A tired sentry yawned on the ramparts of the city, leaning against his spear.  He itched his cheek and rubbed his eyes.  There was no duty more boring than night watch.  You couldn’t even see anything, for God’s sake!  Clouds covered the moon.

            He heard a low rumble, like thunder in the distance, and then took a second look at those clouds.  He wondered if there could be thunderstorms in the winter.  He had seen no lightning.  It was then, as he stared at the sky, that the cloud cover broke enough for the moon to shine forth.  He smiled as the darkness was brightened, but that smile was wiped from his face when he looked out on the plains beneath him again.

            Galloping at full speed rode an armoured cavalry, bearing down on the helpless, sleeping tents of the army.  Their hooves were the thunder he had heard, and now he heard their hearty battle cries coming over the fields as they began to beat spears or swords against their shields.

            “KILL THEM ALL!”  Neal roared as he led the charge, inciting others to add their voices to the tumult.

            The guard ran, dropping his spear, and headed for the nearest warning bell.  He had to rouse his fellows, had to warn them…

            He screamed and took several steps back as he approached the bell in its small hutch on the wall.  Out of its shadows stepped a white figure like a ghost that stalked towards him.  He turned to run, scrambling with fear, and felt a thin sharp pain in his lower back.  He fell to the ground, unable to feel his legs, but trying to crawl using his hands.  He cried out as the white spectre put a foot in his back and pulled the knife from his spine.  This was no ghost, unfortunately, this was a very solid and real foe.

            “Naughty, naughty.”  A voice clucked in his ear, scolding him.  “I didn’t ride hard to be the first one here for the fun just so you could ruin our surprise.  No, that wouldn’t do at all.”  The voice was void of all emotion.

            The guard felt his assailant rolling him over and held up his hands to protect his face.  He saw a white masked face with fierce black designs around the eyes.  He was at the mercy of a fiend, a tiger, a monster.  He prepared to scream, but the man gripped his throat tightly and then showed him a wickedly sharp knife. 

            “This is the last thing you’ll ever see.”  He was told, and then the malevolent evil that had him in its clutches shoved the blade into his eye and through his head.

            On the ground beneath them, the cavalry had just reached the tents of the slumbering soldiery, and were riding down the sleeping men inside.  Some of the attackers found the cooking fires and started torches, and then used them to begin burning tents and people.  Screams rang out in the night, and this awoke the soldiers closer to the walls.  They ran for the gates to raise the alarm.

            Though they had been planning their war for months and had hoped to attack the Citadel come spring, it appeared that their enemy had come to their very doorstep.

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