‘DING DONG’ a bell boomed out from town square. Marcus jumped strait out of bed a cold sweat on his face. His short blonde hair glistened in the morning sun.  “Up and at up boys, we’ve got ourselves some Aceluns to kill today!”

Putting the pillow over his face Marcus said “Jus five more minutes mom.” Which conjured a much-needed laugh from the other men in the room.

The covers flew off and the Sergeant picked him off the mattress. “You kill me thirty Aceluns today and you get tomorrow off. Hell you do that you get the rest of the war off!”

Knowing that killing thirty men was easier than arguing with the sergeant Marcus got out of bed and began to dress for another day of war. Going down to the armory he found that some armor had been added into his cubbyhole. Pulling it out he recognized where the militia had gotten the ‘new’ armor. It was the leftovers from the leading contingent of Aceluns. 

Pulling the leather straps tight against his body he muttered “Sorry bud, but better me than you”. The equipment didn’t fit perfectly. The original owner was a bit taller and bulkier but the hardened leather would protect him much better than what he had been wearing.

Leaving the compound Marcus noticed the pungent odor of death. The day was already getting warm and the humidity wasn’t helping in the least. He headed towards the triage camp to check on Rat. “Hey there big gu-“ He started to say as he pulled the door open to Rat’s room finding no one inside. “Wha?” He said to himself. There was no way Rat could be out and about after all the hits he had taken yesterday.

The doctor came around the corner and saw Marcus standing in the doorway. “I see that you came back. I had no clue you took such a fancy to me?”

Marcus turned around and stated flatly “Oh well I guess you didn’t know this but I like my wine aged.”

“You do have a quick mouth don’t ya boy.” A smirk emerged on the wrinkled mans old face. “You’re lookin for your pall Rataghuw?”

“He didn’t uh-“

“Croak? Oh no no no, he heard the bell and simply got up. Headed towards the armory.”

Marcus looked surprised and angry. “You didn’t stop him!?”

“Yeah what’s an old fart like me gonna do against that monster? Look kid, I’ve been in the army longer than you’ve been alive. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that you don’t go try an stop someone that’s much bigger and stronger than you from killing your enemy. It’s just counter productive.”

“Thanks for that wisdom doc, once again such an enlightened conversation.” With that Marcus went towards his assigned area.

As he walked up the street the stench got worse and worse. The bodies of those that had not burned smelled terrible and were leaking fluids onto the ground making a viscous sludge.

Marcus saw a blonde head with tight curly hair bobbing on the far side of the barricade.“Holy shit Rat! Look what ya did to this bastard!”

“That bugger made POP when he hit!”

Marcus moved around the structure and saw what Curley and Rat were discussing. When Rat had saved Marcus the previous day the big man had smashed one Acelun into the barricade. They were simply looking at his remains. There was really very little to see, the man had become a splatter on the wall, his chest caved in and ribs breaking through flesh. A small amount of blood and other bodily fluids had continued to drip from his openings.

Marcus shook his head. “You sure your up to fighting Rat?”

The big man made his way towards Marcus with a surprising amount of grace. “Yeah, course I am. I think… I think I love war!”

“Well that seems enthusiastic enough.” Marcus made his way back to the defenders side of the barricade. “You guys think we can hold them for another day?”

Red piped in “Yeah, if what Curley and Bigs saw last night turns out to be tru-“ he had miss-stepped and fell on a corpse. “Shit! This is nasty!” He said wiping away some fluid from his face.

Rat and Marcus began to laugh at the mans misfortune. “Heh but in all seriousness what did ya see last night?”

The familiar baritone of Bigs came from behind. “The Acelun ships headed south. Dunno how far but I’d say that our navy is hurtin um somewhere.”

Marcus began to ponder that. “Why would they leave without full control of the city? They have no guarantee of victory.”

“Maybe it’s a trap for our- phyuk.” Red started as he blew some liquid out of his mouth. “For our ships?”

“No, it’s too easy to spot ships in this weather. Our ships could outmaneuver them bringing in supplies and reinforcements.”

“We don’t even know if we have any ships or a country left. We’ve been cut out of the big picture for too long. For all we know the war is over and we’ve already lost.”

Rat interjected with some of his wisdom “Yeh an we can keep fightin these bastards till we’ve got ourselves a country!”

“Really? Do you understand what reality is? Because if you do you should really make an attempt at returning to it.” Marcus said.

“Hey destiny ain’t fair. Mine will be that o’a hero not a dead soldier. Not you or a whole army’s gonna get in my way to make that hap-“

“THEY’RE COMIN!” Curley yelled.

The Acelun troops began pouring into the city. They began to form up inside of the gate where bodies had been cleared.  Suddenly a horn made a call from somewhere outside of the city and the Acelun army marched forward. Within minutes the first elements had begun to reach the dead bodies. The look of disgust was apparent from the defenders even from that distance. The Tamultan archers let loose. A pitiful patter of arrows headed towards the horde moving up. A few were hit and joined their comrades on the cobbled streets.

The men kept marching towards the defenses. “Disciplined bastards these.” Bigs said as he readied the spear he had pilfered the previous day.

 Rat grunted something about them being only half a man.

The leading elements were about a block out when they began sprinting towards the defenders.

“Brace yourself!” Red said.

Marcus looked quickly at Red, gave him a ‘well no shit’ look, and focused on the incoming enemies.

The first attackers were within feet when Bigs lunged forward with the spear skewering two of them the force knocking him on his butt. Marcus, Red, and Curley jumped in trying to keep the invaders away from Bigs. Marcus couldn’t keep track of all the weapons moving and a few had slipped through his defenses smacking against his body. None of the blows did any serious damage, the armor he had on was of high quality.

“Now!” Bigs said. Immediately the squad pulled back. The enemies were momentarily stunned at such a quick withdrawal. It was their death. Rat jumped down from the barricade swinging. The first of which took out three men. Bigs immediately jumped back into the fray doing precision stabs around Rat.

Marcus started running forward and yelled “PUSH!” and the militia did exactly that pushing the Aceluns back. Suddenly they were in full retreat pulling back to the gate.

Red bobbed out of a knot of militiamen on the far side of the street “We did it! We pushed them back!” 

“I can’t believe that worked.” Marcus said disbelief spread across his face.

Rat looked around frantically “Not enough of em.”

Marcus looked at Rat questioningly. Really he wasn’t satisfied with a win? He had to kill even more?

Bigs piped in “No, Rat your right there’s not enough of them. Less than half our number was in that attack.”

Red had found his way back to the squad. “Ya kiddin me? We killed um! Pussies!”

“They aren’t pullin out of the city though.” Curley said. “They are just regrouping.”

A man came running from the west side of the city, where the docks were. “THEIR BEHIND US!” 

The End

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