The final countdown reached a little more than two days. After that, however, they had managed to dig 7 different tunnels, spread on the entire stone wall. The cave is neither small or large I think. One kilometer in length and 200 meters in width. Meaning that on the 200 meters distance, seven new entrances will appear. Of course, during all that time, my wraiths were not idle. I order them to target the small ratmen digging, not the armored ones. Why? Because I don't have a lot of wraiths, and if I just lose one, it will be a big loss. That barely slow down the ratmen, since, after that, countless sorcerers are protecting the tunnels. And I can't risk the life or undead life of my wraiths.
Thanks to my spirits and some zombies that I put right in the predicted exits of the ratmen, the dwarves have managed to build some small surprises for our incoming guests. Nothing too big in just two days, but 5000 dwarves have all worked very hard on those projects. I managed to speak a little with both Dustag and Fortuil, the engineers in charge. They think that with my help, we can probably destroy this army. But they are not very relaxed about the future.
A lot of things can go wrong, beginning with the increase of ratmen spies. In those two days, at least five of them were found and killed. I scanned the entire cave because of this, and we managed to resolve that mystery. In the top of the cave, there is a very small hole, that allowed the assassins to roam between their army and our army. I have put a wraith in front of it, but the damage is already done. They have full knowledge about the composition of our forces, their general location, and my presence. Meaning that getting the full effect of my [Blood Touch] will be very hard.
I talked with Bori about that, and I informed him about the news that I learn from Thongril. The western part of the Heart of the Mountain is besieged, as the southern part is. Like us, another fortress in the Gold Summit, a little farther to the East, is currently fighting the ratmen. But the number of vermin is really low, barely 50 000. I have a spirit constantly looking for the battle on that side because if they lose their fortress, it opens a direct passage to our position. Meaning that we will need to retreat to the last fort before the Heart of the Mountain. Unfortunately, I fear that if this really happens, a lot of the dwarves won't be able to escape before the ratmen take control of the tunnel.
Even Bori is not happy with this. While fighting, and potentially dying, against the ratmen is an honor for him and his warriors, it is only because of the damages that they can inflict. If they have to fight a battle where the death toll of the ratmen is too low, they won't be very happy about it. Of course, even if that dire situation happens, they can still destroy the tunnel, preventing the opening of another front. But, that will only delay the inevitable, and they can't defend against an army coming from the inside of their bastion.
(They have finally managed to reach this cave. And the miners are retreating, I don't like this. I think that at first, they will send their infected slaves toward you, destroying any possibilities that you can recover your expended mana. Let me check that, yes, their sorcerers are giving some weird vials to some ratmen. Ok, just kill them with your zombies and prevent the spreading of this.)
I can see the dwarves standing on the second wall, a few hundred meters away from the tunnels. That should be a sufficient distance, to not be infected by the blood disease. At this distance, however, and with the increased number of tunnels, my zombie can't really contain the ratmen. We will have to let them come to the second wall, and only there, have my zombies fight. In those past days, the hundred have become thousands, and even now, more and more are joining the mass in front of the second wall.
-GLONI! THEY ARE INFECTED! DON'T LET THEM COME!
I shout this information to the lieutenant in charge, warning the dwarves to not let the slaves approach. It will be a little wasteful on the ammunition, but it's better than having the 1000 dwarves get infected and forcing them to use their potions. Apparently, we have enough to cure the entire garrison for three days of fighting. God bless the preparation made by those dwarves, they really thought about everything. Well, except a ghost ratman, but, even I didn't expect it. Nobody expects the Manifestation of Death, my greatest weapons are fear and surprise, surprise and fear. And an army of undead of course.
The first clash of the ratmen and the bolts from the dwarves end up quickly. After that, I try to absorb the blood and like in Ronta, I miserably fail to gain anything. The barely hundreds of slaves are dead even before reaching my zombies. I quickly order them to pick up all the corpse and put them in a pile in front of me. There, I use my acid to melt all those infected bodies, if they had another plague or disease, it is destroyed.
After that, for a few minutes, I see no movements from the tunnels. I guess they are waiting for their evil plan to work and weaken the dwarf warriors. Every crossbow is aimed at the tunnels, the rifles are armed and ready and even two cannons are mounted on that second wall. Their targets are the terrible rat ogres since only a shot of that weapon is capable of killing them. As for the rest of the cannons and catapults, they are aiming at different locations, without a true target. They will destroy the important part of the ratmen army, like a machine gun or a sorcerer. Something that would be protected against crossbows and rifles because of the sea of ratmen surrounding it.
(Ok, you have seven rat ogres ready to march on your position. And I see more and more coming. But, for now, the tunnel two from the left and three from the right. Ask the cannons to aim at those. The rest is just torrents of ratmen rushing toward you. I see nothing special about them, just some normal ratmen, not slaves. Ah, never mind, some slaves infected are still in the middle of the sea.)
I transmit the instructions to the understanding Gloni that immediately move the two cannons. After that, he warns the warriors surrounding him that it will be the beginning of the fight. No long speech, just some small additional orders. After that, I can see the concentration of the face of every dwarf. Since I am still currently floating in the middle of nowhere, I reach the ceiling of the middle tunnel and wait there. They won't expect me to do a surprise attack from that side. And even if I can't do it permanently, I can still maintain my domain for nearly 4 minutes.
The first vermin are leaving the dark holes on the surface of the stone wall. They walk for dozens of meters, before falling under the rain of projectiles created by the dwarves. The two rat ogres are leaving their designated tunnels, only to be instantly killed by the cannons. Their death provokes a reaction from the nearby ratmen, and some are trying to retreat. But the rest is still pushing forward, and soon, the cowards are getting stomped by their own kin.
My zombies are finally fighting the enemy, and for the time being, they are winning. Some ratmen are climbing the natural stone walls nearby the dwarves, but the scythes of my wraiths are making them forget it. I only have two at my disposition, but they are scary enough to force the enemy army to the ground. Number one is still protecting Bori, and number three is located in front of the hole. Even in the heat of the battle, some assassins are still trying to pass through that hole in the ceiling. The only thing they met is the personification of death itself.
But the battle is going nicely, for now, I can already see thousands of bodies laying on the ground. I only lost some zombies, just a handful and the barrage of bolts and bullets prevents the accumulation of ratmen in one location. As for the flanks, some dwarves still had to drop their weapons and fight the ratmen that bypassed my wraiths. The catapults in the back are constantly throwing huge boulders, killing countless ratmen. The cannons, however, are still waiting for the deadly weaponry of the ratmen to appears. They are far more precise than the catapults, but the number of cannonballs is lower. They can't just waste a few shots on some useless slaves.
After nearly 30 minutes of battles, and seeing the amount of blood spilled, I decide to move a little. I activate my domain and float through the battlefield, killing all the reinforcements from that tunnel. After that, I move to the left, and then to the right. A huge number of corpses are now present in all the tunnels, blocking the way for a short time. But that brief window allows the dwarves to drink a bit, rest, and reload all the weapons. Even with all those dead, the minute where I activated my domain is not entirely covered by the poisoned blood.
(They are retreating, you won this battle. But that was just 10000 ratmen, you still have more to fight.)
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