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The Last Soldier

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In a dying land twisted by war and greed, a sentinel waits out his eternal watch fated to continue the fight which claimed the lives of him and countless others.

A single lordless knight resigned to this fate takes their first steps into this den of death causing a crunching sound to echo underfoot. It’s impossible to take a step in the arena without crushing at least a few of the soldiers underfoot making the knight's presence all too obvious to the lone warrior.

All around the arena the stand was full of petrified archers still as the moment they had been frozen that had become cracked over time.

And so the nobility of the long-gone kingdom who served in a long ceased war tilts his upwards to meet his new opponent and stands to add another to flower to the field before them.

In a second his glaive crashes down upon the unsuspecting knight sending them flying backward with his surprising strength. Indeed, it was because of this strength Hodir had been given this position in his king’s army.

The unparalleled strength that allowed him mastery over the mythical glaive which no other who served his king could wield.

The glaive itself was formed of twisted black iron and covered in a tattered cloth that had likely been white once but had become stained with dirt and the blood of the dead lying around the battlefield.

And so they fought for some time. The knight attempted to play it safe for a while before Hodir shut this down.

No weapon on earth was quite as long as Gungre and the way it moved in battle made it seem more akin to seaweed than a weapon from the gods. It knocked the knight's shield aside as if it was a tree-branch.

When it became clear playing it safe was no longer working for them the knight changed to a far more aggressive tactic taking more hits but dealing them back in a far more punishing manor.

Suddenly he was on the run, now that the knight had gotten in close it was becoming more of a problem to deal with them. In desperation, Hodir fell to his knees and called forth a force he had hadn’t had to use in quite some time.

He let forth a gutwrenching cry illuminating runes around the arena and on his own body.

The archers shifted slowly but all took steady aim under the instruction from the dark magic placed on their bodies.

The archers of stone Hodir had been granted by his king came with a heavy price but one that apparently needed paying here.

As payment, the runes on himself snaked up and around his arm under his helmet. They heated the metal causing a great pain which made him tear the helmet from his body making his face visible to the knight of prophecy.

The runes snaked over his eyes stealing his eyesight and across his muscles sapping some strength to allow the army of stone to aid with this threat.

And so they did. The archers loosed volley after volley over the arena coating it in innumerable stone arrows which fell like rocks upon the knight so that not even their armor did them any good in the way of defense.

Hodir, now visibly drained of muscle and blind, did his best to swing Gungre around. He could no longer see so the swings were considerably more reckless and with less force but enough to keep the knight flailing between attacks desperately. They found few opportunities to land any meaningful blows.

Just when it seemed as if all hope the knight dodged a volley of arrows and avoided the swing from Hodir perfectly positioning them for an attack.

And attack they did. The knight landed a devastating hit, staggered Hodir, and sending him to his knees. With merciless brutality, they gripped the loosening flesh of Glaive Master Hodir’s face and drew their sword across their eye’s breaking the runes and the spell.

The archers fell one by one onto each other and over the balcony. Some cracked while others just lay sadly in a silent pile as their magic left them. The runes across Hodir burned him trying to complete a spell that couldn’t be cast with the missing runes.

Hodir jumped back exhausted from the long fight, but still not out of tricks. He had never been pushed so far as to use his final trick before, but it had become clear he was going to have to use every trick he had to win.

Hodir picked up two pebbles from the floor and carved simple runes in them. He could no longer feel pain but that didn’t mean this next part was without suffering.

Hodir ripped his eyes from his head and plugged the pebbles into the freshly bleeding sockets completing the spell carved on his body.

Even more of his strength drained from his body extracting the activation price a second time and leaving him nothing but a hollow skeleton of the war hero who had bravely sieged an entire city singlehandedly for a fortnight while he waited for reinforcements to arrive.

Gungre fell from his hands without his famous strength and clattered to the ground. Each of the stone arrows around the arena was carved with a tiny rune creating a complex magic circuit around the arena.

The circuit hummed too life and sent arrows flying into the air and down again. The cycle repeated itself creating an endless rain of arrows upon the knight destroying their shield and tearing through their armor.

The knight made a final gambit to slay Hodir before they were killed themselves.

The knight gritted their teeth barely making it through the rain with their life and up to the husk of the glaive master Hodir.

Hodir ran his hand along the floor of corpses sending their weapons, which had each been engraved with a tiny rune, flying with little force at the knight.

Despite the weakness of the attack and the immobile body of Hodir the swords of the fallen pushed the knight back just enough to be pinned to the ground by a nearby stone arrow finally putting an end to the fight.

In the silent aftermath, Hodir lifted his frail body off the ground with what little strength he had left and retrieved his helmet sitting over his glaive, Gungre. The fight is over for now and he will continue to hold his ground until the day he dies or when a long-dead battalion makes it to him to relieve him of duty.