Writing Prompt:It began at dawn.

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you had a good week and are preparing for a fantastic weekend. As we avoided stores during the holiday rush as much as possible the highlight of the weekend for us will be a Target and grocery run. We have a long list of things we have wither run out of or are running low on. Looking at the list it sort of feels like we are stocking up for some sort of grand excursion. Which is kind of fun. But to the friday writing prompt we go. everyone ready? Good, then lets begin.

You know I think i actually kind of like this one. I have no idea where it is going, but I can see how it could be useful in a couple of different plots I’ve got simmering on the mental back burner. Not bad for a Friday.

Friday, January 8th: It began at dawn.

It began at dawn.  From the walls of the castle we could see them even before the sun came up.  The smooth rounded edges of our slopes were now spiky lines.  Pikestaffs jutted into the sky and the view from the defensive wall was alien, even to those who spent their entire lives within the walls.

He swallowed hard, tasting the lump of fear in his throat.  It was icy and metallic as though a chunk of his own sword slid halfway down his throat. He managed to keep the fear from his face, but he couldn’t stop looking at the ridge.

In the darkness there were groans and grunts coming from the fields below.  The shadows were deeper there and in the darkness no details could be seen.  Others strained to see into the shadows, knowing that the first attack would come from them, the mass of soldiers on the fridge following behind whatever siege engines the enemy brought once the walls were compromised. 

He couldn’t bring himself to study that darkness, even though he knew the threat was as real as the others believed. Every time he risked a glance downward he sensed movement in the dark that reminded him of a pit of snakes.  It was in constant motion but not identifiable.  Every now and again he would catch the flash of an eye in the moonlight, which somehow made it even worse.

So instead he studied the ridge.  As the dawn edged the horizon the forms became more distinct on the ridge, even though those nearest the wall, the first of the attackers were still in shadow.  They remained in shadow even as the first attack was called.  Out of the blackness below, ladders were raised.

At dawn, it began.  He had no time for the ridge then.  He manned a hooked staff deliberately designed to push ladders from the walls and he darted between soldiers helping to shove them from the walls.  Many others leant their strength to his.  There were so many that his services, and those of the others were in constant need.  Such were his efforts that he did not even reach for his sword until the sun was well into the sky and the morning faded into afternoon.  Then, the one of the ladders managed to stay long enough to get soldiers to the very wall.  Steel clashed and men fought instead of assisting with pushing the ladders away.  As a consequence more ladders remained and more invaders gained the top of the wall.  From the upper ridge, archers rained down arrows carrying fiery loads and attackers and ladders burned.  Still they kept coming.  His staff broke and he reached for his sword. 

There was no time to think, only to react.  He found his long hours of drilling coming into use as his body moved before his brain could fully comprehend what needed to be done.  His muscles grew sore, but there was no time to stop.  There was no thought to stop.  To stop was to die and he did not want to die.  More than anything, he wanted to live.  So he kept lifting his sword and used it to destroy anything that came within range. His world narrowed and he saw nothing that wasn’t before him.

Then suddenly there was no one before him.  He stared stupidly at the spot where his last enemy fell.  He spun looking for another, but found none.  He was standing in a space clear of attackers.  The dead lay all around him.  He looked to the others standing, but saw only familiar faces among the living. The enemies were either dead or gone.  He let his sword arm droop.

“They’ll be back soon enough,” he heard his sergeant say.  “Wounded get to the surgeon for patching up.”  He looked around and realized the light was fading.

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