-SECOND LINE! FIRE!
Dozens of rifles were delivering their deadly projectile, right after that sentence was pronounced. This garrison was located right outside the entrance to the Deep Mountain, one of the two fallen mountains of the dwarves. Previously the deepest mine that could be found inside the Grey Mountain Kingdom, now the lair of the ratmen. It was thanks to the former Iron Beard, Lansco, that the engineers of the Deep Mountain managed to find the trail of the Green Claw. The battle between the dwarf and the ratman managed to break one of his tools, provoking a distortion in the mana. Numerous scientists were called, and after examining those distortions, they managed to found the entrance to the city of the ratmen.
Of course, they were smarter and more discreet than that. They managed to fool the ratmen, by discovering one of their old weapons inside some broken buildings. This discovery was fake, but it allowed the dwarves to run some additional tests, proving beyond doubt the presence of the ratmen behind a pile of rocks. By doing this, the dwarf kingdom called their old allies, the humans from the holy kingdom and the elves from the forest. However, those pointy ears never showed up, and it is only the coalition between the dwarves and the humans that marched toward the underground threat.
At first, the alliance was winning, and the preparations from the dwarves were sufficient. Between the power of the goddess Aria and the intelligence of the engineers from the Deep Mountain, they managed to pierce a hole in the wall, and unleash their hate on the ratmen. Both the humans and the dwarves were fighting side by side, and the holy priests and archbishops were strong enough to neutralize any deadly poisons or diseases. Until one day.
No one truly understood what happened. But, the previously full of vigor and brave knights were having a hard trouble maintaining the line. The heal and cure from the men of the Church were not strong enough, and more and more victims were seen in the rank of the alliance. While, the ratmen kept throwing slave after slave, with sometimes the Red Guard of the Council making its appearance. The strongest ratmen, the best warriors, launching a surprise attack on some weak points, hoping to breach the line.
And while their weapons and terrible monsters were suppressed by the numerous siege weapons brought by the dwarves, they didn't bring enough ammunition to deal with the sea of vermin. Meaning that they had to let those ratmen warriors do whatever they wanted, and only hoped that the knights and dwarf warriors were strong enough. As for the threat of the assassins, the ratmen were truly taken by surprise. They knew that the human army was coming, but didn't expect the exact location of the passage to be known. And the various crossbows, rifles, and magicians were preventing anything from leaving the hole pierced. The battlefield was constantly in the light, not letting any shadows move.
But as the hours of battle kept flowing, the men were weaker and weaker. Now, three archbishops were needed to do the job of only one the previous day. The shiny light on the armored knights was now dim, only the embers of the previous flame. But, no one, in the side of the dwarves or the humans, understood what was happening. No potions, spells, cures, or purifications was enough to get rid of that insidious curse.
And what should have happened, finally arrived. One weak point, and the Red Guard attacking where it hurts. The line was broken, and shortly after, the previously contained sea of ratmen spread on the entire battlefield. Hopefully, the dwarves and the humans have already thought about the worst case, where they would have been defeated. During all the days of battle, the miners were constructing a safe passage, to prevent the flanks of the retreating army from being attacked.
The bad thing was the direction, the human army won't be able to escape toward the holy kingdom. They will have to fight with the dwarves until the end and join the dwarves to their fortress. Because now, the ratmen will attack once more, and the old oath for the survival of this world will have to been made once again.
The army of the humans and dwarves reached the fortress nearby without too many casualties. As for the siege weapons left behind that could be used by the ratmen? Three big explosions could have been heard shortly before their arrival. Now, only three tunnels that are leaving the Deep Mountain were not sealed, and all are guarded by fortress like that. Unfortunately, the garrison is not strong enough to survive the waves of ratmen, and even the walls are too weak. The army had to reach the Heart of the Mountain, where the huge walls of the capital will block everything. They had to warn everyone too, order a complete evacuation from all the external outposts. Because they failed.
As for the commander of that fortress, located the closest of the ratmen, he already knew his fate. After the passage of the army, he could already see the countless red eyes in the dark watching him and his men. The army had left the heaviest weapons, that would have slowed them too much. With that, the commander will be able to inflict more damage to those vermin. He could see all the brave dwarves at his side, knowing what will happen to them. They were here to prevent those rotten creatures to reach the capital before the humans and the other dwarves. They were here, to block anything that wanted to enter the tunnel located in the middle of the fortress.
Since they are underground, the construction of all those fortresses was designed specifically to counter any moves from the ratmen. For example, there is a roof above the head of the commander, and the shape of the building is like a cube. The dwarf-made walls are stuck to the natural walls of the cave. Only hundreds of small windows are pierced, to allow the dwarves to fire at will on their deadly enemy. Only the front door and the tunnel, they are the only two exits possible. And, there are enough explosives to destroy the fortress, in case the commander and all the dwarves have failed in their missions.
Seeing the battle that will start in a few seconds, the commander quickly put everyone in formation, next to the windows. He could only see some slaves or normal ratmen, nothing else. But he knew that the assassins are already here, just not making a move because of the design of the fortress. He watched all his brave warriors, one last time before all will end.
-FIRST LINE! AIM!
The ratmen were still too far, but that way, the dwarves will be ready. Only when the first slaves were seen clearly thanks to the light coming from the torches on the wall of the fortress, the commander shouted.
Dozens of projectiles, piercing the flesh of the vermin in front of them. But the sea was still coming after them, wanting nothing else but to eat the flesh of a dwarf.
-SECOND LINE! FIRE!
The dwarves didn't even need to aim, since no matter where they shot, they will hit something. From the two sides of the fortress, countless ratmen were climbing on it, trying to enter by the small windows. The only thing that they received was an axe in the face.
-SECOND LINE! DROP YOUR RIFLES! GIVE THEM A TRUE FIGHT!
The first line was still not finished with their reloading, and they need the threat of their rifles for what is coming next. In the meantime, the dwarves from the second line were hacking and slashing all the ratmen in their range. Arms and legs were sent flying from both sides of the windows. The commander knew that they couldn't break the door with just what they currently had. They needed something else.
That was what the commander expected. The terrible rat ogres, with the size of three adult dwarves. Without one of them, the sturdy door won't break.
-SECOND LINE! PUSH! FIRST LINE! KILL IT!
All his warriors worked perfectly, to give an opportunity to his riflemen to shoot the terrible monster. However, the sea of ratmen was too big, and only a few shots landed on the rat ogre. If he was now injured, he was not dead, and ready to destroy the door.
TOMP TOMP CLANK
-MAKLUM! THE TUNNEL! TORPEDOES! FIRE!
The commander ordered the engineer in charge to quickly destroy the tunnel, as for the rest of them, they already had jumped from the ramparts, to defend the only exit. Some that were manipulating the torpedoes created to deal with monsters quickly executed the first rat ogre. All the rest of the dwarves were carrying an axe and a shield and were fighting the ratmen. Those that were facing the following rat ogres could do nothing but be sent flying. The little less than one hundred dwarves were all dying one by one. Even the commander, with his two-handed hammer, was heavily injured. He managed to break the knee of a rat ogre, but he was injured after that by an assassin. Retreating to the tunnel, he found his engineer dead, with the lighter in his hand. Following that, he felt a dagger pierced his armor and nearly taking his life. But, in one last try, he jumped toward the corpse of his friend and grabbed the lighter.
-FOR MAKAN! FOR MELDUN!
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