Chapter 29 - Losing the refugees' city?!
Just as I shouted the warning the battle horns sound made their way over to us, closely followed by their beastly warcries. I looked at Arthur and he met my gaze, immediately understanding the alarming situation we found ourselves in. While I organized my troops and got a Bird's eye view of the battlefield, Arthur took care of his troops.
I dispersed my Avatar, getting better control over my dungeon, and drew up an adapted emergency plan. The Orcs forces were already close to the city’s fortifications and the archers had begun their barrage. The city’s defenders didn’t have a lot of time, the orcs had used the high grass and even very advanced illusion magic to surprise the settlement’s defenders. This allowed them to get their siege equipment closer than I was comfortable with.
To quickly deal with the threatening equipment I took a little gamble. The number and power of the troops I would command during the battle would already be unexplainable, so there was nothing I could do. I sent out some of my quick response and siege equipment teams, consisting of Tier 5 and 6’s, donned with my own sigil so they wouldn’t be taken for enemies.
At first, the defending forces were quite surprised they quickly got over their stupor when they saw the squads setting up their own siege equipment. The expertly trained and specialized squads were able to set up the trebuchets in under half an hour, while the quick responders engaged the foes’ siege machinery.
In the meanwhile I sent out the majority of my foot soldiers, Arthur's forces joined up with them, manning the fortifications and barricading the gates. With this my secret of being in the dungeon was out, there was no way I could deny and alligations because there was solid proof. Luckily, or how you would want to take it, this was a problem for future me.
Right then I received a report of a drastic change on the battlefield. After my troops were able to reinforce the defense, our situation was looking quite good. Though, after the orcs saw their advance slowly come to a halt they got out the big shots. 5 colossal, Tier 7, Heavy siege ogres, made their way towards the walls. The constructs on their backs housed hundreds of troops, ready to be deployed on the fortifications.
While these lumbering idiots made their way towards the barricade, the trappers desperately sprung various traps. It was their job, together with our own siege team, to destroy or stop any enemy siege weaponry. But due to their siege weaponry being organic and not out of wood or metal, as was normal, both of the teams‘ jobs just got a lot harder.
Left and right of the giants' explosives dug up the freshly strewn seeds and boulders dented the perfectly flat farmland. In the ogres' protective shadow, various mages and even some magical healers, which were quite rare, even in the more advanced “underground kingdoms” region, supported the titans and prepared their spells.
Though one thing the orcs certainly didn’t predict was our overwhelming aerial power. Most of my troops may look like relatively normal humans most of the time, but in truth, they were flesh-eating monsters of the sky. The were-nargacugas and their later evolutions hunted down the orcs' rare aerial unit and provided us insight into the enemy's movement. On the other hand, the were-Barioths together with their higher Tier leaders dove down to cause havoc amongst the foot soldiers.
As some of them tried to topple an ogre a shield of force manifested itself around the creature. This was the first time I ever saw something like this, not even the dwarves and draugr tinkered around with technology this advanced. The question was, how were the orcs able to get access to these cutting-edge goods, they certainly couldn’t have produced them themselves. Orcs were not known for their brains, they would much rather rage through a wall every time than build a door to go through.
This was something I would have to discuss later on with my diplomats and Arthur, maybe he got an idea for what was going on. Nonetheless, I returned my mind to the battle, the orcs were getting closer and closer to the wall and now even prepared their ladders. On our side, rocks already lay prepared and the pulse grenades I got from the draugr were primed. We were as prepared as we could get for a face-to-face battle, only the ogres were causing me a headache.
The enemy archers were now in range for fire and the barrages dropped hundreds of men in the sections of wall that were not yet up to date. Due to my absence and the local lord's underestimation of any enemy we could face they pulled the money away from defense and into food and wine. This was what cost us a large number of our soldiers, that fell of the wall with an arrow in their shoulder.
Ladders, battering rams, group shields, and weird staircase harpoons were slowly getting prepared, the enemy now close enough to need them very soon. Once the first Orc touched the wall mayhem began.
The command was localized and troops were ordered around by lieutenants instead of officers or generals. Boulders found their way down through gravity and some of the orcs got a drastic haircut. Bolts and arrows were shot through the machinations and ladders were thrown back into the crowd down below.
Though to our dismay, the orcs were slowly winning ground. The first staircase harpoon connected and troops assaulted the top of the wall. Quick response teams quickly took care of the intruders and cut down the machinery, though there weren’t enough. What was one ladder at first developed into five then 20, until you couldn’t count anymore?
Step by step we lost the frontmost fortifications to the orcs and our soldiers had to barricade themselves into the guard or corner towers. Luckily the main gate held against the battering rams, the design was inspired by those from the dwarves, and far more advanced them as usual on the surface.
With the section of wall, that was connected to the gates, we could be able to push back the orcs. Our soldiers were specifically trained for such a scenario and we still held control over the machinery in the various towers. Just as I wanted to order a retaliation assault the heavy siege ogres arrived.
The gate didn’t matter anymore, the ogres laid down their hands on the fortification and soldiers swarmed down the appendage. The one or the other siege machine was swatted down and any smaller projectiles were reflected by the force shields.
With my oversight of one of the most powerful units of the orcs, the little plan I drew up was utterly destroyed. With our outermost fortifications taken by the enemy, we had to flee back to the second wall, or to the various guard towers dotted all throughout the city. From there we engaged the heavy siege machinery and artillery.
This emergency plan was something I had prepared for in advance. During the development of the city, we majorly used wood for the outer district. This allowed us to bombard the orcs with our most powerful equipment, without fearing their siege weaponry.
All around the outer district, huts were blown apart and taverns collapsed under the various machinations. Cluster catapults destroyed whole swaths of buildings and buried the men under tons of wood. Trembling trebuchets catapulted stone far into the sky, once the boulder plummeted to earth the crash would utterly decimate a part of the city.
The effectiveness of our burning ballista was made public in a spectacular fashion. Just as one of the ogres wanted to climb over the outer wall to continue its purpose with the second wall, its head was split apart.
The boiling brain splattered around the city transformed the battlefield into the scenery of hell. After the second ogre was shot down by one of the ballistas, the remaining ones were called back to the main gate.
In the meanwhile, the orcs were able to get close to the second wall. Though in their hectic charge, out of the artillery zone, they neglected their backline. Once the orcs were too close for the siege weapons to hit them our own troops came forth from the rubble. Having set out the battle deep in the cellars below the carnage they were able to surprise the orcs from behind.
This completely demolished the orcs first push, with our own troops swarming out of the gates they were surrounded by. While this clever trick was surely effective, it only worked for the first push. In the second one, the orcs split up and lay in waiting for the troops to spill out from the rubble.
What they may not have been expecting was when no one came out of there. All the troops had already fled into the second district and the orcs had split up their troops needlessly, losing a lot of them. Though after the second push the orcs’ patience found its end and they charged into battle together, having had enough of waiting and seeing their comrades fight an exciting battle.
The three remaining pushed charged the wall simultaneously, closely followed by the ogres who were again trying their luck. They all chose the same section of wall and the singular ballista was only able to shoot once. The two ogres started their charge towards the main gate, set on crashing through the smaller fortifications.
To my dismay I expected them to really be able to do so. Once the ogres had hit the second main gate, the orcs had already started their second assault on the walls. This time they were even faster than before, the smaller fortifications weren’t able to hold as many soldiers and the walls were quickly overrun.
The situation was looking quite bad, especially once the enemy generals finally showed themselves on the battlefield. Five entirely different orcs at Tier 8 weak, a force that could even win against the drider queen from a month ago.
As they made their way towards the last fortifications I was ready to give up. The last defenders found themselves in the castle, within which stood the pavilion into my dungeon. I would probably be able to defend myself using the races from below, but the city was doomed for sure. If I used the footsoldiers of the dwarves I would destroy the whole equilibrium of the subterranean kingdoms, creating a larger war than anyone had ever seen on the face of this planet.
Just I was about to dismiss my form and teleport Arthur down into the dungeon I heard a shrill cry. The scream was closely followed by the trembling fall from one of the ogres, whose head had exploded in a spectacular fashion.
After looking around on the floor and not finding anything I inspected the sky and there I found it. A colossal beast, equal in mass to the dragon from the lost crater though more compact and not pulled into length.
The beast's beak was wide open and the soundwave that destroyed the ogres was still visible, though quickly falling apart. As the beast turned around for another charge I saw a large force of aerial beasts coming close from the south.
Leading the force was a colossal beast, with golden feathers rimming its massive wings. The golden beak was opened wide and only now did its soundwave reach us. The scream brought the battlefield into a pause and threw the orcs out of their bloodlust. Even the orc generals stopped their fast advance towards the castle. At one time I even thought that they talked to someone through a device, after which they hastily made their way towards the last fortification.
I ignored this and instead concentrated on the person sitting on the Creature I knew to be a royal griffin, he somehow seemed familiar. As the force got closer and closer I found more and more similarities with someone I once knew. It seemed as if this was the year of reunion.
Though now was not the time to think about lost friends, the city was surely saved by the aerial forces but the orc generals just now arrived at the entrance to my dungeon. While the avians and griffins were easily able to resolve the battle around the city, the war was not yet won.
After a long time of relative calm, a possibly fatal party found its way into my dungeon, intending to destroy my core, or at least that is what I thought!!!