This is one of my earlier works, a novel I started but never progressed with.
My simple question is .Did you enjoy it? and Do you want to see what happens next?
And if I do continue this I am confident it will be better as I like to this that 15 year old me is a better writer than 13 year old me
The warm summer sun slowly sank over the high stone walls of Remons Pass. And with it the hearts of the inhabitants also sank. Because for them the night signalled only death and despair. For the riders of the North had warned them of the army marching towards them, and showing no signs of stopping or turning aside. Now their only hope lay in the brave warriors of Burscan that had marched to defend them.
Leading the defence of the city was none other than Lord Agmund Brucus, possibly the finest warrior of the North. With him were 200 warriors from the Eastern Realm of Barscun, armed with bows, blades, spears and all other types of weapons.
Although he would never admit it Lord Brucus knew that very few of the men here would ever see the sunrise. He even doubted if he would himself. He took a deep breath as his serf lowered the Lord’s finely crafted helmet onto Agmund’s head. Brucus stood at 6ft and 3” and was a dominating figure no matter where he was, his skill with the sword known throughout the known world. But it was not just his skills in a fight that marked Lord Brucus out as a natural leader of men. It was his incredible tactics, his sound logic, his sharp mind and his ability to keep a clear head no matter how dire the circumstances.
But even he was beginning to lose his nerve. Ever since the reports of the approaching army had come to him he had wasted no haste in bringing a band of the finest warriors to help guard the city. That was before he discovered the army’s size. An army this size had not marched since the Mykar War.
And if the reports were to be believed this army had the ability to sweep aside any who stood in its path. This did not bode well for the chances off Remon’s Pass. Lord Brucus had wisely chosen to keep this information from the occupants of the city, deeming instead to share the information with only his most trusted Captains. They all knew that their chances of holding the army were quickly dwindling. All that remained to discover was to whom this army belonged, and for what purpose it was marching. But Lord Brucus knew it was hostile and it was coming this way. He suspected a return of the Dark King, but that was impossible. Wasn’t it?
Lord Brucus had a rider standing by to quickly deliver the message to the high citadel of Stath Alian. He knew it would be too late to save Remon’s Pass, but he hoped it would help the armies of Men mobilise to drive away this army.
As the sun fell a deathly silence fell over the city, and suddenly all could hear the steady drumming of score upon score of marching feet. The moment was coming. Remon Pass’ darkest, and perhaps last, hour.
As the sun continued to sink towards the horizon the army marched into view. It was colossal; wherever you looked you could make out the distant shapes of soldiers. And they were getting closer. Now the city truly realized the scale of the approaching army. Panic spread like wildfire through the city as people desperately attempted to escape their coming fate.
But Agmund was prepared for this and his soldiers stood at the exits, barring the way of the panicking citizens. There had never been any time to evacuate the population of Remon Pass; there had never been any time. The citizens began to throw themselves against the soldiers, desperately trying to escape the oncoming enemy.
Down at the main gates a farmer came at a soldier brandishing his pitchfork. The unfortunate soldier was forced to push back the farmer roughly. The farmer fell badly and his head contacted hard with the ground. As the people watched a pool of the deepest red began to flow out across the flagstones. With that the crowds turned hostile and before long more blood was spilled. Agmund saw this and quickly strode to the main gates.
As he approached a man came at him brandishing a knife in his right hand. With the fluentness that only few can achieve Agmund turned and took the man’s hand in a steel grip. As he applied more force the man screamed and fell to his knees. Everyone turned towards Agmund as the scream echoed across the streets. There were a few moments before recognition dawned. The citizens fell to their knees as the soldiers bowed their heads to their Lord.
“What is the meaning of this”
The citizens cowered under Agmund glare. But one of the soldiers stepped forward in their defence.
“Sorry My Lord, a mistake on our part, the people got the wrong idea. Won’t happen again Sir”
“You’re right, it won’t. Or heads will roll. At the moment we are about to be attacked and I, like my soldiers, have more important things to be doing. I trust these citizens will not attempt to leave the city, seeing as the enemy are almost at our walls. Soldiers, follow me.”
And with that Agmund turned and marched off, swiftly followed by his soldiers. The citizens quickly backed away from the gates and scurried into their homes. Agmund gathered his soldiers and headed for the walls, where his greatest friend and best captain, Orvar, awaited him.
With Orvar stood the ghost garrison of 20 soldiers that normally watched over Remon’s Pass in times of peace. These men were experienced archers and warriors, trained in the city. Yet these warriors were ever grateful of the army that had marched to reinforce them.
Orvar was a ranger, hailing from the Northern Realm of Fellior, and was exceptionally skilled with a bow, which was unusual for a male of that region.
Agmund looked out across the plain that Remon’s pass stood upon. The army was now only half a mile away from the wall at the most. It was now possible to make out individual figures.
It was what he had feared, Orcs, a race that had disappeared after their defeat in the Mykar war. In five minutes they would be upon the city. Agmund desperately scoured the approaching army for any sign of a banner or standard to give away the leader of this army. But there was nothing, no banner or standard of any kind flew over this army. Only score upon score of marching soldiers.
Agmund lowered his head in despair before initiating his brilliant tactical mind and positioning his troops. He lined the walls with archers and gave them as many arrows as were available. He then positioned the remaining archers within the courtyard just behind the wall. The rest of the soldiers stood ready on the walls, making their personal preparation for battle. Agmund spread his captains along the walls, knowing that if any man abandoned his post then the rest of the city would surely fall. Agmund himself stood with Orvar where he knew the enemy would hit hardest. As the enemy came just out of longbow range they drew to a halt.
A deathly silence settled over the plain as a single Orc moved forward. The Orc was big, even for an Orc, and it was obviously some kind of leader within the army. Next to Agmund, Orvar drew his longbow string and notched an arrow. The Orc reached inside his armour and drew out a folded flag.
Agmund held up his hand to stop Orvar from firing, eager to finally find the standard of the commander of the army. The Orc pulled the flag and held it high. As Agmund saw the insignia of the flag his heart fell. For emblazoned across the front of the red flag was a black crown. A symbol used only by the Dark King, the being that had led the Orcs in the Mykar war. This could only mean that he had returned, and was going to do it again. The first war had crippled the three Realms of men; little was left to oppose him if the Dark King truly was returning.
Realising the peril of the situation Orvar let fly his arrow. But somehow, with a reaction far too quick for an Orc, the large Orc moved in a blur and caught the arrow mid-flight. He snapped it with ease and roared in defiance. As he roared all the army followed his example and the noise was deafening. Agmund took a deep breath before reassuring his men. He signalled to a nearby soldier that was holding a finely crafted horn. The man nodded and put the horn to his lips. He blew and the shrill note echoed over the battlefield. As the note played long and loud, more horns across the walls joined in, blocking out the noise of the roar and filling the soldiers with renewed hope. Agmund smiled and knew that the fastest rider available was now dashing towards the citadel of Stath Alian with news of the return of the Dark King. But there was no time to worry about his safe journey. The battle had almost begun.
As the roar ended the Orcs moved aside and huge siege ladders were moved forward. The Orcs charged forward and Orvar roared the order and the archers on the walls let loose a volley of arrows that tore into the Orcish ranks. Every arrow cut into Orc flesh and hundreds of them fell to the ground.
But still more were coming; there was only time for one more volley before the ladders slammed onto the walls. Immediately the Orcs swarmed up the ladders towards the wall tops and hurled themselves over the ramparts. Orvar called the order again and the archers standing in the courtyards let loose their arrows, cutting down the Orcs at the walls. But still more pressed over and soon steel met steel upon the wall tops.
The warriors of Barscun charged forward and met with the Orcs with a mighty crash. Moonlight flashed off swords as soldiers from both sides were cut down by deadly swings. The men fought well but sheer numbers were pressing them back. In the heart of the maelstrom of battle stood Agmund, fighting with incredible skill. Agmund, even as he fought scores of Orcs, called encouragement to his troops and continued to control the tactics of his troops. But even Agmund skill could not win this day. For even as he watched Orcs broke through their lines and threw themselves into the archers standing in the courtyards. As he fought the soldiers to either side of him fell to the vicious blades of the Orcs.
Agmund grimaced as he cut another Orc down and in the moment of peace he looked around at the forces standing strong on the wall around him. All that remained was himself, Orvar, three garrison archers and four warriors of Burscan. There was now no hope. With a heavy heart Agmund called the retreat.
He turned himself and ran towards the city, Orvar and the remaining warriors were close behind him. They hurtled down the stairs and turned into the streets. As Agmund rounded the corner an Orc ran at him. Agmund stooped and slashed up with his sword. The Orc grunted as Agmund stood and smashed the Orc across the side of the head with his gauntleted fist. The Orc collapsed and Agmund brought his knee up into his chin. The Orc hit the ground hard and didn’t get up. Agmund had done all this without even breaking his stride.
As he righted himself another Orc charged him. There was no time to raise his sword and Agmund readied himself for death. But the Orc suddenly froze and an arrow seemed to appear in the Orcs throat. The Orc coughed before collapsing to the ground with a dribble of blood running down his chin. Agmund turned to see Orvar standing behind him, his bow still held high.
Agmund nodded his head in thanks before organizing his warriors. He put his remaining soldiers into a wedge formation. The warriors stood on the outside while the archers stood in the middle. Agmund placed himself at the point of the arrowhead and they set off at a jog. As they entered the main city another Orc ran out. Agmund smashed the Orc to the side and the soldier to his right sliced its stomach. One of the archers turned as they ran past and fired an arrow into the groaning body as they moved past. It didn’t groan any longer. Using these techniques they managed to reach the palace that stood at the heart of the city before the main Orc army caught up with them. They ran inside and threw shut the doors.
Agmund left his warriors waiting at the steps as he ran up the tower towards the beacon. He climbed the steps before stepping out into the cold night air. Next to him stood a huge beacon, already built in case of need in emergency. Agmund could not think of a worse emergency than this. He climbed up and turned the lamp over onto the fire. Instantly the straw caught and soon the entire thing was burning brightly. Agmund jumped from it to avoid being burnt and turned to the five jars that stood by the fire. He dug his hand into the far left pot and came out with a handful of green powder. He turned and with a roar threw the powder into the fire. In an instant the warm orange blaze was transformed into a ghostly green fire.
Agmund turned hoping to see the next beacon light, but his worse fears were confirmed when no fire sprang up on the nearby mountainside. The Orcs had taken the beacon, successfully cutting the city off from any help. Agmund now knew that were definitely doomed. When the Orcs reached the place in force then him and his soldiers would all fall to Orc blades.
As Agmund looked out across the city he saw the Orcs spreading through the city. In some places he saw the people of the city try and hold back the Orcs, but knives and pitchforks were no match for swords and arrows. The city was well and truly lost to the darkness.
But as Agmund stood upon the highest point of the city he saw a gleam of light on the horizon. Within minutes the sun was spilling over the hills to the east. But even as Agmund watched the sun rise he heard a mighty crash below him. He peered over the wall at the streets far below and saw with horror that the Orcs had reached the palace. Agmund ran as fast as possible down the steps to where Orvar and the rest awaited him. As he entered the main hall the great oak doors shook as a great force hit them. Orvar and the soldiers turned to Agmund as he approached with a look of panic in their eyes. But Agmund cool manner seemed to reassure them and they followed him to the doors. Agmund reached them just as another blow struck the door.
“What is that, Orvar” asked Agmund.
“Sir, we believe it is some kind of battering ram” replied Orvar.
“How long can the doors hold” asked Agmund, already planning his next move.
“If it continues like this, then only a few moments” Orvar told him.
“I say we hold the beacon tower. That way we can stop them using their
number to their advantage.”
“Very good, Sir” Orvar said as he saluted and signalled to the soldiers.
Agmund led Orvar and the others up the stairs till they reached the top of the tower. The fire still roared but it now was burning with an orange glow again. Agmund looked across the plain towards the sun. He was dead on his feet and parched with thirst, but he could show no weakness in front of his men. This was the time where they had to be strongest. Agmund turned and lined up with his men on the stairs.
“We can use the sun, stand with back to it and the Orcs will be blinded by it. Stand by me and we can still hold them! For the Burscan! For our families! And for our people!”
Agmund roared and his soldiers joined him in one last triumphant yell as far below them the gates crashed to the ground.
As the gates crashed to the ground a wave of Orcs charged in, finding no enemy’s nearby they paused before heading for the stairs. But a yell from behind them stopped them in their tracks. They turned nervously as their general walked in. He was still carrying the flag he had held high before these walls. He roared again and then spoke in the strange tongue of the Orcs. The Orcs cowered at his harsh words. He ran forward and lashed out at one of the Orcs. The Orc fell back but the general persisted. With a roar he drew his sword and cut the Orc down. He turned and roared before gathering the Orcs with bows and slowly heading up the stairs. He was closely followed by the rest of the Orcs as they sensed their next kill.
As the roar of Agmund died away they could all hear the steady marching of feet on the stairs. Agmund and the men around him braced for the battle but just as they were ready for contact the marching stopped.
Agmund tried to peer into the darkness when he heard the distinctive sound of a bowstring being pulled back and an arrow notched. Agmund suddenly realized the Orc plan but it was too late. Even as he called out and dived backwards the Orcs released their arrows.
A hail of arrows tore into the remaining warriors. Very few had realized what was happening and had tried to move. But even these men were cut down as the arrows tore through flesh and armour with ease. Only Agmund helmet saved him from being killed, that and the unlucky soldier that blocked the arrows that would have claimed Agmund’s life. As Agmund hit the floor an arrow smashed into his helmet, denting it beyond repair and cutting into Agmund forehead. As Agmund laid there the lifeless body of a ranger, with so many arrows in him he was like a human pincushion, fell onto Agmund.
As Agmund looked around he saw that only Orvar and one warrior still had life in them. Agmund stood up shakily, blood flowing down his face as he pushed the body from him and raised his sword. Orvar rose to his feet and raised his bow. As Agmund surveyed his and Orvar’s wounds he knew that they would both survive the wounds. It was the oncoming swarm of Orcs that he was worried about.
But as the last living warrior pulled himself up against a wall Agmund knew that this man would not survive his wounds. He had an arrow impaling his gut, another arrow stuck out from his thigh and he had a deep cut on his neck. He was as good as dead. But he could still swing a sword, until he died of blood loss at least. The soldier turned and shook his head. When he spoke it was in such a quiet whisper that Agmund had to lean in to make out his words.
“Run, I’ll try and hold them. You’ve got to survive.”
“But you’ll surely d….” started Orvar.
"The soldier interrupted him. “I know. Just go”
Agmund and Orvar nodded their heads with sorrow and tuned away as the soldier staggered over to the stairway. Now the drumming of feet was deafening. Agmund knew it was a matter of moments before the Orcs reached the tower top. It was now or never. Agmund ran to the side of the tower and looked down to the floor far below.
There, spread out in front of him was the lake that supplied the city with water. That was their only way out. Agmund called Orvar over and showed him. Although at first uncertain, his undying trust in Agmund soon expelled all fear from his mind. As Agmund and Orvar stepped back to prepare their run up the Orcs charged out onto the tower.
Initially blinded by the sun, the Orcs did not see the warrior’s blade cutting them down. Orvar raised his bow and begun firing arrows into the Orc mob. But soon the Orcs eyes adjusted and there was now no hope. Even as they watched the warrior was cut with a blade before two Orcs fell upon him.
Agmund turned, grabbed Orvar, and with a roar ran forward. He threw himself from the tower and hurtled towards the ground. It was at that moment Agmund realised just how far they were going to fall. They would surely die from the impact. But he trusted his instinct and spread his body in an attempt to slow down. As he looked across at Orvar he saw the ranger was firing arrows up and as Agmund glanced to the sky he saw the stupider Orcs had thrown themselves down after them.
As he watched, Orvar’s arrows tore into the Orcs flesh and their roaring stopped abruptly. Agmund yelled to Orvar as the last of the Orcs fell silent and Orvar turned. But the wind rushing past made it impossible to make out any words. He tried to tell Orvar to spread his body and Orvar nodded his head and followed Agmund’s example. Agmund realized the lake was quickly rushing towards them. But suddenly his vision went dark and he blacked out. He woke up just before impact; he had just enough time to look across at Orvars unconscious body before he smashed into the lakes surface like a ton of bricks. He blacked out instantly.
Agmund woke again as his feet touched the bottom of the lake. He gasped and in his panic he took a breath. He swallowed water and coughed. His left arm was agony and his forehead felt like it was on fire. But he managed to swim to the surface and drag himself to the shore. As he lay on the beach he dared to look at his left arm. He grimaced and instantly wished he hadn’t. His forearm was bent at an impossibly bent angle and he could glimpse his bone in his upper arm. His hand was crushed and bones sticking out through his fingers. As he lay there he realized his sword was still grasped in his right hand. He slowly forced himself to relax his fingers and the sword slid onto the sand.
It was at that moment that Agmund suddenly remembered his friend. He called Orvars name but there was no response. Agmund tried again but there was again no response. Agmund yelled and ran into the water. He jumped in and swam to down into the murky water. He swum down and down until he saw Orvars still body lying on the bottom of the lake. Scattered around him were the bodies of Orcs slain by his arrows. Agmund’s lungs were burning but he swam deeper to reach his friend. Agmund grabbed Orvar by the collar and dragged him to the surface. Agmund broke the surface, his lungs burning and his arm in agony. But he forced himself through the pain and swam, dragging Orvar behind him, to the shore. He rolled onto the sand and blacked out from the immense pain he was experiencing.
When Agmund woke he forced himself upright and looked around. He looked into the sky and saw it was still before midday. His head was burning and he raised his hand to it. But when he pulled away his hand he saw it was covered in his own blood. He groaned and looked around. He remembered throwing himself into the lake and, when he looked up at the tower, he could not believe him and Orvar had survived. Agmund spun around when he remembered his friend. He saw Orvar lying where Agmund had left him, lying in a pool of his own blood. Agmund ran to him and kneeled by his side. He tried to assess his injuries and instantly noticed his leg.
Orvar’s lower leg bone was sticking out from the flesh, snapped at about halfway up. He could clearly see Orvar’s knee cap through the flesh and his foot was twisted at an impossible angle. And it got worse as Agmund looked up. Agmund could see that four of Orvar’s ribs were broke. His shoulder blade was snapped and sticking out of his back. Orvar’s face was ruined. His cheekbone was sticking out and his jaw was twisted and cracked. Agmund knew Orvar was as good as dead but he could not just leave his greatest friend lying in the sand to die. Agmund lowered his head and could hear the distant rasp of Orvar’s breathing. Orvar did not have long left in this world. Agmund stood and lifted his friend and placed him over his shoulder.
Orvar unconsciously screamed in pain but Agmund blocked out the noise and staggered onwards away from the city. He climbed a hill before the pain overcame him and he collapsed to the ground. Orvar slipped from his shoulders and landed hard. Again Orvar screamed, but now Agmund had no strength to go on. As Agmund lay on the sand, watching his own blood drip onto the floor he finally gave up all hope. No help was coming and him and Orvar would soon be nothing more than skeleton’s in the sand. But as he let his head fall to the ground a shadow fell over him. He used his last strength to raise his head and to his surprise saw a tall man standing over him. The man had white hair and was wearing armour of shining silver. Agmund knew the hallucinations had begun. Then he blacked out.