Alright, this is going to be my last post for a while, so I’m going to do my best to bring this story to a meaningful conclusion. Hopefully it will be an enjoyable one, and hopefully you’ve enjoyed the story itself. As I’ve said, it’s very rough, and I’m really just writing it for fun at the moment, but hopefully its been enjoyable.
A wind stirred the still air as Bregda’s line started forward. Trees rustled and leaves whispered, and she could have sworn that they were whispering ‘run.’ As the earthborn advanced the drew up great walls of stone and mud before them, blocking the waves of black arrows that flew their way. The fireborn similarly blew out a wall of flame to cover their advance, incinerating arrows before they could find a mark, and flame and earth marched together before the Fada, covering her elite warriors from the enemies barrage. The Sgaithi continued to circle and harass the enemies lines, but with each pass their numbers dwindled and the effect their stones and arrows had was diminished until, finally, Bregda sent a messenger to call them back behind the lines.
Hrogar, Shelaich, and the other elders were full of advice, yammering this or that plan, but she ignored them all. The fall of the Famhairean danced before her minds eye. Of course, she knew that the giants could die, but not so easily. They had been her most destructive weapon, and they hadn’t made half the dent in the enemy lines that she’d wanted. She also worried what the ease with which they had been dispatched portended for the rest of her army. Fighting the dead was disturbing enough, but she had never expected the kind of warriors that had dispatched the Famhairean, and her mind reeled with possibilities.
However, the advance was begun and there was no reigning in the army now, at least not if she hoped to keep them together after the battle. Soon, the earth and fire born would be able to wreak their havok on the enemy, and all of her fit mystics would be in support, enhancing the powers of her army and enabling ever greater feats of elemental control.
As her rough line closed with the enemy this intensification began to manifest, great gouts of fire incinerated lines of skeletons, though the living warriors in the middle seemed to be somehow immune, and on the opposite side chasms opened in the earth to swallow rank upon rank of the dead. Earth turned to mud in other places at the lines of the dead started forward, slowing sections of the line and disrupting their formations, leaving the right flank lagging behind the rest of the army.
As the conflagration of elements smashed the enemy lines, her own soldiers charged, sweeping into the now disordered and disrupted skeletal forces in one great mass. However, the skeletons were not as affected by the elements as a living army might be. They showed no fear, were not disturbed or dismayed as skeletons around them were incinerated, and fought with the abandon of the dead. Simultaneously, wraiths seeped out of the ground, engulfing soldiers in their withering embrace. Though there weren’t many of them, they were ephemeral and she knew not what weapons could harm them.
In the middle of the battle her Fada faced off against the warriors who had annihilated the Famhairean. They danced together in a bloody fete, and though there were only a few of the enemy warriors, and over two hundred of her Fada, the battle seemed evenly matched. Even though the fifteen were surrounded, pressed on all sides, they moved with such swiftness, agility, and devastating accuracy that her own Fada were hard pressed to land a blow. However, slowly, the fell, though they took many Fada with them, and the battle seemed to turn. Her forces could not stop the wraiths in their midst, but they were few enough that they would not likely change the outcome of the battle.
Bregda hissed her relief. If all continued as it was going, though her Fada would be decimated, the battle would be won, then invaders thrown off from their shores, no more of her people would disappear in the night, loaded onto giant ships, and sent to where she could not guess. Then, the wind picked up.
Dark clouds blew in from the east, and a black mist rose from the ground across the field. Not far off she could hear the mystics screaming, screams of terror, anguish, and pain unlike any she had heard from a Baeg’dithi. And across the field of battle similar cries arose. The mist crept over everything, swallowing her army, and as they disappeared only their screams could be heard. Bregda stood, watching, listening as the elders of her clan fled into the forest behind her, and then she heard their screams as well. Walls of mist surrounded her small hill, but they did not encroach upon its borders. She stood, rooted to the ground as the screams faded into silence, but the black walls remained, imprisoning her with the promise of a horrible death.
She stood there for a long time, though how long she could not guess, trapped by the mist, even though she wanted to run, and then one of the invaders stepped from one wall, a male she thought, they it was hard to tell the difference. He was tall, with long golden hair and dark skin. Metal rings in an armor unlike anything she had ever seen clinked as he approached her, one hand rested on the curved sword at his side with the other dangled. However, it was his eyes that disturbed her the most. They were sad, not empty, but ancient and filled with a grief she could not imagine or even guess at. Those eyes appraised her for a moment, and then the man spoke in a soft voice, “Your people fought well. If my ship hadn’t arrived, you might have won.”
She stared him, silent. She wanted to speak, to ask questions, to scream, to curse, to threaten… she wanted to be fierce and strong, but she had no voice, no words. The man seemed to understand this, and he nodded. “You have my respect, warrior,” and in a flash his sword was in his hand, and she felt blood welling along her neck. For a moment she struggled to breathe, coughed out a mouthful of blood, and then the world tipped over. Bregda didn’t feel the impact as her body hit the ground. She stared up at the sky for a last, lingering moment, and then everything faded to black.