The Children of Eris
Located in the far south-east of the Holy Empire of Themis, the trade city of Black Port was home to more than one hundred thousand people and saw constant trade between the empire and the other nations of the world.
Out of the five cities in the empire, Black Port was one of only two port cities which made it invaluable for the empire to trade with the rest of Aangapea.
Because of its value, there were five thousand members of its city watch and three thousand legionnaires from the Holy Legion stationed at the city, though the latter were permanently docked in their war ships, ready to protect the city from pirates.
In the early hours of the morning, as the city of Black Port slept, the undead horde ran towards them under the cover of darkness.
With very little light beyond the walls of the city, the exhausted sentries on the walls couldn’t see very far and were on the brink of falling asleep.
Until they heard the rumbling of thirty thousand skeletons.
“You hear that?” Captain Olaf asked one of his men.
“Yeah. What is it?”
“No idea, but best not to take any chances. Sound the alarm, seal the gates.”
“Sound the alarm! Seal the gates!”
Several more men repeated that order and, while confused, did as ordered.
The bells above the gates rang out and, in response, so did several others along the walls and so did the one behind them in the city square.
“Seal the gates, quickly!” A sergeant yelled at his men as they struggled to push the heavy wooden gates closed.
The rest of the guards in the barracks were wide awake now, some half-dressed and others only brought their weapons. The defenders of Black Port scrambled onto the walls and shivered when they saw what was approaching them.
Thirty thousand running, growling and screaming skeletons, flesh hanging from their jaws and fingers, and the twenty liches hovering above them besieged the city.
“Archers, volley!” Olaf ordered.
A volley was loosed but three of the liches created a magical barrier over the skeletons, blocking the arrows and knocking them onto the dirt.
“Volley!” Olaf ordered once more before an arrow soared into the man standing beside him. “Fire at will, men! Fire at will!”
The archers did so as the skeletons launched arrows back at them but, unlike the men of Black Port, the skeleton’s archers were able to pass through the liches’ barriers and hit their marks. Then, as the horde got within twenty metres of the gate, two of the liches conjured fireballs in their palms and thrust them towards the gates.
In a massive explosion of fire and power, the gates shook and cracked, creating a gap just large enough for a man to squeeze through.
Then, each lich launched another fireball, breaking the gates open even more.
Now, the gap was large enough for five men to fit through at once.
“Brace the gate!” Olaf cried.
The sergeant barked the order to his men and they quickly went to work forming a shield wall in the gateway with a line of spearmen behind them.
The undead charged through the breach and smashed into the shield wall, many of them breaking upon impact, but the force of their sacrifice was enough to create gaps in the line big enough for their companions to reach through and stab at the defenders with their razor-sharp fingers.
When one gap formed, another did quickly afterwards.
Soon, the formation had collapsed and the skeletons pushed further into the city, engaging the defenders in brutal combat.
“Hold them back!” The sergeant roared as he cut down two skeletons at once. “Hold them!”
Captain Olaf watched on in horror from above as the skeletons began to swarm further into Black Port and as more of his men fell in defence of the city.
“…We can’t hold them,” he muttered. With a heavy heart, Olaf turned to his men and said, “Signal the evacuation. Tell everyone you can to flee. The city is lost.”
“I’ll buy you some time. Just.” He smiled pitifully and drew his sword. “Just save as many people as you can. This is your final order from your captain.”
Olaf, not waiting for his men's response, leapt down the stairs into the fray.
The archers on the wall did as he commanded.
They dropped their bows and ran along the walls, screaming at the residents as loudly as they could to evacuate the city and to spread the word that the city was lost.
The sleepy residents of Black Port quickly awoke and, after hearing the bells, the soldier’s shouts and the sounds of battle, began to panic and run.
Some rushed to the gates, others took their valuables from their homes, but most ran towards the only way out of the city that had a real chance of success: the docks.