Two hours later, Carolyn and her troops are still battling the enemies while withdrawing. Their hit-and-run tactic keeps the casualties to a minimum, but trouble comes from another way, hindering their advance. A band of cyclopes, about seventy-six strong is rampaging, attacking anyone who trespasses their territory: men, orcs, monsters and undead alike no matter which side they’re on. This three-way battle really slows them all down. With their clubs, the one-eyed giants whack everything in their path.
Carolyn just burned a ghoul when suddenly a cyclops comes rushing towards her, swinging his heavy club sideways. The sorceress doesn’t have time to cast another spell, so she pokes the cyclops’ belly with her magic trident Esthagar. But, no blood comes out from it. Like trolls, cyclopes’ skin is tougher than leather armor and is almost as good as iron in repelling sharp weapons. Of course Carol knows that, so she channels electricity through her trident, jolting the cyclops. Still, the giant lifts his two hundred pound giant club to finish Carol off, and suddenly blood comes like tears, flooding from his eye. And the big bloke just tumbles down, with the club falls, crushing into his own head, ensuring his demise.
Carolyn doesn’t look too surprised to see that with so many comrades to protect her. However, when she looks closer at the arrow on the cyclops’ eye, she looks thrilled as it is an elf-designed arrow from Thyrine, just like some of Iris’.
‘Long time no see, Carolyn,’ says a manly voice behind her. She looks back and finds an elf familiar to her: Long, purple hair, with his sapphire eyes that makes him look radiant.
Galvanir answers, ‘Ah, you still recognize your uncle. That’s good. Anyway, I’m here with help.’
‘Help? An army from Thyrine?’
‘Yes, about five thousand archers and twelve thousand foot soldiers and cavalry led by Ney’varíth and me.’
Carol is not too happy to hear that, and responds, ‘What took you so long to come to us? What kept you? The Thyrinian High Council?’
‘No,’ Galvanir answers, ‘the Dark Forces laid siege on Evanesta. We fought for three days and three nights before we found out that the Dark only sent a small force, a diversion to keep us from coming to Freidle. We fought back and defeated them, thus sending one-thirds of our entire army here.’
‘Oh, I see. Thank Vadis and Enia that Grandma sent help at last. Now, where is Ney?’
‘I’m here, Carol,’ says the elf in question. ‘Sorry we came late. So, what’s the master plan now?’
‘We are trying to reach Hail’varan Plains, and hopefully meet up with reinforcements so we can regroup and strike the enemy back. Think you can help us to get there?’
‘Sure we can,’ says Ney. ‘But the success depends on your troops’ cooperation. They must do whatever we tell them to.’
‘That can be arranged. By the way, are you two in love with each other? You seem so... close,’ says Carol.
Galvanir says, ‘We’ll tell you the whole thing after this battle is over.’
With help from the elves, Carolyn’s contingent finally breaks free from the enemy and moves with extra speed to Hail’varan. The group moves on all night, and the next day, when the sun rises...
‘Look, Carol! An open plains!’ says Galvanir, pointing at a streak of bright light in a distance.
Carol responds, ‘We made it at last. Hail’varan Plains! This is where we’ll make our stand. Hopefully, this won’t be our last stand because our allies will come.’
And then she turns to the troops and shouts, ‘Hail’varan is ahead! Hurry! Let’s go and meet our helpers!’
The entire army moves in full speed. Even the fatigued Borgians make a run for it with eyes gleaming with hope. The dwarves, however, keep looking back, hoping that their beardless Commander is here to join them.
Carol reaches the plains and her face turns pale. Help is not coming – again. Oh, darn! What’s keeping them so long? Or maybe none of them received my message? Or they just ignored it on grounds of doubting my integrity? No way! They can’t do that to a fellow Paladin!
No, I can’t let this happen. I’ll send more runners to them, until they get the message right. In the mean time, we will make our stand here anyway. This undeveloped grassland, suitable for farmlands and villages has no significant natural barrier – only resources. Yet, it fills all the necessities for a battlefield. There is not enough wood to build parapets and not enough time to dig trenches, yet we’ll stand. Yes. We’ll stand.
Carolyn, Ney’varíth and Galvanir then arrange the troops into formations: Infantry with shields in front, archers in rear, and the cavalry led by Galvanir move back into the woods and hide there. The dwarven bombers and the wizards stand between the infantry and archers in loose formations, considering their shorter shoot ranges and wider impact areas than archers.
All are prepared. Carol inspects the soldiers one more time, looking into their weary faces and worry in their eyes. They should’ve marched on to the battered city of Myrcalia, but they have reached their limits. With the enemy pursuing them, reinforcements are what they really need.
The twenty-eight thousand men and elves don’t want to die in vain against eighty thousand enemies, so Carolyn tries to raise their fighting spirit by saying,
‘As you can see, there has been a slight delay to our reinforcements. Still, we have the help from our Thyrinian friends, and this battle tactic we can win! This is our chance, my friends. This grassland will be our turning point, and we will strike the Dark Forces so hard they won’t dare to step into these grounds again – ever! No more running away! For honor, justice and everything we hold dear, let us fight – fight to the death!’
The crowd cheers back, ‘Death! Death! To Death!’
The troops look more spirited now, lifting their weapons up or banging them on their shields. Their faces are full of life, spirit and determination.
They seek to protect, and now come the ones who seek to destroy.
The ground is shaking like tremor. Carol hears footsteps and gallops, rumbling thunderously in irregular rhythm – the way savage armies march. Carol is too tensed to speak, even as the enemies come into view from the woods.
The undead, the orcs and various monsters run and come into a halt well outside arrow range. Yet, many monsters keep charging like savage beasts they are, and are soon showered to death by the Alliance Archers. The others stay in battle formations, using the monsters’ sacrifice to assess the situation.
Three distinguished figures stand in front of the Dark Army: The Orc Khan Hagnorj, the masked lich and the Commander, Arachus the Archdevil.
Seeing the opponents, Hagnorj laughs out loud.
‘Hahaha!! This pathetic army of little critters dares to intercept us here? Oh, well. Our troops can use a little sport. They hungered for blood, even after conquering Freidle.’
‘Just take it easy, Hagnorj,’ says Arachus. ‘Just save some for the undead and make sure their corpses are intact. Don’t make any more mistakes like that fool, Nöac did. He has won a city, right, but his incompetence has lost us half of our troops and no chance to breed new undead.’
Hagnorj replies, ‘In that case, we shall attack together in formation. I don’t feel like underestimating anybody now. Grrahr!’
‘So be it,’ Arachus shouts. ‘BATTLE FORMATIONS!’
The entire army soon gets into rows. Although they don’t look as neat, disciplined and impressive as the human-elf-dwarf army, their superior numbers is a different statement – a definite ultimatum.
None of the Light Side moves a muscle. None of them wants to make a wrong move that will ruin the entire strategy and cost them victory. The elf phalanxes stand ready with their high-broad shields, alongside the swordsmen and pikemen. It’s obvious that they are going for defensive stance. The enemy roars, taunts and war cries are nothing for them. Their expressions stay tense and unchanged, their morale intact.
So comes Arachus’ shout, ‘ALL TROOPS, ATTACK!’
The enemy charges, running with their weapons pointed and their eyes hunger for blood. Carolyn instructs the army, ‘Archers, bombers, mages! Ready and take aim but hold your fire! Fire on my mark only!’
The enemy marches quicker. The ground shakes and rumbles.
‘HOLD IT!’ shouts Carol.
The enemy infantry gets into range of fire.
More and more come close, a swarm of terrors.
And when the Dark Forces’ archers come into range, Carol shouts,
‘SHOOT ‘EM!’ Arachus also instructs his archers.
Soon, the sky goes dark. The sun is shaded with volleys of arrows from both directions, showering like rain. Bombs, spells, alchemy bolts, javelins and various kinds of projectiles take as many casualties as they can, exploding in several spots. Burning, freezing, piercing, electrocuting, cutting... all to protect and destroy.
The enemy foot soldiers are now in contact, and greeted with phalanx tackles. The armies clash and the battle commences! The foot soldiers’ skill versus the undead’s ferocity, the elves’ agility versus the orcs’ strength. All unleash the best of their skills, to kill or get killed.
The battle goes even and fierce until suddenly, Arachus the Archdevil plunges in to disrupt the balance. He shots a Dark Disintegration blast, wiping out a column of archers. Soon, a shower of arrows comes towards him. Arachus flies upwards to avoid it, rotating the Scythe of the Crow like a propeller do deflect the rest.
‘Humph, puny creatures, just like fireflies to fire. Now THIS is what I call a shot!’
Saying so, he clasps his two hands again and shots another blast to the archers. This time, another blast hits it midway: a Lightning Blast of lesser power, yet it neutralizes 70% of the hollow blast. The rest 30% disperses like a fountain, showering the ground, taking the minimum amount of casualties.
Arachus looks down, finds the caster, Carolyn Deveraux and shouts a mockery, ‘Oh, you again, little girl? A Paladin, alone? The Twelve couldn’t win against me last time, so you must be seeking death. Don’t be a fool, girl. Nothing, I say nothing in this world can possibly defeat me!’
Carolyn shouts back, ‘Nothing in this world? How about ‘out of this world’? An Aegis Aschi!’
Posted By Blogger to FireHeart - Exploring Worlds of Fantasy at 5/18/2011 06:55:00 PM