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by Del S

Chapter 1 (2007)
Chapter 2 (2007)
Chapter 3 (2007)
Chapter 4 (2007)
Chapter 5 (2007)
Chapter 6 (2007)
Chapter 7 (2007)
Chapter 8 (2007)

Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Madness

'Bromhead, for the god's sake, retreat! Your men's lives are not worth this madness!' The Warrior urged, having ensured the officer had run out of crockery.

'I thought you warriors were all about courage and hard headness, just like the army,' Bromhead responded. 'And anyway, Chard's in charge.'

'But these are your men! He's an engineer, he's too set in the ways of textbooks and mathematics to think in terms of reality!'

'I'm standing right here also.'

'I know. But either way, to stand here in the face of this horde is nothing short of madness!'



'So, you're sort of saying that this is blasphemy, that no man, Cornelian or Orc, would stand here in face of certain death? That this is madness?'

'I'm not standing in front of a well, am I?'


'Then yes, this is madness! Insanity! Not sensible! Illogical! Pointless! Barmy!'

'Yes, we get the point,' Chard said.

'So you'll listen to reason, retreat to the hills and engage them in ambush warfare?'

'You think it madness, but they threaten our entire country! This horde must be halted by someone, and you would have us flee and abandon the smaller villages in their path to destruction? Forget it, Warrior! This is our homeland, and we would rather die than see it burned!'

The Warrior fumed, and walked over to the other side of the defences. The other warriors apart from the Black Belt followed.

'Bromhead, Chard. You two have courage, for sure, but he speaks the truth. It is a fine line between bravery and madness, and few wish to walk such a tightrope. When it comes to it, what makes you certain your men will not see reality and flee?'

'Well, when I explain it all to them, they'll probably stay...' Chard said. Bromhead attempted to distance himself from the Engineer.


'So that's why we have to stand and fight here. Any questions?' Chard said, having explained the mission to his men.


'Yes, I imagine so, Sergeant Kelly,' Bromhead responded. 'You there,' he picked out a private.

'Is it true there's a place on a Goblin's head that if you hit it with an arrow, it'll explode?' Private Bauer enquired.


'Thank you, Corporal Allen.'

'Do you have any NCO's that don't shout?' The Black Mage asked.

'NO!' All responded.

'Not unless we promote Private Hook.'


'No, Sergeant Kelly.'


'Good gods, man, I'm right beside you, no need to shout!' Chard complained


'They can bloody hear you back in the palace, never mind the sodding back of the farm!'

'Anyway, bugger shouting for now, we are men of Cornelia, are we not? We've got red on us!' Bromhead pipped up.

The soldiers cheered.

'I say,' the Black Belt pipped up 'Didn't you say earlier we had three tonnes of gunpowder?'


In the end, it was decided they did not have enough stripes to sew onto Hook's jacket, but if he survived they'd recommend him for promotion.

The Goblins were charging once again, the last men who had been digging trenches 200 yards from the defences fleeing backwards past the lines of fuses. As the horde neared the trenches, the sparkles raced down the fuses towards them.

Had the Goblin attacking held an ounce of intelligence between them, they'd have noted every single soldier hid below any available cover and biscuit tins.

The fuses spluttered their path to the trenches as the horde began running over them. And then, the first fuse hit home.

A cloud of smoke and dust, hurling screaming goblins into the air, followed by further explosions. The gunpowder traps sliced vast holes in the goblin ranks, and the sheer surprise of the attack seemed to cause this wave to fall into disarray. The horde turned...

...but standing in their way was a Goblin so tall and muscular he was more of a very small Orc than a very big Goblin. Beside him, other Goblins of similar stature, but somewhat smaller, stood. The babbling horde turned around again.

'Oh bollocks, a Goblin Lord!' The warrior said, standing atop a large pile of sandbags.

'I say, Chard, where the hell did that huge pile of sandbags come from, and where's the outhouse?'

'Oh damn, we never told the men to stop walling the priest in.'


The horde neared. The arrows were released. The horde absorbed the casualties. Those who turned ran into their lord. They slowly advanced, attempting to retreat after each volley, only to turn again.

'Fire at will!' Bromhead yelled, as they reached 50 yards. Every crossbow turned to face a hapless private.

'I mean, fire freely at the goblins, you morons!'


'How can they do it?' The Warrior asked, standing beside his comrades as the Black Mage hurled magical energies at the horde.

'Do what?' The Black Belt asked.

'Simply stand here and face certain death.'

'Well, we're doing it, aren't we?' The Black Mage said.

'We aren't. We are destined to survive this. How can mere peasants who joined because there was a uniform and free food not wish to flee in the face of this?'

'Well, for starters, You've got to remember that these are just simple soldiers. These are people of patriotism. The common clay of Cornelia. You know...morons. Second, they have been doing well so far. This is the third attack and they've still not reached the walls proper.'

As if to disprove the point, a few goblins landed on the walls.

'They don't count, they were from the explosions earlier.'


The Goblins now milled a mere 25 yards from the walls, random arrows from their masses flying off wildly into nothing. The Cornelian fire however kept pouring in, even the most random of shots striking a target.

'Alrite, you filthy gobbos, quit yer screamin and chop dem 'umies!' Berkses screamed. An arrow flew towards his open mouth. The Goblin Lord simply ate it.


The 25 yards shrank in seconds, and Goblin spears were thrust forth. The Cornelian soldiers parried, and returned the favours with more precise and deadly sword blows. Then came the flyers.

Larger goblins hurled the smaller goblins from within the horde, screaming and flying through the air onto the defences. Most landed badly, on heads and soon-to-be-broken legs. Piles of Goblin bodies were made in front of the defenders, and a smaller pile behind as the airborne goblins landed violently, often on the spears of those already splattered onto the ground or onto the heads of those who lived. But even a Goblin Lord can tire of pointless death with no results, and he yelled the retreat.

Hundreds of Goblins lay dead, for barely a few cuts and bruises for the defenders.


'We should chase them!' a private shouted.

'We do that, lad, and they surround us and rip us apart. No, we stay here, we have our defences,' Bourne said.

Inside the hospital, the four defending soldiers were preparing loopholes in the walls facing the horde. Along the walls, the bodies of the goblin dead were being moved out to the 25 yard line to provide something for the goblins to fall on.

'If we can get enough of them, you know, we might just make the entire hundred yards impossible for them to run across!' Chard beamed.

'Except we have a slight problem, sah. We've only got a thousand arrows left,' Bourne announced. Chard swore.

'Even with recovered bolts?'

'Yes sah. Most of the shafts of the arrows get snapped when the horde tramples the bodies. And the goblin arrows are too inaccurate in our bows. Watch,' he said, aiming a goblin arrow in his bow, at a bird on a tree. The arrow flew directly upwards and shot down three others.

'Hmm, looks like those three seagulls got shafted, oho!'


'Oh come on sarge, that was smutty!'

'Shut it, Private Bauer!'
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy I
Version 6
©1997–2018 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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