View Full Version : The Fortress in the Sea

15-11-2005, 20:17
Here is a short fantasy story I have written. It is my first mind, so please be gentle. :)

The Fortress in the Sea
Khaledor gazed across the seemingly infinite space of water that lay before him. He had watched the same water from the same position every day for almost a decade now, yet he couldn’t find it in himself to hate it. He sighed once and turned around to return to his patrol duty. He would be relieved in just an hour, but even so he found no joy in this, a fact that surprised even him. He had a wife and a child waiting for him at home and, indeed, returning home to embrace them should be his greatest desire now. But it wasn’t so.
He sighed again and started moving along the fortified wall. No-one had besieged the castle for as long as any one still alive could remember yet the Lord still demanded ten guards to patrol the castle walls at all times. He didn’t complain though, and again he was surprised he didn’t. What was it about this place that made him abandon all desire to return home; to see his family? He didn’t know and he accepted it as a fact that he never would.
He suddenly flinched as he heard a voice from behind.
“Is this what you call “watching for danger”?”. He knew this voice; he had heard it repeat these words at least a hundred times before.
“You are late” he said with a smile, knowing it wasn’t true. Orsta was always early, perhaps leaving his home for the same reason Khaledor didn’t wish to return to his? Maybe he did it because he knew Khaledor best be disturbed in his thoughts less he’d do something he’d regret? Regardless of which, here he was. He joined Khaledor, taking position next to him looking in the same direction.
“Everyday I look at the same sea yet I never grow bored of it” Khaledor looked at Orsta for a second and gave him a nod of agreement.
“They say we have to patrol in order to keep the fortress safe, to watch for an enemy, but every time I look out to the sea I feel nothing but serenity. An eternal calm” Khaledor listened to what his friend said but he didn’t answer. He didn’t need to.
“I’m heading home. I’m dying to meet up with the wife and the kid back home” Khaledor’s words held no truth, they both knew this, yet he felt they needed to be said. Orsta nodded to show his approval.
“I’ll keep the castle safe on my own” he said with a smile. Khaledor smiled back and turned to walk away. He took a few steps after which he came to a complete halt.
“I thought you were “dying to see your family”?” Orsta turned his head and looked straight into Khaledor’s eyes.
“Perhaps I should stay here and keep you company?” Khaledor felt a desperate urge to keep away from home, to stay here with the sea and the serenity. He glared intensely at his friend.
“No, you better head home. I’ll be fine”. Orsta turned back to the sea. Khaledor returned to his voyage home. Yes, it was better this way.

About half-way home he stopped again. This time, though, it was not his feelings about returning home that stopped him. He felt he was needed at the wall. But why? What was the worst thing that could happen; that his friend was bored to death? He shook the thoughts out of his head and kept walking, but after just a few steps he stopped again. No, this feeling he could not ignore. He had to head back.

At first he walked casually, strolling at an average pace, but soon he broke into a sprint. He had this feeling that something terrible was about to happen if he didn’t hurry, even though he knew that it was highly unlikely.
As he finished the last three steps of the stairs in one leap he turned to see Orsta facing towards him.
“I told you to head home”. Khaledor stopped almost mid-air. Was it all his imagination playing tricks on him? Of course it was; nothing could ever happen in this place. He felt ashamed of himself and was just about to turn back as he noticed something. A dark shadow crawled over the wall and towered over Orsta. He was about to scream but he couldn’t utter a single word. Orsta just smiled at him.
“I told you to head home” he said again as the shadow threw itself over him.

Blood gashed from the wound in his throat that he had suffered as the shadow thrust a dagger through it. Khaledor staggered but found courage in his need to defend himself. He readied his bow and laid aim. He released the arrow which hit the shadow straight in the chest. The shadow gave up a piercing scream as the impact thrust it backwards, over the wall. Khaledor sprinted to the edge and to his horror he could see a horde of shadows in the progress of scaling the wall. He looked to Orsta. He was dead. He looked over the edge again. The shadows were getting closer by the second. He turned around and sprinted towards the signal fire. If only he could light it the other guards would know the fortress was under siege.
He grabbed a torch and threw it in the pool of oil which immediately caught fire. He gave up a triumphant laugh and turned around. His face immediately took another expression as he saw the shadows on the wall. They had noticed him too and started to walk towards him with menacing steps. He staggered backwards but realized he was trapped. He readied his bow and started to indiscriminately unleash arrows towards the shadows. He knew he would not be able to kill them all, but perhaps he could save some time; enough for reinforcements to arrive? But it was not to be, and he quickly realized he had no hope of survival. In a matter of seconds he would be dead, killed by these unknown assailants. And for what, because he didn’t want to go home a Thursday afternoon?

The closest shadow was just a couple of feet away now and it raised its sword to strike out in a downwards slash towards his head. Even though he wore a helmet it would not save him. He would die and he knew it.
Yet he felt no sorrow. He wondered why, but stopped himself from deriving any deeper into this thought.
It was better that way.

It's not about Warhammer specifically, but is more of a general work, I hope you don't mind.

As I said earlier I am very inexperienced, but feel free to say you hate it if you really do. Practice makes perfect, but why practise if you're a hope-less case, right?
So have at me, tell me what you think.