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Joshua's Victory (Part 3)

This was originally going to be a three part story, but I couldn't cram everything that I wanted to into this 3rd part. I plan on making one more part. Enjoy! If you have any critiques, let me know either in the comments or by sending an email!

Wearing full battle armor, Joshua stood straight as he stared at the approaching army. Peering through his spyglass, he watched as a sea of soldiers marching towards them, all wearing the emblem of Margus. They halted at the base of the slope.

Handing the spyglass to Striker, Joshua turned to the rest of his generals. He could sense the apprehension coming from them.

“Well,” Kyfe grunted. “I thought we were supposed to have the advantage of numbers, not Margus. Where did he get all those men?”

“I don’t know,” replied Striker, peering through the glass. “But there are definitely more of them than there are of us.”

“I could send some of my fastest riders to get reinforcements,” suggested Nigel as he wrung his hand along the hilt of his sword.

“No, it would take too long.” replied Joshua. “We fight with what we have. I know this looks discouraging; but remember, there is a God in control. As I have been praying these last few days, He has given me comfort that He will give the victory. This unexpected disadvantage does not change anything. Now go prepare your men. We must be ready for whatever Margus sends.”

Matthias sat on a rock, watching the enemy as he sharpened his sword. He grunted in annoyance at Franklin, who sat beside him reading his Bible.

“Franklin, will you get that head of your out of that book for a little while? There are more important things to be doing right now, like making sure you’re ready for the fight ahead of us.”

“That is exactly what I’m doing, Matthias,” responded Franklin as he closed his book and looked up. “I am steadying my nerves.”

“And how is that book going to steady my nerves?”

“If you read it like I suggest, you’ll see why. There are so many verses in here against fear. It helps a lot to know that I have a God protecting me.”

“You know what will also help? Sharpening your weapon or practicing with it. We’re going to be on the front lines, you know.”

“I checked my blade earlier today and made sure it was sharp. I’ve been practicing with it but now the commanders told us to rest and save our energy. My physical state is prepared, now I must make sure I am ready mentally and spiritually. Hence why I am reading the Bible. It will give me the strength I need. God tells his children He is always with them and that he watches over us. I have nothing to worry about. But that only applies to those who have accepted Him. Matthias, if only you cared about your spiritual state as much as your physical. What if you die in this battle? Where will you go?”

“In the ground, like everyone else,” he responded tersely.

“Your body will, but not your spirit.”

Franklin rose from the ground and sat his Bible down beside Matthias.

“I’m going for a little walk. Please read this while I do.”

Matthias stared at the Bible beside him. What did Franklin see in this book? It all seemed to be nonsense to Matthias. Grabbing the book, he began to flip through the pages when a trumpet sounded. It was the signal to get into formation.

Quickly Matthias moved into position and handed the Bible over to Franklin as he came hurrying over. AS Franklin placed it in his tunic, he took his place beside his friend as they marched to the slope. Being in the front lines was the most dangerous position, and Matthias promised himself to keep an eye on Franklin; he did not want to see him killed. They descended the slope only a few feet before being ordered to stop. Below, the enemy were slowly making their way up. They bore broad shields to protect themselves from arrows and carried long spears. Matthias gripped his sword tight and tried to hide his fear.

Striker watched from behind a small shrub on the slope, making sure to keep completely hidden. His men were scattered throughout the area, hiding behind boulders and the few small bushes and trees. All were waiting for his signal. The enemy soldiers were only a few feet away from him when he put his fingers to his lips and emitted a shrieking whistle. With a shout, some of his men freed the few boulders that were loose enough to roll. They crashed into the enemy line, creating small holes in their tight formation. Immediately, Striker and his men began launching arrows whenever they saw an opening. For a few moments the enemy began to fall back in confusion until the leaders got control and pressed their men onwards. As they charged up the hill with a fierce war cry, Striker gave another whistle: the signal to fall back. His men were not equipped with the weapons or armor to fight in close combat. They quickly ran back up the slope to safety.

Kyfe stood tall and straight with his men behind him, his sword raised to the sky, glinting in the light of the rising sun. Kern stood beside him, shifting his battle axe from hand to hand. Kyfe waited until the right moment, then with a fierce yell he lowered his sword and charged towards the approaching army. A cry rose from his men as they followed suit. Within moments, the sounds of battle filled the air.

Matthias tried to keep one eye on Franklin as he battled, but they soon were separated in the confusion. He found himself against two men at once, but quickly dispatched them with his superior skill. He glanced around quickly. Franklin would not have survived long in the same situation. But he was nowhere to be seen. He hoped that Franklin had not fallen so soon.

As the battle raged, Matthias soon gave up trying to find his friend and focused on the ever-coming enemy. Fight after fight he emerged victorious, but his strength was slowly dwindling. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could last Then he spotted Franklin pressed up against a boulder as three men attacked him. Franklin fought back valiantly, but Matthias knew he wouldn’t last long. Quickly, he made his way over, dodging the skirmishes that separated him from his friend.

With renewed energy, he attacked, quickly drawing their attention away from Franklin. The exhaustion showed on Franklin’s grateful face as he temporarily lowered his sword to wipe the blood from his cuts.

“Quickly, Franklin! Get out of here while you have the chance! I’ll hold them off. “

Matthias deflected one slice and grunted as another sword slightly grazed his face, drawing blood.

Determination showed on Franklin’s face as he leaped into battle beside his friend.

“I won’t leave a fellow soldier in battle, especially a good friend as you!”

“I can hold them off! Now go!”

“And if you can’t? You’ll die and go to hell. And I’d never be able to live with that.”

“Your beliefs are going to get you killed!”

“Maybe so, but at least I have a Savior who has promised me a home in heaven.”

Matthias had to admire the courage of his friend. They fought back-to-back, aiding each other when necessary. Working as one, they soon defeated their adversaries. Matthias wiped the sweat off his brow as he smiled gratefully at Franklin.

“Now get out of here, Franklin. You’re injured.”

“It’s no worse than you. You just think I can’t handle myself out here. What you don’t understand is that I have a God who is with me.”

“Like I said, your beliefs are going to kill you.”

Franklin was about to respond when he saw a sword descending from behind Matthias. He leaped towards his friend and shoved him out of the way. Matthias turned to hear Franklin cry out in pain. He watched as his friend collapsed to the ground at the feet of an enemy soldier whose sword was raised and ready to finish off Franklin. Quickly Matthias threw his weapon, which found its mark. He ran over to his friend who lay on the ground, barely breathing.

“Franklin, you shouldn’t have done that. You saved my life.” Matthias whispered, barely able to talk as the tears ran down his face.

Franklin looked up at his friend with no sign of remorse or fear and gave a slight smile.

“You’re a great friend, Matthias. But listen: I may have saved your life, but I can’t save your soul. Only Jesus Christ can do that. You may not survive to the end of this battle. You must make sure your soul if safe.”

With the last strength he had, he pulled his Bible out of his tunic and placed it in his friend’s hands.

“The answers to life are in this book. Read it if you survive this battle and you will know how to live a fulfilling and peaceful life. Accept Christ and live for Him!”

Matthias stared for a moment, partly in shock. No fear or anxiety showed on his dying friend’s face, only peace and joy. How was that possible?

“I will read it, my friend, I will. I see the peace you have even in death and I want that. I want to live a life with purpose. I will read this Bible for I see it has helped you far greater than the sword has.”

Franklin smiled then closed his eyes. Matthias wanted to stay and weep over his friend but a battle was raging all around. There would be time for weeping later. He grabbed his sword but before he rose off his knees, he took a moment to pray. Franklin had told him many times before about repenting of his sins and accepting Christ as his Savior, and now Matthias realized that was what he needed. There with a battle raging all about, Matthias became a child of God. For the first time in his life, he had true peace. Tucking Franklin’s Bible into his tunic, he rose off the ground and charged into the fray.

“Dear God, protect me today. Protect us all and give us the victory.”

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