Alcingeria Volume Two Chapter Nineteen: The Conflict At Semera Part One

Alcingeria Volume Two Chapter Nineteen: The Conflict At Semera Part One

A Chapter by Ryan Henderson
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The vampires had an ace up their sleeve; the IG-90.

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Chapter Nineteen The Conflict At Semera Part One:

Saturday July 24th 1690

We looked around Stavon to see if we could find any of the officers’ horses. Sadly, they had all been killed in the attacks. Dead soldiers lay everywhere. None were gasping, taking in their last breaths, groaning, none of that. They had all been killed quickly. As saddening as it all was, that thought made me feel better. Since they were all dad, none would be coming back as vampires, so we didn’t need to fear an attack from behind. At last, we set out.

It was pitch black, and we didn’t know exactly where we were going. We were following Erin, who was presumably using a mental map to find her way.

 

***

 

I didn’t know how much time had passed when we finally came within sight of the Kestrel River. To our left some ways away, we saw the inevitable; the IG-90. It hadn’t yet reached the walls of Semera, but it certainly would shortly. We quickly made our way to Semera’s Southern gate. We explained we were part of the strike force coming from Stavon, and they let us through quickly. They were definitely on edge.

            “We have to find Allan and organize Semera’s defenses!” Robert told us.

            “Where is he?” I asked.

            “We haven’t heard from him since that thing appeared at Stavon!” Don shouted as we ran.

We decided to make our way to Allan’s quarters. Much to our relief, he was sitting at a table pouring over a map, surrounded by officers. They all looked to see who had barged in.

            “Who the devil!?” One of the officers shouted.

            “Calm down, Horrace. These people can be trusted.” Allan assured them.

            “I’m glad to see you alive.” Robert told him.

            “The same can be said for you all.” Allan replied.

            “This is no time to exchange pleasantries! We have to find a way to kill this thing!” the man named Horrace exclaimed.

            “You’re right. It will be here very shortly. Does anyone have any ideas?” Allan asked.

No one spoke, we all drew a blank.

            “Anyone?” Horrace asked.

            “Well, aside from cannons, I don’t think anything will scathe it.” Allan said.

            Just then, someone barged through the door. It was a soldier.

            “Captain Drei sir! The machine is approaching from the West! What are your orders?” He asked.

Allan turned to face the soldier.

            “Close the gates, ready all cannons and set up a defence garrison within the Western wall. If that gate fails, we can’t be breached. Understood?” He asked.

            “Yes, sir!” The soldier shouted as he took off running in the other direction.

            “Do the rest of the guardsmen know what they’re about to face?” Horrace asked.

Allan stared at the table, blinked a few times and looked the officer in the eye.

            “If this plan works, they won’t have to.” He said.

            “But… Sir!” Horrace objected in surprise.

            “I don’t want to start a fire I can’t put out, Horrace! If word got out about the existence of vampires, chaos would ensue! The people would be engulfed by fear!” Allan yelled, standing up.

            “If your plan doesn’t work, you’re sending these men, and these civilians to their deaths! Do you understand that!? You’re pinning the lives of everyone in this city on a couple of cannons, Allan!” Horrace screamed.

            “I am your superior! Don’t oppose my authority! I knew what I signed up for when I became captain! I know how dangerous this situation is! I know how scared everyone is! As captain of Semera’s guard, it’s my sworn duty to defend Semera and her people against enemy attacks! Those cannons are the best we have, and I’ll be damned if I can’t make it work!” Allan exploded.

Horrace stopped arguing for a second, he appeared to calm down. Allan had gotten through to him.

            “You’re right, I shouldn’t have questioned your decision. I’ll stand by it and I swear to god I’ll fight until the last man stands!” He shouted with new motivation.

This earned a collective war cry from everyone in the room.

            “They may have Stavon, they may have Dunford, but tonight, we push them back! We’ll show them the power of the human race!” Allan yelled, thrusting a fist into the air.

We all shouted and whooped, thrusting our fists to the heavens. It was truly a glorious moment.

And then came the explosion.

Nothing dramatic happened, nothing shook, nothing fell, but we all knew what that explosion meant; the IG-90 was here.

            “Horrace, you’re with me! Everyone else, find your sections!” Allan barked, snapping to action.

Everyone rushed out of the room.

            “What will you do?” Allan asked us.

            “We want to help in any way we can.” Stella said eagerly.

Allan nodded.

            “Good, I like it. In that case, come with us.” He said.

We all ran out of the compound and into the streets. Another explosion came, and people began screaming.

            “It’s coming from the Western gate.” Horrace told Allan.

I looked to see the aforementioned defence garrison behind the gate. Allan led us towards the wall. I heard a short barrage of cannon fire. I looked to see cannons in small rooms built into the wall. They were separated by a few meters each. I also saw that a few rooms were empty.

            “Go into one of the bunkers and take up a cannon. Do you all know how they work?” Allan asked.

            “Eh… Roughly.” Robert said.

            “Good, because there isn’t time to explain. Best of luck.” Allan replied as he ran off with Horrace.

We hurried into a vacant room. Robert loaded gun powder into the cannon and grabbed a pole. He ordered Stella and Erin to load a cannonball.

            “I think it would be more efficient to let Mac over there do the loadin’.” Walden said.

With that, Macalister stepped up and grabbed a cannon ball. He seemed to be struggling with the weight a little, but he managed to put it into the barrel. Robert stepped up with the pole and slid the ammunition in.

            “Okay, we have to aim the gun.” He said.

Even though the thing was on wheels, Macalister struggled to push the thing in line with our target; the IG-90. I was struck yet again by how big, and close, the thing was.

            “Now what?” I asked.

Robert grabbed a long string off of the ground that was attached to the gun.

            “Cover your ears.” He ordered.

We all obeyed. Robert covered his left ear and pulled the string.

KABOOM!

I felt the shockwave of the cannon go through me and I flinched. I watched in anticipation as our shot closed the distance between us and the IG-90.

It exploded, but seemed to only leave a small dent.

            “W-what!?” Robert shouted in fear.

            “How did it survive that shot?” Stella asked.

            “How did it survive the recent barrage?” Erin replied.

            “Quick, load another shot!” Robert ordered.

We worked together to ready a new shot. I loaded the gunpowder, Macalister loaded the shot and Robert fixed another string to the cannon that was most likely some sort of friction primer. We all covered our ears and Robert puled the string. The explosion ripped its way out of the gun’s barrel and sent the projectile flying at our colossal enemy.

To no avail.

            “That one bounced!” Robert cried.

By now the other cannons had reloaded and a second barrage begun. Some shots hit and exploded, others bounced. The IG-90 was for the most part unscathed. The cylinder atop the metal beast had its horizontal tube pointed at Semera’s Western gate. The thing crawled to a stop.

KABOOM!

The horizontal tube flashed and a huge explosion ripped through the air. The force caused the IG-90 to shake.

Milliseconds later, the shot they fire collided with the Western gate.

            “It’s a gun!” Walden screamed.

            “It would appear that way. I’d say that our objective now is clear.” Erin said.

            “We need to take that thing out before it destroys the gate. If that happens…” Robert trailed off.

            “It won’t. Hurry, get another shot in!” Don cried.

We went through the loading process again, it took around twenty or thirty seconds to get each shot ready. Robert pulled the primer. Our shot sailed through the air along with a few other shots from different cannons along the wall. Our shot hit and exploded!

The first two barrages must have been coordinated, but since they seemed to have no effect they must have been called off. Each person was now firing at their own intervals.

We got another shot loaded in, and fired. This shot hit the side of the thing on an angle, and bounced off. After a few other cannons fired on the thing, we loaded again. Robert pulled the primer. Our shot hit and bounced again.

KABOOM!

The IG-90’s gun fired off another round at the gate. After a few seconds, a few other cannons fired, followed by some others. Finally we loaded back up and fired our shot. It hit and exploded, but did minimal damage.

            “This is no use! We’re barely even scratching it!” I shouted, my ears ringing a bit.

Just then, I caught sight of the cylinder atop the IG-90 rotate away from the wall, and away from us.

            “It’s a turret, it can rotate!” Erin shouted in awe.

I saw it slowly rotate as it acquired a new target.

KABOOM!

The thing fired… And took out one of the other cannon bunkers down the line!

            “It’s going for the cannons!” Tabatha announced.

            “Keep hitting it!” Robert ordered.

We resumed our loading process, quicker than before. We shot around the same time as a few other cannons. Some of the shots exploded, some bounced. I saw the IG-90’s turret rotate to face the next cannon bunker. It was taking them out one by one, starting with the ones on its right. We were more down to its left. We got another few shots off on it before it fired once more.

KABOOM!

Another one of our cannons were knocked out.

We loaded up another shot and fired, it exploded on contact. We got another shot off on it, it bounced. Another, it bounced. A few more cannons fired on the metal beast. A flurry of explosions and ricochets ensued. The IG-90’s turret rotated to take aim at another cannon bunker.

KABOOM!

Its gun went off, and we lost another cannon.

            “We’re down three cannons already!” Tabatha cried.

            “We have to keep firing!” Robert persisted.

            “No, we need to get out of here before we’re buried alive, or blown to pieces, or both!” Stella argued.

            “That’s not sounding like a bad plan.” Erin agreed.

            “We can’t! If we leave, the other men will be another cannon short!” Robert yelled at her.

Stella recoiled in surprise.

            “Robert, have you lost your mind!? Look at that thing! Take a look!” Stella screamed at him.

He turned around to see it taking aim on another bunker.

            “Do you see any kind of crippling damage?” She asked.

            “No, but it’s our job to give it just that!” He shot back.

            “I’m with Robert. We can’t leave our post. Not when the other men need us!” Don agreed.

            “I am with you. I live with you, I die with you.” Macalister said with a grin, clapping Don and Robert on their shoulders.

The three of them looked to me. My heart was thundering in my chest. I looked around. I saw the three men I had been with since I was a teenager, and I saw the pleading faces of the girls. As scared as I was, I wasn’t about to let my friends die while I took an out. Not now, and not ever. I stepped forward.

            “I couldn’t have said it better myself Macalister.” I said.

The four of us let out a ‘hurrah!’

The girls sighed collectively. Tabatha turned to Don.

            “If you die, I won’t forgive you.” She said, pulling him into a kiss.

KABOOM!

The IG-90 had just taken out another one of our cannons. We were down four. We got another shot loaded in, fueled with new motivation. Robert pulled the string once again. Our shell hit and exploded, firing us up even more. While we were loading, a few more cannons fired, and then a few more. Our next shot exploded on contact with our metal adversary.

KABOOM!

Five.

We prepared another shot while a few other cannons fired. Our shot hit and exploded, same as the last two. Other cannons fired shortly after while we loaded. No one said anything. Tension was high, everyone was scared. We fired off our shot, it bounced. Other cannons took their shots. From what I could tell, the majority were explosions.

KABOOM!

The IG-90 had just wiped out our sixth cannon.

We got another shot ready, aimed and fired once more. More cannons fired at the thing as usual. I surveyed the damage on our opponent. It seemed that there were small dents here and there, but no major damage was sustained.

            “We’re barely even doing anything! This is pointless!” Stella cried.

            “We have to keep at it!” Robert told her.

            “And what happens when that thing finishes all the other cannons and comes for us? We won’t stand a chance!” She pleaded.

Robert pondered this as cannons fired in the background.

            “Okay, if things are looking bad, we’ll bail out.” He finally agreed.

No one had a problem with that plan.

KABOOM!

Seven.

 

***

Saturday July 24th 1690

 

We kept at it for what was like hours. One by one, our cannons were knocked out. Everyone’s morale diminished. We were down fifteen cannons.

            “By the sounds of it, we only have four or five left!” I cried, my ears ringing even more than before.

KABOOM!

            “Make that three or four!” Tabatha corrected.

We got a few more shots off on the thing, so did the other cannons.

KABOOM!

            “Okay, I’m calling it! This is pointless! Everyone bail out!” Robert shouted.

We spilled out of the cannon bunker. Thirty seconds later, another cannon was taken out.  We hurried to find Allan. It didn’t take long. He was standing behind the defence garrison with his sword drawn and held high.

            “Allan!” Stella cried.

He turned to face us, his face fell.

            “The thing is going to break through any minute now!” Robert said, dismayed.

Allan looked to the ground, his sword falling to his side. I could only guess what was going through his mind. Just then, his head snapped up.

            “Horrace, gather some men who were at Stavon and get them making stakes. Don’t bother fashioning them. Burst into homes, smash chairs, tables, anything! Just make sure the result is wooden and sharp.” He ordered.

            “Yes, sir!” The man saluted.

He gathered a few men in seconds and they ran off.

            “This is going to be close.” Allan said.

We stood helplessly as the rest of the cannon bunkers were destroyed. Thirty seconds after we saw the last one go down, there was another explosion. And another. They each came roughly thirty seconds apart. That must have been how long it takes to load the gun. A few explosions later, a projectile broke through Semera’s Western gate and sailed over our heads, crashing and exploding against whatever it hit behind us.

            “Stand ready!” Allan ordered.

Another shot came shortly after, this time smashing through at eye level. It hit the front lines of the defence garrison, killing a fraction of our forces. The people in the front and middle ranks scattered to find cover. The back rank held firm. The next thing to break through the gate wasn’t an explosive shot, it was the IG-90 itself. It broke a hole in the gate then stopped.

            “What?” Don asked in confusion.

The hatch on top of the turret opened up, and a ball of orange flame was towards the starry sky. It then changed color and exploded into a rain of yellow, green and red sparks that fizzled and went out before they hit the ground.

I could then see what was happening. Through the hole in the gate behind the IG-90 I saw something that made my heart leap into my throat; it was the vampires from Stavon.



© 2016 Ryan Henderson


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Added on March 5, 2016
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Ryan Henderson
Ryan Henderson

Cobourg, Ontario, Canada



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I will review your work if you send me a read request, I like to help writers get off of the ground, I will also suggest ideas for your work if needed. Please note that I don't really like poetry... more..

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