Murtagh's Army

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
A sort of cross between Fantasy and Humor.

Submitted: February 14, 2017

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Submitted: February 14, 2017



Murtagh’s Army


Murtagh wanted us out, that was pretty obvious. He had been a wizard-in-training until everything had fallen apart at the castle. The king had gone, the knights had gone, all on a quest that we were beginning to believe was nothing more than a set-up. Murtagh had no doubt been behind it, trying to give himself an opportunity to seize total power. He was devious, not to be trusted for a moment.


The atmosphere was tense. Gerald and Thomas were pacing, Simon was sitting down chewing his nails and I was alternating between listening at the door and checking outside the window. We knew he would find some way of launching an attack on us. We just did not know when and how.


Do you think he’ll use them viper-things again?” Simon asked. He had a pathological hatred of snakes and when Murtagh had bewitched the branches, turning them into hissing and slithering snakes, Simon had been the most traumatised.


I doubt it,” I answered. “He does not like to use the same thing twice. That would make it too easy for us to know how to win.”


So you don’t think I need to worry about the spiders, then?” asked Gerald.


I don’t think so,” I said.


Or the crows? You don’t think they’ll come flying through the window once more?” Thomas had hidden under the table during the duration of that assault.


I shook my head but really I had no more idea than any of my friends. The workings of Murtagh’s mind remained as much a mystery to me as to anyone else. Why would anyone want to take control of an empty castle? He would have no one to boss around, to issue orders to, and he’d have to do all the hard and dirty tasks himself.


He might have already given up.” Gerald was hopeful but I didn’t really believe that that was very likely.


He might not attack for days,” Simon suggested. And that was true! But Murtagh was not the most patient of people. He’d always wanted to do everything and anything instantly, even when he was growing up alongside us.


He won’t wait! I’m sure of it,” I said, and even as I spoke I heard a noise in the distance, the sound of approaching feet.


I listened carefully at the door. Whatever army Murtagh had summoned up were marching towards us. They weren’t very organised about it, kept getting out of time. Who had he conscripted into his service? I dreaded to think. Would he be proficient enough at wielding magic to summon an army of the dead? Were we about to be attacked by skeletons who would be almost impossible to kill, as they were already dead?


The four of us took up position, side by side, swords in hand and facing the door. It would not be long now, those footsteps were almost right outside.


Are you ready?” I asked.


Ready!”, my three friends replied. I could see Simon’s sword trembling, I could hear Thomas breathing shallowly.


The door swung open with a loud creak but nobody or nothing seemed to enter. We stared out into the hallway, then looked at each other in confusion. What sort of game was Murtagh playing?


Outside I could hear the sound of a ball bouncing. I quickly darted across to the window and there was Murtagh, bouncing a ball with one hand then the other. When he spotted me looking his way, he waved. There was something rather unnerving about the smile he aimed at me; whatever he had planned for us he was obviously feeling smug about.


I went back and joined my friends facing the open doorway. Nothing had come through it so one of us was going to have to walk over and look out into that dark stone hallway. I looked at Gerald, at Thomas, and without any hope, at Simon. None of them made a move so reluctantly I stepped forward.


Be ready to back me up, okay,” I said, lowering my sword momentarily so that I could fit through the door.


There was not much light in the hallway. Since the castle had become almost deserted there hardly seemed any point in lighting the candles. I could make out some sort of gathering but there was something extremely odd in their appearances. Their heads were round, with grotesque faces and straggly hair. Their bodies were warped, being fat and round in some parts and thin to the point of almost nothingness in others. And on their feet they all wore big heavy-looking boots.


I pulled myself back inside the door, yet none of the army followed me. This was becoming weirder by the second.


How many?” asked Thomas.


That was hard to estimate in the dimness but I’d have to make some sort of guess. “I don’t know.....twenty to thirty, I should think.”


Are we going to be able to defeat them?” asked Gerald.


I shrugged in reply.


What are they?” Simon’s voice was trembling almost as much as his hands.


That’s a good question but I don’t really know the answer. They are certainly nothing like I expected, but there is something very strange about them.”


No sooner had I finished speaking than the footsteps began their final approach and the first of the army stepped through the doorway. It was female, I thought, going by the rather garish looking make-up. The attacker swung her sword from side to side, rapidly and steadily but did not seem to aim. Her eyes looked totally blank, totally flat, almost as though they were painted on. And the shape of her head reminded me of something........If only I could think, of what!


I made a quick decision and swung my sword straight at her neck. Her head hit the floor and it bounced, once, twice, three times. I was so mesmerised by the bouncing head that I did not even notice that her body was still approaching, still swinging that sword. She missed slashing my side by about an inch. But it was close, too close! I lunged forward with my sword pointing straight towards her. I made contact, pushed the blade forward that bit harder and there was a pop. Her entire body deflated to become nothing more than a flat heap on the floor, her sword clattering to the ground where it stayed unmoving. Her boots stood still and empty.


At least now we knew exactly what to do. Teaming up into pairs, one slashed at the neck, the other stabbed at the body and pretty soon we were surrounded by painted footballs, and deflated bodies every way we turned. That had actually turned out to be a lot of fun!


I walked back towards he window. Murtagh could still be heard bouncing his ball out in the courtyard. He looked up, saw me, and the smile slipped from his face. Once again we had defeated him. Simon tossed one of the ‘heads’ to me. I opened the window and threw it hard towards Murtagh. Gerald, Thomas and Simon joined me and all did the same.


Tough luck, Murtagh,” I shouted. “Better luck next time.” I closed the window and we all set to playing a game of handball!

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