Crumbling Walls

Pacing the wall, Tarian stopped when he came to a destroyed section. He ran his fingers along the new edge and looked towards the boulder that ripped through the wall. Thankfully the men stationed there saw the massive rock hurtling towards them. And managed to get out of the way of the boulder as it tore through the wall. Shaking his head, Tarian returned his attention to the massing ranks of monsters. Blinking at the what he thought was a moving tree Tarian’s shoulder’s slumped. He pulled out his telescope and searched for answers. As he followed the steady stream of creatures, he came to the biggest troll he’d seen.

He spun around and barked an order, “I want the five best marksmen we have.”

The soldier nodded and ran to find the marksmen. Sherry stepped towards Tarian placing a hand on the man’s shoulder. “What is it now?”

“They are massing for another charge.” Tarian replied as he brought the telescope up to his eye.

“Lloyd are you there?” Tarian asked as he watched the massive creature direct the milling monsters.

“No,” Sherry answered.

“Go get him, I need to talk with him,” Tarian ordered.

“Yes, sir,” Sherry chirped as she left to collect the quartermaster.

Tarian lowered the telescope and glanced at the defenders manning the wall. Each set of eyes declared the dejection each defender felt. Tarian knew that without assistance they wouldn’t be able to hold the wall. Tarian swallowed a lump and offered a silent prayer that Caleb and Keldon would be able to bring help. As he stared into the deadly mass of creatures someone tapped his shoulder. “You wanted to see me Tarian?”

Turning his head to look behind him Tarian weakly smiled at Lloyd. “How many missiles do we have left; I don’t think you ever gave me a firm number.”

“Your right I didn’t, but you’ve already fired three.”

“How many do we have left, Lloyd?”

Lloyd bit at his lower lip before he answered. “If you need something, I think we might be able to scrape one more together.”

“Do it,” Tarian replied with a grim expression tattooed on his face.

“Hold on, it’ll require us to rip up a lot of our equipment. If we do this, we won’t have much left.” Lloyd said as he looked back to the main building.

Tarian put his hands-on Lloyd’s shoulders. With a firm squeeze, he countered the quartermaster’s objection. “I understand Lloyd, but if we don’t buy the time we need for help to arrive, we won’t survive long enough for it to matter.”

“What are they doing now?”

“They’re massing for another assault.”

Lloyd took the telescope from Tarian’s hand and examined the horde. “That’s one gigantic troll.”

“I’ve already called for some marksmen to remove that threat. But that might not give us the time we need.”

The quartermaster nodded his head as he handed the telescope back to Tarian. “Let me figure out what we can do?”

“Good,” Tarian replied. As Lloyd left to find the materials he needed for one last missile, Tarian looked to Sherry. “Do you know what’s keeping the marksmen?”

“I saw Adler with three men when I grabbed Lloyd, so he should be here soon.” Sylvia said as she walked towards the crumbling wall. “Do you think we’ll be able to survive?”

Tarian shook his head and as he raised the scope to his eye and studied the massive troll. “I need those marksmen right now, Sherry.”

“Let me see what I can do, Tarian.”

Spinning to call out to her Tarian shouted, “That troll is about ready to start his assault!”

Sherry waved an acknowledgment as she flew down the stairs. Tarian closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath to steady his fraying nerves. When he opened his eyes, he saw Sherry leading four men towards him. “Adler is still searching for the fifth marksmen.”

“They will have to do.” Tarian said as he gestured for them to hurry up. “I need you four to take out that massive troll or they’re going to assault, and we won’t be able to break it.”

The four marksmen nodded and took aim where Tarian pointed. “It’s huge!” One of them exclaimed.

“Steady,” Tarian barked.

One of the other marksmen chuckled and added, “That just means he should be hard to miss.”

“I want all four of you to aim for the thing’s head.”

The marksman who chuckled asked, “Any particular reason, sir?”

“Those things have been hard to kill, and I don’t see him being any easier to take down.” Tarian answered as the marksmen adjusted their aim.

“Three,” chimed one of the marksmen.

Tarian watched as the marksmen altered their stance. Lifting the telescope back to his eye, Tarian found their target and heard one of the marksmen say, “Two.”

“One,” a third marksman added and a moment later each of the four marksmen squeezed their triggers. Lowering the telescope from his eye, Tarian saw the four bolts of crackling energy race towards the lumbering mountain. When he looked through the scope, he watched as the bolts impacted the troll’s head.

The monster teetered back and forth from the impact of the shots, but somehow the creature kept its feet. “Fire again, and don’t stop till it falls!”

The marksmen began unleashing a torrent of fire at their enormous target. And after another dozen shots impacted the thing, it began to crumble. The troll was so massive that when it fell it crushed dozens of the horde who couldn’t escape. The mass dispersed and cheers erupted from the defenders lining the wall. Tarian lowered his scope and examined the devastating barrier, and the defenders no longer looked ragged. As Tarian took in every eye, he witnessed the rebirth of hope. Taking a deep breath, Tarian shouted, “We will hold this wall!”

“To the end,” every defender cried out in response.