The banners waved gaily above the heads of the silently standing soldiers. Spears gleamed dully in the sunlight, a bristling thicket of steel barbs. The sun reflected on the burnished metal harness they wore, and glistened on the polished bucklers. Officers strode up and down the lines, murmuring encouragement or threats, depending on their style of leadership. For a moment, all was still.
A clarion horn call rang out, shrill and loud in the stillness. With a shout, the waiting lines of soldiers began advancing across the field, their feet rhythmically pounding on the ground. The earth shook beneath their steel-shod feet.
Across the field, cleared to provide easy line of sight to the defenders, the walls and turrets of Hechi rose up. While not abnormally endowed with defences, the city was still ringed in a bulwark of stone and iron, many times the height of a man. Atop the battlements, the signs of hurried activity could be seen, the defending soldiers rushing to their final positions.
With a rush and a roar of wood and straps, the three towering trebuchets let fly their deadly burdens, flinging large boulders across the distance between the two sides. One fell short, bouncing and rolling to come to a halt at the foot of the wall. One overshot, smashing into the city beyond, causing unknown havoc and mayhem when it landed. One hit true. With a crash like mountain giants swinging great hammers, it smote the wall in an explosion of stone splinters. The wall held, but now the beginnings of a crack could be seen inching up the side of the sheer side. The engineers manning the siege engines shrugged, and reloaded.
Zhou-Yiang rode forth with his army and general, while his brother Shu and Xiashi Sima were at his back, coordinating the artillery and keeping a reserve force away from the battle, saved to reinforce or to ward off any would be intervention.
A few more rounds of boulders were launched overhead against the city as the army neared. The enemy was obviously panicked and powerless to defend against them, so they held their posts, holding their breath, praying. Their superiors yelling out to them, to steel their nerves, to not hold back, to honor their pledge, to fight for the rightful emperor and bring order to the land.
When Zhou’s army came in to range of Lun’s archers, a hail of arrows came pouring down on them from the walls. The first lines of spearmen and swordsmen held up their rectangular and circular shields, kneeling to thin the gap between their shield and the ground. When the first volley had finished, they broke formation, and charged the wall, still holding up their shields as more arrows rained upon them, cutting down many an elf as they went.
As the attackers finally reached the walls, Sima’s artillery stopped. The defenders were now firing at will at the army, throwing rocks off of the side of the battlements, shattering shields and splitting heads of those unlucky to have been directly below. Shrapnel grenades were lit and dropped down amidst the masses, wreaking havoc upon the assailants as sharp scraps of metal cut through armour and flesh.
Ladders were brought in and laid against the wall for the invaders to climb. The defenders fought these ladders, pushing them away, breaking them by dropping heavy rocks down their middle, but they couldn’t resist them for long. Soon enough, the ladders would we weighed down by not only the elves holding it still at its base, but by those who have begun ascending it. The climbing soldiers held their shields above their heads as they climbed, deflecting any rock thrown down out of their way, and on to their comrades below.
Enemy soldiers piled up at their end of the ladders, cutting away at the climbers as they pushed upwards. It was slaughter. Grenades were dropped to the base of the ladders from the side, and mortally wounding those holding the ladders as well as those who were meaning to climb them. The defenders were now able to push the climbers away from the wall, toppling the ladder backwards, falling on to their own ranks at their back.
Meanwhile, a battering ram was being nudged ever closer to the city gates.