It's becoming a battle in itself just to keep my eyes open and focused. Pain racks every inch of my body, muscles screaming for relief. My grip tightens around the pole of my lance, dug firm into the soft ground underneath. Leaning heavily on the lance, I look about the horizon. More are coming. How many? Ten? Twenty? Vision blurred by sweat and blood obscured the answer, but I know that however much, it is too many. They come from the far mountains where life is harsh, and food is scarce. They seek to take from others what they did not earn. I glance around, eying the crumpled forms of the fallen foes at my feet. Fools too slow to escape the swift death of my lance litter the grassy fields. Men, women, horses. They all fell, cleaved and skewered by my hand. Their blood covering the ornate armor adorning my large frame. Their blood, dripping like spit from the mouths of hungry wolves. The sun passes behind some clouds, offering some relief to my eyes from the terrible brightness of the day. The long, horrible, bright day. Thoughts pass through my mind for what seems like an eternity. Sleep. I felt my body slumping. No! I must not give up! Shifting my weight back to my feet, I pull my lance free of the soil and brandish it once more. The wicked glaive shone in the daylight. My reserves are depleted. Nothing to use to stop the blood oozing between the cracks of heavy armor. Resolve. I must have it! The galloping in the distance rushes nearer. I can hear their war cries bellowing. It matters not. Death will come to these men and women no matter how loud they are. It will come. Slowly and painfully if needed.
A thought of my comrades floats to my mind. Zwei and Mina laughing. Grehn meditating. I would give my glory to have them here with me now. Fighting by my side, slaying those who would threaten our home, our people. But this mission was for me. I, alone, answered this call. By the Dragons above, I will return to them. Alive. Gripping my lance, I assume a battle position, ready for the coming onslaught. This will not be my last day. No. Not today. I look back over my shoulder at the small port village. The locals had gathered on the outskirts of the town and were looking on in awe at me. At the carnage I caused in order to protect them. At the last bastion between them and certain doom. They had been the target of these marauders for weeks before the military got word of it and sent for aid. I was that aid, and I would not fail this mission. I would not fail these people. I would not fail myself. The oncoming charge was almost here. I can see the men on horseback, swords and axes drawn and held high. I can hear their words, but I pay them no mind. They would be silent soon.
As the first of the bandits came upon me I readied my lance and plunged forward into the chaos of battle. My blade punctures the neck of the first horse, letting loose the flood of blood, crippling the horse and toppling the rider. A spin to the right and a wide sweep upwards beheads the de-horsed man in one fell swoop. An axe catches my left shoulder hard, driving me to one knee momentarily. A ferocious pierce of my trusty lance through the armor and lungs of the second attacker ends that contest abruptly. These marauders are not used to fighting a trained soldier. Their movements are sloppy and strategy non-existent. They hack and slash at me haphazardly, and pay the ultimate price for it. If I wasn't so tired, so spent, I could almost be amused. Two more opponents approach me, hate and fury in their eyes. They move quickly, charging full speed, weapons raised. I crouch low, lance held firm, parallel to the ground. They reach my perimeter. My death zone. I spring forward, lance arcing wide, effortlessly removing the legs of the first horse, driving it, screaming, into the dirt. A swift coup-de-grace to the rider's neck leaves only one more. One more, I tell myself. One more and you can go home and rest. One more and you can see your friends again. One more.
This one is smarter, though not by much. She dismounted her horse, and came at me on foot. I am so much more deadly to a horse rider. Bigger target. Carefully she approaches, sword at the ready, staring intently into my eyes. Hate and desperation cloud her sight. I lunge forth with a jab, but she side-steps into my strike and swings hard. Her blade came crashing down upon my left shoulder. I stumble back, glancing to the dented metal to assess the damage. Blood was flowing freely down my left arm. Another blow comes whistling from the side. I pull my lance up and grip with both hands to block the attack, but the shock still has me reeling back. Tiring, I know I must finish this quickly. My second wind is fading, and I'm losing a lot of blood. I try to wipe the moisture from my eyes as best I can, and steady my lance. Her blood lust insatiable, she cries out for my head. I attempt to steady my breathing. Slow, methodical. Panic leads to mistakes. Mistakes lead to death. I try to focus. I dig in my feet and prepare for the final strike. Moments feel like years as the crazed marauder moves in for another attack. I pull my lance back, in preparation for a pierce. She takes the bait. Moving in to dodge the jab, she walks flat into my arc. I lean back, spin to the right and sweep high into the air. I managed enough strength for one more burst of speed. With terrifying efficiency, my lance cut through her torso from hip to shoulder. Her look of surprise left frozen on her face, she falls. Entrails stain the ground red. One more carcass for the animals.
Silence? No, I was not so lucky. A loud, raucous cheer erupted off in the distance. A look in the direction of the sound revealed the townspeople to be the source of the noise. They hooped and hollered and jumped and ran in towards me. I sheathed my lance and began a slow limp back to the town. No sooner do I begin moving am I surrounded on all sides by clamoring children. They cheer and touch, and grin, and laugh. They proclaim that I am "Unbeatable Hero Claymore! Savior of the town!" I smile as best I can, a grimace slipping through. Some men offer to carry me, noting the grievous gashes and slick film of blood adorning my body. I thank them, but decline. A Dragoon supports his people, not the other way around. I limp on. Was it getting darker? I struggle to keep my eyes open. My thoughts swim. A black void creeps in from all sides. My steps are heavier, breathing more difficult. The men and women who were blaring just moments before became muted. Suddenly, the ground begins rushing towards my face. I pay it no mind. With a sharp thud, my body hits the grass. Oblivious to the panicked people scrambling to lift me up, I slip peacefully into unconsciousness.