On Saturdays I post my prose, whether essays or fiction, including at present, in small pieces, a rather short story I wrote several years ago. If you haven’t already, please start at the beginning or [read Part Eleven](https://shinecycle.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/a-backwater-rebellion-part-eleven/, orthis isn’t likely to make much sense. This is my second experiment in serialization; the story I serialized here before this one was already divided into chapters, while here I’m breaking wherever it seems sensible to do so. This is probably the third-to-last part of this story.
It was several tense minutes before the lines finally met. Aaron’s army, only five ranks thick, buckled, held for what must have been a minute, then buckled again. A sudden volley of arrows from the walls drove the enemies back, and Aaron said, “Have them regroup.” The bugler blew his orders, and the ragtag army formed back up. “Shield wall.” The men locked their shields and stood waiting.
The enemy charged again. This time Aaron’s infantry turned their advance back like waves from a twig in a brook, and the enemy like the waves came crashing down again and again.
“Pikes out, and archers clear a space for them to form up,” Aaron said. The mage clapped his hands and the bugler blew his horn, and the gate opened for the pikemen to march out. They lowered their pikes and advanced into the enemy line.
A titanic crash from overhead echoed over the battlefield. The enemy soldiers looked up despite themselves, and their officers lashed out at them with whips and the flats of their swords, cursing. The pikemen worked their way through the enemy army like an auger through rock, but still the dark force came on from the horizon.
Arrows began to fly from the most distant enemies. “Pikes back,” Aaron ordered. They retreated at twice the speed at which they had advanced, but they withdrew in fighting order. “Knights and cavalry out.” Before the gate could close, the mounted warriors galloped out the gate and slammed like a hammer into the disorganized mass of enemies moving toward the open gate. Once those were dealt with and the gate down, they rode quickly into the gap left by the pikemen, but their movement was soon slowed.
“Keep moving!” Aaron shouted. One of the knights somehow heard him and saluted. The horsemen laid out with blades, hammers, and even the butts of lances to keep their path clear.