Friday, 15 August 2008

Stand Aside, Soldier! Part II

A tale of power and pavement: Part II

(Part I was posted yesterday and can be found in the below post).

The second in a series of game-related short stories by Bacter

Roaring out of the woods in broad daylight, they were like something
out of a nightmare, fairytale creatures with many heads, the
shambling, walking dead, flying imps, and even a creature which
resembled nothing so much as a huge, moble mushroom. The castle
mustered all its soldiers, who looked at first splendid in their
shining armor. The creatures seemed to be endless, and all fought with
the ferocity of demons. Many soldiers had fallen, and the assault was
gradually wearing away at the castle. The only sleep the soldiers
could catch would be in the few minutes of silence when the monster
charge would stop- they seemed to come in waves. By now most of the
soldiers were injured, and dropped from exhaustion as soon as the last
monster lay slain.

In the highest tower of the castle, not far from where Clayton kept
watch, the king paced sharply. A collection of his most trusted
magical advisors were pouring over old tablets, murmuring over their
beards and robes at its ancient symbols. The king, an avid student of
history, was probably the person with the single greatest grasp on
what was happening in the kingdom, and he was terrified. The
aberrations, the wave-like nature of their attacks, the dark clouds…
all of it pointed to a repeat of the last great campaign, an era in
which the forces of darkness had nearly destroyed the kingdom. He
paced as his advisors struggled to translate the military records of
that ancient time, looking for the strategy that would cause them to
win. While he waited, he munched on one of the green mushrooms
provided for him by the local farmers. Completely unbeknownst to him,
one of his fallen solders on the battlefield suddenly started to life,
looked around, bewildered, then ran towards the castle at full speed.
The connection would never be recognized, unfortunately.

On the rooftop, Clayton's gaze drifted downwards as his eyelids grew
heavy. He was on the verge of falling into a dream, in which he was
with his family sitting down to a large feast, when he found he
couldn't take a bite. Everything smelled like the monsters, the smell
was choking him, he couldn't breathe. He fell backwards in the dream,
started to wakefulness, then almost fell over again. There had been
fierce attacks before, but this…. His eyes drifted around the field,
taking in platoon after platoon of monsters. They were doomed, surely.
He dully grabbed the rope and pulled, sounding the alarm bell.
Normally he would have raced downstairs to get his sword and head out,
but he stumbled down, as if in a dream. None of it would matter.

The alarm bell started the advisors and king. Peering out from the
door, he saw Clayton's hulking body moving towards the ready room, and
called out to the knight. Clayton dropped to one knee, gazing
downwards out of habit but the king bid him rise. His words were soft
now, instead of the forceful pomp of public occasions. "How bad is it,
my son?" "We've no chance, my lord. Their numbers are too great, and
they attack from all sides." The king let out a deep breath. "Well, I
suppose it had to be that way. Son, I need you to put down your sword
for today. It may be too late for us, but there is hope yet for the
kingdom." Clayton let out an involuntary laugh. "Hope? What hope?
Their numbers are beyond counting, their fierceness, their…" "Roads"
interrupted the king. "Pardon, m'lord?" "We need roads. Winding ones.
Roads no man would ever want to walk, roads so twisted it would take
hours to go a few hundred yards. That's how we'll win." Clayton gazed
steadily, trying to look for hints of madness in the kings eyes.
"They'll walk the roads, and we'll stand on the sides of them and
strike them down! You see, the creatures unique psychology…. Oh never
mind!" The king fumbled with a stack of papers, pressing them into
Clayton's hands. "Here, these are work orders for road builders and
pavement services throughout the kingdom. Now go, ride! Ride like the

The storm finally broke on the castle as Clayton rode away, a sack of
papers strapped to his back. He galloped away into the night as
silhouetted figures of lizards, zombies, and badgers stormed the
castle, shutting his eyes to the screams, listened instead to the
sound of the rain on his back, the horses hooves on the ground, and
the name of the brave heroes who would save the kingdom: Milburry and
Sons: Pavement experts. No job too large.

Today's post references the game Protector: Reclaiming the Throne.

1 comment:

Payton_Hayes said...

Good post Bacter. Just a few things you could do.

1) OK, it was a little tough to follow in the middle. It helps to make a new paragraph every time a different person speaks. That should help to follow the story.

2) If that (suggestion number 1) takes up too much space, make the thoughts more concise or a little more..........ugh, what is the word I am thinking of? Oh well, you get what I mean.

Other than that, a good post!