The army roared towards the castle at a breakneck pace, spurred on by the anger of their commander, who was following with a second unit a little ways back. The captain leading them, however, was just as imposing as the commander, if a lot less bright. Xavier knew the captain well, having received many of his scars from the captain’s blade. He watched them from the top of the main watchtower of the castle as he dissected their ranks. There sure were a lot of them, he thought, it looks like the entire NFL is running at me...he snapped out of his stupor and readied his first defense. As the army closed in on the castle, he pulled a rope that led to a structure on the top of the wall. The rope let loose a landslide of rocks and pointed logs onto the heads of the invaders, smashing a decent number and piercing a few more in the process. Xavier rushed down to the front of the castle and opened its doors. “NOW, WHILE THE ENEMY IS IN DISARRAY! CHARGE!” he cried, and from both sides of the castle, the slaves appeared and rushed towards the army, waving their swords and letting loose a malicious battle cry. Xavier himself led a group of slaves from the front, creating a three-point attack and swarming the enemy. The invaders were quite strong in body and quite sure of their victory, so the sudden counter by the slaves left them in a good bit of shock. Even the captain hadn’t expected the slaves to have such a plan, and was much too late to call a retreat. The army escaped after losing over half of their forces from one attack. After falling back a ways, the captain, angry from his loss and fearful of the wrath of Mr. Arthur, split the rest of the army and silently moved them around the castle. He knew the castle’s weakness was the back, and was going to use it to crush the slaves.
“So the plan is to wait in the castle and die? That’s kind of sucky…” Xavier was sitting alone with Herson, who was voicing his issues with the setup. He had been unofficially nominated the spokesman of the slaves. They were discussing the plan for Mr. Arthur’s attack, which would be in two days, and whether the slaves would fight or run. “That’s not exactly the plan,” replied Xavier, “just the outline. We will set up defenses on the walls with the time we have. The more people that join, the more defenses we can have set up. Rockslides, logs, fire, oil, the standard castle stuff, with a few extra surprises to keep them on their toes. But the real plan is to stop their charge and put doubt into their heads, where at that point we will have groups on each side of the castle run a pincer attack on them. They are overconfident and I doubt they have a plan bigger than ‘attack, kill, dance on the slaves’ graves’, so they won’t be ready for a pincer attack. I will lead a third group out from the main gates and we will have them swarmed, forcing them to retreat with heavy casualties at the least.”
Herson thought for a moment. “That’s never going to work.”
“I can’t believe that worked.”
Herson was standing by what remained of the attacking forces, incredulous. Xavier clapped him on the shoulder, “I told you it’d work. Now we have to prep for the second wave. The captain is probably super pissed now, and will be coming back to attack again very soon so we have to be prepared.”
“I just don’t get you,” Herson remarked, “you seem to have this all figured out. Your plan only worked because you knew how they’d think, and it played off those thoughts. You haven’t shown everything yet either, have you? Just be honest, you’ve got something else up your sleeve, don’t you?” Just as Herson finished his last word, an explosion was heard at the back wall of the castle, and the sounds of the attacking army screaming could be heard from the front. Herson’s eyes widened as he turned to Xavier and saw his grin, “Maybe I have a trick or two left,” he said, chuckling.
The captain stood there, his expression showing a spirit as broken as his men. He knew that the castle’s back wall was the weakest point. What he didn’t know was that Xavier also had known that fact, and had prepared to be attacked there. Where he got the dynamite, the captain could never know. All he knew was that his entire unit was gone. He also knew that his life was also over if he reported back to Mr. Arthur, who would certainly kill him for failing with so many soldiers against a group of ragged slaves. Seeing no other option, the captain turned his back on the castle and ran as quickly as possible.
Xavier assembled the rebels in the main hall of the castle. “Ok,” he began, “step one worked wonderfully. But the hard part starts here. Mr. Arthur will lead the second unit, and we used all of our defenses. Mr. Arthur’s troops will also have a few things that we haven’t seen yet: firearms. Going against him head-on will just kill us faster. This, however, is within expectations. A few of our handy ladies have been gracious enough to make some clothes for us that will give us an advantage. So grab a quick meal, pick up your outfit, and get your weapons ready for battle; it will happen tonight.”
“We’ll enter the castle tonight,” Mr. Arthur was preparing the remainder of his troops for the upcoming battle, “and we will strike swiftly. But by no means will we underestimate them. They have already defeated half of our army with their few numbers and limited strength. We will not be caught off-guard. Our rifles will take point, with the remainder of the unit following suit. They are desperate, gentlemen, and a desperate enemy is a dangerous one. Do not falter.”
The walls were easy for Mr. Arthur and his troops to breach. It WAS his castle, after all. He knew all of the secrets of the walls and where the hidden passages in the massive courtyard were located. As he led the soldiers into the courtyard and around the decorations (statues of himself, lovingly defaced by the rebels), he felt something was amiss. Since he knew the layout well, he knew many areas in the courtyard that were good places to establish defenses. But not only were no defenses built, there didn’t seem to be anyone around at all. He turned to his men as quickly as possible and shouted “FALL BACK, IT’S A TRAP!” but it was too late. As he yelled, arrows materialized from all sides, landing deeply and accurately into the soldiers. As they fell, another wave of arrows came piercing into the next group. “REGROUP AT THE KEEP!” Mr. Arthur dashed to the keep’s doorway and rushed into the main hall with around fifty of his soldiers. At the end of the main hall, sitting in Mr. Arthur’s comfortable silken throne, sat Xavier, clad in a black hooded robe, covered by black metal armor and a matching black helmet. A smile donned Xavier’s lips, and instead of a verbal provocation, Xavier ignited Mr. Arthur’s rage by raising a single finger, a “salute” to the commander.
The remaining soldiers outside of the keep had been scattered about, trying their best to regroup. This task was made difficult by the guerilla tactics of the rebels. Soldier after soldier fell to the rebels, whose black robes provided excellent camouflage in the dark night. After thirty or so minutes of relentless assault, the soldiers had all fallen. As the rebels yelled and cheered for their victory, the group of Thomas, Marshall and Sean gathered them up. “We’re not done yet,” Thomas reminded the group, “Xavier said he’d keep Mr. Arthur and the rest distracted while we cleaned up here, but he can’t do it forever. Grab any weapon that you find decent and let’s go finish this!” The group roared with confidence and headed as quickly as they could to the keep, mowing down any excess soldiers nearby in the process. When the door to the main keep was found to be barred, the trio at the head rammed their shoulders as hard as they could into it. Taking a few steps back, they did so again, with much better success. The door gave way and the slave rebels flooded into the keep, to find a scene that was unforgettable. Bodies lay on the floor, some slashed at the throat, some split from the side, and some pierced in the chest. The bodies of every soldier that was taken into the keep were now littered across it. And at the end of the hall stood Xavier, covered in cuts and bruises. There were deep cuts in his side and face, and bullet holes were strewn down his arm. In front of him, sitting on his knees, was Mr. Arthur. The charisma that had been so prevalent in his demeanor was long gone. He sat, a broken and beaten man, waiting for whatever would come. Xavier raised his arms, showing the rebels the hand axes he had used on some of the closer bodies to the throne, and brought them together right on Mr. Arthur’s neck.
With a triumphant hand raised, Xavier walked down from the silken, bloody throne and met with his victorious allies. They cheered and cried and raised their voices in jubilation as they had done something no one in the group thought could ever happen. When the noise started to die down, however, it was Herson who raised the most important point. “Uh, hey, congratulations, all of us,” he said, “So…uhm…what now?”