The God Wars

Chapter Thirty-seven:

Wall of Fire

By Dwayne MacInnes

Ares' temper again started to flare. These Otherworlders always seemed to be able to guess his mind. Hermes' Draco-lords were only a remnant of what they were before. The griffins were long gone; however, Hermes was able to rally a few hundred of the remaining dragons. The gods scrapped their air assault on the city. Even though there were a few fires burning, it was not the great conflagration the gods wanted.

Hermes and his remaining air troops were in a heated exchange with the Otherworlders' aircraft. The numbers of the Draco-lords equaled out the advantage of speed, maneuverability and range of the aircrafts. As long as Hermes was able to sacrifice his precious air troops, Ares could march his forces unmolested by the planes. There was even the occasional downed plane as a dragon belched a lucky ball of fire into an attacking fighter or torpedo bomber.

The lakes of fire from the initial air assault were now behind the relentlessly advancing undead and bronze soldiers. Ares could now see the towers and the trenches before him. However, before he could reach the first trenches the army would have to cross a wide and shallow moat. The water was amber colored and had a tangy smell. When Ares looked closely at the water, he noticed that some kind of liquid floated on the surface that gave it the rainbow effect of mother-of-pearl.

The chariot easily rolled down the gentle slope into the moat. The water only reached to the marching troops' knees and it was only two yards wide. The opposite slope was just as gentle as the first and the black horses pulled the chariot up the incline. Ares noticed that he only had to cross another two-hundred yards to the first trenches and then he could mete out his own vengeance.

The undead army splashed through the moat and reached the opposite slope. Then they continued to march towards the trench works and towers ahead of them. They left a muddy trail behind them as they left the moat, their lower body still soaked from the crossing.

A thought nagged at Ares' mind. The last time he attacked the humans they opened up with their artillery making his forward progress difficult. However, this time no thunderous and whistling death rained down on him and his army. In addition, the ground before the trenches outside Zakrostas contained landmines that detonated every time one of his soldiers stepped on one. So far, with the exception of the air assault his army was unmolested in their advance on the city of Atlantis.

* * * * *

General Crist remembered the story he read about army ants in South America in a National Geographic journal. The insects would mindlessly march through plantations destroying all in their way. The plantation owners often resorted to desperate measures to protect their plantation.

The general was about to use one of those tactics now. When he noticed the seemingly endless mass of undead warriors advancing halfway between the moat and the first trenches the general nodded his head to one of his soldiers. The man then fired a flare into the air.

As the red glowing flare parachuted slowly back to earth, several soldiers standing near the mouth of the moat several hundred yards away threw their fiery torches into the ditch. Instantly the gasoline floating on the surface of the water flamed to life. The fire quickly raced down the moat and shot huge flames into the air. Any undead in the moat were suddenly cremated.

The flames also leapt out of the moat and trailed up the muddy banks towards the advancing army. Soon, even the undead on the far side of the trenches were catching on fire as the flames licked up their legs. Ares quickly jumped from his chariot before the inferno incinerated the vehicle and the black horse pulling it. The chariot blazed up into a bright inferno. The horses were unharmed by the flames but were spooked by the sudden fire burning all around them. They stampeded carrying off the burning chariot into the distance.

Ares stamped upon the ground in anger. A wall of flames separated the advanced troops from the rest of his army. The undead warriors that followed him were also burning and the foul stench of scorched rotted human flesh permeated the air. The thick black smoke billowed into the air before a slight breeze blew it towards Atlantis.

The smoke would shift upon the ground allowing Ares to catch a glimpse of the still undamaged Talos. The giant bronze statues not hindered by the fire continued forward through flaming moat towards the trench works.

* * * * *

General Crist ordered the artillery and mortar teams to fire at their prearranged distances. The black smoke milling around the battleground reminded Crist something one would expect to see in Hell. It was just as well that the distances for the great guns were already calculated.

The thunder of the artillery pieces added their weight to the chaos breaking out around them. Crist could hear the distant explosions of the shells. They were exploding behind the firewall. However, the lack of visibility did not allow Crist to ascertain the effectiveness of his guns.

Even the men in the towers connected by the trenches could not make out much in the choking black fog. Nonetheless, when the mighty fists of the bronze giants collided with the stone walls of the towers the men could feel it. As the mist swirled in the moving air, the defending soldiers could get a glimpse of the Talos.

Machineguns opened up as well as the M1 Garands and muzzle loading rifles of the men in the trenches. The bullets ricocheted harmlessly off the bronze bodies of the giants. A soldier with a bazooka fired it pointblank at the Talos assaulting a nearby tower. The body of the giant exploded simultaneously as the tower collapsed.

More bazookas fired and more bronze giants fell. However, the relentless giants also kept up their attacks on the towers and trenches. The defenders fought valiantly but many of them were crushed under the feet of the Talos. More were killed when the tower they were in collapsed in a heap of broken stones.

Men started to retreat towards the second line of trenches. Some stumbled and fell, for they could not see very well in the inky black fog created by the burning moat. The flames of the moat were also starting to die down. Soon the fire would consume the flammable liquid that the tanker had brought south.

General Crist ran up and down the second line of trenches ordering the men to stand firm. With the flames dying down, visibility started to improve. The general could see that another endless wave of undead marching mindlessly towards him. Bodies of the fallen covered the ground. Some were charred, others crushed and more than a few broken bronze giants littered the ground.

However, mixed amongst the dead marching towards the new trench works were more Talos advancing. Their numbers were still great and many of the valuable bazookas had already expended there rounds.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on January 13, 2010 6:21 PM.

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