Miklos paused. He could down the five with a word. He did. With a defiant sweep of his hand, he released the last of his sleep incantations at the group to buy them time to get to the relative safety of the main buildings.
“At least they’ll be easier to shoot!” he cried as he hastily chased after the others.
Maruc nodded to the woman as he hurried after her. “We need somewhere safe.” The cleric eye’d the blaze. “Safe from burning. Do you have injured folk? I am a priest, I can help.”
The dwarf once again guarded their backs as they headed to the first floor of the tower. As he saw the 5 goblins drop thanks to the mage’s spell, he was tempted to go back and finish them off, but the archers from the tower were quicker than he. Arrows and slingstones fell upon the slumbering invaders, ensuring that they would never wake up again.
“How many do you have for defense?” he questioned once they were inside.
Hanging his bow across his back and hefting his shield, Stephan followed Alfana and tried to respond to Hasan as he ran.
“Believe me, while we’ve heard of more goblin activity in Dymrak, all of it has been far removed from these parts. This attack is very strange. To see Red Blade and Wolfskull working together is unheard of! And to have seen The Ring only today, and not but a league away! Something is afoot!”
He finished while jumping a fallen Red Blade.
Once inside, Stephan wiped the grime from his forehead, and asked Alfana, “Do you have any idea how many goblins there are? And do we have some pitch or else to cast on them from above?”
As she was about to answer, Stephan saw his brother come down the tower stairs.
“Stephan, you have arrived, and just in the nick of time!” said Pyotr as he set down his longbow.
They quickly ran forward to meet each other, clasped each other’s shoulder and pressed brows in the traditional Traladaran embrace. With their matching red hair, the family resemblance was immediately apparent. Pyotr wore a blue tunic over chain mail. He was about the same size as his brother, with a longer beard.
He turned to greet his brother’s companions “Welcome to our homestead. Here at Sukiskyn, we pride ourselves on giving a warm welcome to our guests—but not quite this warm,” he said, grimly joking about the fires.
“I am Pyotr. This is my eldest son’s wife, Alfana,” he said, introducing the woman that had led the group inside. “Taras has taken my position up in the tower with my wife Darya and daughter Irina—they are manning the arrowslits.”
Other members of the clan entered the room. They were all terribly frightened, but eager to see Stephan. The group was introduced to each of them. There was Kuzma, Pyotr’s mother, who was comforting Masha—the widow of the recently deceased son of the blacksmith. Little Matvey ran straight into his uncle’s arms—the ten-year old was greatly relieved to see him. The last of the group was Stellios, a bald, plump older man with only one arm—servant to the blacksmith’s family.
After the introductions, Pyotr quickly explained their predicament.
“The creatures seemed to have withdrawn back to the treeline for now—most likely, they are waiting for the barn and northern palisade to finish burning down. Thankfully, the main building and stables are intact. Thank Halav for your arrival! With your help, we may just be able to make it through ‘til tomorrow’s daybreak.”
“The Red-blade and Wolfskull you have seen, earlier the Viper attacked and took the horses from the pens. It is with great sorrow I tell you that our blacksmith, Novannes, and his son Hakos were both killed. The clans have been making intrusions to the settlements of late. That which could unite all the goblin clans of the Dymrak, to attack us in unison, is a terrible mystery.”