“I seriously dislike the idea of splitting us up.” said Miklos, the worry of being exposed creeping into his voice. “I’d much prefer having Feldard close at hand when the fighting starts. My opinion is that we allow Skelly to draw the wolves away. When he and they are at a safe distance we can dispatch the wolves out of earshot of the Tower or Skelly can lead them far away. I’d prefer the first choice. Once we have silently removed the wolves we then, as Maruc suggested, ensure the outhouses are free of folk capable of rasing the alarm.” Miklos paused, waiting to see if there were any dissenting voices. “Then I will approach the Tower door and prepare an incantation to determine if the door has been magically enchanted in some way. I suggest a merciless and all-out attack to crush his power.”
“That still leaves to small issue of the door,” remarked Maruc. “It will be barred from the inside, someone will need to be on the other side to break us in.” Maruc thought for a moment. “Maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to create a diversion. If the challenge seems weak enough, brash orcs may well exit the Tower to investigate any troubles. We could then use that opporunity to enter the tower. The question is what would be serious enough to prize the orcs from the tower but not so serious as to lock the tower into ‘defense mode’. Maybe the disappearance of the wolves for a sustained time would force them out. I for one would prefer to fight in the open rather than them baracaded into a tower.”
Feldard regarded the Mage and Priest in wonderment at their comments. One moment they were over-cautious wanting to leave Dentiata to the Duke’s guard, the next they are planning all-out assault based on nothing but village rumours. These two definitely needed to find a middle ground. “Miklos, am I missing something here that points clear evidence towards Dentiata’s guilt? If you are dead set against the group splitting up fine, but to my knowledge this is not a raid but a search for answers. As for what can draw out Orcs.. live bait usually works well.”
“A merciless and all out attack, Miklos? Someone’s bloodthirsty, given that we don’t have anything beyond a human’s word that Dentatia’s up to anything.” Saeth realized he must be eager to loot the tower, but inside she echoed the Dwarf’s apprehension about facing another mage.
“I don’t know about you elves, but as soon as we take out Dentiata’s wolves or break into his tower, do you think he will just pop out and ask us if we would like to have a nice chat?” Miklos shook his head. “The only reason why you hire Orc guards is that they will overlook the more suspect approaches to research. I can tell you now that the Mage Guild Members would never do such a thing and take a very dim view of anyone who did. I do not appreciate the intimation that I am violent. I have just pointed out the facts. Namely, that if we warn Denetiata of our presence, he will study us and prepare for us and our task will be far more dangerous. The only reason I am here is that we will follow the logical approach of surprise. Therefore we must view this as a raid, not because I fancy a punch up, but because we are obliged to help these people and I want to see my next birthday. That and he would have a chance to destroy any evidence before we witness it.”
“Peace Miklos! Mistress Seath was only highlighting your choice of words, not your methodology. Elves have a more sensitive approach to langauge and what you said did sound rather harsh. Also we only have, as Saeth has rightly said, only the villagers word that anything untoward is happening here. Have you actually seen an orc yet?” Maruc interjected.
“None of us have Maruc, but it doesn’t sound like something they’d just invent. Nor the murders, but you are a fine one to talk. You were all up for sorting their problems out. The point is we have made the assumption the Dentiata is behind this. He isn’t going to volunteer information that will incriminate himself ,so we must take it by surprise.” Miklos glared around at the others. “Before we invite ourselves round for afternoon tea in the Tower think on this. If Dentiata is not behind these attacks he will certainly be aware of who is or he is no wizard, withholding such information from his peacable neighbours is akin to perpetrating them himself. I have one simple question—If not him, then who?”
“Now if you don’t mind, whilst our sterling comrades ensure there are no nasty surprises in store for us in the outhouses I shall prepare a scrying incantation for arcane residue such as I did in Castle Caldwell. Leastways we can be assured of the nature of the Tower, be it mundane or not.
Saeth struggled to decide whether it would be more dangerous to be close to Miklos should he do something rash, or far away, where it would be harder to restrain him. “Once the wolves are away, a diversion to get the door open wouldn’t be a bad idea, particularly if we’re still short of evidence. Skelly, do what you can to placate the wolves, and I’ll check the barn. Feldard, can you manage a distraction with Miklos and the others?” That solved the conundrum–the Dwarf wasn’t the cleverest fellow around, but he seemed to be somewhat less flighty than the humans were acting, and could keep her further from the coming disaster.
“Feldard, I think that any evidence will be in that Tower.” Maruc gestured toward the formidable building. “Magi are not reknown for making simple mistakes that would make them vulnerable. If you are all keen on avoiding bloodshed, we must withdraw now and turn the matter over to the authorities or the Mages Guild. But that would lead to exposing the villagers to more atrocities if we are wrong. Look, if the locals are complaining of disappearences and you are a Wizard in a Tower bristling with orcs and wolf sentinels you can’t seriously be telling me that you’d look innocent? As Miklos would say its a logical assumption. Not only have you got to be open, and admittedly he has on his own terms, but he has to be seen to go that extra mile and help protect the village if he was all that honest.”
On Saeth’s command, Skelly left to see if he could draw out the wolves. He was eager to prove his worth to this brave contingent of adventurers. As they continued to debate the best course of action, the boy walked along the forest in an easterly direction. From a distance, Bram kept an eye on him.