The sound of the wall crumbling was obvious before he saw any sign of his city’s impending doom. The sickening crunch of the wall folding under its own weight, stones tumbling down, crushing man and beast as they fell. It was heard all around the city, seconds before the collective scream of its citizens.
There was no hope for his people now, they were outnumbered by a superior force, with little to no chance of survival for anyone in the region. They had resisted too long, too well, and their conquerors would need to make an example of them.
There would be pockets of resistance, of course, brave men would die protecting their families, their friends, but it was ultimately futile. Men of fighting age would be killed, and the women and children would be taken as slaves. A generation of vitality reduced to ashes in hours.
His fate would be no different. If they didn’t kill him on sight they would take him back to their people, humiliate him, and then he would die a long, protracted, painful death. It was the way of the world. And he couldn’t bear it.
He was determined to fall as he had lived, as a king. He called for his finest purple robe, sat on his throne, and dared Death to come and take him as the flames that consumed his once great city illuminated the night.