The soon-to-be-battlefield smelled of burning bodies. That was probably due to the fact that we had lit the heads of the Turks on fire after we loaded them into the catapults. We cranked up the siege engines and let them fly. The burning heads crumbled as they flew through the air, but most of them made it over the grey wall. I could already hear the screams. Grown men. It sent chills down my spine but I knew what I had to do.
A rider hurriedly trotted to where I was standing; which was to the right of our large force, commanding the right column. “General Smith!” he called out, “The king orders you to lead the right column’s ladders to the wall.” He looked frantic, trying to hold his horse stable while it turned around and around. He struggled to look at me. “General Komby will then lead the rest of the column behind you and assault the wall using your ladders. Both the left and right columns will move simultaneously. God wills it!”
I answered him with a nod and with that, he rode away. “Ladders!” I screamed, “Move with me!” We began to move together. Like a single white and red beast. Our mail armor shown in the pale sunlight underneath our red crossed, white tunics. I could barely see out of the small slits in my round helm. I unsheathed my long sword at my waist. It rung beautifully. As I glanced to my left, I saw the other column moving with me.
God, I thought, if it is your will, please allow me to make it through this assault. I am doing this for you my lord. Let it be done. An arrow landed at my feet. It startled me at first, and then I looked up. Thousands of arrows were curving over our heads in a wonderful arc. They went to their peaks then straight down at our heads. “Faster!” I yelled.
I began to run, my ladders with me. We were barely one hundred feet from the wall when the arrows hit us. It was like it was raining on a cool spring morning. Cries came from behind me. I did not stop but I looked back. One of the four ladders was being dragged because the five men in the front had been slaughtered by arrows. Men all around me were falling like flies. I could hear the arrows whizzing by my face as a continued to run as fast as I could. We reached the wall as I turned and yelled “ladders up!” The ladders hastily lifted above my head as the men struggled to press them against the walls. As the ladders were latched in place, the ladder-men crawled up. Just then, as the soldiers behind us reached the ladders and started to climb, I felt splatters of what felt like boiling water on my shoulder. I winced with pain as men fell from the ladders, screaming.
I grabbed hold of the ladder nearest to me, sheathed my sword, and started to climb.