Marticus had been walking all day. He was exhausted, but yet remained hopeful. He had finally been chosen to do something import for his army. Cirus had given him the job, out of all the ones who had escaped. He finally had a chance to prove that he wasn't a nobody, to his family. He had been the runt of the bunch and had been constantly belittled and tortured by his older, more successful brothers. They told him he'd never do anything good in his life, and his parents did nothing to reassure him that he wasn't what his brothers said, but he secretly knew that they thought of him the same way. This scouting mission was his big opportunity, and he wasn't about to screw it up.
He was to scout the Keeshaw pass and make sure that it wasn't enemy occupied. Seeing as how he hadn't seen a demon all day, he let his guard down. He entered the valley shaped pass, without noticing the yellow lamplight eyes that followed him in. He casually strolled into the center of it, thinking of how stupid the demons had been to miss this place. It was the perfect location for an ambush. The rock walls sloped easily downward to the beaten trail, making for an easy descent. A lip of rock on each side that could hide an army of small number easily, until whoever or whatever passed below was too far in to escape. The ledges although, were his favorite. The perfect place for an archer, and that was his only real skill. He stared at it with a respect for this fateful place. That was the last thing he saw before the jagged blade sliced his throat.
The army marched on towards their impending doom. The scouts had not returned yet, which gave Tatian reason to be suspicious, but on a day such as this, all worries seemed to slip away. The golden sun hung high in the cloudless baby blue sky, and a soft wind caressed the soldiers, and lightened their weary spirits. The commander looked upon the scene in delight. He had seen paintings of these fields, but not by an artists hand could their true beauty be captured, but on days like this one. The march was one of hope and happiness, and the soldiers sang as they traversed the distance to the pass. They would reach it by nightfall.
The sun sank into the west sending the last strands of daylight scurrying after it. They were still about two miles from their destination when darkness enveloped the land. It seemed as though their happiness went with the setting of the sun. The men grew solemn and silent. The full moon was out in force, casting an eerie shadow to the pass they were headed towards. Tatian then remembered the scouts he sent out had not returned, and with no sunlight to lighten his mood he became increasingly worried. He halted his army, and called his commanders to him and they conversed softly with each other. Then they broke apart and three more scouts were dispatched to see if the pass was safe.
The scout's passage could not be hidden for the brightness of the moon, and all watched their slow descent to the Keeshaw. They fanned out across the mouth and walked guardedly up its slopes, searching the whole of it. When they determined it was clear they walked down from its slopes and signaled from its mouth the all clear. Tatian brought the troops forward, but told them to be wary and not let their guard down.
They crept forward on cat's paws, but when there are a thousand men; cat's paws are not silent. The eyes of the frightened soldiers swiveled frantically around in their sockets, waiting to catch even the slightest sign of a disturbance. Nothing was seen or heard by the men until they were well within the pass. Then they appeared, as if materializing out of the darkness, lamp like eyes gleaming like the fires of the place of their banishing, their bodies blacker than the night around them.
The men let out shrieks of warning, a second too late. The demons were on them in an instant, gliding down the walls of the valley like pass as shadows, archers cutting down the small army by a forth from their perches. Tatian screamed at his men to form ranks, but most of them were already locked in combat with the evil foes. Blood stained the weapons of both armies like a deep coat of rust.
Tatians mind raced. How had the scouts missed them? This army is easily four thousand strong, probably more, although he couldn't tell in this light. How had they known we were headed this way? And all of it came rushing to him in a moment's time. There must have been a spy that overheard our planning in camp yesterday. The demons must have had a huge search party out looking for us, and when found they sent someone in. Then after the news was extracted from them they mobilized and moved out that night, before us, gaining quite a lead and taking the pass early this morning. The scouts must have been killed quickly and silently, so no word would get back to the main bulk. The demons must have heard our ruckus miles off, and moved into the lush forests surrounding this area. That's why the second wave of scouts missed their presence, and when we walked right into their trap. He cursed aloud. How foolish I was. Now many good men will have to die for my mistake. But I will not let their death be in vain!
He let out a horrifying scream, tinged with the anger and guilt he felt. All action on the battlefield seemed to freeze. Then he charged, adrenaline running unchecked, pumping him with strength he did not think capable of a man. He came at the demon rush from the right flank and brought his glorified long sword from its sheath, and its mysterious blue metal shone with the fire of his eyes. He clove the first demon he met in half, and drove the blade into the gut of another. He brought his blade to around again and found the demons had ringed him. His men tried to reach him, but died in their struggle. He was totally alone against these eight foes. He let out another scream and slew the closest demon grabbing his mace and flinging it into the face of the astonished one right next to him. He spun around, and the others, blind with rage charged. A blade grazed his shoulder, but its owner was cut down before it could see the effect it had. Tatian was so far gone by now that pain meant nothing and his minds only thought was to demolish the foul things in front of him. Spears bounced off his armor, leaving not so much as a scratch as three more demons fell dead, screaming their lord's name to no avail. Now he was left with two of the original eight. One, infuriated, came swiftly for him swinging a deadly looking pike high above his head leaving his mid-section completely open. Tatian did not hesitate to take advantage of the weakness, and his blade cut deep into the cheap armor the demons were equipped with. The other watched his other seven comrade's fall and then tried to flee, but Tatian was too quick for him and quickly grabbed the pike and flung it after the fear ridden demon. He dropped not ten feet from his original spot.
The demons screamed in fury, but retreated from the man as if he was a god. He screamed a cry of triumph and his men were given heart by their seemingly invincible leader, and fought harder to push back the foe. Now that the right flank was cleared, Tatian gathered some men to him and told them to draw back to the mouth, and retreat to the fields. Runners were sent to the other sections, and the army was slowly moving toward the intended course. Tatian gathered a group of fifty men to him, and led the advance on the demons defense of the mouth. The demons clumped together and raised their pikes to the coming force. But Tatian was unstoppable this night. He mauled his way through their ranks as if they were made of paper. Many demons fled in terror as he came with his ferocious screams and slowly the encompassed army gained ground. It wouldn't be long until they had a large enough opening to get the rest of the troops onto the fields below, where they could regroup and defend themselves better. If the demons didn't do something fast, the trap they had so carefully set would be broken and useless.
Then Tatian was struck by an arrow in his left shoulder, from one of the demon archers, and went down. This was the burst of luck the demons so desperately hoped for, and immediately charged forth into the other armies midst. They swarmed Tatian as he looked up at them, the fire still raging in his eyes, sword in hand, ready to take all of these demons with him if he was to die. If not for the courage of Cirus, Tatian surely would have been, but Cirus came hurtling forward from the back ranks, and thrust himself into the squad of demons assailing his friend. Armed with a demon's mace and his huge broadsword immediately cut their little band to shreds. This gave Tatian the time he needed to get back up and continue his fight. He looked to Cirus and smiled as his friend skirted off to his men back at the rear. The army's spirits were again heightened by the valiancy of the second in command, and for their leaders return, therefore fought harder than ever to gain the mouth. In a matter of minutes after that selfless act, they had broken through and flooded onto the plains below.