A field of arrows had planted itself a few feet before them. Next to the young leader stood he testament to his ingenuity, the new torsion catapult. A device that could sling rocks further than any machine known to man, beyond the reach of any enemy.
His green eyes gazed towards the clouds of doom that seemed to hang over the entire world. Would the same clouds be raining back home as well? He suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry commander, today we destroy these pointy eared heretics.”
Aryas looked up at his old friend Cugarta, a man with piercing blue eyes and raven black hair, who was now his second. He was well aware that he owed his command to the deaths of those who outranked him and so the young man relied heavily on the officers still with him. Three years was an eternity to besiege an enemy city.
The commander bit his upper lip as the men poured oil over a number of rocks and lifted one on the catapult. It took them a while to light it on fire in the rain, but once they succeeded then lifted the first one on the catapult and set it on fire. Aryas stared at the mighty walls of Avarris, seemingly confident, but inside he knew everything depended on this. Once he nodded the men pulled a lever and the first fireball soared through the air. For a moment the whole army was silent, everyone held their breath.
It smashed into the walls and forced a crack. The army cheered loudly. Other torsion catapults now started slinging flaming rocks from different strategic positions. It was clear the gamble was paying off, there would soon be several chasms in the walls that Aryas could send his men through to finally take the last Avarrian city.
From their position the Arkan army could see the walls weaken, many parts were crumbling down, taking quite a few archers with them. The Imperial officers looked looked at their leader, who mounted his horse. His gaze met theirs as he scraped his throat.
“Listen to me, I know everyone is exhausted. We all want to go home. But soon we will have ways into the city as I promised. We must pray to the True God for a good outcome, for the end of this accursed war! When we win this battle there will be peace throughout an Empire that stretches from ocean to ocean. And we can spread the True Religion to every single person.”
The men took off their helmets and bowed their heads with the commander in a moment of silence. Aryas looked around, making sure everyone was devoted enough to pray. With a thundering sound the men could hear the walls crack and a hole open up. Aryas wiped his wet dark hairs back and put his helmet back on. He nodded at a soldier carrying a trumpet and the man blew it in response. The commander focused on the tree line.
The Arkan army slowly marched out of the woods towards them. Thirty-five thousand spear infantry, twenty thousand regular infantry, ten thousand cavalry, ten thousand archers and a group of battle mages. The last category was something the Avarrians wouldn’t have since it was forbidden by the Empire for anyone but the True Religion to train battle mages, under direct supervision of the Emperor.
Just when the officers joined their divisions two new holes opened up in the wall. Aryas drew his sword. “Battle mages, target the remaining archers, then come to the city to cover us. The rest of you know the plan… Forward!”