On the Stone Ramparts (Haiku #9)

On the stone ramparts
Standing in the icy rain
Waiting for battle

Hear the distant horn
The yelling of orcs and beasts
The archers ready

The rumble begins
Sounds of charging hordes in mud
I grip my sword tight

The archers release
Arrows fly into darkness
Hitting their far mark

Archers loose arrows
Arrow after swift arrow
But they reach the wall

Tall ladders come up
“Ladders!” a commander shouts
“Swords!” shouts a captain

We draw our long swords
The first come over the walls
Steel flickers and strikes

Swords clash and shields break
They flood onto the rampart
But we stand our ground

The combat is fierce
Hand to hand and sword to sword
Yet they continue

They overwhelm us
“To the Keep!” cries the captain
We quickly retreat

We fall to the Keep
Guards brace the gates with timber
We all catch our breath

A ram slams the door
Old wood splinters and dust falls
It won’t hold for long

The men form a line
Their shields planted in the ground
Spears forward, waiting

Terror captures them
Each ram shakes them to their core
Not knowing what waits

“Steady! Here we hold them!”
Shouts the captain behind us
His words strike courage

The front line reforms
Grips tighten on the honed spears
Feet dig into dirt

The last brace splinters
Orcs pour into the entry
Quick arrows meet them

The first orc line falls
The second charges forward
Finding each man’s spear

Our steel meets orc flesh
Black orc shields meet our wood shields
We hold against them

Stabbing and spearing
A mass of men and orcs
Fighting for their lives

We kill many orcs
Swords and spears stained with black blood
But the line weakens

There are too many
Orc after orc they endure
And men start falling

Hope falls with each man
We begin to get pushed back
But cannot retreat

I think of my wife
And my daughters in the caves
Will they make it out?

Horns in the distance
Unexpectedly ring out
We look to the East

Riders on the hill
Cavalry of our allies
Keeping to their word

Thundering hooves charge
Spears front, moving like the wind
Clashing into orcs

They break the assault
The orcs retreat back and run
The day has been saved

Victory is ours
The stone fortress has been held
A new sun rises

 

 

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