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We need to know where their horse are before committing our own troops to a raid."
That was the one thing that worried Agmar. Neither Queen Amelie nor her elite Falcon Guard had been spotted in the camp. The wily Queen doubtless had a trick up her sleeve, but he couldn't see it.
"Double the number of scouts, and send them further out. Tell them to take captives from any settlements they find and 'inquire' whether there are any goat trails through these hills that aren't on the map. I do not want to wake up and found they severed our supply lines.
"Yes Your Highness." Bogor turned toward Triggitt, and the younger orc ran off to relay the orders.
Over the next several days the scouts ventured further out and the Thestan camp neared completion. While not as strong as the Kingsfort, it had a strong screen of abattises and cheval de frises blocking the ascent up their hill. They were by no means impassable, but it would definitely slow his forces down if they attacked; not that he intended to.
None of his scouts had reported any sign of the Falcon Guard, though he was expecting the latest patrol later today. Sudden movement brought his attention back to the Thestan camp. What appeared to be a dozen logs on wheels were being brought forth towards the front of their camp.
"Springalds. Kovos! Sound general orders. All archers are to loose on the Thestans!" A great cheer went up from his assembled army at the prospect of battle. His orcs were able to line up faster than the Thestan springalds. Springalds were a type of siege artillery which shot large bolts across long distances. It would take them a few minutes to get in place, anchored down, and calibrated to shoot.
Most of his orcs were armed with bows, which allowed for a devastating rain of missiles down on the Thestans. King Turrogg had once boasted that his horde would blacken the sun when they loosed in unison. Agmar decided to put that to the test and loose mass volleys across the valley.
As the arrows rained down, the Thestans ran forward with prefabricated wooden planks and beams and hastily erected a ceiling over the artillery equipment. The arrows slammed into the shielded wood but didn't manage to penetrate. "Loose! We'll make those damn things so heavy with our arrows they collapse! Loose! Loose!"
More volleys sped through the air and slammed into the wooden structures, sending splinters flying through the air. The Thestans continued their work unimpeded though, and soon the first bolts were hurling back towards the orcs.
The first one smashed through the wall of the Kingsfort and smashed through a rank of his archers. As more bolts came flying through wooden splinters from the sundered walls of the fort began tearing through his troops as well. Agmar snarled in frustration. "Open ranks! Spread out! But keep firing!"
The Thestan artillery was creating large gaps in his defensive fortifications, and he knew it was only a matter of time before the walls collapsed entirely. "We're going to have to bring the fight to them." He told Bogor.
"We still don't know where Amelie is, if we commit to an attack we risk being cut off and flanked." Bogor ducked his head as a large splinter flew past him.
"If we don't attack, we have to retreat; and this is our only defensive spot. We'd have to run all the way back to Heste!" Agmar grimaced. "But we can't stay here."
To underscore his point, the Thestans began firing pots of burning pitch that exploded upon impact. The walls of the Kingsfot went up in flames, and more ports began to fall inside the walls threatening to send the whole fort up. "You're right, but we can't over commit our forces."
Agmar ground his teeth together. "Take some men and get our stores out of the fort and as far away from here as possible. I'll take the rest and attack the Thestans and to cover our retreat. Go, now, quickly!" A wall of fire shot up as a mound of horse feed burst into flames.
Bogor ran and began gathering troops to evacuate their food and arrows while Agmar ran to down