“Wall!” cried Sculla upon noticing the change. His troops interlocked their full-length shields, reforming the shield wall.
The Valians maintained their formation and stopped their advance once the pikes were discarded. They were sure where to move from their current position. Their enemy crashed upon the shield wall with the ferocity of an ocean wave against a rocky coast.
The goblins wielded a vast array of weapons. With everything from sickle swords to clubs, they assaulted the wall. With all their might, they struck at the Valians. Yet, for all their blows, not one penetrated the defense.
Seizing the initiative, Sculla’s men struck from behind their great shields with short stabbing swords. Though the blade’s range was limited, it could be thrust with great power through or underneath most armor. The weapon also weighed enough to bludgeon an opponent when called upon. It was brutally effective when used properly and feared by the goblins above all else.
The goblins pressed the advance from the rear, but there was nowhere to go against the wall. So dense were their lines that it was nearly impossible for the Valians to miss. Their upward slashes found their targets again and again. Goblin loses began to mount. Still they pressed the attack.
“Why do they rush headlong toward death?” Fardar asked.
“Goblins normally outnumber their opponents. It is a simple strategy,” Linvin explained. “They throw themselves at you until they wear down your defenses. It is crude but can be highly effective if you cannot counter it.”
“It’s suicide,” Fardar surmised.
“No,” corrected Linvin, “It is a measured cost to achieve victory. You almost have to admire their devotion to duty. Nevertheless, we must persevere.”
“How?” asked Fardar “Sculla’s line cannot hold indefinitely. Those men will tire.”
“We have trained for this, Lord Fardar. Observe the line closely.” Fardar looked through the spectacle at the point of conflict. “I see the two sides fighting.”
“Keep watching,” Linvin said.
To Fardar’s amazement, the centurion directly behind the one at the front line rotated to the conflict, sending the exhausted centurion to the back of the rank. Instantly a fresh warrior was in the fray. Not more than a dozen sword strokes later, he moved to the rear and was replaced immediately. With ranks seven men deep, they constantly kept well-rested troops on the line.
Moment by moment, goblins’ blood spilled while drawing precious little from their adversary. Through it all, the heavy Valian infantry stood their ground, despite now being fully visible with the disappearance of the fog.