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269 Evil Within

 Dave waved his hand again, issuing the command for another volley of trebuchets. The soldiers ignited oil coated boulders and shot them at the enemy ranks. One boulder bore through a siege tower and fell on enemy soldiers squashing them to sludge. The siege tower caught fire and crumbled on the soldiers riding inside it and the ones around it.

Another boulder crashed into a group of soldiers setting them on fire. One man, lit in flames dropped and rolled on the ground. But the fire covering him ignited a trail of black powder mixed with sand that spread until it reached a buried stock of explosive powder kegs. The kegs were coincidently under a siege tower. When the explosive blew up, they lifted the whole siege tower a few feet above the ground, shattering it into burning logs and smoke.

Screams of pain and panic spread among the ranks of the enemy soldiers. They still had no way to deal with the explosives and didn't know where they were planted.

The siege towers kept advancing to the city gate. The trebuchets came close to destroying one, a boulder broke a huge chunk of the siege tower but it still held and kept advancing.

Demnti ordered the archers to change their arrows to fire arrows. Then they launched them all at once, covering the sky in an infernal downpour.

Vinlandian soldiers gave their lives in order to remove spiked walls from the way of the siege towers. They even put large wooden planks for the siege towers to cross the trenches Dave built around the city walls.

The fire arrows came down setting two siege towers aflame and burning the soldiers inside them but one siege tower managed dropped a wooden plank on the city walls. Enemy soldiers rushed out from the siege tower.

The archers close to the siege tower swapped to their melee weapon while the other archers kept shooting fire arrows at the siege tower.

The wooden tower was a disturbing factor, most of the archers were forced to focus fire on it, which gave the enemy soldiers more time to set up ladders and climb up the walls.

Dave waved his hand again, signaling a soldier to drop the roped boulders. Above every tower on the wall, the archers pushed over the boulders to fall. The rope attached to them caused the boulder to sweep sideways at the ladders, crushing them. The soldiers climbing the ladders fell down on their allies. They either instantly died from falling from that height or broke bones becoming useless in the ongoing fight.

One boulder managed to hit the base of the siege tower, tilting the whole structure to fall on the enemy soldiers.

When the siege tower fell, a horn blew from the enemy ranks signaling a mass retreat.

Dave shivered, goosebumps spread across his skin. This was a signal for a complete victory of the first battle.

The archers on the wall rained down arrows at the retreating soldiers picking off many stragglers and wounded soldiers.

Soon after, the enemy army was reorganized and retreated back to their campsite.

"Samael, give me a head count of our knights. The dead and the wounded. I need you to cut off the heads of the enemy soldiers, and burn their bodies."

"Cut off their heads?"

"Yes, it's a war tactic, you will see why by morning."

"What about the prisoners?" Samael asked.

"You caught prisoners?"

"Yes, my lord, some surrendered, it is unethical to kill off people who surrender."

"Sorry Samael, but all is fair in war. Kill them all...or wait. I have better use for them. Call Dagla for me."

"As you command, your majesty."

Dave was thinking hard about his the decision he was about to make. It was ugly, and he knew it.

'This is a quest related to my legacy. If I fail it, all is gone. The only way for me to secure victory is to show my ugly side. Damn, I never thought I'll have to call upon Evil Dave...

Soon after Samael went away, Dagla entered the throne room.

"Your Majesty, We have lost 620 men, 250 archers and the rest were all foot soldiers. The enemy casualties, however, are in the thousands. At least 6,000 dead. I say this was a complete victory."

"Yeah, but this was just a probing. The real fight is yet to come."

"Samael said you called me for something regarding the prisoners. Do you want them to be tortured out of information, your majesty?"

"No, what I have in mind is far cruler than torture. Take me to the dungeons." Dave said.

"Follow me, your majesty." Dagla walked ahead of Dave.

The smell of burning flesh spread through the city, there was cheering but Dave could still feel the somber mood of many other knights. They had lost friends and family members. War had never been a cheerful occasion.

Dave ordered some knights moving along the street to clear up the traps and pitfalls from the bodies of the Vinnaldians. Thankfully, Dave ordered the closing of the portcullises and didn't let any enemy inform their headquarter of the traps inside the city. He still had the element of surprise if the enemy manages to go over the walls.

Knights had chained up wounded enemy soldiers and led them inside a one-story building.

"This is the entrance to the dungeon. We keep prisoners underground," Dagla commented.

Dave called over two knights. "I need you to catch as many rats as possible and throw them in with the prisoners."

"Rats?" one knight asked in surprise.

"Your majesty, are you trying to cause the plague?" Dagla asked.

"Yes, when the prisoners show signs of fever or vomiting, cut off their tongues and release them back to the enemy. I need only two willing men to manage this."

Dave turned and walked away from the catacombs followed by Dagla.

"Sir, won't this cause our own men to be infected?"

"Give the order for the knights who will do this operation to put a cloth over their mouth. If the knights show signs of the plague, quarantine them alone and let no one come in contact with them. Also, burn off the vomit and excrement the feverish enemies release."

"As you command," Dagla nodded to Dave.

"Your majesty," A knight came to Dave.

"What is it?"

"The enemy is invoking the Law of War. They wish to retrieve the bodies of their fallen soldiers."

"Loot the enemy first, take all of their weapons and armor and then let them clear the battlefield for us. Also, recover the dead bodies of our own soldiers from outside and clear the rubble. Someone call over Samael," Dave ordered.

"I am here, your majesty." Samael was right next to Dave giving him a heart skip.

Taking a breath, Dave said, "You need to accomplish your mission this night, burn all of their food supplies."

"As you command, your majesty."

All of the fighting didn't last more than two hours. But Dave knew this was just the beginning. There were many days left and many variables to account for.

Poisoning the river, burning the food and causing the plague in the enemy ranks. For Dave, though this was cruel, and rare were those who would partake in it, he didn't have a choice but to do it. He needed to kill off as many of the enemy as possible and in the most gruesome of ways. All was fair in war.