Despite his valour, Lord Snookington’s leg was slashed and the nobleman fell to his knees. An enormous Malaxian warrior stood over him, about to deliver a fatal blow. The warrior looked up and saw Ned. A hint of recognition caused a split second delay. It was Big Nose. His face was creased with age beneath a darkened helmet. Ned focussed on the uniform as everything seemed to slow down. He leapt forward and kicked Big Nose in the chest. Spinning around, Ned cut him down.
Another huge Malaxian soldier bellowed and charged at Ned. Without thinking, Ned somersaulted forwards, using his circular shield in one hand for steady momentum and thrust his sword upwards. The leviathan soldier faltered as Ned withdrew the sword. Kroll clutched his stomach with a gloved hand and hit the ground. Ned realised it was Kroll as he stood over his enemy. The warrior’s eyes widened as he stared at his nemesis. With a final breath, the head of the greatest Malaxian warrior fell to one side.
The nearest Malaxian soldiers hesitated. Their champions had just died in open combat. They looked at each other, not sure what to do. A single soldier stood in their way. This man wearing a wolf pelt was different. He had killed their elite warriors. It was Ned’s time. Harry Snookington was still on his knees as he watched. Ned bounced back and forth on his feet, and launched into the enemy troops.
At this critical moment in the battle, the King’s army rallied. They followed Ned’s lead and charged their foe, filling the air with war cries. Both infantry and knights fought the Malaxians with renewed vigour. Only moments before, the Malaxians were about to overrun the King’s soldiers but now their morale was broken. The crowded battleground dispersed as Malaxian soldiers flowed back up the hill. The Malaxian commanders tried to regroup, but it was no use. Kroll was gone and their army collapsed into full retreat. With only a day and a half before a full moon, the Malaxians ran toward the swamp.
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