A scorched earth strategy.
That’s what he told our people would be the key to defeating the enemy but the leaders of our city could not stand to see it burn. They wanted to defend our home because they thought that the city was impregnable. They should have listened.
We fought hard to defend the city. Arrows, stones and burning pitch bombarded the enemy from the top of the wall and a tunnel was dug below to destabilize their incomplete ramp. The Gods themselves seemed to lend us their aid when they sent rain to inhibit the construction of the siege engines. However the ramp was completed against all odds and the enemy was on the walls.
We stood in the streets to fight but they rained arrows from our own walls, more a slaughter than a battle. Enemy soldiers flooded the city, killing all they came across. The air was choked with our screams as much as it was choked with smoke from the fires set to root us out of hiding. Men, women, children, all were slain at enemy hands. These things don’t happen, the officers are supposed to stop this madness but the general ordered his men to do what they please. The soldiers enjoyed the carnage they brought to our home while we did everything we could just to survive.
We should have listened. Our city was doomed to burn but it would have been better if we had lit the fire ourselves. At least then we would still be alive to rebuild rather than ghosts wandering the broken streets.
This story is based on the Siege of Avaricum in 52BC where Vergincetorix told the Bituriges Cubi tribe to burn the city to deny the Roman’s supplies in order to starve them out of Gaul rather than risk a battle where the chances of a Gaulish victory were very slim. The leaders of the tribe thought the city was impossible to take given its geography and design but it fell after a 25 day assault led by Julius Caesar. Only about 800 of the original 40,000 inhabitants survived.