Chapter 4

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The Vanquished Island

Moving his fingers through the coarse sand, Admiral Fowler took a deep breath as he mustered the strength to look up. Nothing but chaos ensued around him. The sound of clashing swords and men shouting was at the forefront of his mind as he tried to get back on his feet.

A familiar man rushed over to his side, bringing his right arm around him as he yelled, “hang on, Admiral! I’ll get you out of here!”

Looking up at Declan, Fowler placed his hand onto his chest, taking a few steps back as he replied, “I’m fine, just hand me a blade.”

Concerned, but understanding of the Admiral’s wishes, Declan picked up a sword from a dead sailor who was lying motionless on the ground. As he handed it over to him, the ground shook as a vanghoul came running straight for them.

With a fuming expression, Fowler readied himself and stared into the eyes of the beast as he mumbled. “I’ll put you out of your hideous existence!”

As the vanghoul prepared to swing his axe, a rain of arrows fell upon him by the command of General Galeran. Several Stormhold units had established battle formations to protect the officers by Nathan’s order. With countless arrows sticking out of its body, the vanghoul crashed into the ground before Fowler’s feet.

The Admiral didn’t seem at all pleased as he turned and shouted furiously, “bloody hell, I had him!”

Slowly trying to get back up, the beast grunted. In the shortest amount of time, the admiral angrily stabbed his blade through its skull, finishing him off.

Guardsmen hastily formed a defensive line next to them with their shields covering from the ground up. Declan moved over to Galeran with concern as he asked. “Have you seen the Captain Sorrowhill?”

“No, but we have yet to make a total count of everyone still alive. People have come ashore all the way down the coast, so it’s possible that he made it.” Looking over at the Declan, who was brushing wet sand off his clothes, Nathan continued, “we’ve almost secured the shoreline. The vanghouls have been pushed inland, but we have yet to see any signs of their leaders. These are uncharted lands, so we’ll have to proceed with caution. It is of the utmost importance that we establish a garrison as soon as possible.”

“Aye, shall we secure this area and build it against the shoreline? We don’t know what else lurks in these jungles.”

“That’s probably the best solution, but first, we need to deal with this threat.”

Turning his attention towards the soldiers, Galeran drew his lion engraved blade and pointed it at the vanghouls coming out of the forest, bellowing firmly. “Form shield formations and push them back!”

With wall shields readied, the units formed two rows of protective formations with spears pushed out from the side and at the top. Marching towards the beasts who were fighting fiercely, the troops engaged with a boosted morale from the officers who fought alongside them. The mud skinned creatures tried to break through the barricade but to no avail. Spears were launched through their bodies when they attacked, and several had been killed before a horn was sounded from within the deep jungle.

With much blood spilled, the soldiers of Stormhold struck down the remaining vanghouls on the beach. The rest were heading inland to regroup, but this small defeat was nothing in the eyes of the beasts. Gazing up at a cliff in the distance, Declan noticed one of them standing tall with a large battle-axe in the shape of a cleaver. His confident stance and the fact that the vanghouls were rallying towards his location, gave him the idea that he would be one of their commanders. However, it did not seem like they were planning to follow up with another strike yet, as they vanished slowly in between the trees. In the same direction was a few stone pillars reaching close to a vast canopy.

The former Admiral then informed the officers about his discovery and requested that they should investigate to see if they could make use of whatever was hiding in the distance.

Only moments later, a Stormhold scout party was sent out. Taking the lead of the unit was Declan, he was hopeful that this would be a place to establish a foothold. As he pushed annoying branches out of his path, he eventually arrived at the location. It was a ruined city, and based on how much mother nature had reclaimed, it was ancient. It looked completely abandoned. Vines were covering what was left of the buildings, and moss had coated most of the walkways. Nonetheless, this was a perfect spot to set up a garrison that could be defended. Word was soon sent out to the remaining forces on the beach that the opportunity for a formidable foothold had been discovered. Now it was essential to form barricades and secure the area before the Vanghouls returned.

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