Out of the Darkness

This is part 2 from Friday’s post

Since the fall of Fort Haddoch, we have been fighting a losing war.  The land we acquired from out hard-fought conflict with the Normans are all but lost, as this ghost army and its cult of human followers snatch it from us.  Only our capital city is completely safe, thanks to the tireless efforts of our fighting men.

It was a cold spring during the first year of the war.  I was stationed at Gamling’s Hold.  The southern fortification had seen little action, but we were taking no chances.  Two thousand men—a pair battalions—were present, both at the garrison overlooking the falls and at the fort proper.  Gamling’s Hold was positioned in a wide valley beside the Singing River, a major artery to the capital.  If it fell, and with it the river, our country would be soon to follow.

We had few advantages against our enemy.  No weapon, forged of steel, could harm them.  Only the light of a full day could hold them back; they were powerless before the Sun.  In the day only the cultists could fight for them, and they fell like any other man.

At night we were in the most danger.  We had taken to burning great bonfires before our gates.  The heat and idle light seemed to keep them away.  But an army of soldiers gain no honor by burning wood, no will we free our people by hiding behind our nightlights.  We must fight, and at all costs find a way to drive back this unholy Ghost Legion.

I stood atop the gates of the Hold, peering into the night.  The rocky land of the valley rolled out before me, but even by the light of two bonfires I saw very little.

“You’re  not on duty at this late hour, Galair, are you?”  Lieutenant Brendil was climbing the steps to the wall.

“No,” I said.  ”But I cannot sleep while we wait for our enemy.”

“Sleep is what you need most,” he said.  ”You appear weary and drawn to my eyes.”

“Ah, I’ve looked this way since the day of my birth.”

“World-worn coming out of the womb, eh?”

A horn call reverberated from the heights.  It was coming from our tower at the river falls.  Brendil and I turned to look out from the wall.

“They see something we do not,” he said.

“The enemy approaches,” I said, “out of the darkness.”