The last watch of the knight.
By Emilio Ruíz.
The night was impregnated with fear. All the whispers of the people said the same thing as a depressing song (Vikings, Vikings) the last message the raven bring to the guard’s building of the city, was that a fleet of Vikings from the cold Scandinavian lands, had come from the North Sea to a new incursion on the coast of England. Most knights and guards wouldn’t believe it until they saw the smoke going up like black vipers to the gray sky of the morning; the terrifying horns that scare the children had also scare even the most fearless warrior. That happen during the morning, know it is mid of night and the smoke is still in the air, a cruel message from life that says that we are the next city to be invaded and looted from those monsters and their terrifying ships. I’m an old man I have been in more battles that all my years on this world. But no matter how many battles you survive, how many knights and soldiers you kill, the feeling is the same when a new battle is going to start: Fear, I’m guarding the wall of the city, with my bow and arrow pointing to the black mass the forest turns when the sun leaves. My heartbeat is resounding on my helmet, we are not going to receive help, all the pigeons we send to the nearest towns requesting soldiers didn’t return. We are all alone on this. I would be lying if I said I’m not afraid and want to cry right know, but no I’m a Knight, an old one but still a knight.
Then I hear it, a whisper, a laugh or a cry I don’t know but something is on that black forest, I know it, like the others guards and knights know it too. Suddenly from the dark of the night a bright light comes fast, very fast. It passes between guard and me an arrow with fire in the sharp rock. They are here.
-Aim! -. The commander shouts.
All the bow’s strings make this low sound when they get stretched, a chorus of a battle.
All the arrows fly to the darkness of the forest, we hear screams and a horn, the worst horns of all types the attack horn. Hundreds or thousands of silhouettes emerge from the forest, I can’t see them well it's too dark. Aim...Drop again, some of them fall to the ground, but more and more keep coming from the forest. With painted faces and shields. Axes and Swords coming right to us. I keep sending black arrows to them. They are coming closer to the doors some of them are riding horses with strange drawings on their skins. My body trembles for a moment. I heard a hissing sound. My left companion had grown an arrow on their chest, he looks at me with scared eyes and he just fall from the wall without making any sound.
-The Door! They are trying to break the door! -. Someone screams.
I draw my old sword, she has been with me since my first battle, If I shall die, I will die with her at my hands. I run to the stairs of the wall and jump to the cold floor; my hands are shaking. The handle of the sword feels so heavy. The giant wood door is cracking, I can hear the axes on the other side, a monster trying to get in. I can hear the bows above us sending arrows with rhythm like a crazy dance.
The door cracks and a big black axe looks out from the hole it just made. The knights made a semicircle with spears around the door, those with swords are in the rear in awaiting. A silence is made, then the door collapses and a big tide of Vikings emerge, like a river on a storm. The two armies collide, spears are thrown and cut everywhere. I can see the Vikings trying to break the formation, but they outnumber us. The formation is dismantled easily, and the swords got involved in the battle like wolves jumping to their prey. A Viking comes to me with his axe swinging, cutting the air. I dodge the fatal weapon and strike with my sword, he covers the hit with his shield, his eyes are fire, He tries to hit me again but fails and lowers his chest the proper distance to my sword to bite. He didn’t make a sound; he fell to the ground. I smell smoke in the air, I turn around and see some houses with flames on their straw roofs, the arrows with fire probably.
I hear more horns in the distance, another Viking with spear tries to attack me but three arrows grow on their back stopping him, I fight with my sword against others, I can see the sparks when my sword kisses another one, my heart is going to come out of my chest, I can almost strike with my sword at the rhythm of my heart beats. It is cold, the screams are all over the place. More knights of the city fall as the Vikings come from the main door.
-Pull Back! -. The sergeant screams before a spear comes from the air to shut it. He tries to walk but he fails and lays on the ground.
The fire has spread to the other houses and fills my eyes with warm light. Many of my companions are running, where I don’t know but I’m not moving, I was raised on this city, I grow here dreaming of being a hero, I became a knight here and I will defend this place no matter what. I turn my back on my companions that flee, the Viking horde is coming to me, I watch my sword, looks like she is on fire, the steel reflects the fire around me, the horde reaches my position, one tries to attack me, he fails, another one tries to knock me with his giant hammer, my sword is faster than him. It feels like if the sword was part of me, we are one. I keep fighting without taking a breath, dancing with the others, my sword goes up and down. It is beautiful I have never been more alive. I was born to be a knight, a protector of the innocents, the shield and sword of the people.
I didn’t feel the sword in my back, it was a cold kiss, cold against fire. I fight more until my knees touch the ground. I lay down with my sword at my chest. I don’t see what's happening in the battle; it doesn’t matter anymore; my eyes see the cloudy sky. It is snowing.