A New Dawn - Chapter 102

Published at 15th of May 2019 07:55:08 PM
Chapter 102

Facing the masses that were getting more and more important as the seconds passed, the meager troops still guarding the West Gates were sweating a lot . They had hoped that the bells of Archet will never ring in that night since it would only mean one thing . That the captain of the guards had acknowledged a breach in their lines and that the safety of the citizens of the city was no longer guaranteed . At the same time, the previously closed gates will now open their doors, since the uncertainty lying beyond the tall stone walls was better than the waves of undead .

It was time for them to protect the terrified population from anything that will await them in the dark, and while a few were trying to appease the first families that were rushing toward them, a small group of guards was scouting the surroundings . The dim light of the torches they carried was not enough to see very far, but it seemed that no army was encircling them from that side . Just at the moment where the officer in charge was beginning to order everyone to go back, he froze himself at the bloodied spectacle in front of him .

Shadows from everywhere were decimating the twenty or so men that were first sent . Some of them didn't even have the time to raise their swords and shields before dying in a gruesome way . Screams filled the air, even reaching the walls of Archet . Shortly after, silence reigned once more supreme, shocking everyone . The gates that were beginning to be opened were immediately closed, and not even the most desperate human opposed this decision . It created a surreal situation where the first that tried to escape were violently preventing the latecomers to try that solution .

The issue that none that exited the city managed to came back made the lucky ones that were not part of that group shiver . But while they could still manage to appease the small groups that kept coming that way, it wasn't long before their numbers were too overwhelming . Even with the help of the dozens quickest that heard the same as them, the garrison could only stand their ground to prevent the opening of the few gates on that side of the wall . The fleeing families were gradually repelled only to that part of the city since both the northern and southern walls were getting more and more dangerous .

Neither the Mayor that was still knocked out nor Seron could have imagined that the flow of the battle would accelerate so quickly . But the latter couldn't do a single thing against the shadows that were blocking the way in the West since he couldn't spare a single man from the ongoing battle . The number of casualties was growing at a terrifying rate, and more and more adventurers that were previously resting were discreetly trying to escape . The only thing that was good for Seron was the fact that most magicians and priests that decided to leave still threw out a few spells .

It was enough to create many problems for the undead . Whether it was an elemental spell, that could turn the ground into ice, making the clumsy skeletons fall on themselves or support prayers, invigorating the exhausted warriors, they were of great help . But he still knew that it was only delaying the inevitable because undead were still climbing the walls of Archet . He couldn't know how many skeletons were still standing, but no zombies had been seen since the beginning . And their very presence meant that those liches could resurrect the fallen defenders . But besides the deadly spell they threw in the South, to deal with the killers of the Black Gauntlet, they had not made another move .

Looking around at everyone that was still fighting, Seron couldn't help but think that it was no longer possible to hold on such a large front . Soldiers were spread on such a large distance, and with the new increase of intelligence from those skeletons, it was not viable to stay like that . It had already been 15 minutes since the bells were ringing, meaning that everyone should have escaped by now . Or at least, left this side of Archet .

"RETREAT! TO THE CITY HALL! RETREAT!" They could only leave, but not in a disorganized way . As the message was spreading, the frontline was retreating step by step, not turning their backs toward the skeletons . If they dared to do that, no one could hope to escape . Many men were carrying the most injured and exhausted one with their shoulders . The process was slow, but no one was left behind .

As more and more houses were left in control of the undead side, there was only one particular thing that Seron was dreadful . The main barracks and armory was located in the North of Archet, but will be left defenseless if they retreated toward the City Hall . Logically, seeing how none of the skeletons sparred a single glance toward the numerous goods inside the houses, it wouldn't be a problem . But if they had another progress in their intelligence, many weapons were still usable on the ramparts, and a few things were not yet used . Not that they decided to save anything, just that they were useless against undead .

Diverse poisons and fluids particularly efficient against flesh would have only been dangerous for the humans . So, they were still stored inside the barracks, but it was only a worrisome idea . There were little chances for the enemy to even notice it . At the same time, the Guild of the Adventurers was located near the City Hall but will have to be protected at all cost . Even if he didn't know how many secrets were preserved inside this building, he couldn't let any of them escape .

While fighting and retreating at the same time, he could finally see by his own eyes why every report from that part of the battlefield was so eloquent . The two moving armors were rampaging amongst the undead, and even with their newly found weapons, they couldn't even scratch the two strange adventurers . This also created a vacuum in the influx of skeletons, many of them being attracted instead of continuing toward the guards . Just by themselves, they could replace nearly 100 guards, since they weren't tired and never rested .

He could only sigh since even himself had to rest a few times since the beginning . Even if he wasn't as vigorous as when he was younger, it was still a bit shameful to be that worse compared to the two . A few minutes later, both groups ended up in front of the majestic building symbolizing the very city of Archet . The large plaza was already filled with guards, many still defending the streets leading to that position while the injured were transported .

A few orders were quickly transmitted, drawing the new line that should be defended . Two-thirds of Archet was deemed as lost, including the entire eastern part and the northern area, with the poor side totally left on its own . Many families were still appearing once in a while, right in front of the incoming groups of fighters . They rapidly reached the gates, screaming and shouting in a scared and angered crowd .

At that time, a few reckless people had overrun the guards and opened one gate . They ran in the dark, followed by many . Unfortunately, the same trap caught them, their screams managing to even silence the loud ruckus . Like a net encircling the only exit, no one could pinpoint precisely where the enemies where . But that wasn't enough to calm so many people . As the minutes passed, more and more injured and deaths appeared, either because they were trampled because of the panic or they were fighting among themselves, falling into insanity .

With the absence of the Mayor, no one had enough authority to be audible, and numerous powerful families suffered the wrath of the populace, escaping a public execution by a short margin . The expensive adventurers still deterred even the most wrathful to try something illegal . But that didn't prevent more and more to find horrible and ignoble for them to guard the wealthy instead of protecting Archet . Murmurs were spreading, and the adventurers couldn't prevent them, the bitterness only growing .

Numerous employees of the City Hall were in the crowd, but most were trying to stay as low key as possible . Ingeniously, they were all smart enough to remove any traces that could link them toward their profession . In the panic, to remember their faces would be a feat that only the most spiteful citizen could do .

In that regard, they were all shocked when they saw a young girl approaching still wearing her recognizable uniform . Even if they were all cowards, that didn't prevent a few to try to approach her before many recognized her . None of them wanted to see one of their colleagues getting hurt since they didn't have the protection of anyone in those dark times . But as they got closer and closer, they couldn't help but feel a bit calmer, and less scared .

The young woman was faintly smiling, and it brought peace to those surrounding her . It wasn't enough to remove all fear and anger, but at least, they were not cursing as vehemently, and one or two were even looking at their feet, ashamed by their earlier behavior . She broke through all the mobs and even managed to bypass those that were encircling the adventurers . It seemed that no one was finding any issue with her being an employee of the City Hall .

In mere minutes, she ended up facing the line of guards that were still protecting the mechanisms to open the gate . With the two escapes ending up in the death of everyone, they had finally unsheathed their weapons, ready to protect the greater number against the insanity of the few . Even if it provoked the ire of many, that order still deterred the more frightened families to do anything out of the ordinary .

Still smiling, she was nonetheless refused to approach any closer . The entire situation was getting more heated as the minutes passed, and the sweat on the faces of the guards was easily visible, even with only the light of the torches nearby . But because her appearance and her outfit was out of the ordinary, one officer left the rank to inquire about what she wanted . Her warm voice was audible, but the contents were only for the officer . The latter had a mixed face but was a bit relieved . He allowed her to go up on the ramparts, even when a few others were not really keen on letting that go like that .

He quickly transmitted what she said, and even if they were not all convinced, they couldn't have a better idea . They were only responsible for the security of Archet and catching criminals, not experts at dealing with a crowd . Without any additional opposition, the woman reached the top of the ramparts and was visible by everyone under it . Coupled with the torches lightening her figure, the attention of all the citizens in the surrounding was concentring on her .

"Citizens of Archet, I know you are worried about your safety . You heard the bells and maybe even saw the terrifying army besieging us . Even Seron, the captain of the guards, couldn't prevent the undead to breach inside Archet . You fear that by the end of this night, you will maybe lose your life . You have lost your trust in the management of this city, but this is all for naught . The night will not last forever, and I can assure you, that by the first rays of the day, help will arrive . In the meantime, don't succumb to fear and anger, don't increase the burden of the brave guards that are defending us even at this very second . Thank you for listening to me . "

She bowed in front of the pacified crowd, still smiling . Even the guards began to sheathed their weapons, not destroying the mood with their swords . They were still in line and preventing anyone from getting closer, but it was more friendly and less authoritatively, like previously . The first officer that allowed her to reach the ramparts escorted her along the walls, for her to deliver the same speech again and again . If she could reassure everyone that would be best . The only things that only the officer wondered was that, since when help was coming at dawn?