Leon stared at the massive steel gate between the battalion and the Bluefire Guild. Its heavy enchantments had prevented anyone from making so much as a dent in the thing, and Trajan was growing visibly impatient. Everyone could see the occasional shadow in the windows of the guild hall behind the gate, making it obvious that the mages inside were watching and waiting for the attack to begin.
About twenty minutes before, the final battalion of soldiers arrived, and Trajan briefed the Legate leading them on what was happening. Now, all three rioting guilds were surrounded, and soldiers were filling the district’s streets putting out fires and either killing or capturing the mages outside.
“I don’t want this to turn into a prolonged siege…” Trajan muttered as a Tribune again attempted to penetrate the gate with a concentrated blast of fire. The gate remained unblemished.
And suddenly, Leon noticed something. He could sense the magic flowing through the gate and outer walls of the guild, and even the magic flowing above them, which indicated how well enchanted the walls were; they wouldn’t even be able to throw things over the guild, not that that stopped some soldiers from trying earlier. But what he didn’t sense was magic coming from the ground.
“Would it be possible to try and attack from beneath the wall?” Leon asked Trajan.
Alix and several other Tribunes beside them gave Leon strange looks, but Trajan took him absolutely seriously.
“It would be difficult to get through the foundations if the walls are so well enchanted…” the Prince said, trailing off as something related occurred to him. “… but all we really need to do is to disrupt the enchantments, and then the walls can be more easily breached…”
Trajan stood there for several seconds as he projected his magic senses and scanned the gate and walls as closely as he could, trying to verify that his idea was possible.
He seemed to think it was, as he ordered the Tribune attempting to break through the gate to stand back as he raised his massive hammer. Few of the watching soldiers thought even Trajan with all the strength he’d inherited from the Sacred Bull could break through the gate with brute force, but fewer still even realized that that wasn’t his intention. Trajan brought his hammer down with tremendous force, but his target was the ground in front of the gate.
His hammer hit the stone tiles of the square like a meteor, sending cracks snaking from the point of impact all the way to the farthest corner. The ground shook as the Prince’s magic power exploded outward through the ground, and even Leon and the other Tribunes had to struggle to remain upright; many of the other soldiers failed in this task, and found themselves falling down. Most importantly, the wall before them trembled as Trajan’s magic hit its foundations.
“Hmm, I can’t attack beyond the wall, but I can do significant damage to the wall itself…” Trajan muttered as he raised his hammer for another swing.
This second swing caused another small earthquake, but it still wasn’t enough. Leon figured that it would exhaust the Prince to bring the wall down at this rate, but he didn’t have to do that; all he had to do was disrupt the enchantments within the wall, and the Tribunes could do the rest.
And it was working. The third swing caused a terrible ripple to spread out through the magic in the wall, and Leon could feel the magical fortifications grow weaker—some of the smaller enchantments had clearly been destroyed or otherwise disrupted.
With the fourth swing, the fortifications grew weaker still, and Trajan whispered, “Just one more should do it.”
The Tribunes around him heard this and prepared themselves. The magic in the gate was less than half of what it was only thirty seconds before.
The Prince’s statement proved almost prophetic, as his fifth swing shook the wall so hard that Leon guessed more than eighty percent of the enchantments had been broken. The gate was now nothing more than steel, and the Tribunes got to work.
They blasted the gate with fire and beams of light and hit it with stones the size of a full grown man’s torso. The gate, which had been designed more for decoration than practical security, was ripped off of its hinges and fell backward to the sound of a handful of terrified screams. Without missing a beat, Trajan, Leon, and the rest of the Tribunes led the battalion of soldiers behind them into the guild hall’s courtyard. There, they saw about fifty mages standing against them, plus another four or five that had been crushed beneath the falling gate.
However, the soldiers didn’t immediately spring to battle. They rushed forward until they had surrounded and covered Trajan, and then they stopped with blades and shields raised, with killing intent soaring, and their auras at their peak. To the guild mages, this was a sight that absolutely struck fear deep into their hearts, which was just what Prince Trajan wanted.
“PUT DOWN YOUR WEAPONS!” the Prince thundered. “THOSE WHO INSIST ON CONTINUING THIS REBELLION WILL BE KILLED! PUT DOWN YOUR WEAPONS!”
For many of these guild mages, their initial protest against Bluefire trying to deny them their payment had long since gone way too far. It’s not like each and every one of them wanted to start burning and looting the district or to fight the Royal Legions when they moved in to secure the island. So, before the Prince’s forceful command had stopped echoing through the courtyard, there were already sounds of weapons clattering to the ground.
After a mere ten seconds, only ten mages were left still armed.
“You fucking cowards,” one of these mages growled, but he and the other nine reluctantly dropped their weapons as well.
The Legion soldiers then surged forward, pushing each of the mages to the ground and taking them into custody. Leon himself bound the hands of the mouthy guild mage and kept a close eye on him, as he was of the fifth-tier and the restraints used by the soldiers wouldn’t hold up against some applied magic.
However, for all apparent disgust at his comrades surrendering, he didn’t move a muscle. The biggest reason was Leon standing over him with his sword at the ready and emitting enough killing intent that the guild mage knew that Leon wouldn’t hesitate for a single moment to kill him.
Once these mages were secured, everyone re-formed on Trajan, leaving two hundred soldiers and a Tribune behind to watch over the prisoners in the square.
The Prince stood in front of the door, watching the windows in the guild hall. There were dozens of people in the windows, though being backlit and seen from behind thick glass, no one could discern any specific facial features.
“The Royal Legions will secure this building! Your attempts to deny the restoration of Royal laws and peace will bring you nothing but to an early grave! Open these doors and surrender, and your only crimes will be rioting and looting, instead of rebellion!” Trajan shouted. There was some more movement in the windows, with a few of the watching mages being pulled away while others simply stared back at Trajan. The doors did not open.
When it became clear that those who were in control in the guild were not going to surrender, Leon heard a quiet sigh from the Prince. Trajan waved his hand at the door, and a pair of Tribunes walked forward to begin prying it open. Leon readied himself for battle, as did Alix and Anzu behind him.
“We’re in!” shouted one of the Tribunes by the door.
Trajan charged forward, barely giving the Tribunes enough time to get the door open before he barreled through. As soon as he passed the threshold of the guild hall, a wall of ice spikes burst from the ground and sped toward him. These spikes were unable to pierce his armor and stoneskin, however, and bounced harmlessly off. The spikes still blocked his progress, though, so he began to hit them with his hammer, to little effect.
To this, Leon could only smile in anticipation. He’d used more than enough lightning to figure out where he stood with that power, but there was something else he wanted to test as well. Leon stepped up and held out his hand, causing the fire enchantments on his gauntlet to softly glow. From his fingers burst forth bright red-orange fire that burned without a shred of demonic power.
Leon let the fire flow out of his hand and at the wall of ice spikes. The flames burned so hotly that most of the spikes melted in seconds.
“Good work,” Trajan said appreciatively.
Behind the ice spikes were dozens of guild mages who stared in fear at the approaching soldiers. They were led by five mages who showed considerably less fear, and a trail of frost and ice showed that the ice spikes had come from one of these mages.
Naturally, this mage glared at Leon as he walked into the entrance hall just behind Trajan. The other Tribunes and soldiers streamed in behind them, forming a formidable shield wall in the spacious entrance hall which had columns and doors to other halls, and little else within.
The guild mages wasted no time talking, they were committed to their path. They charged at the Prince and the Tribunes, with the ice mage coming straight for Leon with a look of utter contempt and hatred on his face. Leon barely had time to register Trajan engaging with the leader of the guild mages, or Dames Ateia and Romania engaging two more of the of the leaders right beside him; the ice mage’s opening lunge came too quickly.
Leon charged to meet the ice mage, dodging underneath the spear thrust that had been aimed at his neck. With his off hand, Leon then grabbed the spear while simultaneously stabbing forward with his sword. The ice mage instantly let go of the spear and twisted out of the way, drawing an arming sword at his hip at the same time. However, instead of using the newly-drawn blade, the mage waved his hand and conjured an ice spike in the air, which he then launched at Leon. Leon responded with a gout of fire, which vaporized the ice spike while it was still in the air and washed over the ice mage’s chest.
The mage screamed, but he still had enough control over his magic to conjure enough ice to cover his chest. However, he was still blinded by the fire and smoke, and so didn’t see Leon raise his sword and bring it down on his shoulder with immense force, going right through the mage’s thin icy armor that covered his shoulder. The ice mage screamed again and was so wracked with pain that he collapsed into unconsciousness.
Leon had won his battle with relative ease, and as he glanced around at the others, he saw that they had won theirs as well. In fact, they had won their fights so easily that when Trajan kicked the body of his defeated opponent away and took a few thunderous steps toward the rest of the guild mages, they all began to drop their weapons and surrender on the spot.
“Take them prisoner!” Trajan ordered, and the soldiers surged forward, securing the remaining mages and spreading out into the rest of the guild hall. With the death and capture of the last few strong mages that were leading the Bluefire guild mages, there wasn’t anymore fighting apart from a few scuffles that were easily resolved by the Legion soldiers.
The Bluefire guild was secured within fifteen minutes of Trajan knocking down the gate. The Tribunes and Legate that Trajan brought with scattered to supervise the occupation of the guild hall, but Leon and his small party stayed with the Prince, so they were there when one soldier came running up to the Prince with a report.
“Your Highness! We’ve found the guild leaders, they were being held prisoner in the basement!”
“Good, I want to have some words with them, take them to the offices at the top of the building,” Trajan said.
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