Tiburcio heard the leaves crunch and the twigs snap beneath his boots. He wasn’t sure why he was walking through this particular section of forest, but orders were orders. Just because nobody was trying to kill him at the moment didn’t mean they wouldn’t be doing so soon.
Ah, there they were. Tiburcio nodded as he saw the archers. It wasn’t hard to block anything important with his shield, but if he didn’t an arrow to the eye would kill him. As the arrows deflected off of his shield and armor with no effect, he wondered if they knew that they wouldn’t have any effect.
Then Tiburcio swayed to the left. His instincts told him he had just dodged something dangerous. They didn’t tell him to dodge. He always acted before he knew what was going on. There was no way he had time to think about what he was going to do before he did it.
Tiburcio took a short moment to look behind him. He had expected to see an arrow stuck in a tree, but he didn’t. Not that it hadn’t hit the tree, but he couldn’t see the arrow. There was just a hole through the tree.
Most bows and arrows couldn’t penetrate good, magical armor. Crafting magical arrows was very expensive and often equated to just giving the enemy an expensive gift. Meanwhile, a bow’s materials could only handle so much strain. Since ki quickly fell off in power with distance, very few people used bows against those with good armor.
Tiburcio knew that Lord Rutten’s army had some archers, but they had very special bows. Most lords didn’t equip their soldiers nearly so well, but apparently there were some among these archers who had proper equipment.
His eyes easily picked them out. Their bows were much bigger, and instead of regular arrows on their backs, they looked like javelins. Having seen the effects on a tree, Tiburcio knew they would be able to penetrate his armor. It was best not to give them many chances to shoot him.
Tiburcio started running forward. They were supposed to remain in formation and advance steadily, but they couldn’t afford to do that here. Several of those around him were wounded already.
Tiburcio couldn’t possible watch all of the important archers. That meant he wouldn’t be able to avoid getting hit. Inevitably, an arrow would pierce his heart or head, killing him instantly. If that didn’t happen, an arrow to the leg would slow him down enough for him to be filled full of holes.
Being out ahead made him more of a target, which meant an even higher chance of death… but he wasn’t just going to wait around for it to happen. When he finally die, he would stare death in the face.
In this case, death was a handful of oversized arrows. He saw them flying at him… which gave him some time to move. Unfortunately, they were fired in a coordinated manner. He could dodge some of them, but the others were aimed at his only valid dodging locations. He dodged to the right, which only put him in the line of fire of two arrows. He angled his shield to receive one and slashed at the other with his mace.
Knocking arrows out of the air with a weapon was usually a practice in futility. Tiburcio knew how hard it was, and that was why he would fail the next time. Well, regular arrows wouldn’t be a problem, but these other arrows traveled more quickly and with much greater force. Tiburcio was glad his shield was magical, because a regular shield would have been torn through even receiving the arrows at a good angle where he could try to slide it off.
He wasn’t dead yet… but they had more arrows and he was now further out ahead. The second volley… failed to kill him. He had to twist his body to the side while blocking and deflecting, and even then an arrow caused a bit of a dent in his armor… but it didn’t penetrate.
He thought he managed it for the third volley, but then everything went dark as he felt a piercing pain in his chest. This was it. He was dead. He wasn’t exactly sure how he wasn’t flat on the ground though. He had felt himself falling…
Then he realized he had fallen before the pain happened. He looked down after shaking his head to get the dirt out of his eyes. He was in a trench filled with metal spikes. They were angled so that the weight of those falling in would impale themselves. Several of them had merely scraped against his armor, but one went right into his ribcage.
Tiburcio thought it had pierced a lung. It was hard to breathe, and every attempt filled him with stabbing pain. Yes, that was it. He couldn’t move, though. The spike was anchored into the ground. His weight was pressing down into it.
He shook his head. This would probably kill him, but he wasn’t going to just sit around while it happened. He detached his shield, then grabbed onto the spike with both hands. If he pulled it out he would just bleed to death, or perhaps die from blood filling his lungs, so he pulled the spike in two opposite directions. It snapped under the pressure, leaving him with a spike in his chest.
He grabbed his mace as he stood up and jumped out of the trench. He charged toward the nearest archer, who seemed to have forgotten to run. His mace bashed in a skull as he ran past, but that archer was unimportant. His real target was one of those with the better bows. Tiburcio smashed and kicked his way through a few more gevai before he saw his true target, just a dozen feet away.
Then an arrow flew toward him. He moved to deflect it with his shield. He’d forgotten he took off his shield to have his hand free to break the spike. Fortunately, he was deflecting instead of just angling his shield. His arm was moving, and his hand knocked away the shaft of the arrow. The archer was turning to run after releasing the arrow, but Tiburcio was already up to full speed. It only took a moment to catch up to him and bash in his skull with a mace.
Tiburcio coughed up blood. He wondered how many more he could take down before they killed him. He knew there was only one way to find out, though he was already off in his count. Was that three or four? Should he even count the regular archers?