Chapter 64 of Quest for the Blue Crystal

“The Guild is surrounded, general. None can enter or leave. I have given every other man a Blue, producing overall large levels of fear which will make it impossible for the wizards inside to spell.”

“Good job, captain, but I would not use the word impossible in the same sentence with wizard. The tower of Minas Nimgul is very tall. Fear that is tangible on the ground might not be felt from a few hundred feet up.” He thought a moment in silence. “Any sign yet of the Esaf?”

“No general. We searched the house where we found the bodies of bodyguards. We found Icon dead, but no sign of the Esaf.”

“He is probably a prisoner inside the Guild building,” said Corsordas. “There are traitors inside. One or more of the Lords. We need to get him out.”

The captain nodded, then continued. “General, though we have them surrounded, I am at a loss to know how to proceed. We have challenged the walls and the great gate, but it blunts all our swords and rams. Even the hinges are wrought of the cursed magic-silver, and our own wizards are unable to fashion a spell to undo its power.”

“I am not surprised. But do not think you fight in vain. It is necessary to lure them into a sense of security, so they will be slow and stupid when we strike the blow to destroy them.”

“What is this blow, general? What weapon have we that can break their gate? And even if broken, what of their Rauders? In the narrow passage of the gateway a squad of them could hold off a legion of our troops.”

Corsordas stared hard at the captain. He was young, inexperienced. “You do well to point out the obstacles to be overcome. But don’t imply that our cause is lost. My field commanders need to inspire confidence, not doubt.”

The captain bowed, his face tightly controlled. “You have but to show me the way, sir, and give me the tools. Then I shall be at the front of the line leading our troops to the ends of world for the glory of Mileu.”

El Corsordas grunted. “No doubt. But it is not to the ends of the world that I send you, but to Minas Nimgul. You will use archers to hurl ropes up to the roof. Keep hurling ropes as you send quick climbers to secure a foothold. Try to make your way to the main tower, and begin scaling it. Make no mistake, the attack must be real.”

Something about the last sentence caught the captain’s attention. “Sir, you speak as though the attack is not to be the true thrust of your forces.”

“Very astute, captain! The main attack will be through the very main gate that you fret over. The tower attack will lure many of their guards to positions far removed from the gate, so that when it falls, your troops will surge in, securing a firm foothold from which to launch sorties into the various wings, until we have captured all the wizards. And make no mistake here: every wizard is to be stripped naked, and then bound with chains embedded with white crystal. They will be marched to the bank vaults of Retil, where they will await trial and judgment. As for their guards, former Rauders will not suffer to become prisoners and will need be killed. If there are guards other than Rauders, treat them as you do the wizards.”

The commander bowed, but still looked puzzled. “General, you still have not told me how the gate is to be broken.”

“The Esaf Mileu gave me a weapon, against which even the gates of Minas Nimgul will fall.” He patted the hilt of the sword in his scabbard.

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