Friendship

Submitted by Miles Gatling to Contest #29 in response to: Write a story about two best friends. ... view prompt

"You look the part, Sparkle.”

“Thank you, Sir Miles. As do you. How many men do you think are here today?”

“Hundreds, maybe thousands. Look, don’t worry; we fight as a unit.”

Miles couldn't remember the last time he said such words. He spoke from the heart

“You grew up fast, lad. You were a knight long before Andre made you one. I thank you, knight Conn.”

“Fight well, brother,” Sparkle said, saluting in a proud voice.

Miles rode his horse and stood side by side with Mustache, positioned on the other edge of the formation.

“A hell of a day to be alive, Sir Miles!”

“It is. Ready for this old-timer?”

“Yes sir, ready and willing. How's the lad holding up?”

“He’s strong, a good man. And so are you, Ultan. I have yet to thank you for all the blood you’ve shed with me.”

“It has been an honor. I never knew a more talented warrior, a fighter with such strength and courage. Tonight we drink and feast! And if this is to be our last battle, know that I welcome death.”

“Then why are we standing here? Let’s kill some fuckers.”

Archers and spearmen advanced on the grassy field in tight formations. They would meet the enemy and start pushing and stabbing, showering them with arrows from just a few meters away. Each side would try to break the other line and route the enemy. The flanks would soon be attacked by cavalry; that’s when Miles and his group must ride and meet them. He issued orders to his riders then charged the enemy, lances lowered and braced against armor; shields covering their upper body, they formed a “v” shape unit, with Miles at the front leading the attack. An incredible roar, a terrible pounding, ground shaking beneath infantry’s feet. An unstoppable force. Miles split his lance on the first horsemen, skewering and knocking him off into the soldiers behind him. This, in turn, knocked down other enemy riders. He felt a crash in his shield arm, then a hit on his leg. The rest of Miles’s group plowed into the enemy mere seconds after him, tossing and impaling others; sounds of cracking wood, scraping metal, high pitched neighs from horses and muffled screams of death.

The rest of the unit quickly followed through and caught up with Miles. They regrouped and spun around to face the enemy yet again. Most of them died, they didn’t wear full plate, unlike Miles’s soldiers. He drew his sword and stabbed at his foe, getting hit all over his body. He felt a mighty blow on his back, which knocked him off his horse. He saw the man that bludgeoned him with a mace gallop by. Miles quickly got up and started on foot, working sword and shield against horses and soldiers' feet. There was no room to fight on horseback, all had clumped together in a ball and were trying to push past one another. Miles killed many, he was encased in armor; he was unstoppable. Some of the riders managed to run away, but overall their unit was destroyed. Miles found a horse and hopped on. He lifted his visor and looked for his brothers. They recognized each other’s colors and reunited.

“Fall back and get more lances! We need to charge that line!”

They returned behind allied lines and restocked on lances. Mustache and Sparkle were not seriously injured, neither was Miles.

“Sir, what’s the plan?”

“You and Sparkle stay with me in the back. As soon as the first riders hit, we break right and plow through the rest. How many able riders do we have?”

“Men form up!”

Sparkle shouted to the others. They lined up.

"Twenty-six.”

“Good. Get ready for another run.”

They charged the flank of spearmen. The first group of horses and riders died or got knocked down. But the impact softened up that formation, and the rest of cavalry plowed into it. Mustache and Sparkle trampled the enemy, their lances destroying many men before breaking. Little resistance was felt, these were stationary foot soldiers. The same went for Miles and the rest of his unit. The riders quickly turned and got out of there, leaving behind a huge gap in the line of the enemy. Infantry poured into that space and started a chain event, methodically destroying the tight formation from the side, while others pushed from the front. Miles turned and charged again, sword and shield on horseback, cutting down fleeing troops. Mustache and Sparkle rode next to him. The battle reached the critical point in which the enemy had enough and retreated. But this wasn’t the end of it.

Behind the ranks of Miles's allies, screams broke out; he looked back and saw chaos and confusion. Men scattered and scurried about. Same went for the enemy troops; they turned back and were now fighting again, desperately trying to escape the horror that took place inside their army. Beasts, demons, shades, hell’s minions appearing from under the armies and slaughtering all that stood before them. His horse was violently pulled into the ground. Miles came crashing down, pain radiated through his entire body. He lifted his visor to breath, but what he witnessed broke his spirit.

Mustache and Sparkle stood back to back and fought desperately. Both fell, with torn guts, pulled limbs, crushed heads, utterly mauled by nightmarish creatures, screaming their agony. That pierced Miles’s ears and heart, the image of their violent death burned forever in his mind. He cried and raged on the ground, tried to get up, but was jumped by a black figure that raked his chest and bit at his head. Miles stabbed with his sword, but the blade didn’t pierce it. He felt this was the end. This was where he died.

A flash of white light and the demon exploded, leaving nothing but smoke. Miles rolled around on the ground, blinded by fire. He covered his ears, and tried to ease the pain.

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7 likes 9 comments

23:03 Feb 24, 2020

I would like more build-up to this story. What's going on? Where are they? What time period is it? Is it apocalyptic, another world, or ancient Earth? I liked your names; they hinted at something unusual, but the whole story is just a battle, no plot, nothing to make the reader care for the characters who are dying. Also, would people who spoke in that old-fashioned style really use the F word?

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01:43 Feb 25, 2020

Hi Anna. Thank you for your kind words. It's actually a chapter from my short novel Darkest Power. The friendship feels rushed or nonexistent right? But in the book you see it grow, it gradually builds. They swear a lot especially the f word. I don't think that was a habit in the 14th century, but it's fantasy. Thank you again. Miles

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02:17 Feb 25, 2020

Hi Miles, I'm glad to know your story is from a larger work; that makes it much more understandable. Is your book published or available to read online? I'm a proponent of cutting out swearing in books, especially as there seems to be a movement towards it even in young adult novels. I think it's to create authenticity, but I never miss it if it's not there, and it often feels forced, when the point of it is to be open. Sorry, I'm not preaching, just throwing out my opinion. I think writers always tend to be people of strong opinions. :) But... read more

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01:50 Mar 28, 2020

I like the fantasy and the battle scenes. Keep up the good work.

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07:03 Mar 28, 2020

Thank you very much! This is from my novel, so it holds a special place in my heart.

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01:17 Feb 28, 2020

That was definitely an unexpected twist on the prompt. Brothers in arms.

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03:45 Feb 28, 2020

Thank you, I tried selecting a part from the chapter that depicted their relationship in a short time span.

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15:52 Feb 27, 2020

Hi Miles, I really like the way you’ve written your dialogue. It flows well, and has a bit of comedic relief for me, where you used the f word. This story seems interesting! I always like a good fantasy story. This one does seem disconnected from a larger one. Best of luck with your short novel!

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18:53 Feb 27, 2020

Thank you so much!

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