Second World - Chapter 881
As the army moved closer, Jack saw the rune diagram on the wall. The diagram looked more complicated than the one on Fort Garadhor. Around the fortress was a wide moat filled with water. A bridge had been laid down to let the incoming army cross the moat and entered the fort.
"Go and get some rest! You all deserve it!" Jack addressed the soldiers. Armstrong led the army inside while Jack stayed outside and waited until all the soldiers were in. Paytowin stayed by Jack's side.
The troops that came here were all native soldiers. Outworlder troops were still following Jeanny. John didn't want to rush them because he still wanted them to do formation drills during the march. After they arrived here, the army would be rearranged into a mix between natives and outworlders.
One-third of the army was to be stationed within this fort, and Armstrong would take command of this army. The other two-thirds would take positions on the hills north of the fort, and Jeanny would be the leader of that force.
Jack looked at those hills, they were not too far. If the enemies tried to hit Jeanny's troops, not only would they have to fight an uphill battle, the troops from the fort could flank the enemy as well. Moreover, John said there were long-range artilleries inside the fort. The area before the hill was still within the artilleries' range.
The army slowly trickled into the fort. Once the last of the soldiers crossed the moat and went into the fort, Jack and Paytowin entered as well. The drawbridge was then slowly lifted. A metal portcullis slid down after the two passed the gatehouse, sealing the fortress from the outside world.
Inside the fortress, Jack saw several officers who were originally manning the fort standing in a line.
"Attention!" The right-most officer uttered and all the officers saluted Jack as he entered. Jack felt weird. He was still a nobody outworlder not long ago. Now, native officers were saluting him. He was still wondering how almost everyone accepted his position as their general so well. He concluded it must have something to do with his high Diplomacy and Influence levels.
"At ease," Jack replied to them. "The most senior officer please inform me about the state of this fort. The rest please get back to your post." As he was saying, he spotted a familiar face among these officers.
"Guss!" Jack called out.
"General," Guss addressed back with deference.
At the same time, the remaining officers left except for one. This one approached Jack. "General, my name is Bordo. I am in charge of this fort." Jack's Inspect informed him that Bordo was a level 70 special elite.
Armstrong had just finished leaving his instructions to the troops and came over. Jack said to Bordo, "Good, show me and Armstrong around this fort. Guss, please follow us as well. There are things I need to speak with you."
"Yes, general," Guss answered.
'Ah… I truly not used to this general thingy,' Jack thought.
The five walked together, including Paytowin, following Bordo's lead. While walking, Jack told Guss, "Gruff is worried about you. He lost contact with you after Thesewal fell. I believe he will be glad when I send him a message that you are safe in this fort."
Jack had already sent a message to Tip, telling him to send someone to the League of Champions building to leave a message to Gruff about Guss.
"Yeah, I too believe he will be glad. He will be glad that the debt I owe him isn't gone," Guss replied.
Jack paused hearing that. "Huh?"
"Oh? He didn't tell you? I owe him a considerable number of coins. I bet that is what he is worried about."
"Uh… he sounded genuinely worried when he talked about you."
"Really? Well, we will see after this war is over. I am not exactly safe yet. Unless, of course, if you order me back to Thereath right now?" Guss asked with an expectant face. At this moment, Jack felt like he could better believe this person for being Gruff's brother.
"Harharhar…!" Guss laughed and clapped Jack on the back. "I'm just kidding, kid. I wouldn't miss this war for anything. I will sneak back here again if you ask me to return to the capital."
"You! Show some respect! He is our general," Armstrong reprimanded.
"Ah, yes! Forgot there for a second. Forgive me, general!" Guss said.
Jack didn't mind. He actually preferred it when Guss treated him casually. Bordo continued to take them on a trip around the fortress. The fortress was very large. A large village could probably fit inside here. At the center of the fort surrounded by a wide courtyard was a large keep. The army that came with them had retired to resting quarters inside this keep.
Several trebuchets were seen in the courtyard near the wall. Bordo told Jack and Armstrong about the fort's armaments as they walked.
Bordo informed them that this fortress was equipped with eight trebuchets and four catapults, positioned around the fort near the curtain wall to allow them to hit any direction. Six magic towers along the curtain wall would automatically shoot an energy beam at any hostile that came near. A collision with the beam would result in an explosion that dealt magical damage in a wide AOE range.
The wall itself was filled with arrowslits. Behind these arrowslits were corridors where archers and other range attackers could fire their attacks from the narrow apertures. Lining on top of the walls were several large cannons and ballistae. The ballistae covered medium range against enemies on the ground or in the air, while the cannons shot Greek fire. This fire would deal with anyone trying to climb up the curtain wall or against any flying enemies that came near.
The moat outside was covered with water, but there were openings at the bottom of the curtain wall where the defenders could pour out the oil. If enemy troops tried to swim through the moat, they would be met with a surprise flame bath.
The rune diagram that lined up the wall was an advanced one. Especially in the area where the magic towers were. Energy shields were protecting the towers. One needed to deplete these shields with relentless attacks before causing any damage to the towers. If the assault halted, the shield would regenerate, and the rate by which the shield regenerated was faster than the HP recovery of the wall.
Hearing about the fort's defense, Jack felt that this fortress could withstand a lot of punishment. As long as it had enough troops to man its defenses, it could probably hold out against enemies even more than ten times its number. If this was the case, why John had to put so many soldiers in this area? Shouldn't it be better to send more troops to follow the army that targeted the supply line?
Jack had sent John a message asking about it. John said to just stick with his plan. John told Jack that Jack's expertise was in the brawn, while he was in the brain. So, Jack did not need to use his brain and second guess his plan. Jack sent a message to John that said, "Screw your brain!"
After taking one tour around the fort, Jack decided he want to retire to the sleeping quarter as well. He was also tired, after all. But as they were about to enter the keep, a loud horn was heard.
"That's a warning of incoming enemy troops," Bordo informed. He ran at once in the direction of the curtain wall that was facing the eastern side. Armstrong and Guss ran after him. The troops around the fort also became lively as they rushed to their defense posts. Some of the troops that were resting inside the keep came out after hearing the horn.
Jack and Paytowin looked at one another. 'Guess it is goodbye to rest,' their faces said.
They both ran after Bordo as well.
Coming up to the wall, Jack saw a sea of orcs in the distance. They were lining along the wide gap in between the mountain range that came into the Slaughterer Plains. Jack's Dragon Eye could see that the army was mixed between natives and outworlders. Native troops wore uniformed armor while the outworlders were equipped with more varied sets of armor.
"They didn't bring any siege weapon,' Jack said.
"Those are shock troops. They were sent here with the hope to catch these forts before we arrive," Armstrong said. "They looked to number around 100,000. Luckily, we arrived here first. If not, even with the defenses of this fort, they might still find a way to infiltrate. Only less than 5,000 troops manned this fort originally."
The Verremor troop seemed to also realize that they were late. They just stood there in formation without going any further.
A blink and Duchess Isabelle was suddenly standing beside them. She had originally retired with the other troops to the resting quarters inside the keep.
"Are we under attack?" She asked.
"Doesn't seem so," Jack answered. "They must have noticed us beating them to this place and now are just staying there waiting for the rest of their army to arrive."
"See any war chief among them?" She asked again.
"Can't tell from here," Armstrong replied.
At this time, a soldier ran towards them urgently. After arriving, he uttered, "Reporting, sir! We just got a message from Fort Themisphylae that enemy troops had mounted an assault there. A war chief was spotted among them!"