Coldstone Chronicles: The Battle of Argave

Darrick Sharparrow liked to fish. And fishing he was, in a small stream a mile south of the great city of Argave. A fish leapt from the water right in front of him, and he expertly snatched it out of the air and dropped it into a bucket at his feet. Another jumped, and he dropped that one into the bucket as well. He began to hum a jolly tune to himself while he snatched fish out of the air or used his fishing pole to snag fish in the water.

Suddenly, he stopped humming. In the distance, he thought he heard bells ringing. "Why would Argave be ringing the bells at this time of day?" he asked himself absently.

And then he remembered why they would be ringing the bells. Argave only rang the bells at night when it was about to close its gates for the night or when it was under attack. Darrick leapt from the boat and ran as fast as he could, leaping over sticks, rocks, and small animals that scurried through the forest. Finally, he burst from the forest and saw Argave's main gate looming ahead of him. Other people rushed alongside him, all of them trying to get into Argave before it's gates closed.

Darrick ran through the gate, past the portcullis and the murder -holes, into the city. He had a job to do. He was a soldier in the army of Argave and enjoyed fishing while off-duty. He rushed into the barracks and down one of the hallways. He entered the first room on the left in the hallway. These were his quarters. They were sparsely furnished, adorned only with a rack for his equipment, a bed, and a small table next to his bed. He put down his fishing pole, bait, and the bucket of fish and decked himself out in his chain mail, steel helm, gauntlets and greaves. He took his sheathed sword from the wall and strapped it to his belt. He also grabbed his dagger from the table and tucked it into his belt.

He ran as quickly as he could down the hall and out of the barracks. Outside of the barracks was utter chaos. Civilians ran to and fro along the roads, many screaming or yelling at others to move out of the way, some shoving others out of the way. Soldiers, both armored and unarmored, ran along the roads as well, shoving people out of their way. Across the street, the bells in a huge bell tower swung back and forth, spreading their tintinabulation around the city to warn people of an impending attack.

Darrick ran towards the front wall and clambered up the steps. He ran along the wall towards the tower that he was assigned to. He strode quickly up the steps into the tower and saw his commanding officer, Sergeant Frills, handing bows and crossbows to the other soldiers in his platoon. Sergeant Frills handed a bow to Darrick and then moved on to the next soldier. Darrick walked over to the wall and noticed quivers lined up along the wall. He picked one up and slung it over his shoulder. He looked over the parapet and immediately wished that he hadn't. He saw line after line of goblins, marching straight towards Argave's main gate. He counted at least ten thousand of them, all marching in unison. They wore battered steel helmets and some leather armor and wielded javelins, spears, bows, axes, and shortswords.

Darrick looked to his right and his left. There were about 35,000 soldiers in Argave's army, and about 65,000 in Argave's reserve army. Lined up along the walls and in towers were some 15,000 troops. A man wearing the uniform of a Commander began giving orders to the men who had bows.

"Nock arrows! Aim! Fire!!!"

Nearly 5,000 arrows rained down upon the goblins, a hail of arrows so thick that they blotted out the sun itself. Screams of pain and death came from the goblins. Darrick watched his arrow go right through the skull of a goblin. The goblins stopped marching and raised their bows, nocking arrows and aiming slightly above the wall.

They fired.

Arrows pelted the wall and bounced off or sailed over in many places. In some places, however, the arrows found their marks. The man on the right of Darrick screamed, an arrow protruding from his gut, and tumbled over the wall. Hundreds of men fell off the wall, their screams echoing in Darrick's skull.

Darrick faintly heard the language of magic being spoken nearby. He was surprised to find that several hundred wizards had positioned themselves along the walls and were preparing to cast spells upon the goblins.

Lances of pure light shot from the fingertips of the wizards and coalesced into a huge ball of energy. The ball of energy began to shoot towards the goblins, and, with a gargantuan explosion, slammed into them full force. Darrick was forced to shield his eyes from the intense light, lest he be blinded by it.

Darrick opened his eyes and looked at the goblin army once more. Nearly six thousand charred corpses were all that remained of the center of the goblin army. The surviving goblins quicklyt turned around and began to run away from the battlefield. They ran just out of arrow range and began to set up camp. It appeared that they were going to lay siege to Argave.

To be continued...

(This message has been edited by moderator (edited 11-07-2002).)

Two weeks later, my critique/review.

First off, it's good that you've started writing, any field can benefit by new-comers.

Second off, your story seems more quantitative than qualitative, and also doesn't seem quite realistic enough in the tactics sense. That is, in the battle scenes you use too many numbers and not nearly enough action, description, etc. First off, in a battle that big, chaos will reign. There will be now time for exact manuvers and tactics on the part of the troops; they will be too busy fighting. Describe the sight of thousands of goblins marching on the city, the masses of villagers fleeing before the army into the walls, pounding to be let in (a city capable of supporting 35,000 troops is not going to cram all of its farmers in the short period of time you've described.) You start to catch the drift with 'a hail of arrows so thick that they blotted out the sun itself,' but lose it before the wizards show up.

Next, army tactics. The goblin army has just taken 60% percent casualties, and is now a mere ninth of the standing army. Setting up seige is not a bright idea; these goblins should be running for dear life. Unless there is an even larger host behind them, which brings me to my next point.

An attacking army that big does not take anything by suprise. A decent city of that size will have farm land spread out for miles, with hunters and traders venturing beyond that. Any one man could have warned the city of attack, and well ahead of the army. To give only hours before the attack is unrealistic.

These preceding points come to this one: more of a buildup to the battle. This opening is entirely too short to do what could be a great battle justice. Try to build suspense.

That's about it for today, if you have any issues, please direct them to me either through e-mail or the crons, I check both regularly. Keep on writing, we may make you great yet! 🙂

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Is if evil? Well then, it is evil and yet I do it. - The Crucible, Arthur Miller.

Hehe, I realized it was pretty unrealistic. Speaking of big battles and such, I couldn't help but remember TTT when I was reading your comment.

My idea was that the Goblin army had human mages who cast a spell upon the army to make it invisible and undetectable(unsmellable, untouchable, etc.). Also, after the goblin army is defeated and set up camp for a seige, an even larger army would come to assist them. I, too, believed that that battle was too short, but, alas, I submitted it nonetheless. I think I'll make a new story, but this one will be composed of several parts, and it will follow up on the Battle of Argave. I think the first will set up the battle, the second will have the first part of the battle, and the third will have the end of the battle and the conclusion. I think that TTT will give me some ideas.......

I think that this time, the battle will be much more important, for the fate of the world, perhaps, and it will involve more than goblins.....orcs, and trolls, or some other powerful creatures, perhaps. Also, remember that only 15,000 men were on the walls, not the whole army, so the remaining goblins were about 1/4 of the army, 1/3 if you take away a few thousand men who were killed by the arrows of the Goblins. Also remember that the word of any one man won't cause a whole city to get ready to defend itself. If that man is a commander, general, or someone else who's trustworthy, then the city will believe him. If not, it will take at least 100 or so men to convince the city. Either that, some sort of evidence, or the city might send out scouts of some sort.

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(This message has been edited by Tanis Half-Halo (edited 01-20-2003).)

Uh...Celchu, I sent you an email at least a month ago, but you never replied to that, or in the comments for my story.

EDIT:Typo

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(This message has been edited by Tanis Half-Halo (edited 01-20-2003).)

Quote

Originally posted by Tanis Half-Halo:
**Uh...Celchu, I sent you an email at least a month ago, but you never replird to that, or in the comments for my story.

**

I never replied to your e-mail because it was both in a file format I couldn't read (Apple works 6), and because it was during a hectic time. If you send it as plain text, I might be able to make the time to form a decent reply. I never replied to your comments on December 12th because they were, quite frankly, silly. Take a bit of time to read over what you wrote about invisibility, and then read up on the Roman struggle against the barbarian invasions that defeated it to realize the error of the rest of your post.

If you fully understand those years in history, you will know that the biggest sgnifier of a massive army is the people fleeing before it. Most of the 'barbarian hordes' that attacked Rome were fleeing the huge and impressive Mongolian forces massing in the east. This bears a striking similarity to your goblin armies. Simply put, the refugees fleeing from burning villages would be enough to warn about the advance of the army. If you still aren't convinced, there are several notable fantasy authors who do this subject realistically. Try "Legend" by David Gemmel, or "Death of the Dragon" by Greenwood and Denning.

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Is if evil? Well then, it is evil and yet I do it. - The Crucible, Arthur Miller.

Quote

Originally posted by Celchu:
**I never replied to your e-mail because it was both in a file format I couldn't read (Apple works 6), and because it was during a hectic time. If you send it as plain text, I might be able to make the time to form a decent reply. I never replied to your comments on December 12th because they were, quite frankly, silly. Take a bit of time to read over what you wrote about invisibility, and then read up on the Roman struggle against the barbarian invasions that defeated it to realize the error of the rest of your post.

If you fully understand those years in history, you will know that the biggest sgnifier of a massive army is the people fleeing before it. Most of the 'barbarian hordes' that attacked Rome were fleeing the huge and impressive Mongolian forces massing in the east. This bears a striking similarity to your goblin armies. Simply put, the refugees fleeing from burning villages would be enough to warn about the advance of the army. If you still aren't convinced, there are several notable fantasy authors who do this subject realistically. Try "Legend" by David Gemmel, or "Death of the Dragon" by Greenwood and Denning.

**

I don't know what was so silly about it. It sounded perfectly fine to me. The refugees wouldn't be fleeing, because they wouldn't exist. My idea was that mages cloaked the Goblins in an invisiblity spell, and the army was, thus, undetectable until they got to Argave and became visible.

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Quote

Originally posted by Tanis Half-Halo:
**I don't know what was so silly about it. It sounded perfectly fine to me. The refugees wouldn't be fleeing, because they wouldn't exist. My idea was that mages cloaked the Goblins in an invisiblity spell, and the army was, thus, undetectable until they got to Argave and became visible.
**

Okay, the 'silly' part is that the duration of the invisibility is arbitrary. You say they become visible as they approach the city. Why not renew the invisibilty spells, or use them closer to the city, and sneak in the gates to cause havoc? When you rely on magic to explain plot holes, your story will begin to stink. As an example, here's your setup without an invisible army. It's in a style much different than yours, but you should be able to see what I'm getting at.

The bells of Argave had sounded for days, now, heralding the approach of some huge force, bent on destroying the kingdom. Darrick Sharparrow could see the fields and villages burning in the distance, tiny plumes of smoke. Women and children ran before it, they spoke of an army of goblins, orcs, or worse. The men had died facing it.

Rumors abounded. Some spoke of a resurgence in the goblin-kin, long thirsting for human flesh. Some said the army was part of an Apocalypse, destined to bring about the end of Argave.

Ever since the bells started, Sharparrow and the rest of Argave's army had been at full alert. No man was allowed to leave the walls without a sword or swordman by his side. Patrols set out every hour to bring the refugees into the city, desperate to save as many as possible before the fated trumpet call that would announce the sighting of the army and the closing of Argave's gates.

That trumpet had played just four minutes before.

As Darrick and his fellows helped push the last surviving women into the city, he could hear a rumbling in the distance. The sound of twenty thousand feet stamping in unison.

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Is if evil? Well then, it is evil and yet I do it. - The Crucible, Arthur Miller.

Quote

Originally posted by Celchu:
**Okay, the 'silly' part is that the duration of the invisibility is arbitrary. You say they become visible as they approach the city. Why not renew the invisibilty spells, or use them closer to the city, and sneak in the gates to cause havoc? When you rely on magic to explain plot holes, your story will begin to stink. As an example, here's your setup without an invisible army. It's in a style much different than yours, but you should be able to see what I'm getting at.

The bells of Argave had sounded for days, now, heralding the approach of some huge force, bent on destroying the kingdom. Darrick Sharparrow could see the fields and villages burning in the distance, tiny plumes of smoke. Women and children ran before it, they spoke of an army of goblins, orcs, or worse. The men had died facing it.

Rumors abounded. Some spoke of a resurgence in the goblin-kin, long thirsting for human flesh. Some said the army was part of an Apocalypse, destined to bring about the end of Argave.

Ever since the bells started, Sharparrow and the rest of Argave's army had been at full alert. No man was allowed to leave the walls without a sword or swordman by his side. Patrols set out every hour to bring the refugees into the city, desperate to save as many as possible before the fated trumpet call that would announce the sighting of the army and the closing of Argave's gates.

That trumpet had played just four minutes before.

As Darrick and his fellows helped push the last surviving women into the city, he could hear a rumbling in the distance. The sound of twenty thousand feet stamping in unison.

**

Okay. I'll try to make it more realistic this time around.

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