Markus stretched his arm back into his quiver and drew a bolt. He loaded, tilted the crossbow slightly upward, and squeezed the trigger. The glorified dart flew nearly straight ahead before arching down to unknown effect. Load, fire, load, fire, he thought. The monotony was killing him. The Ueklanders were getting closer and closer, but all he could do was load, fire, load, fire. To make it worse, his brown quiver had only twenty bolts remaining in it.
An eagle soared through the sky fifty yards in front of him. Markus adjusted his angle and fired, dropping the screeching bird down onto the shouting barbarians. Now that’s much more effective than any single bolt, he thought.
“Ha, that’s a cool idea, killing Ueks with birds, I’ll have to try that,” said a man beside Markus, whom he knew was named Roger. Roger did likewise, barely striking a soaring hawk the first time he saw one coming. The effect was quite the same. Several other people started repeating Markus’s actions, making sure to tell the others they were firing so that only one bolt was used per bird. They missed a lot, but if they did the bolt itself would fall on the Ueklanders anyway.
Markus was grinning ear to ear. Then he hurt the battle cry. “Ueks straight ahead!” someone shouted. Markus took a cord from a side pocket in his quiver and tied the crossbow to it. He drew the short sword from his belt and waited. His body shook. His hands went slick. The man just in front of Markus crumpled. Markus stepped forward and threw a blind jab, miraculously placed into the axeman’s ribcage. Markus withdrew his short sword and kicked the stunned savage into the man behind him. He reached into his quiver and hurled a bolt into the face of the Ueklander that was effectively pinned down.
Another one jumped over his fallen comrades’ bodies, club raised. Markus grabbed the man’s club hand with his off-hand, slammed his knee into the man’s groin, and delivered a killing stab. The shock in his left arm caused it to go numb. Ueklanders came in from every direction. Markus sheathed his sword and dove to the ground, looking dead to all who saw him.