The salvo was accurate and lethal. Nearly the entire first line of goblins fell in an instant. The next several rows suffered heavy losses as well. Even so, the army pressed toward the Valian line. At twenty paces, another round of javelins proved even more effective than the first. Goblins fell, screaming in pain. Without shields, they were easy targets. Even with their horrible losses, the goblins reached the line and attacked.
With the goblins’ front lines decimated, the initial contact was only in a few places along the wall of shields. As a result, there were large gaps in the marsh dweller’s ranks. Feverishly, the goblins struck out again and again with their pikes, but their blows were blunted by the disciplined formation.
“Arrows?” asked Fardar.
“Not this time, Lord Fardar,” Linvin answered patiently. “In the previous two battles, we held them at the wall and did our damage with arrows. Their war chief is testing me. First, he wants to see if we have archers. If we do, he wants me to exhaust my arrows on his weaker troops.”
“Then why not encircle them with your cavalry?”
“Again Fardar, he looks to see if I have cavalry. This is bait. The trap he hopes to spring, waits at the edge of the fog.” Linvin handed the looking glass to Fardar. In viewing the far edge of the battlefield, he could just barely make out ranks of heavily armored goblins in tight formation.
“We would be caught between two forces.” Linvin explained.
“How many are there in reserve?” Fardar inquired.
Linvin took the glass back and replied, “My scouts say about 12,000. That is the hammer that is meant to strike our anvil.”
“We must do something, General. You keep saying we cannot attack. What can we do?”
Linvin smiled and turned his gaze once again to the growing engagement. “Sculla is doing it now.”
Even at their distance from the battle, Linvin and Fardar could hear Sculla yell, “Advance.” Before the Goblins could fill the gaps in their lines, the Valian infantry marched steadily forward. Goblins hurried to fill the break in their line but it was too late. Once Sculla’s men were past the pike-heads, they had a clear run at their enemy. There was no room for the goblins to maneuver their long spears. With their adversary in their face, the goblins dropped their pikes and drew their close quarter weapons.
“Wall!” cried Sculla upon noticing the change. His troops interlocked their full-length shields, reforming the shield wall.