Chapter 84:

The Battle of Themis (Part 1)

The Children of Eris

As the sun rose of the city of Themis, the defenders could see the vast undead horde slowly marching towards them.Bookmark here

Under Prince Julius’s command, Themis had two weeks of hard preparation put into its defences.Bookmark here

The walls were manned by archers, mages and paladins; the ballistae and catapults in the ramparts were loaded and ready to fire. The Holy Legion were on the streets in tight formations.Bookmark here

There was a deep, ten-metre wide moat surrounding the city; there were a series of two-metre deep trenches, each equally spaced apart, spreading out before the city with thin wooden bridges as the only safe way across. Bookmark here

The defenders of Themis were outnumbered, but they had strong defences and most of the undead horde weren’t very powerful.Bookmark here

Once Karak-Harth’s army reached the first of the seven trenches, they stopped.Bookmark here

Thirteen figures floated forwards.Bookmark here

When Karak-Harth saw the city’s defences, he scoffed. “Pathetic, minor distractions.”Bookmark here

He raised his staff up and the ground began to shake. Bookmark here

Dirt rose up from the bottom of the trenches until they were completely filled in, rendering them useless.Bookmark here

Karak-Harth laughed. “Don’t disappoint me now, blood of Themis.”Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

“That’s disappointing,” Julius muttered with a frustrated smile; the undead had already started to charge forwards. “Fire a volley.”Bookmark here

“At once, sire,” General Pontus answered. “Volley!”Bookmark here

The command was echoed from officer to officer as thousands of arrows, hundreds of bolts of magic and dozens of artillery rounds launched at the undead.Bookmark here

Each arrow that found its mark destroyed its target.Bookmark here

Each bolt shattered the bones into a million pieces.Bookmark here

Each shot from the artillery blasted scores of the undead away and their fires set alight the pitch in the grassy fields. Bookmark here

Even as the fire raged and burned them to dust, the undead didn’t stop running forwards.Bookmark here

It’s not enough. Julius’s fingers dug into the battlements. If the trenches hadn’t been filled in, we’d have easily been able to kill tens of thousands of undead.Bookmark here

At this rate, we might not even get a fraction of those numbers.Bookmark here

“Fire at will.”Bookmark here

“Fire at will!”Bookmark here

All of the fields were burning brightly with an orange flame, but still the undead drew ever nearer to the gates.Bookmark here

Once they were in range, the skeleton archers shot up at the walls, killing and wounding the defenders a little at a time.Bookmark here

“Don’t let up!” Julius bellowed as an arrow soared past his face. “Every time you destroy one of them, you save another life behind you!”Bookmark here

Julius’s soldiers cheered even as two of them were pierced by arrows.Bookmark here

“Your highness, you should head down and be ready for when they breach,” General Pontus advised.Bookmark here

“I trust you won’t let me down, Pontus,” Julius said with a small smile.Bookmark here

General Pontus grinned. “Never will, sire.”Bookmark here

“Then, I’ll leave this to you. Just be ready to drop the portcullis the moment-”Bookmark here

“Julius.” General Pontus put his hand on the prince’s shoulder. “I will.”Bookmark here

Julius nodded. “Stay safe, Pontus.”Bookmark here

“You too, Julius.”Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

Karak-Harth flew above the burning fields and slowly turned his staff towards them.Bookmark here

The flames that had roared so fiercely stopped.Bookmark here

With his free hand, Karak-Harth twisted his fingers into a claw and began dragging the fire towards him, condensing its power into a ball the size of his palm.Bookmark here

The fields below were left a scorched, black char littered with dust and bones.Bookmark here

Karak-Harth smiled maliciously as he slowly turned towards the city. Then, once he could see those on the walls staring at him in horror, Karak-Harth launched it towards Themis.Bookmark here

It flew with incredible speed into the stone walls.Bookmark here

The full might of the fire outside Themis was unleashed in a single instant.Bookmark here

A gigantic part of the walls and gates were destroyed.Bookmark here

Hundreds of those on the walls flew through the air, burning, before they slammed dead inside the city. Massive chunks of the wall burst into the city, crushing many people and buildings. The fire spread to the buildings inside the city, setting them ablaze.Bookmark here

The Holy Legion behind the walls had been blasted onto their backs from the shockwaves of the explosion.Bookmark here

Karak-Harth turned towards the Heavens and threw his arms out to the side. “Are you watching, Themis?! Watch as your city burns!”Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

The death knights and bone golems were the first into the city.Bookmark here

On their mighty steeds, the death knights charged into the destroyed lines of the Holy Legion, cutting them down in twos or threes at a time. Bookmark here

The bone golems stumbled into the city and swung their mightily limbs around carelessly, killing several people at a time. Bookmark here

The lesser undead easily swarmed in, no longer impeded by the walls or the Holy Legion, and an intense, brutal battle started on the streets.Bookmark here

Much to Karak-Harth’s surprise though, Prince Julius, carrying the flag of the Holy Empire in one hand and his sword in the other, rallied the soldiers around him. Together, they soon resumed their formations and the undead’s advance was halted.Bookmark here

Karak-Harth snapped his fingers and four liches flew off to another part of the city, taking with them a hundred thousand undead from the rear of the horde.Bookmark here

They were heading towards the lesser defended western gate.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

“My lords, we have multiple confirmed sightings of liches and other strong undead at the north-west gate!”Bookmark here

“How many?” Lawrence asked calmly.Bookmark here

“Hard to say, my lord. More than a dozen, at least.”Bookmark here

“Alright, leave that to us,” Dante said. “Kella, get the adventurers together and head that way.”Bookmark here

“What about you?” Kella asked.Bookmark here

Dante smiled. “I’m going ahead.”Bookmark here

Using his arts he’d learned from the Monster Hunters, Dante propelled his body high into the air, then forwards towards the gates.Bookmark here

“I really hope he’s as strong as the stories say,” Kella mumbled, following after him on foot. Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

“The walls have already been breached, sir! Surely we need to help them?”Bookmark here

“No. We have our orders from Prince Julius and I am not going to disobey them.”Bookmark here

“But sir-!”Bookmark here

“Undead approaching!”Bookmark here

The captain and his men looked over the battlements and saw the hundred thousand undead Karak-Harth had sent their way. Bookmark here

“Fire at-!”Bookmark here

Seventeen fireballs smashed into the walls, blowing dozens of men, including the captain, off the walls.Bookmark here

The liches continued their barrage as Karak-Harth joined them.Bookmark here

“Break the gates!”Bookmark here

With inhuman groaning, five bone golems sprinted towards the tall western gates, smashing into it with their shoulders, denting the wood.Bookmark here

Then, they threw punch after heavy punch at the gates, slowly breaking small pieces off the gates until they could rip large chunks clean off.Bookmark here

Once they had, the undead charged through, but the surviving guards dropped the portcullis on top of the bone golems, skewering and destroyed them.Bookmark here

The four liches flew down to the portcullis, placed their palms on the metal and began generating heat from their hands.Bookmark here

Within a minute, the portcullis had melted away and the attack resumed.Bookmark here

Karak-Harth watched on happily as the undead spread out onto the streets and some moved to outflank Prince Julius’s forces.Bookmark here

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Now then. His eyes turned to the centre of the city. It’s time I claimed my prize.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.