Alexandros: Ch. 27-29byJoeBarnosky©
Alexandros Manuscript Page 109
I rode hard throughout the night and the following day into the next night. I stopped briefly only for a few hours each time to rest and allow my horse rest. Now as I closed in on the city of Naukratis I could see I may be too late. The city looked as if it was well under attack. Many of the walls appeared collapsed and fires burning billowing smoke into the air over many areas of the city.
I kicked my horse ushering for it to run faster. The air hung heavy with the feeling of evil. A fear I was more than ready to face.
Get a squad to the south wall!" Khaldun yelled.
The city's siege began in the early hours of the morning and now it was late afternoon. Khaldun had four battalions including the company already at the city's garrison. The battle had been nonstop, but his men weren't ready to give in.
Khaldun scanned the battle. He was in the mix on several occasions, but had recently stepped back to issue orders. He was more of a hands-on general than one that stayed behind the lines, but at times he had to step back. His attention was caught by a man carefully making his way down a secured path toward him. His battledress showed the man to be an officer and Khaldun had a pretty good idea who the man was.
"Badru I presume," Khaldun said when the man reached earshot range.
"Excellent job with the evacuation," Khaldun congratulated.
"It couldn't have been done without Commander Anhur's planning and leadership." Badru beamed with pride at the mention of his former commander.
"Yes, Anhur was good man and leader. It is unfortunate Pharaoh has lost such a soldier, but it is fortunate you have made it."
"Thank you, sir." Badru looked eager to meet Khaldun but also eager to be someplace else.
"You seem to have your mind someplace else," the general said picking up on Badru's body language.
"I'm sorry general," he said looking away momentarily. "I was just disappointed having to leave the people under my guard. Not that I would want to pass up the chance to me you."
Khaldun laughed. "I'm only the general of Pharaoh's army, meeting me is not as grand as a meeting with Pharaoh," he said humbly. "I actually called you here because I need you more than the citizens. They will make it to Memphis as the demon horde is more interested in us than they are of them."
"Then I am at your service general."
"Good. As it is now we are holding the front lines, but it seems our enemy wants to surprise us with an attack to our rear. I need someone to lead the men back there and ensure our lines don't falter."
"I will try my best sir," Badru said with pride.
"You had better or we all fail."
Rashida saw the danger as a small group of demons broke away from the main battle and began a flanking maneuver. For whatever reason, her attention was caught by the small group.
From the rooftop of the building she had occupied she had a good view of the city and its outskirts. Armed with a bow, she aided Khaldun and his men using her archery skills to take down many of the creatures. Yet no matter how many she dispatched, the horde only seemed to grow.
She thought about attempting to eliminate the strike force, but by the time they would be in range of her bow they would be well within the city walls. So she decided it was time to get up close and personal. Tossing her bow to the side, she drew her scimitar and leapt over the side of the building. She landed gracefully and began a run for the back gates.
It appears Lapas has failed. Amnischnell said as he stood atop what remained of Xios' wall facing outward. Malanatohiel stood not far from the Ifrit. Both armies met up as commanded by Vectivus.
Sapon and Lapas were to take the portion of the horde under their command and attack Naukratis. Once each of the cities was taken, all would meet their master, Vectivus in Bubastis. From there the entire horde would systematically destroy each city lying in the path to Memphis.
It appears to be. Malanatohiel agreed sarcastically.
You would be wise to hold your tongue Malanatohiel.
Amnischnell spun with a raised hand threatening to strike the Greater Demon.
I mean no disrespect to you or your children. The demon quickly said causing Amnischnell to discontinue the motion. I just meant that Vectivus would not like the attachment to them, especially with their failure. I could care less what Vectivus thinks! Do you think it is easy to transform them into what they are? Amnischnell turned back around seeming to have forgotten his anger. Malanatohiel physically relaxed able to have diffused his superior's anger. Or so he thought. Amnischnell spun back around and backhanded him. Of course you will be smart enough not to say anything to our master.
Of course not. He said respectfully, bowing low.
Excellent. Now, prepare the horde. It's time we rendezvous with our master and fulfill his plan.
Badru was locked in a battle with the Lesser Demon Sapon by the time Rashida reached the back gate. She wanted to help the man but a slew of creatures lay between them. She couldn't help but wonder why only a small group would be defending the back gate.
Khaldun is never this unprepared.
It didn't matter. She was here to protect Khaldun's back. Her senses roared as she was overwhelmed with the feeling she got when confronted by these detestable creatures. Ignoring the feeling, she drew her sword and leapt.
With grace she landed in the center of the fury. Creatures and soldiers were engaged in battle. Several feet away she saw Badru and the demon he fought. Her goal was to help take out the leader. She lashed out quickly cutting down two of the creatures. The soldiers that were fighting shot her a nod of appreciation before turning to the next enemy. She wanted to badly help every soldier, especially when many of them were in a struggle against more than one creature.
She fought against the urge to help and knew it would weigh heavily on her over the next few days. That was if she made it out of this battle alive. Rashida turned her attention back to the task she set out to accomplish. She began advancing to the two duelists, striking down any creature that crossed her path.
Badru was suffering from more cuts inflicted on him than he had managed to land on the demon. His energy felt like it was slowly depleting like the blood the continuously flowed from the multiple cuts.
You are foolish human. Your efforts are petty and weak, just as Anhur's were.
"It seems I was good enough to slay your weak counterpart," Badru retorted.
Sapon snarled at the remark. His face contorted into a scowl of anger. I will avenge my brother by slowly pulling out your insides!
Sapon rushed Badru with his arms open wide. Not hesitating and taking the opportunity, Badru charged with his sword held high. In just mere seconds the two were on top of each other. Badru's sword dug deep into the demon as the demon's clawed hand wrapped around the smaller human's throat.
Sapon grunted at the impact as the sword slid through his back. Badru's face showed alarm, but he couldn't emit any sound as his air flow was completely cut off. Sapon easily lifted him into the air and smiled a toothy smile. Now you will know what pain feels like.
Sapon used his other clawed hand to slowly slice the human's midsection open. A line of blood appeared and quickly began to spill out. Sapon reached in and when he pulled free Badru's intestines were clutched in his hand. The remainder of his insides fell to the ground with loud slopping noises.
"No!" a yell shot out grabbing the demon's attention.
Ah. It looks like someone tried to save you. The demon remarked offhandedly though it was too late for Badru. He had already slipped away and was no longer part of the world.
Rashida leapt swinging her blade down and across at the demon. Sapon stepped back avoiding the strike laughing as he did so.
"You will pay for that," Rashida threatened.
Like I haven't heard that one before. He laughed again.
"Laugh all you want but I will have your head!"
She lunged swinging widely where she followed with arcing the blade down she spun bringing the sword up and around full circle. The sword clanged with the impact on the ground where the demon should have been standing.
Am I too fast for you? He taunted. Then gripping the sword Badru had left in him, he pulled it free. Come. Let us see just how you plan to make me pay.
Sapon moved with lightening speed. As quickly as he landed a blow, his sword was already on its way to the next strike. Rashida had little trouble matching the pace.
Rashida grinned. "Come on. I thought you had something to teach me," she taunted.
Sapon only responded with more attacks. He feinted a thrust then dropped to the ground swinging the blade at her legs. Rashida responded by leaping into the air and flipping over the demon. Before Sapon had a chance to react, the sword bit into his back.
He stumbled forward howling in pain. As he turned Rashida saw anger glowing in his eyes. You cannot be one of them.
"Who?" Rashida replied before thinking.
This got a laugh from Sapon. The anger momentarily fading from his eyes. You truly do not know? My master would like to meet you.
"Well he is going to have to wait until I send you back to Hades."
She charged wanting to end this fight rather than hear words of confusion from the foul demon. Sapon wasn't expecting an attack but rather more questioning and was not able to maneuver fully out of the way in time.
Rashida's sword tore across Sapon's throat. Only his last minute maneuvering saved his from losing his head. She was quick to follow up on the first attack. Pivoting on her right foot, she swung the sword back around. Sapon stood gripping his throat, slightly bent over.
Confidence washed through Rashida as she knew she had the demon beat. Just before the sword met Sapon's neck, the demon disappeared. Rashida came off balanced expecting a connection. She turned the imbalance to her advantage and rolled with the momentum to her feet.
She was instantly in an en garde position. She was shocked to not see the demon. A second later she knew he had her. She could feel his hot breath on her neck and before she knew could do anything about it, everything went black.