Book 2 - Text 25
As he entered the gates of Spacerock, Tramennis broke stack. With a sudden whoop, he left his column behind and bounded off down Mainway in the pocket of his tankeroo. Previous Image : Image 61 : Next Image
He grinned and waved at the solemn salutes, as he blew through a stack of city guardsmen. His agile mount covered the street with a padded thwup-thwup-thwup, landing and leaping from the paving stones in the open spots among the soldiers.
He had covered more than two-thirds of the distance to the Garrison before it occurred to him to consider the enemy units directly above him.
Though they showed no signs of impending aggression, he scolded himself. Those yellow dwagons, at least, could take some potshots at him. It had been too many turns to count since Tramennis had looked upon Erfworld strictly as through a general's eyes.
He slowed his mount to a walk and squinted upward. There were a lot of them up there. A lot of heavies and a lot of warlords. He winced to see Ossomer among them.
This would be a long fight, though not a difficult one. With the tower fully spelled-up and four casters on hand to augment more than six hundred archers, no force of flyers could hope to survive the turn. Those archers and casters would do a lot of leveling today. They would drop that enemy Croakamancer, and Ossomer's dust would scatter across the city he once had loved.
And after that? The whole war would turn around. The Arkenpliers would return to Jetstone. (Indeed, to him, he supposed. What a thought.) The Coalition he had helped to assemble and re-assemble would finally prevail. The Titans would once again smile upon the Royal powers, and Father would be insufferable, for having been given the proof of it.
Getting things back to normal would be pleasant. In sixteen turns, another heir was due to pop here. Tramennis would then happily relinquish the Chief Warlord title, and let the new Prince see to the administration of Lord Stanley's just deserts. Then he could return to diplomacy and various treachery-prevention efforts, his true calling.
However, as he reached the Garrison archway and dismounted, his mind was beginning to find the proper track for command. The casters would deploy to the Tower top, that was a given. The very few flyers...would need to stay grounded, perhaps sheltered in the atrium.
The archers...he supposed he would split them between Outer Walls and Garrison at first. After parley, his opening salvo would be pure magic, focused on the heavy flyers, particularly the mounts of the casters (if possible, though with all the enemy's available Foolamancy it seemed unlikely that they would be granted a clear choice of targets). Whatever enemy units survived after that onslaught might show a preference for the airspace in one region of the city or another. He would then redeploy his archers wherever they would have the best chance at downing the remnants.
On the inside, the great marble halls were shady and cool. Friendly, forever-saluting faces greeted him as he strode through the carpeted corridors. Before ascending the tower to meet with Father, he strode out into the atrium and took a glance around.
Most Level 5 cities were designed with some unique or augmented feature. Some designs emphasized outer walls or tower or tunnel structures, often at the expense of other parts of the city. Spacerock had dungeons, but no tunnel zone at all. Instead, it had an unusually ornate and well-defended Garrison. Its outer structure was not merely a wall, but a full twelve-story palace complex of rooms and chambers.
At its center, a vaulted roof of smoked glass panels covered what would be the open courtyard in a more typical Level 5 design. This formed a cavernous area they called the atrium. Troops could be trained and quartered here, and indeed there were two regiments of infantry already assembling. He would probably order most nonessential units in here for the battle.
It was not a Jetstone design, but it suited. Spacerock the City had first been the capital of Spacerock the Side, ruled by a man who chose to call himself Spacerock the King. Jetstone warred long with him, and finally defeated Spacerock the King at the historic Spacerock the Battle. And though Jetstone retained its original capital site, the capital of the side had been moved to this much grander city.
Tramennis turned and found the nearest staircase, not bothering with the protocol of letting Courtiers fawn on him and announce him as they escorted him up the Grand Stairs to the Royal Court. He had a war to fight, and questions...always questions.
He would first find Father for the easy questions.
But he would need to talk to the enemy for some of the harder ones.