Tales of General TanCred; Siege of Gelder (Part II)
The Siege upon the Walls
"Now bare with me, for one of my favorite parts of these tellings are the accounts from those who saw the event too. For instance, this piece of story gold is from a soldier camped outside of Gelder. 'The winter morning held very little warmth, the only source to be found were the firepits, the bedrolls and those in them, and what little sunshine poked through the cloud cover.' he continues," Recounted the Storyteller, reading from the parchment salvage from the decay of time. "He wrote, 'the ground is frozen solid and sleep comes to few. The walls of Gelder rise up out of the forest tree tops, upon a hill surrounded by mountains and forests. The walls are a slick gray stone, thick as boulders. The patrols have doubled since we arrive a week past and many of the Fraunki men have been sleeping for days. The fighting to get up here has taken its toll... The air remains frozen, not sure if the air or the ground is colder. Feels like one is dead already.' (Soldiers account, Year 74 Third Age)"
The storyteller took a long pull from his pipe and took a few sips of ale, getting set to regale this epic tale.
"The day of the siege started out as any other day for an army on the march, TanCred's forces had set up temporary defenses to keep the Saxenmark night parties at bay. They found on a few traps, some of the rats coming out to spy on the encampment. A Captain sat across the boiling pot of soup, lit his pipe, despite the frosty bite in the air. In exhaling slowly, the smoke twisted about the image of the Saxenmark castle walls. It loomed ominously in the forefront of the surrounding forests. It stood proudly, 'click, tink tink tink tink... whoosh!' A sudden rush of sound caught the captain off guard, but all came clear with when a giant boulder smashed into one of the fortifications guard towers. 'To arms, men! It is time for action! For glory, for honor, and country!' cried out progressively more and more men, rallying to their commanders call. TanCred could be heard above all else, it traveled over the land with reverberance, "Today, my brothers and sisters! Today, we become immortalized in the history books, Today we become IMMORTAL!' His voice boomed over the battlefield."
Again the old man paused, everyone in the hall was silent, enthralled by the start of such an epic battle. "Again I have some parchment from that day, this one comes from atop the wall as the first boulders flew and the siege weapons were being moved into place. The Saxenmark Archer wrote, 'All looked hopeful when we took the rams down, but as the battle commenced the ladders were swift enough to get under our guard. As the enemy forces traversed the wall, some of our men fell from the heights to the streets below and you could here those men as they cried in pain until suddenly silent. They are attacking the gate towers and we are running low on arrows. The walls have become slick with blood and our defenses on top have been built with the bodies of those slain in the first waves. The sight is horrific, for some still alive wail from within the piles, and the smell of burnt flesh is pungent. The bodies, so many dead, so many dead....' The parchment is burnt at the bottom," The storyteller took the time to show everyone what he meant, as the obvious burns to the bottom of the paper could be seen clearly.
"As the siege weapons took hits and delivered men atop the walls," another smoke bomb in the main hearth gave the room a red bloody climate, "and those men fought to clear the gate from defenders. TanCred prepared the generals and cavalry for the final assault. It was a simple plan, as the gate opened the entirety of the cavalry would charge in and cleanse the city, the Generals would focus on capturing important figures of the city, and the majority of the force would control the center square where all commerce and politics took place. It would be hours before the gates would open.
Boulder flew through the air, loud explosive smashing filled the ears of all as rock smashed against stone. The fighting on the walls was slow, painstaking, and costly. Upon the walls, hundreds died to capture the tower. Surely as planned, the levy spearmen got up the ladders and provided a shield wall for the archers and spear throwers. This, after hours and hundreds of warriors deaths, the attacking forces of TanCred and the Fraunki army caught the defenders holding out inside the gate house. 'Torch the gatehouse!' came the clear confident bellow from TanCred. Using the body built defenses to seal the gatehouse doors, the Fraunki army set fire to the gatehouse. The Saxenmark men inside were trapped and burnt alive. The fire in total took 2 hours to free the bridge, archers for the Fraunki stood upon the wall are rained arrows on defenders attempting to retake the gates, it took one hour for the screaming to stop."
There was a serious hush in the hall, even the king looked a bit pale. The true feeling of war had hit the audience, they felt but a taste of the horror. The storyteller threw a gold crackling substance on the fire, giving the room some honorific vibes. The colors mixed and the feeling of bravery and courage filled the audience as the storyteller brought TanCred back into the tale. He swept his cloak about the main hearth bringing it back to full flame, "Please refill the drink! TanCred's ride comes next!"