Not-So-Final Fantasy

Below is an excerpt from one novel I’ve (more or less) been working on. Comments and/or criticisms are greatly appreciated!

Chapter III: The Battle at Redfort

Eighteen miles away, in the Village of Redfort, the orcs had arrived. The men of the village had sent their wives and children away to Roderiam and had arrayed along the wooden fortifications of the village, ready for battle. The 500 men of the King were also there, and had organized an effective setup for the reinforcements at their command.

A minute later, the orcs pounded on the gate of the village. A dozen men stood with bows drawn, facing the door, and waiting for them to break through. When they did, the archers shot ten of the orcs through the head, and they all fell immediately, the archers fled from the second wave and men on top of the gate dropped rocks and shot at them from above, while the archers regrouped for a counter attack.

Men were stationed all along the walls of the village, as well as on top of huts and other buildings, targeting orcs as they fired arrow after arrow after arrow. Many orcs lay in the street, and only a few of the Redfort natives had fallen to orc blades.

Now, the swordsmen of the King entered the scene, slaying orc after orc after orc. More came to their aid with whatever they could find; scythes, rakes, plowshares, and even stake drivers and hammers. They beat down the orcs one after the other.

Then came the orc counter attack. The orcs launched flaming arrows at the walls, starting small fires. But the villagers were ready. They doused the fires with small buckets at their disposal. They shot back at the orc archers, killing some, but wounding the majority.

A loud roar echoed through the village and surrounding areas. The orcs were retreating! Vlakstad had called his men back to his position along the road. The fighting was finished for now.

The leader of the King’s men, Ecthon surveyed the area. He saw many orc corpses, and only a few villagers lay dead. He had lost none of the King’s men.

All in all, Ecthon had lost only 33 men to the orcs, while the orcs sustained heavy losses, losing nearly three hundred to the arrows, swords, and spears of the villagers and soldiers.

He sounded a call, and the men gathered at the village square.

“Men,” began Ecthon, “thou hast fought valiantly, slaying many orcs, and protecting thy brethren. We have stood through the trials of battle, but, I fear, it is not yet over. The orcs have retreated to the road to regroup for a counter attack. We must return to our posts very soon, or we shall be caught off guard and decimated. Now, we fight for the King, King Rodram of Roderia! Who do we fight for?”

“King Rodram of Roderia!” the men replied, raising their weapons to the air.

“Very well,” said Ecthon, clearly pleased. “Go, then to the barracks and gather supplies for the defense of the village. Collect whatever you may need and return to your posts. The orcs are returning even as we speak, so be quick about it. Am I understood?”

“Yes, Sir Echton of Roderia,” the men replied, and dispersed to the barracks and elsewhere to gather supplies. Ecthon walked toward his men and they immediately turned their attention to him.

“Yes, Sir Ecthon my lord,” Estrick, his second-in-command replied reverently. “What is thy bidding?”

“Station yourselves evenly atop the walls and keep a lookout until the villagers return to their posts. Orcs move swiftly, and I have no doubt they will be back in mere moments.”

“It will be done, my lord,” Estrick acknowledged, obediently.

“Very good Estrick. Thou hast been a valiant warrior today. I commend thee for thy service this day,” Ecthon said with a grin. “Thou art my most trusted soldier.”

“It is an honor my lord,” Estrick replied, gratefully.

“Now, go men! Head to thy posts, before those dreaded orcs return and destroy us! Do the same as thee did last time. It seems to have worked quite well,” Ecthon ordered, serious now.

“Yes, my lord, we shall do exactly as you have said,” Estrick replied, straightening up.

“Good, very well,” Ecthon replied, heading to the barracks to help the villagers gather their supplies.

 

– – –

 

When the villagers returned to their stations, Ecthon’s men returned to the village square and met up with him to discuss their role in the second phase of the battle.

“We will essentially do as we did before,” Ecthon began, “but break up into smaller groups. We don’t want to leave any part of the village unprotected.” He paused. “Which reminds me, Fercus, please go and refill each of the buckets with water. Thou mayest take a few people to help thee, if thou wishes.”

“Yes, Sire, it will be done,” Fercus replied, bowing. He left with four others to fill the buckets in a shorter time span.

As he watched them go, he said, “It is time. Those five will group together. In the meanwhile, the rest of thee shall group together in groups of five and stay close to each other. Always be on the lookout for any signs of incoming orcs.”

“It will be done, lord,” the men replied.

“Very well. Travin, Hadrom, Edroc, and Bree, thou shalt come with me. We’re going to reinforce the troops at the village gate,” Ecthon said, turning to them.

“Yes, Sire, we shall follow thine orders,” the four replied in unison as they followed after Ecthon toward the gate.

 

– – –

 

Moments later, battle ensued. The orcs again stormed the gate, more fiercely this time. Hadrom and Bree were slain as the orcs rampaged through the streets, slowly being picked off by archers.

But something wasn’t right, Ecthon thought as he hewed an orc in half. There weren’t nearly as many orcs as he’d been expecting. Only about 75-100 were roaming through the village battling with the villagers. He let the thought pass off, as he turned to fight more orcs that were entering through the gate.

He rounded a corner and saw an orc, who came running at him. Ecthon sidestepped and easily slashed him in the stomach. From behind, he heard a large shrieking sound as an orc flailed in the air at him. At the last moment, Travin cut the orc down, slamming him on the ground.

“Much obliged,” Ecthon said, gratefully.

“It was my pleasure, Sire,” Travin replied with a smirk.

They returned their attention to the gate as more orcs poured into the village. No orc arrows had been seen yet in either of the battles, besides flaming arrows, which was starting to make Ecthon uneasy.

Just as he was still thinking this, a large black cloud covered the whole village with a whoosh. Then, the large cloud fell upon the town. Sounds of men screaming in agony suddenly awoke Ecthon to what they were. Nearly five hundred arrows had been shot in a light-blocking barrage which fell upon the city like rain.

An arrow bounced off Ecthon’s armor, then another, and another. He saw another horde of orcs swarming through the gate. At the same moment he saw Travin and Edroc lying dead near the gate, orc arrows protruding from their armor.

Ecthon snapped back into focus. The oncoming orc horde was nearly upon him. He slashed and sliced and parried, but the orcs were too much for him. First he was knocked to the ground by a sword hilt crushing his skull. Then another orc plunged a blade through his stomach. He was finally struck down when an orc ran up to him and decapitated him, sending his head flying a dozen yards away. It rolled up to Estrick, who was fighting off a contingent of orcs. He looked down and saw it, and immediately felt sick to his stomach.

“Retreat!” Estrick cried. “Ecthon hast been slain! Retreat! Retreat!”

After he struck down three more orcs, he shouted to his men, “Stay with me and fight, for today we bring revenge on the house of Vlakstad the Awful! Are you with me?”

“Yes, Sir Estrick!” they shouted back.

“Then fight! Fight for the fallen Ecthon, fight for Carad, fight for Roderia!” He shouted urging them on.

The broke through line after line of orcs as the villagers fled, falling by the orc blades. Some escaped, while the King’s men stayed and fought by the side of Estrick as valiant warriors.

“Hold your ground men!” Estrick shouted to the line of men, about twenty-five that had formed. “Today we fight for the house of Ecthon!”

They continued late into the night slaying orc after orc in the town square. Heaps of orcs lay dead in the streets, but only eight of the King’s men remained. Estrick was one of them, and exhausted as they were, he pushed them on.

Still more orcs had entered the gates, and were now lighting the surrounding huts and structures on fire. Estrick took no notice of this as another fell at his feet. Seven remained.

As dawn approached, three remained in the fight at the command of Estrick. They had decimated over three hudred orcs, and were surrounded by their corpses. Bleeding and depleted of strength, they knew the end was near.

Estrick plunged his bloodied sword into the gut of another orc, and pulled it out again in agony. His arm had been cut open by an orc, and he couldn’t bear it anymore. He put his sword into his left hand still striking down more orcs.

He heard a crunching sound. Thedoram had been slammed with an orc hilt on his head and was now lying on the ground, motionless. Estrick hewed the orcs head off with a swift slash and an angry shout. He was breathing more heavily now when he saw Vlakstad enter the gate. Bron charged at Vlakstad shouting curses as he went.

“Nay, Bron!” Estrick shouted as a sword plunged through Bron’s heart. He clutched his chest and fell to the ground, grunting.

“Thou shalt pay for this!” Estrick shouted, cursing under his breath. “The King will have thine head!” The orcs took no notice of this, however and one finally plunged him through the stomach. He fell to his knees and watched as an orc raised his sword to strike him down for good, but then he heard Vlakstad’s voice.

“Just a minute, Vrekked,” Vlakstad warned. “I’d like to speak with this one just a minute.” Estrick cast a hateful look at Vlakstad as he opened his mouth to speak.

“Go ahead and speak thine foul monster! I don’t care what thine blubbering, thou slayer of the innocent. Go back to the slimy hole from which you crawled at birth. Kill me, I don’t care. I fight for the King of Roderia.” He spat defiantly.

“This concerns me little,” Vlakstad replied calmly. “I could care less about thy King and thy realm. I plan to conquer it and kill thy King as well as anyone else who hinders me. Now, if thee could please excuse me, I have some work to do.”

“Like what?” Estrick shot back. “Killing more innocent people who deserve to live, while thou deservest to slowly rot in a dark, damp dungeon for the rest of thine mediocre life!”

“Since thou hast asked,” he said, “I plan to move on to the village of Regudan and slay all who inhabit it. I will make a fool of thine king and thine kingdom, and Roderia shall never again see the light of day.” He strode away, his back turned.

“Thou mayest kill him however thee likest,” Vlakstad said after a minute. “Thou art a stubborn son of a drunkard, and I shall have no more of his petty pleas and interruptions.” Vrekked, stepped up in front of him and raised his sword.

Suddenly, Estrick shouted loudly, and stood up with all the strength he could muster, and struck down Vrekked. Orcs attempted to take him down, but he would not be hindered. Estrick threw himself at Vlakstad and hewed off his head. As he was slaughtered mercilessly by the orcs of Vlakstad’s company, Vlakstad’s head rolled away and into the fire, unnoticed by the other orcs.

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