The fifth day after their chaotic and ill-conceived assault upon the old monastery, they came again. This time they did not chase our shepherds onto the heights, or attack our villages. The undead poured from the waters of the ocean, filling the valleys, an entire army. They hit us the great western gate in a flood of rotting flesh and brittle bones. Through their lines marched creatures shaped like men, but without any semblance of intelligence, as hungry for blood as the rotting zombies, but with limbs capable of swift movement. They brought the unresting corpses of giants with them, stiffening their lines and pressing us back. Men fell all around me, arrow riddled and crushed under the feet of the giants. We held the lines long enough to see our people safely through the west gate and into the walls of the castle.
Our commanders called a retreat, and we made the evil pay for every step up the long ramp. Corpses, no longer filled with unnatural life, fell like chaff, but there were always more behind, pressing us. We rained stones and arrows upon them from the great wings of the fortress until the stink of their piled bodies threatened to leave us all gasping and wretched. We thought ourselves safe from their advance within our walls, while even the lobbed stones of the giants could not faze our fortifications.
That was when he appeared; a human among the horde. I can not now remember what he wore, but I remember the terrible fire in his eyes. He raised his hand, long out of bowshot and the portcullis was torn asunder. We sought to hold them in the courtyard, but the power of the enemy sorceror rolled through our lines, ripping flagstones the size of a man from the ground and tearing men apart with equal ease. His own horde was hit harder than ours, but that left them unfazed. We retreated into the interior of the fortress, and they pressed us, through the wings and up into the castle above. Room by room we fought, with their inexhaustible numbers and our fatigue mounting step by step. We held at the top of the last stairs, at the highest floor in the fortress. There was no further retreat, and so we fought like men will do in those straits, until the sloppy gore of undead began to roll back down the stairs like an unholy avalanche.
The commander saw a signal upon the hills to the west, and he told us their army was no longer crawling from the water, but was returning to it. With renewed vigor and strength born from desperation, we pushed them back, and as the order to retreat reached these mindless minions, they began to turn back on their own. It was a slaughter, striking down zombies from behind, hacking them with arms gone numb. The rest of the battle was a blur through the hallways and across the broken courtyard, down the stone ramp and across the field. We roared defiance as we pressed for their vanguard. Our commander bade us attack, that we might strike down the sorceror, and win a decisive victory here.
The sorceror, however, was no easy meat. He rained death upon our fragile army, summoned huge blocks of acid and creatures from the pits of hell, raining death down upon us. Great explosions of stone and earth rained from the ramparts at our backs. By the time the last slime was felled and silence returned to the field, there were only two dozen men standing. It was a victory. But every man who fell was one less man to stand before this gate when the sorceror returns. And there was no doubt in any of our men, that the darkness would return.