They stand back-to-back, spears and swords covering all four quarters of the arena; Porthos is keeping the rest of them upright, in truth, but it would not do to present a disunited front as the Praetorians advance.
"We will never take all of them," Athos says from beneath his helmet and the blood; collected as ever, d’Artagnan thinks with equal exasperation and fondness, as death approaches.
"Enough of them, then," Aramis says cheerfully, "to buy the others the time they require." He has snatched up a net and trident from one of his victims, and his taunts have drawn the guards in closer to him, creating an unevenness in their line.
"The gods will watch this with pride," Porthos barks, and it only takes a few feet of distance between each of them to trigger the charge; d’Artagnan raises his spear, thinks of Gaul, and stands his ground.