A few hours after what would have been sunset, had we been able to see the sun, we heard new rumblings.  Lower and less intense than the booms of thunder that still echoed through the sky, these sounded too regular.

            “Wheels?”  I asked.  “Big heavy ones?”  I whispered directly into Alex’s ear, not wanting to shout.

            He merely nodded, straining to see through the rain.  Something was going on out there, but we could not see what.  The sound grew louder as the source grew closer, each moment an agony of tense waiting. The men on the wall began to get antsy, shuffling in their spots, gripping their weapons and setting their teeth.  They wanted a fight, and were getting impatient.

            I think, in retrospect, they would have preferred the wait over what happened next.  There was silence, and listening only to the rain was worse than the regular progression of oncoming sound.  It meant that, whatever it was, the source of the sound had arrived at its destination.  On edge, we peered into the darkness.  There was a sudden flurry of motion and a great metal ball collided with the rampart, crushing mortar and men under it.

            The ball crashed directly beside us, forcing me to leap and grab hold of Genevieve as I spilled off the side of the ledge.  We tumbled onto the wooden shed protecting the gear mechanism for the gate, and slid down its surface in the rain.  Alex came rolling after us, and I was forced to reach out quickly and snag his arm before he fell off the rooftop.  My own position was rather precarious, holding on to a crack in between two planks, and the rain was making it decidedly slippery. 

            Eve found a handhold of her own and let go of me, and then helped me pull Alex back up onto the roof, gasping for air.

            “CATAPULT!”  She said, giving the name to the weapon arrayed against us.  I nodded and so did Alex as water streamed down his face.  I looked back at the rampart over my shoulder, and saw another dark mass arching to collide with the wall coming swiftly through the rainy darkness.

            This second ball collided near the first, indicating that they had not yet changed their trajectory.  In fact, it struck the first ball as it descended, and what followed seemed like another bolt of lightning and thunder.  When the explosion blew us off the roof and obliterated a section of the wall, I realized that something flammable had been in the two missiles.

            We found ourselves buried under burning lumber as the shed had collapsed over us, and we struggled to get out before smoke or flames could overwhelm us.  Bruised and singed around the edges, Alex and Genevieve helped me to my feet and together we limped through the rain to a safer vantage point.  We looked back, and even through the downpour we could see a massive gap in the top of the wall, as if some giant had walked along and bit through it from above. 

            “I wonder how they did that.”  I asked aloud.  “Nitro in one or both?  Maybe the first one was filled with gasoline, and the other ignited it…”

            “We’re lucky the first one didn’t ignite until the second one hit it, whatever they used.”  Alex said, brushing dirt and soot off his legs.  “We shouldn’t even be alive.”

            More collisions occurred in the same spot, causing the wall to crumble down to the ground at that location, spilling soldiers and weaponry like dropped toys.  Now the gates were unnecessary.

            “It looks like we won’t be alive much longer.”  Eve said, drawing her sword.  “They’re coming.”

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