Friday, June 12, 2009

The Tide... A short story i wrote.

The soldiers fought like mad men, each one swinging his weapons wildly at the enemy who had surrounded them. The link had been closed and the band of soldiers was far from their allies to the West. Though each man knew that survival was but a slim chance, the ranks were maintained as best they could, and the men of Eior' Onaln held fast under mounting pressure. Some were terrified, others were invigorated, the battle degenerating into a fight of self control and willpower. Under such pressure instinct took over, and Maurice was no different, his body reflexive and open to all the sensory information that could help it to survive. He thrust out wards with his heavy halberd and bit deeply into a Possessed's leg, feeling that he had notched the man's thigh, and cracked it through. He went down heavily, and was finished off with a chop to his chest. Another quickly stepped forward eager to engage the soldiers of the Old Guard and kill them. The blighted ones commanded them, the terrible masters of the lost empire of Allipsia, those demons who had passed through the gateway before it had been sealed with the lives of Maurice's ancient ancestors. Though a valiant act, it was originally they who had opened such a gate, allowing the destruction of the worlds strongest empire, and its usurpation by evil's almost too horrible to describe. It was they who made an eternal war against all the peoples of Hyranden, and it was the burden of Maurice and his fellows to try and right those ancient wrongs with the blood of his kinfolk.

Ordered to the attack in an almost suicidal fury, with almost no thought of defense of their own frail bodies, the Possessed, for that was what they were called, suffered heavy losses. Still, such ferocity was not without merit and the unquenchable rage that drove them forward to assault the wall of disciplined steel was taking its toll. Though The Old guard was better trained and better armored, they were not enough to resist the tide for much longer. The man in front of Maurice went down, and as he tried to pull him to safety he was killed anyway by a longblade thrust into his stomach. Acting without hesitation, a fresh wave of anger and frustration swept over him, and Maurice jabbed him in the chest, piercing what little armor he had and killing him instantly. All around him the line was being pushed back, and his comrades being cut down. But the regimental colors in the center of the line stood fast, fluttering unbound in the wind. Even with the fighting there being the thickest, the thought of his fellow soldiers fighting to the last rallied around the ancient war banner of old Allipsia renewed his determination to fight on till slain.

Left and right his heavy blade smote, his realization that this may very well be his last moments alive drove him into a sort of frenzy, cutting men down as they scrambled to attack him. He fell to one knee, his thigh stabbed through with a dagger of some sort, but ignored the pain, and killed the man who had stabbed him in a clumsy but heavy stroke over his head. Again he rose, the very picture of some demonic visage from the elder sagas, covered in mud and gore, his eyes like burning coals, his body like rigid steel despite a number of bleeding wounds. The enemy actually fell back before him, imagining that somehow one of their brutal masters had betrayed them and was now punishing them for their insolence. Yet it didn't last, and they flooded around him, suddenly realizing that he was alone and cut off from the line, he himself hadn't noticed he had broken rank in his anger. He made his peace with the ancient gods quickly and hoped they would tend his soul in good keeping, that his end would placate the gods of battle, and they in turn would save a seat for him in the halls of the slain. This thought and that of his imminent demise filled him with sudden vigor, and his tired limbs felt nimble, somehow his fatigue draining away. He burst suddenly into song, hewing down the the men around him, even as they were blown to pieces or destroyed by bursts of bright flame that seemed to come out of nowhere. He himself was engulfed in flame, though it did no hurt upon him, and when it had dissipated, he stood in the midst of charred bodies of the enemy. Unable to hold himself upright any longer, he dropped to his knees, praying to the furies for the miracle that had allowed him to survive this day.

In his revelry, he was not immediately aware of a solemn looking man standing before him, clothed in an ancient tabard and mailed in heavy armor, though Maurice quickly realized that he was looking upon a battle priest of Mor. The man laid a gauntleted hand on his shoulder, saying an all but silent prayer upon him. At length, he spoke with a deep resonating voice. “It is a miracle that you survived, Son of Mor, and it is good that you pray to the old Gods for thanks. The flames have swept back the enemy and have given them pause to attack the men of the Old Guard for the moment, and my reinforcements will bolster the line, but they will not be contained for long. Most men, friend or foe would have been consumed by my magiks, and yet you were not. This makes me think that you are much more than what you seem.” He gestured to two of his body guards, who gently helped him to his feet. “Take him to the back of the line, I have much to discuss with him after we finish this.”

As the Priest turned, his lips turned upward into a slight smile. Men of such heart were rare indeed, like a diamond in the rough, and were not to be taken lightly. His Order would train him to be as he was, a knight of the elements, wielding destruction to preserve what wasn't already lost to the legions of the damned. Though the day was dark, this one act was a bright light that shown in the midst of dark times. This gave him hope for the struggle ahead, and as the enemy surged forward, they burned brightly in the darkening night.


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