Part 57 – To Retake The Ancient City
Theomin looked at his men. “How many of my wardens are left?” Of the twenty he had, only about ten rose their hands. “And how many from the camp?”
Amandir, who had already removed the bolt from his shoulder, counted them men that followed. “I believe we had close to ten. We now have seven.”
“No need to be sorry,” Eleswith said, “It was nothing you could do. We move on and do what we can and when we are finished, we then give them an honorable buriel.”
Theomin nodded, “You are right. We have much more to do. We have to aid Sergee’s side of the fight. Come!” He lead the rest of the men out of the courtyard and yelled to some of the warden sentries, “Guard that courtyard. If anything moves, kill it.”
They ran back through the warden camp and eastward to where Sergee led his men. Most of the upper part of the city was already taken care of. Theomin looked around the upper part, he ran toward stairs and platforms. There was no movement save his own men. Only the many bodies of the Angmarim were strewn about the ground while one or two of the wardens layed dead. Sergee really took down the whole area in the upper portion of the city. A type of canal flowed through part of the upper portion of the city crossed by a couple of bridges. On the other side, a troll layed there, dead with one more warden beneath its massive club.
Soon, the familiar sound of swords filled the air but they were coming from behind them. Theomin and his men ran toward the sounds of the sword fighting. It took a while until they reached a slope heading down to the lower levels of the city. Soon a large group headed up the hill in the dark toward Theomin and his people. He could only make out shapes as it was too dark to tell if they were friend or foe. Soon, they came to light. It was Athegdir and his men. Relief washed over Theomin but he did not see his brother. “Where is Teryndir?”
“He is here,” Athegdir said as Teryndir ran up with his men. “You took the upper portion of the city?”
“Yes,” Theomin said, with some exhaustion. “I am unsure where Sergee and his men are.”
“We need to search for them,” Athegdir said. He ran up the slope and Theomin and his men followed.
“Have you lost any men?” Theomin asked.
“I have lost maybe a few. Teryndir lost maybe five. And you? How many have you lost?”
“I lost maybe ten,” said Theomin, sadly.
“Let us not mourn just yet,” Athegdir said, “We must clear this city. Dawn is nearly here.”
Theomin looked up. The rays of the sun started to wash over the sky as the star dotted sky began turning a deep indigo color. In the east, the rays of the sun started pushing up from behind the distant hills. Theomin was thankful to see the sun again but that was going to make the fight that much more difficult. The light meant the enemy could see them coming. They would have to change their tactics to survive the battle.
As they passed the canal in the city and crossed over the bridges there, they wound their way around many passes of the city, all filled with dead Angmarim. There were one or two trolls that had fallen but no wardens had fallen with them. They decended down a slope toward a bridge. A great white bridge to be exact. It was massive and stood strong, connecting the great city of Annuminus to the island of Tyl Annun.
“This is the Arient,” Athegdir told his men as they reached the edge of the bridge. At the bridges edge, a group of about twenty wardens stood guard at a gap between the bridge and a building to the west of it. Athegdir reached the group of wardens.
“Where are Neleghil?” Athegdir asked.
One of them spoke up, “He and his friends are off over yonder killing everything.”
Athegdir walked through the group of wardens standing around and saw Sergee and his men finally finishing off all in that was left in the small alcove of the city. Sergee looked up and saw his father watching with his arms crossed. “Are you quite done?”
“Of course father,” he said happily. “Come,” he told Helesdir and Magla. They all three walked up to Athegdir and the rest of the wardens. “Do we have any plans for the Ariant and for Tyl Annun?”
Athegdir just shook his head, “I should just let you three handle it since you are so fond of it.”
“Come now, father. This is what we came here to do, so we are doing it,” Sergee said, trying to make light of it.
“This is not some game, Neleghil. This is very important for your heritage,” Athegdir spoke down at Sergee. “Remember that.” He looked at Theomin. “Part of the southern part of the bridge is taken by us, I see,” Athegdir said as he looked at the bridge. “As we fought our way through the lower part of the city we spotted two trolls patrolling the bridge. I believe Neleghil and his men can take them down, clearing the way for the rest of us to continue on to Tyl Annun. What we will find there, I do not know.”
Each of the brothers looked at each other. Finally, Teryndir spoke up, “Sounds like a plan.” He motioned to Sergee and gestured his hand for him to start, “After you, brother.”
Sergee looked at Magla and Helesdir. He then gave a look at Eleswith, “Care to join us?”
“Would I?” she said with enthusiasm exploding from her. She then looked back at Theomin, “Not without my friend.”
“Well?” Sergee said, “Come Enedion, destiny awaits.”
Theomin, for once in the whole night, felt glee. He was glad to join Sergee, Helesdir, Magla, and Eleswith on their fight. Behind, Athegdir, Teryndir, and the rest of the wardens followed, but not too close behind. Sergee, Helesdir, and Magla ran faster than Theomin could keep up and soon, they spotted pair of trolls. Helesdir, with no hesitation fired on both of the troll’s eye with quick succession blinded it. It swung its heavy club, hitting the other troll and subsequently knocking it off the bridge and down onto the first level. Magla, with the great club that he wielded, smashed the troll’s legs, sending it slamming to the ground as Sergee ran his sword through the skull of the troll, completely killing it.
“Now,” Teryndir said in awe, “that is how it is done.”
“Come,” Sergee yelled to the others, “there are more Angmarim this way!” He ran toward a set of stairs but stopped just before them and looked to his left. The rest of the contingent followed and stopped just before the stairs. “Magla, Helesdir, we have planty to clear out down there.” He looked at Eleswith, “Are you with us?”
“Why not,” he looked at Theomin, “go with your father and brother. The four of us have this.”
Athegdir watched as the four ran down the stairs. He then looked at Sergee’s men, “Well, do not just stand there, follow them.” The rest of Sergee’s men followed behind. “The rest of us must reach the citadel. It is near, I know it. Archers, you are at the front. Fire on the first Angmarim you see. When the rest come running toward you, send us a yell and the rest of us will come up past you and meet them in combat.”
Seven warden archers ran up and redied their bows. As they soon cleared the top of the stairway, bolts flew at them from the Angmarim. Each fell off the stairs toward the feet of Athegdir and Teryndir. “Amathwyn, Saeredan, get up here.” Both came up and waited for orders from Athegdir. Amathwyn, keep your shield up long enough for Saeredan to fell whom ever shot those bolts at our men.”
Amathwyn and Searedan did just that. They ran up the stairs and Amathwyn held up her shield while Saeredan eyed the agressors. Very quickly he spotted them. With the protection of the shield, Saeredan drew multiple arrows and felled each of the Angmarim crossbowmen. Not long after that, many Angmarim ran to attack. “Draw swords!” he yelled back at everyone below as Amathwyn redied her sword and shield for the coming close combat.
Theomin, Athegdir, Teryndir and the rest of the rangers ran up to meet the approaching onslaught of Angmarim. Each dispatched multiple foes as fiercly as they could. Some wardens fell to the Angmarim. Theomin looked up. Sentries were up on the great tower of Tyl Annun.
“Sentries utop the roof! Fire!” he yelled to the archers. The last remaining archers quickly fired upon them with haste, felling them as they plummeted down past the bridge and down below.
Finally, as the daylight of dawn was there, they reached the other end of the Ariant. They had finally made it to Tyl Annun. A whole rank of Angmarim gathered outside the archway ten men wide and three men deep. One stood a bit behind the rest them all. A ruler, of sorts, wearing cloth of white and bore a hood upon his head. The cloth and shoulders were layed with all sorts of runes and designs of which were only tied to Angmar.
“Shut your mouth, filth,” Teryndir said with disgust, “Do not fill our hearts and ears with your lies.”
“But it is no lie. Angmar grows. Even now men are marshaling in Angmar to fortify this city. When they come, they will send word of the recapture of Annuminus and when they do, they will send hordes of men, trolls, spiders, and all manner of creatures to retake your precious city. The north will burn in the wake of Angmar’s wrath and fury. You will all di…” an arrow was sent straight through the man’s forehead, perfectly shot from Helesdir.
Sergee looked on in gladness, “I’ve heard enough.”
The Angmarim broke ranks ran with force and anger toward the wardens. “Ready your weapons!” Athegdir yelled as the evil men spilled onto the ranks of the wardens.
Theomin slashed his way up through the ranks of Angmarim. His sword slashed through six of them while Eleswith’s steady and sure hands continued to fell even more. Sergee, Magla, and Helesdir worked their magic through the entire fight, coordinating their attack like a well oiled machine. As Theomin saw he had no more Angmarim ahead he dropped his sword and breathed in a sigh of relief as the battle was over.
But in the distance, what he was not suspecting was an enormous troll. A troll the size of a giant saw him with fierce eyes. Drool slowly dripped from its ravenous lips as it staired down Theomin with its hideous yellow eyes, intimidating him and filling him with fear. Two great horns were beside his eyes, stained with blood as was its enormous club. It then let out a furious yell as Theomin ran the other way while the troll bore down on him with speed. Theomin dove for his sword and flung it at the creature, hitting hit in the leg which did nothing to slow down the creature. He stood back up and ran toward his men yelling, “Troll!”
The troll bore down on the wardens too quickly for them to react and brace themselves. Many wardens were trampled by its enormous pounding of its feet while others were swiped away off the island by its gigantic clubs. Helesdir shot an arrow into its eye, which only enraged the troll more. It swung its heavy club down but missed most of the wardens, save a couple. It picked the club up again and swung it down again, missing all of the wardens.
Helesdir then shot another arrow to its other eye but missed and hit its brow. Saeredan shot another arrow but missed and hit its cheek. Multiple wardens tried to already send it down but the troll was too powerful for them to force such a large creature down to the ground.
Theomin picked up a large sword, dropped from one of the wardens. He ran toward the feet of the troll and slammed the sword into the troll’s foot. The troll screamed in pain as Theomin tried to withdraw the sword but could not. The troll lifted its foot with Theomin still holding on to the sword. He was flung in the air and for a moment he was far above the troll and further above the island. He hung there for just a fraction of a second before he came plummeting down toward the troll and landed on its head, narrowly avoiding the horns. He grabbed on to the horns to stay up on it.
“Theomin!” Eleswith yelled up at Theomin as she tossed a sword in his direction.
For a moment, he looked at the sword in the air. It came toward him so slowly that he could see each small dent and cut in it as it sailed toward him. He caught it and plunged it into the troll’s other eye. It screamed as it could not see. Other rangers ran their swords into the trolls other foot as Magla and Sergee pushed on its legs, bringing it down, along with Theomin. He jumped off of the troll just before it hit the ground and tumbled a little bit, unharmed. He stood up and ran to retrieve the sword he forced into the trolls foot. He pulled and pulled until he finally pulled it out while the rest of the wardens smashed in the trolls face, killing it.
His breathing was quickened as he was exhausted and weak. But as he looked around, there were no more Angmarim nor any trolls around. The battle for Annuminus had been won.
Not far from Theomin, Athegdir was bent over, breathing heavily. He walked to his father and placed his hand on his shoulder. “Are you okay, father?”
He looked up and breathed in and out deeply, “Yes, I am alright. I am only winded. Check on the others. They may need your aid.”
Sergee came up to his father, “We will see about any Angmarim left behind, perhaps some that were missed. We will also see about the docks, kill any we might find there.” Athegdir just nodded.
Theomin walked over to some of the injured wardens. Many more were dead, laying on the ground impailed by swords or broken from the troll’s club or shot through the head or heart by arrows. Many that were alive had broken arms and severed limbs whose limbs were scattered throughout Tyl Annun and the Ariant. Theomin had to rip cloth off of some of the many dead wardens to provide dressings for the many deep wounds inflicted by the Angmarim. Some of the wardens provided Theomin with salves to place on the wounds as well. It was exhausting work and while many of the wardens helped, there was still a lot of wounded and many more dead bodies that lined the whole city.
Theomin sat back and looked at the devastation. What madness it was for to just kill so many so blindly. He needed to stop. It was too much seeing the dead amonst of wardens and angmarim. It was too much to care for the wounded and see more blood than he had in his entire life. It was too emotionally devastating to know that he was apart of the problem as he sliced through many of the Angmarim with out so much of an explanation why they were so evil. What led them to invade a foreign land? Were they really evil?
Theomin, exhausted from the combat and the caring for the injured, wanted to talk with his father and get his take on the whole of the retaking of Annuminus. He walked to him but he noticed a crowd around Athegdir. He walked slower as he was not sure what was happening. As soon as it hit Theomin something was wrong with Athegdir, he dashed over to the crowd of wardens and made his way through. There, laying on the dirt of Tyl Annun was his father. He was breathing hard, weezing as he breathed in and out.
“Enedion,” Athegdir could hardly whisper, “Enedion you are here.”
“Yes,” said Theomin, “Yes I am. What happened?”
“I did not want to tell you. A blade cut through me on the bridge. I knew I was not going to last much longer but I wanted you to care for our wounded who could still live.”
Teryndir then pushed his way through the crowd. “Father!”
“Teryndir, my son. Please forgive me. I must leave now,” Athegdir said weakly. “My task is finally done. My sons are here, the city is retaken, and our future is secure.”
“Father,” Teryndir said weakly as he started to grieve.
“Enedion, what was it you needed to tell me?”
Theomin looked on his dying father. “I wanted to tell you,” his need to tell his father of Bree was great but, “I…I am not ready to let you go.”
“Do not grieve, my sons. Today is a good day,” Athegdir smiled a weak smile. His skin was pale and his eyes started to darken. “Enedion,” he said to Theomin, then motioned him to come closer. He grabbed Theomin by the back of the head and pulled him closer. He then whispered something in his ear which none but Theomin could hear. His grip started to slowly release from Theomin’s head as his arm fell to the ground. There, Athegdir died and all bowed their heads in silent mourn.
Thank you very much Arathaert for playing the part of Athegdir!