Alexandros: Ch. 19-20byJoeBarnosky©
Why does Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham sound so familiar?" Sternigan asks grabbing an atlas lying on the table near the two men.
"It is one of the many fortresses used by Ramesses the Second as a military post. It marked the western extent of Egyptian influence."
"What's known about it?"
"Considering this is the first we have heard of it having more importance, not much." Furloft says with a shrug. "It was discovered in 1948 and examined but wasn't extensively excavated until 1994. It lasted until 2001, but nothing significant was discovered."
"I guess they didn't dig deep enough," Sternigan comments.
"Apparently," Furloft agrees. "The archeologists determined there was nothing archeological dating before or after Ramesses the Second."
"Then that's good for us. The last thing we need is for the truth of the world no one outside us and a few others know about." He slides out a drawer from below the desk and pulls out a notepad. "We may as well send out a team to Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham."
"Are we curious from an archeological stand point or to prevent what's there from being found by someone else?"
Sternigan laughes. "Primarily to keep what's there from being found, but I know how interested you would be in the find."
"We'll have to ensure anything we find we'll be able to take. You know the Egyptian government isn't going to let us take anything," Furloft informs.
"That will be taken care of," Sternigan says.
"Dr. Kiya Marzouk is the curator over Egyptian Antiquities and a Black List member."
"I believe I remember her," he says thoughtfully.
"You met her at a meeting about a year ago."
"Yes I remember that. She was a pretty woman in her early twenties. Rather remarkable conversation we had."
"I know. I had a hell of a time pulling you away."
"We were having a discussion about Cleopatra."
"Unless she had to deal with demons, I have no interest," Sternigan asserts.
"You are a scholar in your own right Martin."
"It's just too bad no one outside the Black List will ever know. It's too bad many secrets that man has sought can be found in this library," he says spreading his arms open, "and will never have access to them."
"Especially when the books are possibly the only copies left in the world."
Get those gates closed!" Olam, commander of the battalion sent to Sebennytos said. "And begin clearing the citizens out through the south gate!"
Olam and his troops reached the castle in the early morning hours and only had a few hours to prepare a defense before the demon horde arrived. Olam was slightly unnerved when the horde didn't attack right away.
"What are they waiting for?" Adjo, his second in command asked.
"I don't know, but let us hope they continue to wait so we can get all these people out."
Malanatohiel stood with the rest of the demon horde just a hundred yards from the closing gate. He held off the charge allowing the humans to get their citizens to safety. Giving them reason to believe they would be safe.
Like all demons, Malanatohiel took pleasure on the suffering of humans. Death was inevitable and they took pleasure in dealing it as well, but suffering always came first. The human inside their protective walls feeling the safety of them would soon suffer.
As the gates crashed closed Malanatohiel held up his hand. The horde was anxious to begin the attack. When he dropped his hand, the horde moved forward. Sounds ranging from grunts to howls raged.
Commander Tau and his battalion weren't as fortunate as Olam when they reached the city. As soon as the troops arrived, the demon horde was at their door step.
With no time to set up a defense he was forced to improvise. He had rushed his men through the city's gate creating a human wall. Tau's battalion kept the first wave of demons at bay destroying each one in the first advance, but it came at a price. Once the dust settled the commander lost over a quarter of his force.
Tau silently cursed himself. He had hoped before their arrival to return home alive, but after seeing the numbers of the horde he began to lose certainty. He was glad he decided to say goodbye to his wife and children before leaving Memphis.
"Quickly!" he yelled. "Back behind the walls. Seal the gate."
Vectivus was preparing to lead the next assault on the city. He would take pleasure in the taking of the human's lives.
Spare no lives in the assault. There will be other humans to enslave. Here we will set an example to the rest of the pathetic world when this pathetic excuse of an empire falls beneath our feet!
Vectivus pointed his sword in the direction of the city and roars of excitement filled the air as the next wave precipitated toward the city.
Commander Suoi had plenty of time to mount a suitable defense before the demon horde appeared over the horizon. The size of the force looked formidable but Suoi's concerns were masked by the illusion he'd drive the force back. Managing to acquire two battalions, he felt secure.
"Commander, shall we begin the exodus of the city?" Suoi's next in command asked.
"Why?" Suoi asked incredulously
"Is it not our orders to do so sir?"
"It may well be, but we are not going to do so," Suoi replied firmly.
"General Khaldun will not like us defying his orders," the man protested feeling awkward at speaking against his superior.
"There are times when you follow orders and times when you have to make changes while in the field."
"I still don't agree sir," the man protested vehemently.
"You don't have to, but you will follow my orders. When we have pushed back these foul creatures and saved the lives of Xios' citizens without forfeit of the city, then you and all will praise me." Suoi looked out to the horde gathering outside the cities gates. He wore his pride like it was armor, clearly confident in his own abilities as well as his men's.
"Very well sir," the man said as he bowed.
"And Thabit," Suoi said after the man already turned to leave.
"Sir," he said spinning back around.
"Don't defy my orders or I will personally deliver you to the enemy," he said with full conviction.
Amnischnell paced the front lines of the creatures anticipating the attack on the city. He held off attacking as soon as the horde arrived within view of it. The wait began to take its toll on the creatures. For every minute that passed the creatures grew more and more heavily impatient and hungry for human blood.
Amnischnell's plan was to wait until the lust became insatiable then he would let the horde feast. Patience wasn't really a concept for most denizens of Hades but for most demons it was a fact of life. Since the beginning they have tried to take control over the world and humanity and every time they have been stopped.
Impatience still had its place in the world though. When an impatient army seeking the blood of man was forced to hold back, it created a ferocity putting each individual into a berserker rage.
These weak humans will be no match for us. Soon you will feast on their blood. He pointed toward the town drawing the horde's attention to it briefly. Prove yourselves to me and soon you will have more flesh to shred. More than enough to satisfy your hunger!
He knew there was no limit to the hunger for power or the spilling of human blood, but it made a good tactic to focus the mindless creatures. He held some sway over the mass, but ultimately only a Demon Lord could control an entire army.
Commander Anhur we have no chance to survive!" Badru yelled as he stumbled up the stairs.
Anhur standing at the top of the tallest tower in the city simply looked down empathically. His soldiers were brave at heart but beneath all the bravery of a man he knew fear was there. No matter how much one wanted to believe that he didn't fear, it was still there. "We have no choice in the matter," he said simply.
Badru managed to regain his balance and looked up at the other man with confusion set in his own features. "We are to condemn ourselves to a fate we do not invite?"
Anhur laughed then stopped sharply as Badru looked more confused than before. "We choose our fate and not the gods or anyone else. We are simply faced with the choice to survive or fall and in the end it is a matter of what you are willing to do to follow the path you want to take."
"How are we to face an attack from two fronts with only the few men we have?" Badru inquired. He had never seen battle in his entire military career and being his first his fear had a firm grip on him.
"As best as we can," Anhur remarked in a dismissive manner. "Split our force into two to face both attacks from the north and east. I want a handful of men to aid the citizens in retreating to the southeast where we shall meet up with General Khaldun. If need be destroy a section of wall to get the people out faster."
"Don't we want to leave the city intact as much as possible?"
Anhur laughed again at the question. "You have much to learn Badru and I only hope you live long enough to do so." He looked away in the direction of the two advancing armies briefly before turning his attention back. "The city can always be rebuilt and will need to be once these things pillage it. Now get my orders out so we will be ready when the attack begins."