By Tim Severin
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I raced again to the Bronze Gate, the place Halfdan was once now status carefully in the back of a battlement, taking a look down on the mob, which had doubled in dimension and grown even more belligerent 'Stand good again, Thorgils,' he warned. 'They've acquired archers down there, and a few slingers. ' An arrow clattered opposed to the stone buttress. 'Can you permit me have a dozen males? ' I requested. 'I are looking to get to the armoury and spot if i will increase a scorpion or . ' Halfdan checked out me quizzically. 'Since while did you turn into an artillery guy? ' 'I had a couple of classes in Sicily,' I acknowledged. 'Well then, take as many males as you wish. The mob has now not but acquired itself sufficiently labored as much as release a concerted assault. ' With a squad of a dozen Varangians at my heels, I headed in the direction of the armoury. I hammered at the heavy double doorways until eventually a storekeeper pulled one among them open carefully. He seemed decidedly peevish. no doubt he had was hoping that he was once in a secure retreat, good clear of any difficulty. 'I desire weapons,' I blurted, out of breath. 'Where's your written order? you want to have a signed authority from the archon strategos earlier than i will be able to factor any guns. ' 'Where am i able to locate him? ' 'Can't inform you. have not noticeable him all day,' acknowledged the storekeeper with an air of conceited finality. 'This is an emergency,' I insisted. 'No forms, no guns. that is my orders,' was once the quick resolution I obtained. I positioned my hand on his chest and driven him apart. 'Here, you cannot do that,' he objected, yet i used to be already within and searching round. The armoury was once generously outfitted. i'll see every thing from parade apparatus with gilded hilts and colored silk tassels to workaday swords and pikes. opposed to one wall used to be a stack of the small around shields utilized by mild infantry. 'Grab as a lot of these as you could carry,' I informed my males, 'and take them again as much as the ramparts, and get a few of these bows from that rack over there and as many arrows as you could deal with. inform Halfdan that there are lots extra bows and arrows if he wishes them. ' in the meantime I had noticed the heavier guns within the a long way nook of the shop. I regarded the wood shares, the iron winding handles, and the thick stubby hands of the bows of at the least a dozen scorpions smartly prepared. Looped round a wood body have been the specific bowstrings made up of animal sinew. attempting to bear in mind precisely what I had noticeable in Syracuse whilst Nikephorus had proven me around his siege tower, and back through the conflict at Traina, i started to pick sufficient goods to collect 3 scorpions. To the most powerful guy in my squad, an ox-like Swede, I gave all 3 tripods to hold. To the others I passed out the rest of the elements in addition to huge luggage jam-packed with iron bolts. i myself took cost of the set off mechanisms, as they appeared fragile and simply broken. 'Hail to the recent technicians,' joked Lars as my males laid out the goods at the walkway in the back of the parapet and that i started to test how they'd healthy jointly. because it became out, the scorpions have been effortless to collect. an individual who knew how one can lock jointly the advanced joints in shipwright's carpentry may do it, and several other of my Varangians had that ability.