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 Twelve, or this 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 story will conclude in the next part.
At last there was an end. The horizon was clear. By some miracle the knights, down at most ten, and the cavalry, with twice that number fallen, had broken through the entire enemy army and were clearing the field of the enemy archers. When they were dealt with, Aaron ordered the pikes out again. He saw no enemy officers on the field, but the enemy foot soldiers still fought on.
At a lull in the noise in the battle, he looked up. The dragon and his mistress were too high to see, but the sky was a mess of dark and light.
A trumpet rang out on the field below. It took Aaron a moment to realize what the call was, and then he saw it. The line of infantry broke. “Sound ‘retreat,'” he ordered, and the soldiers ran for the horses and galloped back into the city. The pikes followed, again in order, and took up a position in the recess before the gate. The enemy army boiled up against the walls, leaning ladders that seemed to appear from nowhere up against the vertical faces. The sheer weight of bodies kept the infantrymen on the walls from pushing the ladders back, and their foes crawled up the ladders.
The battle was moving much too quickly; this hadn’t been in any of his classes on tactics! Aaron’s emotions ripped out of his control for a moment, and then he fought them down and buckled them under his reason. The enemies on the ladders reached the top, took strokes from Aaron’s men, and fell backward, but there were too many. His men began to be pushed back, and soon they were on the defensive.
A bright light surged from the sky.