Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Albinor Chronicles Chapter 20
"The Fall of Lobania"

By Marcus Pan

May 25, 004

The day dawned bright and sunny in the small, just-begun country of Lobania. This country, nearly 150 miles from the nearest friendly border and only 100 square miles in itself, lies far north on the infamous Orcanian Steppes, so named for the many raging orc tribes who roam the leagues.

The breeze was blowing briskly across the plain and the heat from the sun was beginning to pour down heavily, baking and cracking the fertile soil. The people of Lobaka, a small village within the patch of civilized land, were just awakening. Hundreds filed over to the construction area where a great castle was being built for the king who tamed this new land in the honor of goddess Ishtar. The king is none other than Johannesonne Lobanna, Paladin of Ishtar, and these are his subjects.

The day's construction on Castle Loban began, the walls designed to hold the castle within not even near completion. These walls, being 100' high of solid, stone blocks, housed an area of 115,000 square feet. The king, Johannesonne Lobanna, was away from his country now. He left behind his betrothed and beloved Carmelita who took care and looked after the day-to-day work on the country and castle. The morning hours wore away as the knights of Lobania looked after the work being done on the castle walls and patrolled the outskirts of the country.

As the sun was rising to its peak in the sky two shining knights rode quickly across the plain to another group beside the wall. Riding quickly with purpose and urgency they came up beside the other knights. "They come." one rasped.

"What has happened? Who comes?" asked one of the other men who was approached by the wall. The second knight who rode up sat up on his steed staring forward, but not seeming to see nor perceive. His face was pale and graven as if the angel of death itself had whispered into his ear that it would take and snuff out his life like a torch dropped into a bucket. This made the approached knights uneasy.

"The orcs. All come." he said, out of breath.

"You could not destroy a few evil puppets? You had to ride for help for such a small task?"

"A few?" the man cried. A wave of anger broke on his brow as if the other knight had just thrown an insult before him. The other shifted his weight in his saddle uneasily. "There are hundreds. And they come to destroy us all!"

"But Paladin Lobanna wiped out those hordes." the second said incredously.

"Aye, 'tis true. But not all, for 'tis well known these plains are fleshed with orcs and other banes cowering in every corner, crag and shadow. But we moved them beyond fear to anger. And now they come to seek their revenge by spilling all our blood The blood of all Lobania!" Just then, as if on cue, a horde of silhouettes came over the edge of the horizon. The force of beasts stretched across the plain and hundreds there surely were. But the knights of Lobania were only 36 and they were over a hundred miles from help without king or leader. The families of the workers measured over a thousand heads, but these were mostly women and children back at the village. And the men were laborers, not fighters, and untrained in the skills of combat. The power of Johannesonne Lobanna, which kept these monsters at bay, was unattainable. The second man who rode in watched as the evil host drew upon them. His face twisted, hands shook and death tore at his soul. He turned to the other three assembled knights and spoke his first words since arriving.

"We die this day." he said in an unerring, factual tone of voice.

"Aye. But let us die beneath the eyes of Ishtar in honor of battle for Lobania as our king would do for us. Let us die swinging cold steel for our king and lady. And let us die shouting the praise of Ishtarra and Lobania. Heeyah!" He cried loud over the tumult of impending battle. He crossed the space between the wall and the offending army quickly shouting, "Ishtarra! Lobania!" and crashed into their ranks slashing with his longsword. The companion who stood with him did also soon after, his steed riding swiftly and his shield shining beside his sword o'er his head. The two riders followed next. Cries of "Ishtarra" and "Lobania" echoed with cries of "Grumasha" and "Orcania" from the orcan army. The men who were working on the walls took up stone blocks and hurled them down from the wide walkways above to the onrushing orcs. The first four knights had already fallen, their horses dragged into the dirt by sheer numbers and weight. The knights were not beaten in skill, but in odds. The force of orcs was over 500 strong and the odds stacked against the knights were nearly fourteen to one. More knights rushed in on horseback followed by workers who had grabbed up picks, hatchets and shovels any possible item that could be used as a weapon to hurt or to kill. Half the orcan force broke off for Lobaka, the small village southeast of the construction site. The other half swarmed over the walls like maggots. The well-trained knights were dragged under the horde like swimmers fighting a strong undertow in deep waters. The workers were not trained in combat and wore no armor and rode no horses so they were felled not long after entering the fray. The orcs gained the upper hand quickly. Throats were cut, fires set and stonework toppled. All the work put into Loban's Castle thus far was destroyed by but a few hours of ravaging by the orcan army.

The group that broke off for the village reached it in about a quarter of an hour in a quick forced march. Women and children, caught off-guard and unawares, ran screaming in every direction. The last of the knights who remained in Lobaka that day rushed upon the destroyers, but they, too, were torn from their mounts and cut down like reaped wheat. Even the children were shown no mercy by these monsters. The village was pillaged and plundered then set aflame. The women were raped then brutally murdered. Not a soul survived the onslaught at the village nor the castle. Both scenes of battle were littered with foul, reeking dead bodies. What was once Lobania, wrenched from the grasp of the murderous orcs, now is regained to the Orcanian Steppes. All valuables and treasures were looted and only desolation was left behind.

The knights fought valiantly. They knew death had come for them in the form of these beasts of darkness yet they strove against it without hope, but without despair. Many slew more than three of these monsters before being torn from their mounts into the fray.

Back at the toppled walls of Loban's Castle two parts of the wall were left, like two spires of stone reaching from the ruins and pointing at the sky like a wicked accusation to the gods. On one was painted, in blood, a huge, gaping red eye. And beneath it was writ "He Who Watches." And on the other, also in blood, was a great pentagram. And beneath this powerful symbol of evil were these words: "For so long as I reign you shall not."

The above item may have been edited by the author since its first appearance in Legends No. 50.