This was not as difficult as it might have been. The outsides of the walls were covered with irregularities—holes, protrusions, small rough ledges—as if the designers had intended the climb as a test of mettle.
The climb offered only a little more difficulty than did the spires of the Ironcut Mountains, and that added difficulty was because he would be climbing alone.
He did not hesitate. Once he realized what would be needed he scanned the walls upward, circling until he found what looked like the surest way up and began to climb. His armor made it difficult but he was used to wearing it by now and he was able to compensate. He considered briefly removing it but did not. He would probably need it before the climb was over, and certainly after his descent.
If he was spotted while on the spire he would make an easy target for any bowmen. But, he realized, he had not seen any residents of the Old City carrying bow or arrows. Perhaps that was an art lost during the time when the city was uninhabitable. Or maybe they never had that skill here at all.
But even if that was the case, it was likely he would face a battle when he grounded. He pushed the thought away. His primary concern now was to reach the top and secure the flag to the spire. After that he would concern himself with those that might await him.
As he neared the top, the climb became more treacherous. Several times he was forced to skittered to the side to find a hand or foothold to use to further his ascent. He kept at it, patient and careful yet aggressive.
On the hilltop, the watchers were delighted to see the figure of Gypsum laboring his way up and around the tallest spire on the skyline. They almost held their collective breath as put his hand around the uppermost circumference of the spire. Feldspar was especially tense. He knew his brother might face a dangerous task in holding onto his perch while using two hands to attach his banner.
Although the distance was too great to be sure, the movements of Gypsum's arms and body told Feldspar that his brother had freed a rope from his waist and used it to secure himself to the spire. Then they could all see him reach behind him and loose the scarlet flag from its clasps on his shoulders.
The watchers could not see due to the distance, but Feldspar knew that Gypsum secured the banner with heavy cord to the spire. There was almost no wind. Gypsum stretched the flag out as far as his reach permitted to show those he knew were watching that he had fulfilled his goal. Now, all he had to do was descend to the ground and make his way out of the city against the opposition he fully expected. Too early yet to celebrate.