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Join date : 2008-06-14
Location : South-East England

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PostSubject: The Last Man Standing   The Last Man Standing Icon_minitimeSun Jun 15, 2008 6:50 pm

Three days past, on the road to Bree, near the Vale of Andrath

Dust stung the back of Linronds throat, causing him to half-choke as he marched, blindly following the pack and cloak of the man in front. Everything seemed to annoy him. The leather thong which gathered his hair at the bottom of his skull scraped and rubbed at his sweat-soaked neck. The leather strap from which his shield hung, had long ago rubbed his shoulder raw, the tender flesh chaffed painfully.
His pack, filled with rations, cut into his shoulders, the weight making him lean forward, to try and give his shoulders some relief from the burden, but it made his back ache even more.
The canteen at his hip bashed and banged into him, making him swear in the musty heat.
He spat, dry-mouthed, as the man in front of him came to a halt, and he stopped also. The shout to drop packs came down the small column as the eighteen men, Sergeant and the Officer uncorked their canteens and raised them to their dry, cracked lips.
Linrond shifted his shield strap, then poured the warm liquid into his mouth, the feel of it running down his throat causing him to half-choke. Damn the heat, damn the march and damn it all.
He corked the canteen, and hung it over his shoulder, feeling it fall into place against his bruised hip, as the first arrows flew at the group.

Shields! The Officers cry came too late for two of the soldiers, as one arrow tore open a young soldiers throat, while the second soldier was hit by a hammer of a blow as the arrow punched clean through the chainmail, leather, cloth and through skin and bone. He was dead before his body hit the ground.
Strapping his shield to his arm, Linrond desperately wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead. WHACK! His shield jolted as an arrow cracked into the wood, the shaft protruding at an odd angle. Staggering from the shock of the blow, he looked over his shoulder to where the other soldiers had formed a circle around their commander, and Linrond backed his ways towards them.
A scream rent the air as another arrow found its target, who crashed to the ground in a cacophony of mail and wood.
The circle jostled as Linrond forced his way into it, his shield reverberating as another blow shook it, numbing his forearm for a moment. The other soldiers had drawn their swords, but Linrond left his in his scabbard. Let the buggers show themselves first he thought No point tiring myself out yet.
At the Officers command the circle edged its way up the road, arrow after arrow smacking into shields, glancing off of helms, or skidding into the dusty road, throwing up more dust choking the soldiers and clouding their vision.
Linrond spat, dry mouthed, as another soldier went down, the arrow in his leg. Keeping his shield up, Linrond could only watch as the circle, slowly decreasing in size, edged painfully slowly along the road. The soldier on the ground began to crawl towards them, when three arrows appeared as if by magic, to crash into the soldiers body. CRACK...SMACK! Two arrows bashed into his shield, forcing his arm wide for a moment, another arrow slicing into to cut into his neighbours arm, who hissed in pain. Instantly Linrond closed the gap, as further round the circle, another soldier's head was smashed apart as one of the black-feathered arrows hit him in the eye.
A last volley of arrows flew into the afternoon sky, as a great howl and cry rent the air, a tide of Goblins rushing from the tree's, charging at the small formation.
Flexing his hand, Linrond reached for the swords hilt, felt it through his glove and drew the polished blade free of the fleece lined scabbard. He braced himself, shield ready, swords point peering round the side of the wooden barrier.
His breathing slowed, as he felt the pang of fear well up in his stomach. The Goblin's were closing...closer...fifteen paces...ten...five... He ducked his head behind his shield as the Sergeants shout rose above the Goblins cries.
"Shields! Step!" As one, the Gondorian soldiers punched their shields outwards. Linrond felt something crash into his, the jolt running up his arm, as he instinctively pulled the shield back and stabbed with his sword. It struck something fleshy, he twisted it, yanked it free, lifted his shield towards a raised axe, felt it strike hard and stabbed hard and fast with his own blade. Jerking his head left, then right, he stepped back into the formation. The air was filled with cries, shouts, cheers, screams, wood on metal, metal on flesh, the cacophony of battle. Linronds world became his sword, shield and the automatic drill; punch with the shield, stab with the sword, punch with the shield, stab, punch, stab, punch.
A movement out of the corner of his eye and his neighbour went down, exposing Linrond. He stepped back, his foot colliding with another corpse, and he flailed for balance with his sword, and crashed into the ground. He rammed his eyes shut and waited for the killing blow. Let it be quick, let it end quickly, please.

Silence. For what seemed an eternity...silence.

He opened an eye, the clear blue sky above him. He opened the second eye. More sky, though with a touch of cloud to the Eas-...He sat up and looked desperatly around him. The Goblin's had gone, but the arrows flew still, but to his left. Pushing himself to his feet, his sight was filled with the vision of corpses, Goblin and Man, and he vomited, nothing coming up. Gasping for air he saw the arrows still fell.
He turned. He ran. North, towards Bree.
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