The camp bloomed outside the vast walls of the city. The sky was choked by the smoke which came from the many cooking fires that littered our camp. The general’s tent loomed above the others with the magnificence of a king. My own was rather less spectacular, positioned at the edge of the camp the furs and hides that made it up were tattered, worn and had grown grey with age. My small pile of sleeping furs took up much of the inside, with the rest being a clutter of armour and weapons to be polished or sharpened for battle.
The camp was abuzz with activity as if it was the night before the attack and preparation must be made. The ram with its polished iron stags head tip was being assembled. Men lifted the ominous ram which was made from an entire oak tree into its place. The huge siege towers glimmered in the fire light casting long shadows across the ground. Men ran through the camp searching for friends and ale. The holler of the army could be heard for miles around and brought fear into the hearts of our enemy.
I sat by the fire with my companions; they joked and laughed about the battle to come but there was no happiness in their eyes. The darkness had come.
The sky was blood red when I woke. A few souls walked the camp lighting cooking fires and preparing for battle. I tossed a few rashes of bacon into the pan over my cooking fire and started to dress. The chain mail seemed strangely heavy on the shoulders, but as I grasped my sword I felt my strength return. I wolfed down my breakfast and looked up at the bleak stone walls that I would soon be on; if I made it that far.
The men gathered in the centre of the camp in front of the general’s own tent. I stood there waiting and as the sun rose over the mountains he stepped out. Every step he took it seemed as if stars had fallen to earth. His breast plate glittered in the sunlight nearly blinding you if you looked too long. His great helm shaped like some foul beast from the depths of the abyss made even the bravest hearts tremble. This was our brave leader, this was our general, this was our king.
He stood there, looked around and then spoke; calling on us to defeat the enemy, wield our weapons truly and fight with brave hearts. At the end a great cry of blood lust rose from the camp and we moved to our places; piling onto the siege tower like ants to honey.
The drums started to beat, the great hollow sound boomed out across the valley. All of a sudden the siege tower started to move. The slow plod of the beasts pulling it jolted the great metal monstrosity forward. We progressed slowly towards the walls; arrows pinged of the shell of the tower, stopping them from hitting the men inside. A rock fired from the walls flew past, hitting a tower behind mine and crushing through the metal like it was paper. The screams of the men inside scared the enemy as much as us.
We reached the walls and slowly the gangway was lowered. Drawing my sword I waited until it was all the way down then charged. The enemy was ready, they slashed the first few men down with ease. I reached the walls where a man was waiting for me and with a quick swing of the sword I shortened him by a head. The battle surged around me and soon the stone of the walls was slick with blood. My fore head was dripping with sweat or blood, I could not tell ; the battle fever had taken me.
Slowly we fought our way to the stairs leading down from the walls. A man slipped as he charged down and when he reached the bottom he was nothing but a mess of metal and bone. I followed more carefully and met the enemy with all my bones in the right place. I cut down men to my left and right until my arm ached and I could barely hold my sword. A swinging mace came out of nowhere and knocked me to the ground. I lay there with many of my ribs broken. A figure strode up towards me and stood looking down. They raised their mace above their head. With the last of my strength I thrust my sword upwards.
They landed on top of me. As I lay there pinned by the body on top of me; blackness slowly crept in on me until my world fell still. The last noise I heard was the scream of a dying man.
This was inspired by the lord of the rings sires and the grandeur of the battles in the books. I wanted to take more of a down to earth look and explore what the individual soldiers would be feeling going in to battle.