Young Eurotas gripped the flame-spear tightly, as the gouts of naptha and pitch sprayed from the billows that reached past his face. With a grim smile, he lifted his elbows, then thrust through the wall of shields, to light the drenched enemy aflame.
A primitive ancestor to the flamethrower, the Lance of Hades was a complex device used to lay a wall of searing flame before the phalanx, allowing it a moment to secure and prepare to receive an enemy charge, obscured and defended by the elemental fury. Crafted by a cunning and likely half-mad blacksmith whose name has been lost to the mists of history, the Lance's construction relied mainly on a small tank filled with flammable oil connected to a sturdy bellows, the latter operated by the strongest man in the phalanx. The ferocious burst of air from the bellows would force a spray of oils and alcohols forward through a long tube, creating a clinging, cloying mist of fire, lit by spears wrapped in burning rags by the front line of the phalanx, transforming it into a deadly, foreward drifting wall of incineration. Frequently, this would engulf the enemy, and on occasion, the phalanx itself.
Again, and again, Icarius pumped the bellows, and again, and again, Eurotas thrust to light the foe aflame, even as arrows whistled over his head. The easterners would be held here, and they would die here. It was with great surprise to the both of them that the falling arrows pierced their device, and even greated surprise that it lit them aflame...
Despite the occasional damage caused to their own ranks, the Lance of Hades allowed the spears of the defenders to hold against the barbarian invasion, permitting the foundation of modern civilization.
"The best way to deal with them? Archers. Send men into that inferno and you'll get back naught but screaming near-dead and corpses. Get your archers to go for their bellowsmen. With luck, you'll wreck the bellows, and then you can send your men charging - as long as they're not quick to fit a second. If they do, bury yourself in the sand. It won't help, it will just turn into glass, but it's a better way to die."
For all their vaunted magics, the warrior-mages of the east were unable to crack the shell of the phalanx, and with this new dragon tongue, unable to protect against it. The stand at the Hot Gates would never be repeated, for their armies melted before the spears and lances of the westerners.