Skeleton Attack


The army marches. It never eats. It never sleeps. It never stops. It is coming for you.

Character Series: no character series

Group Series: no group series

Genre: Fantasy

Author: Chris Wilkins

No character pictures for this story. Yet.

    “Here they come,” Dorian snarled. He swung his broadsword over his right shoulder, holding his shield in front of him, huge biceps flexing, eyes looking down the slope at the lines of advancing skeletons, sweat running down his front and making blotches on his leather armour underneath his chain mail.

    It wasn’t a normal army. No flesh, just bones, as all the animated skeletons lumbered up the grass covered slope to the waiting lines of soldiers. They came on, stumbling, like drunken sailors. Hundreds of them, perhaps thousands, as they clanked and scrambled upwards.

    Sirias nodded, standing beside Dorian. “Seems so,” he said back, his monotonic voice combining with the muted clunking of the skeletons. He swung his sword side to side in a cutting motion, showing his frustration, the long sleeves of his cloak swishing back and forth.

    Dorian glowered at the advancing army of bones, then turned his glare at Sirias. “Far too many good men have lost their lives fighting this army of undead skeletons.”

    Sirias looked at Dorian patronisingly. “You know, this conversation is boring.”

    Dorian turned to the front, his chain mail suit clunking in the frost morning air. He didn’t reply. “There he is,” he said, his sword pointing directly over the head of the army of skeletons at a tall man standing behind them, the man’s cowl hanging over his face, deep shadows lurking underneath so no one could see his face. He wore a long, grey cloak with wide sleeves that hung down from his wrists to his stomach. He held a staff the size of a small tree.

    “Daeke!” he hissed.

    “All men at the ready,” the voice of Sergeant Major Tanis boomed out across the calm country plain. Instantly all talk was forgotten, all jokes put aside to be told after the battle. Dorian held up his stout shield, holding his sword in front of him, Sirias preparing a spell on the edge of his lips. The men to either side of them, all part of a continuous line of soldiers, five ranks deep, that ran along the hill for three hundred yards, also got ready, the chink of armour and smell of sweat filling the air.


    The skeletons stopped at the bottom of the slope, readied themselves, and then came on. Unlike any other army they didn’t shout or scream before charging. They just got together, made sure they had their swords drawn, and then staggered forwards, thousands of clinking bones sounding like a waterfall.

    “I wish you two would shut up,” Sampard said off to the left. “You’re like a pair of old women.” He drove his shield straight into the torso of a charging skeleton, bringing his sword over in a long arc, smashing through its collar bone and upper ribs, slicing right through it, making it topple to the side as its fell in two halves.

    Sirias put his hand forward, his palm thrust out. The last few words of his spell finished, a jet of fire blasting from his hand, hitting the closest group of charging skeletons directly, the searing heat burning the last remaining ligaments and tendons holding their already-dead bodies together. As quickly as it had appeared the flames vanished, leaving a huge pile of bones.

    Right along the line, like plumes of marsh gas being let off, bursts of fire sprang forth, toasting large groups of skeletons.

    “Advance,” the command from Tanis boomed out again.

    As one the line of men-at-arms moved forward, pushing the attacking skeletons back, those men in the rear stamping on the bones as they went. Further behind came the “bone gatherers,” boys who grabbed the bones, concentrating on the arms and legs, putting them into large hessian sacks. The arms and legs jumped about, moving back and forth, trying to run away on their fingers and toes from the boys closing in on them. Others carried large hammers, going about smashing up the remaining ribs, hips and heads. Soon the ground was covered in a light white colour.


    Dorian flicked his head over his shoulder. “Good job, those boys. Helps stop this nonsense.”

    “Yeh, but what will you do if it does ever stop,” Sampard snorted. “Go home and annoy your wife all day.”

    Sirias raised his hand again, frying another line of charging enemy. Many went down but some kept on, their bones and bits of old cloth stuck to them catching fire, the hillside looking like a lower dimension of hell.

    Dorian took a long step forward, holding his shield out, swinging his sword horizontally, smashing through the leg of another skeleton. The bones were sheared right through, the undead creature toppling over backwards, tripping up two more skeletons running behind.

    “The problem with this enemy is they are so easy to kill. They just never die.” He smashed his boot through the skull of one of them on the ground, sending shards of bone everywhere, then sliced through the legs with his sword. Here and there, on the ground, the bones tried to reform, the arms and legs pulling themselves towards each other and their torso, reforming into skeletons, jumping up and continuing the fight.

    Left and right the line of men-at-arms attacked the skeletons the same way. The soldiers left the torso alone, instead focusing on breaking the arms and legs. Everywhere the wizards shot out bursts of flame, torching the skeletons in batches.

    “You’d think they’d learn, wouldn’t you,” Dorian sneered.

    “I think they have,” Sirias said, his voice touched with fear. His long black cloak that hung on his arms as if he was a scarecrow because of the deep wide sleeves, drooping down to the ground, quivered as he held out his hand, pointing over the heads of the skeleton army. Beyond the lines of skeletons armed with rusty swords, spears and shields was another line of skeletons no one had seen before. The skeleton infantry, like ants all obeying a single command, stepped back, parting, making way for the new menace that Sirias pointed at.


    Dorian and Sampard followed the finger. Thundering towards the lines of packed infantry was a dense block of cavalry. Skeleton cavalry, all carrying long spears, pointing straight at the lines of men.

    “Form lines. Prepare to receive a charge,” Tanis shouted out, loud above the sounds of fighting. The men, all suddenly shaking out of their complacence, bunched up their line, all swords brought to the front.

    Dorian looked about, lines of worry etched on his face, as he held his sword out to the front. “Frig. No spears.”

    Sampard laughed. “Wouldn’t do any good, anyway.” Spears just went between the skeletons’ bones, not damaging them at all.

    “Then what the hell are we going to do?” Dorian growled.

    “Stop your fussing,” Sirias spat, rolling his shoulders, ruffling his wide sleeves, making his cloak ride up over his shoulders. The hood flopped over his head. He grabbed it and flung it over his back, then rubbed his hair with his hands. “They’re just skeletons that are a bit higher.”

    “You’re frigging stupid, Sirias,” Dorian spat, anger bubbling to the top, a deep crease appearing on his brow, the muscles in his arms flexing and shaking. “Cavalry is the one thing that can destroy lines of infantry. You know that.”

    Sirias shook his head as the skeleton cavalry, now with enough room to charge, kicked their dead steeds forward. On they came, horses of bone, no manes or tails, no whinnying, just the pounding of their hooves on the ground as they churned up the ground, gathering speed for the contact. The lines of skeleton riders swung their swords above their heads or lowered their spears, spurring their charges into a gallop. The sound of bones clicking on bones grew.

    Dorian looked at the converging line of skeleton cavalry, his brow growing deeper by the second, more lines appearing on his forehead. “I just wish they would make some kind of noise.”


    The lances and spears hit, the bone-horses rearing up, thrashing at the men in the line. Sirias fired off another fire jet, roasting two bone-cavalrymen to the front. As the bones fell apart, helped by the slashing swords of Dorian and Sampard, more cavalrymen filled their places.

    Dorian smashed through the neck of an undead horse. The head fell away but the horse stayed on its feet, the rider slashing back and forth with its sword. He moved in, slicing through the front legs of the horse, Sampard keeping the rider’s sword at bay. The horse collapsed in a pile of cartilage, femur, fibula, sternum and hundreds of other bones.

    But the rider jumped clear, diving to the side. Sampard turned towards him but too late, the skeleton’s sword slicing through his neck, severing his artery. The ground, covered in white, shattered bones, turned red as his blood spurted from his body. He dropped to the ground, not moving, his sword and shield hanging limply by his side.

    “Shit!” Dorian yelled, leaping back into line, Sirias also stepping back. The men either side looked at Sampard with horror, their shields held up as if warding off an evil curse. Sirias threw another blast of fire at the skeleton, turning him into a pile of bones.

    Sampard was dead, but not his body. His clothes and armour fell off, the belts and buckles either undoing themselves or rotting away, as if they aged hundreds of years in seconds. The flesh fell away as if it was water, revealing his inner tissue underneath, his blood vessels, his inner organs, all of it disintegrating, falling into a pile of offal on the ground. His bones appeared through the red mess as the flesh and muscle dried out. The skull appeared through the skin on his head. The creature that used to be Sampard turned its head towards Dorian and grinned, still holding its sword and shield. It stood up, tested the weight of the sword, then strode towards the line of human soldiers, lifting its large broad sword as it came.


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