It had been four months since Holly had launched her first salvo against Flaysac’s bandits. Right now, her troops were assaulting a giant, reinforced gate (built into the north-south pass that cut through the mountains) with a thirty-foot battering ram. Steel canopies protruded from its sides, protecting the Indashi from the majority of arrow fire, but some of the missiles were still getting through, spearing the Indashi through their feet or their calves. Additionally, Flaysac had deployed miniature catapults loaded with Elderean Fire. Barbarians were dying from flaming splashes of blazing pitch. The assaulters couldn’t take more than a few steps forward without having to hike across a dead comrade. The ground underfoot was a gory slip-slide of rain and blood.
The assaulters were making incremental progress. If they had been unable to advance, that would been a clear reason to try something else, or at least hold off. But as it was, they were making headway little by little, which gave the generals (and more importantly, Holly) sufficient cause to stick to their strategy.
Like every despot who’d come before, Holly considered herself a true innovator. It would have shocked her to know she was simply the latest in a long line of many—hers was a boring, sad tale that had been told and retold since the dawn of time.
But that’s not how she saw it; she’d bent an entire kingdom to her will. Fuck ponies and trips to Disneyland; this was what she’d wanted all along—a fantasy-world version of World War I.
When she got back to Earth, she was definitely running for office.
Yinhalka’s voice interrupted her thoughts: “Our engineers estimate it will take at least another month to break through the wall. We’ll need twelve more battalions, by my tally.”
“Keep pushing,” Holly replied, shifting astride the back of her raptor.
“Of course. We’ll break them like the cock-weasels they are.”
Holly laughed. “You’re damn right we will.”
A half-mile ahead, the Indashis manning the battering ram roared out a count—one, two, THREE—and drove hard with their legs, slamming the gate with the end of the ram. The bandits responded with arrows and catapults, eliciting a fresh round of screams from the beleaguered Indashis. On the other side of existence, Peter and his friends were attempting to break through a different kind of portal.
Different in form, but similar in nature.