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Battle Report Contest Honorable Mention - Never Forget

Gabriel
Ithaca, New York, United States

The silver blade sliced through the air, only to be parried and riposted, slicing a long, bloody line along his opponent’s chest. He knew that he had the advantage now, and only had to close home to victory. He raised his arm to strike a gash into the fresh wound, but instead of striking home he was rocked to the dust as the man’s tall shield bashed him off of his feet. Feeling the numbness in his sword arm, he looked up with defiance into his enemy’s steely grey eyes. As the man pointed the tip of his sword at his throat, he spoke, “We must all pass the test of defeat before we can rise to true greatness. Victory would taste like ashes if you didn’t know bitter loss first. Never forget the taste of defeat. Now rise, son, and bring me a bandage before I bleed to death!” Grasping his father’s forearm, he struggled to his feet, helping his father to the house.

His guildmate grabbed his shoulder, snapping him out of his reverie. He looked up to see the enemy thief unlocking the gate, and the rest of the enemy guild flooding through the breach. A call of “Charge!” rang out in an unfamiliar voice and the battle was on. Drawing his butterfly sword from it’s sheathe, he cried “Watch yourself!” bolstering all that could hear him. Settling into Bonetti’s defense, he watched as the first enemy warrior charged up the stairs straight for him. With rage in his eyes, the enemy raised his hammer high and brought it down in a staggering blow. Raising his sword to parry the attack, sparks flew from the blade and he in turn attacked with one hundred blades, but the attacks merely deflected off of the tough platemail cuirass. His enemy struck a sudden brutal blow, knocking him to the ground. Remembering his last training session with his father, he realized that this time there would be no mercy on him, this defeat would be final. He would always remember the image, seared into his mind, of the warrior with hammer stretched high, about to bring a crushing, killing blow down upon him.

Suddenly a meteor streaked through the darkening sky, crashing into his attacker and knocking him tumbling down the stairs. Sprinting down to his fallen enemy, his sword turned into a flurry of attacks slicing his foe up and down his sides and chest. Riposting an attempted desperation blow, he knew victory was at hand. The distant sound of battle drums beat louder and louder in his ears as rage and adrenaline rose in his skull. With fear in his eyes, the once-mighty enemy desperately tried to use his healing signet, his only chance of survival. Seizing his opportunity, our hero struck a final thrust, piercing the center of the platemail, and killing his foe.

Wiping the blood from his blade, he quickly turning to survey the battle, and realized that his guildmates had not fared as well as he. The Hall’s rangers were lying dead on the floor, and his party members were in desperate fights for their lives, or running towards the guild lord. He too sprinted up the stairs to his lord, if he was killed all was lost! Looking back down the stairway, he saw two enemy warriors rising from dead victims, and a ranger’s arrow pierce the back of a fleeing friend. His party’s monk, pinned down by the ranger, struggled for the stairs, but already he knew there was no chance of him surviving to reach the guild lord. An enemy necromancer-warrior sprinted to the monk, and raising his battle axe struck a brutal cleave into the center of his back. The necromancer looked up from the fresh kill, and with teeth bared bent to feast on the corpse of the fallen healer. Rising from the body and slinging his axe over his shoulder, the surviving warrior and ranger flanked him, the last members of their guild.

Feeling the gauntleted hand of his guild lord grasp his shoulder, he knew that only he and his lord remained to defeat these three rivals. Together they raised their swords and charged the necromancer, their swords blurring in the evening air. The enemy warrior counter attacked, only to be struck by a deadly riposte, followed by a gash that struck true in the bloody wound. Leaving his lord to deal with the necromancer, he felt the thrill of victory revitalize him as he struck the final blow to slay the warrior.

Suddenly an arrow pierced his calf, and he fell to his knees as pain shot up his leg. Struggling to his feet, he limped towards his lord, determined to help him kill the necromancer. Arrows pierced his lord’s armor, and even as they fought the necromancer was siphoning away his strength. A feeling of desperate futility seized him, he could not reach his lord before the necromancer brought down a penetrating blow to breach his mail. Stretching his arm nearly out of its socket, he managed to swipe a distracting blow, drawing the enemy’s attention just long enough for his lord to drive a killing blow into the necromancer’s chest. Looking now to the ranger, the masked hunter notched an arrow aimed not at him, but at his guild lord. Together they raced to the archer, but just as they reached him and raised their swords to strike, the ranger released a final hunter’s shot into his lord’s chest. Together they brought their blades down, felling the ranger where he stood.

Suddenly weary, he felt the fire of battle leave him; looking to his lord, he watched him pull his hand from the hunter’s arrow, slicked with blood. As his lord fell to his knees, the warrior knelt with him, holding him upright. His lord looked to him, and spoke: “Never forget.” As the light left his eyes, the warrior knelt his head and through welling tears whispered “I will never forget you, Father.”