At midnight the Resident Dogs both joined me on the bed and I thought they were asking to go out. They both settled in around me quickly and Lilith curled up near my head, which is rare. I drifted in and out of sleep, had an amazing dream, and then woke up at three. There isn’t much hope for much sleep at three, and the moon is shining brightly for a change. It’s time to get up and, no, actually, it isn’t time to get up, but here we are. I’m resisting the idea that I’m going to drink coffee in favor of hoping I can get back to sleep. Soon.
I have dreams that are like movies. I’m watching in third person and then I’m here or there, at another camera angle, seeing things from both sides of a battle or a car wreck or a bar scene. Last night’s, earlier this morning’s dream was a battle between an army besieging a small stone fort with walls and those within. It was incredibly complicated because I knew the mindset of both parties; those within were hoping for some sort of help, eventually, or hoping they’d wear the attackers out. Those on the outside knew they had to break through quickly or risk running out of supplies or having the morale of their army destroyed.
The attacking army was made up of local clans who were fighting against the encroachment of a warlord who had begun to flex his muscle by building forts on the frontier. To make the point that he was in charge of the surrounding areas he would kidnap the daughters and wives of local clan leaders and force them and their people to quarry and carry the rock for the forts. The treatment of the hostages worsened as the labor dragged on so there was a lot of incentive to build quickly.
The clan leaders held a meeting and decided to attack all of the forts at once, on a board front, eliminating any of the forces in any of the forts being able to support one another. Many of the clansmen balked at the idea of attacking, not because they thought they might lose, but because of the most powerful clan leaders, three of them had accepted the help of another warlord. Some saw this whole war as an event where the clans would be used as proxies of two more powerful forces that would eventually decimate their population. Yet the forts, and the building of more of them, had to go.
Inside the fort that is being attacked in a young captain who thinks that the idea of pushing the boundaries into clan territory is a bad idea, but he isn’t paid to think about policy. An older, wiser, and much more experienced leader had been in charge of this fort but he had died suddenly and the young captain thinks the man was murdered. Now, as the fort is being attacked he realizes that the barbarians have help from an organized force. There are small catapults that are playing havoc with his defenses. The walls are holding, as they should, but the catapults are flinging rocks over the walls and into his archers. He knows now that someone has not only spied on the fort, but also the command and control as to how they repel attackers. The accuracy of the stones cannot be accidental nor chance.
On the outside of the fort, the man leading the attack realizes his men are being slaughtered at an appalling rate yet to stop the attack is to lose those men for no gain. The devices of his allies are keeping the archers from releasing masses of arrows against his men and he knows if he can break the gate or gain just one wall he can take the fort. He looks to the east and to the west. Thick black smoke will mean that the other two forts nearby are ablaze. Yet there is no smoke. Have the other attacks failed? If so, this one must be successful or the clans will be pushed out of their territory forever.
The young captain has had dirt piled up in front of the main gate. He can hear the cheers of the barbarians as the wooden planks are hacked away; will the dirt be enough to slow the assault?
The clan leader did not anticipate there being dirt in front of the gate yet his allies tell him, now, that it is common. They brought devices to help dig it out, but more men will die.
I woke up before there was any resolution. Both sides were being ravaged. The battle was brutal with no quarter asked and none given.