Cydel scrambled up the stairs leading to the top of the wall, his bow slung across his back. He made note of how the lack of a quiver afforded him a bit more speed when running, happy Elder Gint had made the adjustment. Cydel reached the top of the wooden wall without tripping, regarding that as a minor victory for himself. He straightened up and brushed the rain from his face.
In the distance, Cydel guessed a third of Luria’s army was approaching. The stone wall would provide an obstacle, but it wouldn’t prevent the attack completely. Instead, it would serve to funnel the enemy to one side. Cydel crossed his arms and watched them approach. He wondered what percentage of the soldiers were old police officers, ones that could change forms at will. Fortunately, the police force had run out of the capabilities to create more force-changers a few years back. Cydel was thankful for that.
He estimated the group would arrive in around ten minutes, his hands shaking slightly as he wiped them on his trousers. He wore the prototypical Ikalgan war clothing – a tan set of overalls with green seams. It was similar to the former Trading Union rental wear, but with a stark difference in craftsmanship. Plus, it was made of covelt. The boy looked around to the other archers, none seeming to notice him, or each other. They stood quietly, one hand ready on their bows.
Noticing Francesca finishing up the earth spikes, he called down to her, asking for her to send up one of his mother’s water orbs. Francesca threw one up and he caught it, instantly absorbing its energy. With it, he applied a protective energy mask over his face. It would keep the rain off and provide him with an emergency defense against an attack to the face. He’d still probably get a concussion despite the protection, but it was better than having an arrow piercing completely through him.
Cydel drew his bow and pulled the string back, aiming at a spot on the stone wall ahead of him. He attempted to draw energy from the gem inside the bow, like his mother had told him earlier. An arrow began to form out of water vapor, fitting snugly against the notch in the bow. He fired the shot, hitting his mark. A faint smile played over his face as he realized he could draw from the jewel instead of having to find an outside source of energy.
Sarkard’s army stopped just outside of the stone wall, likely positioning themselves to work their way around the stone wall, and closer to the wooden interior wall. A man on horseback rode up and down the first line of the Lurians, his sword waving as he rode and spoke. While Cydel watched the man give his troops a final speech, two rumbles sounded off in the distance. One came from the sky, the clouds finally letting loose a blanket of rain that soaked Ikalgans and Lurians alike. The second came from around the west entrance, the charge had likely begun.
Cydel looked up to the sky, watching the rain bounce off his almost invisible mask. He glanced back down to the army and the man, who’d stopped pacing. He sat on his horse staring up at Cydel. The man raised his sword, appearing to take a deep breath before sending his men forward to clash with the Ikalgan wall and its defenders. Cydel readied his bow, narrowing his eyes to avoid the distracting glare from the ever-present flame wall on the horizon.
Luria’s army charged forward, each soldier surging past their commander on horseback, who still looked up toward Cydel. A few moments and the charging force would be in range of the archers. Cydel’s fingers steadied as he immersed himself in a process he had mastered. He drew energy from within and summoned his second arrow from vapor, holding the bow steady. The first line had not yet crossed within range but Cydel released the arrow, anticipating the runner’s path perfectly as the first casualty fell, having been struck directly by his arrow. The archers by his side released their arrows and the battle for the southern gate of Ikalgan had begun.