The sun had already started setting when the caravan and escorting soldiers crossed a small river that was at the bottom of a large hill.
At the top of the hill sat the outpost fort. The torches held by the guards walking on the fort’s walls shone like beacons in the night, guiding the caravan in the correct direction.
They quickly ascended the hill and when they reached the fort, they stopped in front of the gates.
The outpost was stationed with a small unit of guards to keep the fort in working order for use by the army or any noble that was traveling by.
The fort wasn't made for military use. It was only built as a rest stop, so its stone walls were only six feet high and its entrance was a sturdy enough double wooden gate. This was enough to keep out unwanted guests or animals.
“Who goes there? Why is it that you're showing up here so late?” shouted a guard from the top of the wall, while looking down at the people below.
“I am Rodger, the commanding officer of the escort for this caravan. We are heading to the Marsen Castle. Can we stay the night?” asked Rodger.
“I suppose. Open the gate!” shouted the soldier.
The gate was unlocked and slowly opened just wide enough to allow Akira and the rest of the caravan to enter the fort and seek refuge for the night.
There were only a few buildings inside the fort. They were built as part of the wall. The rest of the space was open ground available for use by visitors to put up tents.
After Rodger had sorted out where to place the tents for everyone, he left to talk to the commander of the outpost.
Akira sat down next to Grand, who was starting a fire to cook their dinner.
After the fire was started, Akira asked, “Do you mind if I cook the rations?”
“Go right ahead, not much you can do with the stuff we were given,” said Grand.
Akira began to prepare the meal and a short time later, he had a tasty smelling soup bubbling in the iron pot that hung over the fire.
Rodger came back to the campfire after he had finished talking with the fort commander.
“Sorry, Akira, but later tonight you and a few others have to join the late night watch on the walls. It seems like the fort garrison wanted a night off, so they agreed to not bother us if we take over the late night shift,” said Rodger.
“It really doesn't matter. I'm not that tired right now so I can handle it,” said Akira.
“If you would like, I can join you,” said Rodger.
“No, you're the commanding officer now. You need your rest so you can make decisions clearly,” said Akira.
“Well, I hope you won't deny this old man from keeping you company,” said Grand.
“Don't you also need sleep, old timer?” joked Akira.
“I'm not that old to the extent that I need to sleep half the day away,” retorted Grand.
“Well, if you excuse me, I’ll go and do as you suggested and get some rest. The night shift starts in a few hours. So get some rest while you can,” said Rodger before leaving.
“I guess, I too will get some rest. I'll see you in a few hours,” said Grand.
Akira stayed seated and stared into the bright fire. He became lost in his thoughts about the day’s wild events.
Time passed by quickly without Akira noticing it.
Akira looked up from the fire due to the fort being extremely quiet. Looking around, he noticed he was the only one awake among the tired soldiers. The only people awake were those patrolling the walls.
Akira stood up and began to stretch out his sore body in order to be ready for the night watch. He slowly walked up the stairs to the top of the fort’s walls.
The sound of wolves' howls could be heard in the distance. Loud snarls and yelps of pain could occasionally be heard in the distance.
Akira noticed Grand was already here looking off into the dark, where the sounds of the wolves’ fight was coming from.
“How long have they been fighting out there?” asked Akira.
“Twenty to thirty minutes. The fight seems to be getting closer, the sounds have gotten fiercer and louder as they get closer,” said Grand, still staring intently into the darkness.
As soon as he finished talking, a loud howl could be heard. The sound of the wolves' battle abruptly ended, causing a chill to run down Akira's back.
“How unfortunate. It seems whatever they were fighting was able to cause them to retreat. It looks like we will be entertaining some unwanted guests tonight,” said Grand.
Another soldier on watch noticed movement in the distance. Akira watched as the soldier pulled out his bow and an arrow with a rag tied onto the front. He lit the rag with a nearby torch and with swift, practiced hands, nocked the burning arrow and pulled the string back and then sent the arrow flying.
The arrow lit up the surroundings outside the fort as it flew in an arc through the dark sky.
Akira was able to see a group of wolves that were running away from something as the light passed over them. In the brief glimpse, he was able to notice that the wolves were far larger than any normal wolf he had ever seen before.
As the arrow continued its flight, another large group of slow-moving bodies of different races, including some monsters of different shapes and sizes.
A few skeletons could be seen walking alongside them before the arrow passed and landed into the river, extinguishing the fire.
The guard who was stationed near the fort’s alarm bell began to pull the rope to sound the alarm warning of the approaching enemy.
Dong! Dong! Dong!
“Enemy forces have appeared near the woods!” shouted the soldier while pulling bell’s rope.
The people inside the fort were all groggily scrambling to put on their armor and weapons.
“Secure the gates. Man the walls,” shouted the commander of the fort, while buckling his sword belt as he walked up the steps to the top of the wall.
He joined Akira and Grand on the wall. Rodger was only a few seconds behind him.
“What the hell is going on?” asked the fort commander.
“Those damned mutts causing me problems. When I'm finished here, I'll go hunt them down,” said a male voice that came from a hidden figure in a long flowing black robe.
“Our orders were not to go and play with them, master Bonestringer. We have to crush the target now before it's too late,” said a young female voice from a figure who was dressed in a similar robe.
“Still, why do I have to waste a large portion of my forces that I have been growing for over a few years? Those bastards, who do they think...” complained Bonestringer before being cut off.
“I wouldn't talk badly about the heads, if I were you, Master. They have ways of knowing. It would be better to keep it to yourself,” said the young female.
A second flaming arrow flew over the front of the undead army, lighting up the undead in the front of the army for a few seconds.
Bonstringer and his Apprentice were controlling the undead army from the rear.
“You sure are rude, Tibia. Since when is it ok to back talk to your master? Anyway, if those damned mutts hadn't interfered, we would have taken them by surprise,” complained Bonestringer.
“Well, there's no use crying over spilled milk. They may know we are here but they won't be able to do anything about it,” said Tibia, causing Bonestringer to laugh with glee.
“Right you are. There is no way they will beat us. When we finish, we’ll be able to move up in rank, you might be able to become a low-rank officer,” said Bonestringer.
“Let's get this over with. FORWARD, ATTACK THAT FORT LEAVE NONE ALIVE!” shouted Tibia, commanding the forces to start the attack.
“Quickly! I need two people to go and alert any nearby allies and warn the Marsen Castle of the attack. We will try to hold out until the reinforcements arrive,” said the fort commander, while looking at Rodger.
Rodger picked out two soldiers for the job. They normally worked as scouts so they were perfect for the job.
After receiving their orders, they quickly rode through the gates while urging their horses to go faster to escape the oncoming undead army.
“Everyone, to your assigned positions. Archer, send another fire arrow over the undead to get their position,” ordered the fort commander.
An arrow quickly flew into the distance and revealed the undead for a few seconds before landing into the river. In the brief moment, they were able to see the position of the enemy and see that they had started to move faster towards the fort.
“Light the campfires!” ordered the commander. Archers on each of the four walls lit an arrow and shot it towards fire pits in front of the fort. The wood immediately started to burn without releasing any smoke.
The area around the fort was lit up like it was the middle of the day.
“This is crazy, why are there so many undead here?” asked Rodger before leaving to go take command of the west wall.
Akira and Grand had been ordered to take command of the right wall after Rodger suggested the idea to the fort commander. The fort commander was controlling the fight from the front wall above the gates.
“Well, at least we'll be able to see things clearly for a few hours,” said Akira, looking at the bright side of things.
When Akira reached the middle of the right side’s fort wall, he gathered the attention of everyone around him.
“It seems that an undead army wants to fight us for some unknown reason. I know most of us already fought a few battles today. But we have to hold out until either we kill them all or reinforcements can reach us. Archers, you are to shoot them as soon as you can see a target. Everyone else, we are to keep them off the walls and out of the fort. Ready yourself men! The enemy is coming,” shouted Akira.
The soldiers and archers near him gave a shout, “For the kingdom!”
Not long after Akira’s speech, the enemy hurtled out of the darkness, charging towards the walls of the fort.
Arrows started flying through the air, hitting the undead. The arrows seemed ineffective, just wounding the undead and not slowing them down. Some arrows succeeded in critical hits to the heads of skeletons, causing them to instantly die.
From what Akira could see, the undead army was made up of a majority of skeletons and few monster zombies.
Some of the undead at the front of the charging mass was either pushed or fell into the fire pits in the front of the fort walls. They began burning fiercely.
“See if you can light them on fire with burning arrows,” Akira shouted to the archers.
The undead were nearly at the wall. With quick fingers, the archers were able to get off two volleys of burning arrows, hitting the dry undead causing them to light up like torches.
The burning undead still moved forward as if nothing happened, bumping into other undead and causing a chain reaction of fire, causing the fire to leap from one undead to another.
The fire was slowly draining away their vitality until the charred black bodies and bones of the undead that were on fire collapsed from being completely cooked well done.
It was only a small portion that had been lit on fire but it was effective.
Seconds later, the undead swarm reached the wall and started to bang on the wall with their fists, while others climbed on top of other undead to reach for the people on top of the short wall.
“Swordsman and spearmen, it's our turn to hold them back. Do not let them get over the wall! Archers, thin out as many as you can with burning arrows,” commanded Akira.
Akira stepped forward while unsheathing his sword. He swung his sword to the left and crushed the skeleton’s head that had appeared in front of him, causing the rest of its bones to rain down on the undead under it.
In the first few minutes of the fight, some of the soldiers were dragged off the wall and killed.
“Support each other. Don't get too close to the edge where they will be able to pull you off the wall,” shouted Akira.
The fight on top of wall continued for over an hour.
The large mass of moving undead seemed to be less than before.
“Damn them. Why are they forcing me to use everything? This will put a large dent in my future plans,” complained Bonestringer.
“It can't be helped. They seem to be stronger than we had expected,” said Tibia.
Bonstringer and Tibia both turned to look at two giant undead zombies standing behind them.
“Cheh...such a waste. You two go and tear down the fort's walls,” ordered Bonestringer.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
The sound of something large could be heard heading towards the wall Akira was standing on.
“Everyone, something is coming. Get ready for it!” shouted Akira.
Two large undead giants entered the light of the dying fire, moving across a large distance quickly with their long legs. One of the Giants ran off towards the front gate while the other was headed for the wall Akira was on.
As the giant undead moved towards the walls, they kicked and stepped on any undead that was in their way, killing them instantly.
The wall under Akira’s feet shook from the giant slamming its body into the wall, causing many people to lose their footing and fall down. Akira watched as an unlucky archer fell off the wall and into the mob of undead at the bottom of the wall, instantly being torn apart.
“Regroup! Focus on keeping the undead off the wall! I'll take care of the Giant,” ordered Akira.
He ran towards the giant that was slowly tearing the wall apart little by little. Grand followed behind him, ready to support him as he had all night.
When Akira reached the Giant, he was at the same height while standing on the wall.
Akira stabbed his sword at the giant’s left eye to get its attention. The attack landed and sank deep into the large eye. He quickly pulled out his sword along with a good chunk of the giant’s eye.
“GWAARRRR!” roared the enraged giant as he looked with his one good eye to find the culprit that had attacked him.
When he found Akira standing near him, he swung his large fist at Akira.
The fist was blocked by Akira's shield. The force of the attack shook his body to the core and forced him down as if it was trying to flatten him.
Grand leaped forward for a counterattack from the other side of the giant and stabbed his only remaining eye, and then quickly retreated.
“GWAARRRRR!” the blinded undead giant began to go on a rampage, blindly swinging his arms around and kicking wildly, killing anything it hit whether it was friend or foe.
Akira nimbly jumped onto the giant’s shoulder and began repeatedly stabbing at the giant’s neck, trying to hack off its head.
Then both giant's arms came swinging towards Akira, he dodged a fist by jumping off the shoulder of the giant to retreat back to the wall. But he was hit by the giant’s second fist while he was still in the air, which sent him flying into the fort and falling onto one of the wagons.
Grand threw a torch at the giant and he began to burn.
The undead giant continued to go on its rampage but now its attacks were doing more damage to its undead allies than to the soldiers or the wall.
It finally stopped moving a few minutes later and fell forward, crushing undead under its completely charred black body.
“It will be dawn soon. We have to leave and go report our failure to the heads,” said Tibia.
“These damned undead can't even do a simple job. This has all been a big waste of time. My army has all gone up in smoke, damn them all,” complained Bonestringer as they swiftly retreated, fading into the darkness.
The fight against the undead was slowly dying down as the sun began to rise. It was partly due to the sun weakening the undead, making them easier to kill and the endless swarm finally stopped.
Akira killed the last undead that was trying to get onto the broken remains of the wall he was standing on.
Looking around, he saw the number of soldiers had dwindled greatly. Many had been either killed or wounded from the night’s battle.
Akira sat down and let out a loud, tired sigh, he was exhausted.
“Finally, the fight is done,” said Akira.
“You fought well,” said Grand, sitting down next to him.
“For an old scribe, you aren't too bad yourself,” replied Akira.
Dong! Dong! Dong!
“What now?” asked Akira as both he and Grand stood back up on their tired legs.
“Something is heading our way! It's kicking up a large amount of dust. Unknown if it is friend or foe,” shouted a voice from the watchtower.
thanks for reading.