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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 7

Chapter 7: Fire!

Outside, the horde was continuing the relentless assault.

'Bromhead! Who are the three best shots with the crossbow?' Chard yelled across the din of battle.

'Baker, Bauer, and I suppose Hooky, but Hooky's still in the hospital!'

'The one that's on fire?'

'What other hospital is there?'

'Good point old boy! What's the plan anyway?'

'Three men on the church tower with crossbows to eliminate the larger goblins, throw the small ones into disarray!'

'Sounds workable, but we'd need a third man without Hooky. Watch yourself there,' Bromhead said, grabbing his own bow and shooting a distant Goblin archer, whose arrow clanged into the biscuit tin Card stood beside. Chard stared at it for a fleeting moment, then, after spearing a hapless goblin, resume the conversation.

'Bromhead, how about you be the third crossbowman?'

'And miss all this fun?' the other officer said, decapitating a goblin with a well placed sword strike.

'We'll see if that black mage has any magic left up his sleeve, get him to pick a few off if he does.'


As Bromhead and the two other archers made their way to the church tower, the black mage joined them, a few tricks literally left up his sleeve. Berkses himself stood atop a pile of his own dead troops, surveying the battle, and snacking on any arrows that came his way.

Meanwhile, the hospital was lit up by an explosion within...


Hooky swiped at the goblin, dispatching the screaming creature with ease. The next was not aflame, and had Hooky not ducked, the spear would have ended his heroic stand there and then. Hooky returned the favour with an increase degree of precision.

'Sarge! Come on, you mad bastard, get up and get out of here!'

'I am still your sergeant, Hook, hero of the hour elect or not!' Fourthwall yelled from his singeing bed.

'Oh, sorry, come on you mad bastard, Sarge.'

'Better. Anyway, I can't come, it changes fate.'

'What do you mean, Sarge?' Hooky asked, keeping a close eye on the flames and the hole, alert for any further goblin attempts to breach the room.

'Well, if I'm not here then what I see isn't true, is it?'

'What did you see then, Sarge?'

'You want to know?'


'Really sure about that?' Fourthwall pressed on


'Well, this bunk bed wot I am sitting on the top bunk of here, is going to collapse, I am going to give a scream of agony as the room suddenly bursts into flames, large quantities of which are going to be centred around this collapsing bed wot I am on right now, then you'll be forced back by the flames when that alcohol lamp over there explodes and sets the rest of the place on fire. Hang on a second, that sounds a bit painful-' Fourthwall said, but was interrupted by his vision being enacted to the letter with the exception that the exploding lamp BLEW Hooky out of the room.

Picking himself up in the thankfully not-yet-totally-on-fire corridor outside, he initially felt shock at the failure to rescue Fourthwall, before professionalism took hold of him. Then confusion at why such a small lantern had caused so huge an explosion. Shaking the thoughts from his head, he made for the door...


'Bloody hell, what was that?' Chard asked, having missed what had blew up. He turned in time to see the hospital finish it's explosion, and the door burst open to reveal a slightly singed Hooky burst forth, slicing apart a few goblins in his path before racing to the officer.

'Sorry to report we've lost the hospital, Sergeant Fourthwall and Private Fletcher, sah!'

'Yes, private, I noticed the first part,' Chard said. At that moment, the first crossbow and magical bolts spat forth from the church tower, picking off four of the goblin leaders.


'Dem humies is shootin' at us, boss!' a sergeant yelled as a captain beside him was shot down.

'Well, den, shoot back!' Berkses hollered, picking up two crossbows and firing wildly. Goblin archers took aim at the tower.


Despite the arrows clanging off the walls, the three soldiers and the mage kept their firing steady. The mage prepared the last of his magical energy in a large fire spell, hurled towards Berkses himself, as the archers returned fire to their goblin counterparts.

The fireball was loosed. If it killed the warlord there and then, it would end this battle. It sailed through the air...

...Berkses simply punched the bolt of energy with a feral scream, smashing the magics into the air and immolating the goblins surrounding him for twenty yards. At the middle of the carnage, he stood without even scorched eyebrows.

An arrow then went through his ear, and the goblin lord howled with rage. Screaming a fearsome warcry, a dozen captains and twice that many sergeants leapt from the horde and joined on their boss. The warlord and his bodyguard charged forth...


'I think we made him angry,' Chard said, as the warlord smashed through his own ranks to reach the human defenders. Chard shouted to form a shield wall facing the oncoming elites.

However, the horde had fallen in number here, only a few dozen remaining goblins alive, and these began to flee. Berkses was mere seconds from slamming into the defenders, when he noticed this.

'CRAP! Back to da hill! Wez not got enough 'ta stomp 'em just yet!'

The entire goblin force still within the walls turned and ran.

'After them to the outer wall, men! Cut down as many sergeants and captains as possible!' Bromhead screamed, vaulting the wall first. He turned to his men quickly.

Today, no Cornelian dies!'.

'Sah, we already lost six men this morning building the bridge and the road, plus about four on the walls so far, and at least two from the hospital!' Bourne pointed out

'...No one else then. Now move your arses!'


The sun was setting, as the men hurriedly reinforced the central keep with what debris they could spare from the largely destroyed outer wall.

'We should be ready for night attacks. The fire will attract the goblins,' The Warrior said. He'd managed to do his part, though he had discovered that he had claimed less Goblins than Private Hooky.

'How many did we lose today?' Bromhead enquired.

'Casualties were light. We've patched up about twenty wounded men, and we've only had nine killed today, three of them in the hospital,' Bourne replied.

'Three?' Chard asked. He'd known only of two.

'Jones dragged a man out, sah, the man died an hour ago.'

Chard stayed silent for a few moments. The others did too, the sounds of the burning hospital crackling seemingly all there was in the world.

'The horde nears breaking point, though. That charge by their warlord showed it. As their numbers fall, the larger ones grown more aggressive. When they reach about a quarter of the original force, they flee,' The Black Belt said, breaking the silence.

'But if their lord falls...' Bromhead said, his statement hanging in the air.

'It breaks them. But magic has little effect, and anyway, without rest, the mages are unable to help us,' The Warrior pointed out.

'Then I suppose we're back to the traditional ways of the Cornelian army. Blood and steel. As night falls, we'd just waste what few arrows we have so we'll be having to take a few stabs in the dark instead.'

'I suppose so,' the light warrior agreed.

The whooping from the hills indicated the first attack of the evening was coming.

'Tell the men to get ready, Sergeant Bourne, we're in for one wild night,' Chard said grimly, readying his crossbow.
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy I
Version 6
©1997–2019 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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