INVINCIBLE • by Steve Goble

Swords clashed, shields broke, bodies fell… and over it all an unholy screech pummeled warriors like a battering ram.

Ulf stumbled as yet another undead thing rose from the mud and clutched his ankle. Ulf’s axe swept downward, lopped through a bony arm and part of the skull, and he leapt away. He knew the thing wasn’t done. Hew off the heads, the bodies fought on; crush the backs, and skeletal fingers crawled through the muck to dig into legs. Only when reduced to splinters and dust did the undead things cease their battle. The Necromancer had chosen to make his stand on ground soaked with blood and filled with bodies from dozens of wars, and now Ulf knew why.

Ulf’s shield knocked aside a musty fiend, but his mind could not block the unholy sorcerous wail that gave semblance of life to these undead. That keening silenced the battle din–no ring of steel, no cries of the wounded could be heard above it. It assaulted the mind, froze the heart and animated the corpses. Ulf caught a glimpse of the Dark General, atop a hill, commanding his monsters. The Necromancer seemed no more alive than his undead host. Only the wail and slowly waving arms proved the sinister being more than a shadow.

The Dornmen fought on, though their banner fell. Ulf hewed left and right, tried to shout to Thior, his commander. “The Necromancer! The wailing! We must silence him!”

Ulf could not hear his own words — not even in his mind. He pressed on. Leather armor failed him — much of it had been ripped away — but courage became his armor. Courage, and knowing he dare not falter. Jienna and the children were at home. Ulf roared and fought, invincible.

Then Garwolf fell, his face splayed open. Ulf avenged his friend in the instant. But even as he struck through the shoulder of the undead thing, Ulf’s thoughts were not of Garwolf. He thought of Jienna, back at the stead, herding the children away, scurrying to flee before the Dornmen force failed at last.

He could not fall. Ulf gathered his waning strength and fought on, invincible.

Ulf pushed forward behind his shield, heedless of the severed skull clamping teeth to his leg. He shoved, drove himself, hacked his way closer and closer to the Necromancer.

He would never reach the sorcerer. New bodies rose from the mud, blocking his path. Even as Ulf drove through them, those behind clawed at his back, ripped his arms, pulled his hair. He would never stare into the sorcerer’s grave-dark eyes and slash keen steel through that damned wailing throat.

Ulf weakened, slipped, and rose on unsteady knees. Just a few more yards, he thought. Just a few.

Ulf’s bright steel tore the jaw from a ghoulish gray face, and his second slash ripped through the neck. He kicked aside the beheaded thing, and saw the Necromancer beyond. Beyond reach. Stinking arms wrapped around Ulf’s legs, teeth plunged into his shoulders, bony hands tried to bring him down.

Ulf flashed teeth, lifted his axe, and cried a battle roar handed down from his fathers. He couldn’t hear it, but his heart felt it. He propelled the weapon, watched it spin in a bright silvery arc, and never let it leave his sight even as the undead things brought him down. He watched it split the Necromancer’s skull, heard the unholy wail die, and felt the teeth and claws fall free from his bleeding body.

All around him, fiends fell in sudden silence.

Ulf, on his knees, watched his lifeblood turn the mud crimson. Dornmen, now unimpeded, rushed forward to carve the Necromancer into bloody bits that would never rise again.

Jienna and the children are safe, Ulf thought. He died a happy man. Invincible.


Steve Goble’s sword and sorcery has appeared in numerous magazines, ezines and anthologies. He also writes horror, science fiction and, once in a great while, poetry.


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Every Day Fiction

  • Alex Dane

    Cracking read Mr Goble!

  • GMoney

    A good ol’ hack and slash story! Well constructed and flowed very nicely. Nice end to my lunchtime!

  • Ellie Tupper

    Huzza! Down and dirty with the demons. Good stuff, Steve.
    (And nice juxtaposition of stories, Jordan!)

    • Lol. Camille does the layouts 😉 She’s great!

  • Michael Ehart

    hmmm…. could use a little more action, doncha think? 🙂
    Good job! Nothing like a little zombie S&S to get the blood pumping in the AM.

  • Death with Purpose! I thought for a moment that he wouldn’t get the Necromancer. Whew!

    Good one.

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  • Thanks, all. I appreciate the comments.

  • Me likey!

  • Ho! We have a lively one here! Nice work, Steve! Though the ‘He died a happy man.’ is a little jarring, too ‘perfect’ an ending. And the repeat of the title as the last word was like the flat of a sword against the skull, but hey! every word before that was rip-roaring fun – and far more poetically beautiful than some recent oddities that have passed through these parts.

  • Nothing like a good S&S–and this was that!

  • Michael D. Turner

    I dunno, could you have spiced it up a little Steve?
    LoL
    Great story, loved every word.
    Mike

  • I liked how death was not a defeat here, and also how the hero’s name was the first word in so many paragraphs. It was like a battle chant: “Ulf! Ulf! Ulf!”

    Good stuff.

  • Oonah V Joslin

    Nothing like a bit of life’s blood turning the mud crimson to cheer the day 🙂

  • Bruce Durham

    Nicely done. Fresh and energetic.

    Ulf! Ulf! Ulf!

  • Mark Dalligan

    Classic stuff Steve!

    Mark

  • What a ride!
    Enjoyed it immensely.

    Deven

  • Good to see you in print, Steve. Lots of action! Love to see that. Thanks for linking from your blog, too. I would have forgotten to click over.
    Jordan, et al: great site! Keep up the good work!
    DMWino

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  • Lyn

    Well done. The battle scene was tightly told and drove the story forward as it drove Ulf to his happy fate. I also appreciated the variety of descriptions you used, for example: Necromancer, Dark General, sinister being. Kept the story from becoming stale. Would liked to have heard Ulf share a parting word, one to his family, before he died. But still, a great piece of flash. Congrats.