|The Affinity VI (standard:adventure, 4593 words)|
|Author: Ian Hobson||Added: Jan 05 2009||Views/Reads: 2138/963||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|If you missed the earlier episodes of The Affinity, the story starts here: http://www.nicestories.com/unreg/s/story.php?id=8387|
The Affinity VI ©2008 Ian Hobson 13 - Siege The gods love to play their tricks on me; making me sleep as the world continues to turn. There had been a series of battles in northern Litanlia. King Rubris had been killed and the decimated Litanlian forces had been split, with over a thousand men, including the king's son, Prince Rugert, cut off to the west, and a larger number killed or driven slowly south. And, if that was not bad enough, Romada had been attacked by a small fleet of Tirukshi ships. Whether they were allied to the Grustan forces, or just making the most of an opportunity for pillage, no one knew for sure. But the townspeople, and remaining refugees, had poured in through the castle gates as the town burned, and as the remnants of the Litanlian forces were arriving from the north. 'You chose a good time for your sleep.' It was early morning and Kello was standing beside me on the battlements as we surveyed the enemy encampment. They occupied a hillside to the south-west, but were also busy on the wooded slopes between the castle and the town, cutting timber to build siege engines, one of which looked to be complete though, as yet, they seemed to have no rocks to hurl at us. 'What do you make of our chances?' I asked. Kello tugged on his beard before answering. 'The garrison has a well, so we'll not die of thirst, and its walls are good and thick and should withstand whatever that catapult can throw at us. But with so many mouths to feed, they could starve us out.' 'How much food do we have?' 'Enough for maybe twenty days. It's already rationed. Young Aesteban's been put in charge of the food store and he's posted two armed guards at the door. You hungry?' 'Ravenous.' As always after waking from one of my deep sleeps, I had the appetite of ten men. 'Tell me about Lord Manados,' I said. 'A pompous fool.' Kello spat over the wall. 'Lead his men into a trap, by all accounts, and then was the first to retreat. But he's in command here until an enemy archer spots his fine clothes and puts a shaft through his neck. So far, all he's done is complain about the stink from the latrines.' 'Lord Astavar.' I turned to see Layana hurrying towards me along the battlements. 'I am story I was not there when you awoke.' She gave me a formal curtsey before flinging her arms around my neck and kissing me, which engendered a few envious looks from the soldiers stationed along the battlements. 'I thought you had deserted me,' I teased. Her hair was tied in a ponytail and she no longer wore the dress that she had worn when we had arrived in Romada, but had changed into a man's shirt and breeches. 'And you seem to have stolen some of your brother's clothing.' 'More practical,' she answered, showing me a bloodstain on her sleeve. 'I've been helping the physician with the wounded soldiers.' 'So I heard.' Suddenly there was a commotion further along the wall as a tall and immaculately dressed man, in his middle years, came striding towards us, followed by young Lieutenant Aesteban. 'I thought I gave orders that women were to keep off the ramparts!' he said, haughtily. 'This is the young lady who has been helping with the wounded,' said Aesteban with a worried frown. 'And this is Lord Astavar, the man I told you about.' He gave me a curt nod followed by a questioning look. 'I am pleased to see that you have recovered from your fever, sir.' 'Thank you,' I said, turning to face the new commander. 'Do I have the Click here to read the rest of this story (440 more lines)
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