The Demonic Legion
The flames crashed, the arrows screeched and the mayhem of war seemed like a lethal never-ending automaton. It was never-ending until someone would win of course. Winning did not determine who was right, but only who was left. After all, that was exactly what war was about: surviving, “solving” a conflict. Any man would do anything to be right; he would even ignore everything that he believes in.
Everything was a confused blur; nobody seemed to know what they were doing anymore. Agonising screams erupted like volcanoes and the relentless, dark sky hung above like a deadly veil, ready to drop on the world and blindfold everyone...
Falir ran across the stone fortress wall, keeping his head as low as possible to avoid decapitation from a flying missile. His armour rustled on itself as he ran, making Falir even more uncomfortable. He needed to get to the next tower. There was no question about it. Even if he arrived there dead, he needed to get there.
Quick gasps escaped from his mouth, showing his fatigue. The wind slashed across his face, and made his hair run wild, almost like a horse, which was bound by solid chains to its prison. Without the slightest warning, a large sudden explosion was triggered metres away from Falir, making thousands of pieces of solid rock soar into the unknown. Falir’s heart was gripped by fear, and his feet did not listen to his head. Shell-shocked, he accelerated and leaped over the newly-formed gap. He let his mouth exclaim to the heavens as he hovered, almost trying to use his anger and fear to push him onto the other side. For a second, time had taken a split stop and his temporary flight seemed eternal. His hand reached out, fingers outstretched, waiting to see for the result of all this effort. Time regained consciousness and Falir was slammed onto the edge of the rock, forcing the breath out of his lungs. The arrows doubled, and he could see the demons sprinting underneath him, wanting to tear the flesh right off of his bones. With that thought, he used all the strength in his arms to haul himself onto the wall, grunting from the effort.
The wall was breached. Falir heard shouts everywhere, human and demented or sometimes even a mixture of both. Dazed, and overly tired after all of this fighting and running, Falir attempted to crawl for a couple of seconds, just to catch his breath. A couple of seconds couldn’t hurt, could they? Meanwhile, his fellow comrades turned and hustled near the gap in the wall, aiming at the invaders. Their bows sung, and many arrows struck true, piercing the blood-red skin and flesh of the demonic army. However, this sudden feeling of triumph soon ended as fiery arrows, icy spears and sharp projectiles of doom were launched towards them from the ground. Falir witnessed a particularly long spear take the life away from a soldier near him. The body fell lifelessly, almost on top of Falir. Just like that. Then another. And another. Tears almost started to form in Falir’s eyes, and his very soul began to be filled by anger. Nothing could have been done, yet Falir felt as guilty as the fiend who had thrown the spear. The helmet gradually rolled off of the head to reveal the young handsome face of Bralil, one of Falir’s many late friends. The body was now nothing more than a heap of bloodied metal and flesh, lying there waiting to be taken by Grim. Within the precise period of ten seconds, eight more soldiers fell and they collapsed below onto the ground, into the dark abyss that awaited everyone.
Falir hastily grabbed the bow that was strapped onto his back; his own instrument of death. He kneeled down, un-fastened a batch of arrows and poked his head for a second to look at the enemy troops that were advancing underneath. Then, he placed an arrow carefully onto the string. Falir, completely forgetting his priorities, pulled the string back, stood up and stared into the eye of the enemy. He quickly found a target and with a blank face, void of any sign of emotion, released his true fury upon the malevolent target. His arrow sliced through the wind as a blade slices through flesh. Falir saw his arrow hit a target, and the cursed being was thrown backward, colliding into many of its allies. Even if there was no real emotion behind it, a smile appeared on Falir’s face and he continued. He repeated and struck true again, this time putting an end to a tall, powerful looking fiend that carried a crude black whip. And again, he repeated. This time, he obliterated his target by placing an arrow to crack the very skull of his opponent. Then again, a fourth fell down. Then a fifth. And a sixth! Falir almost became deranged and continued to rain hell upon his enemy. Suddenly, an arrow flew in the opposite direction and slightly trimmed Falir’s shoulder. A quick intense stab of pain sparked in Falir. The metal plate that was supposed to protect t him became wedged into the arrow. He fell back briefly, but then realised that he was one of the last few survivors present. His comrades began retreating a bit, seeking support to feel safer. But now, nowhere was safe. They were just post-pawning their doom.
He regained his half sprint, but now he had a stronger pace as he had taken his main armour off. All that was left was his forest guard leather armour. It was usually used for stealthy assassination missions in a discrete landscape, not for a full-out war in the middle of a giant silver fortress! Nonetheless, he ran with his bow in his left arm at the ready. Looks like those couple of seconds didn’t hurt at all; he was almost there! But this feeling of triumph did not last for long, once again. An evil sound that brought darkness into Falir’s heart boomed in the battlefield. Then that sound repeated itself, then again, and again; like a sequence forming a long chain. Yet again, time slowed, only striking even more fear into everyone’s souls. This shock felt as if a deadly, frozen hand thrust itself into your back, and began to rip your life away. Despite this anxiety, Falir’s head stuttered to the left very gradually, towards the battlefield, to see what horror was unleashed. All this effort and fear made him twitch, and he was no longer in real control of his body. And then, he saw them. They looked so beautiful, so peaceful. Just gleaming and shining there in the sky, illuminating everyone’s lives. The moved slowly towards the wall, and gradually started to descend, but this sight was just marvellous. Everything was calm, everything was peaceful. Nobody moved and everyone was dazed for what seemed like an eternity. Suddenly, Falir blinked and realised what these orbs really were.
His limbs still felt stiff but he managed to move. Falir burst out a scream, making his lungs ache, and continued to run towards the tower. These orbs were huge boulders, set alight to only cause more destruction. The enemy’s catapults had been in full swing now. The rocks approached and Falir’s eyes looked hopeless. He could almost touch the door; the wooden, bolted door. He could nearly push it open. He could nearly save the commander from a fiery destruction. Nearly. But nearly was not enough. Again, time regained its usual rhythm and Falir threw himself at the door, stumbling into it and falling at the same time. The fireball had quadrupled in speed and crashed onto the magnificent tower. Falir yelled at the commander, who he could only see for a mere moment before he was thrown and burned by the fiery boulder. Falir stared in horror at the blackened corpse that was stuck to the boulder and that rolled of the wall, into the interior of the city. The remains of the tower crumbled, amazingly not hitting Falir, until he was standing alone in a doorway with no ceiling. He was in a tower with no walls, with no men, and without the commander. Looks like a couple of seconds could have changed everything...
Hopeless, Falir looked around to try to see what he could do. The demons continued to pour into the broken stronghold and even though the battle was not yet lost, it looked it. Some silver covered troops down below tried to assemble around the invaders. They attempted to from a solid, half-circle to stop any further advance. On the front line, the men kneeled down, and held their shields. On the second, they bore their shields while standing, to create a fairly tall, solid looking wall. After that, some soldiers just thrust their spears through the holes that separated the shields. After that, Falir could just see a heap of warriors just trying to hold the shield-bearers to stop them from being pushed back. For this last hope tactic to work, the warriors on the floor depended on the archers on the walls to commence an intensive rain of flaming arrows on the trapped foes. However, that was not so simple. The archers found resistance from enemy archers and also on walls, which then made a giant disaster forcing soldiers to help out on top. Utter chaos was happening. Falir briefly thought to himself: “War really is Hell”.
A young, fearful-looking swordsman came sprinting to Falir, and he perceived that this man bore the emblem of The Forest Guard. Upon his arrival, the experienced archer stuttered:
“What do we do now, sir?”
“Why are you asking me soldier?” replied Falir, shouting through the clashes of metal on metal and the overall deafening noises of the battlefield.
“Sir, with Captain Bralil gone, you are the most experienced officer left in this sector. What would you have us do?” demanded the trembling archer.
“Well then, I guess that you should assemble with the rest of the Forest Guard and lay down heavy fire on the demons that are coming up from the gap. But wait, tell all the survivors nearby that are not part of the Forest Guard and those that are not archers to assemble with me on the ground, near the weakest part of the half-circle,” ordered Falir, pointing to the end of the half-circle which seemed desolate.
The soldier nodded, and ran back to where he came from, shouting various orders. Falir began shooting a couple of arrows, attempting to create a small demon-pile in the middle of the enemy forces. He shot quickly, and his foes fell quicker. The Forest Guard was also doing its work.
Time passed by and the sun dwindled into the distance, forcing the participants of this war to carry torches. Falir remained unseen, almost invisible to the enemy archers. He realised that some silver-clad men started gathering together near the weakest point of the half-circle. Falir reached back for an arrow in his quiver, and found that only one remained. He frowned, and began to descend down the nearby stair. However, he cautiously placed it in the string of his bow, as if it was pure gold. He continued to descend and at the same time pulled back the string, holding the cold, black wood of the bow near his face. Falir aimed to the red coloured pack and found a bulky piece of flesh shouting cruel words and whipping his subjects. Falir then witnessed the giant charge through the weak part of the half-circle, and then make a breakthrough, sending men flying away like drops of blood bounding into the air. Enraged, Falir pulled the string even further, contracting his right arm as he did, aimed for the demon and allowed his anger to unleash itself. The arrow flew true, like a stealthy thunder bolt poised to strike upon its targeted spot. Upon impact, the arrow forced itself through the giant’s entire head and stuck itself in the enemy behind. The giant corpse stumbled backwards showing its hideous severed head and fell shortly with a loud thump. Falir ran forward towards the breakthrough, throwing his bow down and grasping the hilt of his gleaming sword.
Falir ran across to the breach, parallel to the wall with his blade itching to banish demons from the world. He shouted various orders, mainly to contain the breach and to have everyone else present to go behind him and ready their spears. His momentum gained and as he reached the half-circle, smelling the blood and feeling the overall death in this place. Falir was now at the head of a large pack of troops, brandishing their swords and spears. The half-circle continued to try to hold off the invaders but they were keen on pushing through. Falir breathed deeply, looked back at the men courageous men behind him and raised his sword proudly into the air, screaming as he did.
They sprinted forward, screaming like a deranged berserker. The wall of silver shields in front of him quickly diminished and he suddenly faced the demonic legion. Their horrific faces were angered at the sight of him and leaped upon the attackers. Falir cared not and swung his sword in a mental fury as he continued to run. He was no longer thinking, but fighting for the survival of humanity. Bloodied heads shot up into the skies, and Falir’s face was covered in black blood. But he cared not, and gradually slowed down, continuing to hack his way through the horde. He dodged, he ducked, he spun around and stabbed simultaneously. Some men behind him began to fall, but they persevered. Falir swung his deadly weapon to send these hideous things back to hell. Many shots of pain spiked throughout his body, but this did not stop him. His own blood was mixing with the monster’s black one but that didn’t bother him. Falir unleashed his true fury that he had kept inside him for so long. It was this or death for everyone, torture or mass chaos, either one damaged soul or the entire world. A surge of pain shot in Falir’s right leg and he began to bend in the middle of the battlefield. Then in his right shoulder, and even in his stomach after that! Blood trickled down all over Falir’s body; he could feel its warmth. He could feel his skin itching trying to heal him. But, he continued. He gasped and screamed, he was almost begging for death, but he continued.
Then, things became a blur again. A loud thud shook the ground. Falir turned his head to the wall, feeling the pain vibrate through his body. An unknown giant stomped its way through. It approached and Falir raised his black sword. The troll flung its arm towards him and he flew away. He hovered until he felt a sharp rock, and his eyes closed.