The ropes creaked as the slaves cranked, pulling back the massive arm. When at the limit, the arm was locked. Two slaves bore a large, heated stone to the arm’s metal basket. The weight of the stone made the ropes groan anew, and the crew took a nervous step back. The final stage before launching was the fire. Pungent tar was poured into the basket and a torch was applied. The slaves shied away from the sudden light in the darkness.
“Stand back!” the commander shouted before pulling the firing lever and sending the flaming ball hurdling towards the wall.