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  • Writer's pictureJason Beveridge

Inthal's storming - man's last stand

Scene from book 3 of the Saga of Six Realms

With a tremendous fiery rush, the torch of the tower keep erupted into a great conflagration. From a distance, the curtain walls appeared to girth a great bonfire. Like moths darting around the firelight, Alexander and Alexi saw the reflections of hundreds of Ondagar illuminate around the castle.

“He turns the keep into a giant torch!” Alexander exclaimed as his face lit up in the brilliance of the flames.

“Aggh!” Alexi screamed. “My warriors are now easy crossbow targets. ”

“Once the Moontar scale the castle’s walls, the defenders will have their hands full.” Alexander tried to reassure his sister.

“Until then it will become a blood bath, brother,” she said with disapproval.

“That’s rich coming from the Keeper of Keepers,” Alexander scoffed.

Alexi stared at him through her menacing triple-horned headpiece. The quartz magnification lenses hid her eyes, removing the emotional tells. “Father wants Inthal taken with as few lives lost as possible,” she vented. The forcefully spoken words sounded shrill from inside the enclosed helmet. “I can still call them off,” she threatened.

These Ondagar change you, Alexi, Alexander thought to himself. “We must allow time to get into position and do their job.

“If the main gate is a stumbling block, perhaps, I can assist,” she offered.

“How?” A curious Alexander asked.

“You think my children are dim, but they are still young. Fortunately, some show early promise. Listen and watch,” she commanded.

Alexi blew a five-note chord that Alexander could barely hear. A few moments later, the black shape of an Ondagar settled next to her. Its jet-black fury body, arms, and legs resembled a man expect for an overdeveloped upper body. The creature had a fox-like head yellow-green eyes and a horned snout. On the head where the ears should be located two horns extended. Loose membranes extended between the arms and lengths, the extremities of which featured nasty talons.

“Lendl, my clever one,” she said. “Come closer and look where my arm points.”

The Ondagar did as requested.

“Now you point and show me,” she reiterated.

When Lendl satisfied her, Alexi pointed to the Main Gatehouse and made a sweeping gesture with her hand and blew a shrill high pitch note through her a hora in her headpiece. After repeating the gesture several times, she next raised her hand and spread ten fingers. “Take ten Ondagar and remove the enemy from the top of gatehouse!” She said to verbalise the instruction. When the Ondagar nodded its understanding, Alexi blew a low-pitched note and pointed upwards with a finger extended.

The Ondagar shrieked, spread its wings and leapt into the dark.

Alexander stared for a moment. “That didn’t appear so difficult,” he remarked.

“The challenge was to convey the difference between removal and killing,” she explained.

Alexander returned a puzzled look. “I’m not sure I get the subtlety,” he replied.

“Sweeping men off the top of walls in fly passes is safer than close-quarter fighting in the confines of the parapets. Landing on the parapets presents an easier target for crossbows. Besides, I must leave something for your Moontar Knights to do.”

“It’s not the Moontars that concern me,” said Alexander. “We rely on the Moon Maidens to deliver the Light Horsemen to the gate. The gatehouse keepers are the only ones who can work the gate mechanism.”

“Ah, yes. The dashing Commander Dwayne and your Third Commander,” Alexi teased. “Inanna tells me they pave the way to a new future.”

Alexander frowned. “First, they must survive the storming of this castle,” he replied.

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