Stephan was filled with wrenching emotions. “Oh Brother! ‘Tis good to see you. But I’m sorry we meet in such dire circumstance.” He embraced his mother and other kin, clearly delighted to be amongst them.
Maruc smiled warmly as he took Pyotr’s hand. “It is more than a pleasure to help honest folk, Pyotr. Your brother Stephan is a noble and honorable Halavarian. He aided us in repelling an attack from the Iron Ring. I hope that his selfless actions will not endanger you further. I at least owe you a debt of gratitude and I shall do what I can to rid you of this goblin threat.”
The priest continued. “Forgive me.” he turned to Masha and placed his hand gently on her shoulder, “Halav on His Throne shall bless the fallen. There will be time later to mourn them. Steel yourself child.”
He turned to Alfana. “Are there any injured I can tend or do we have time the recuprate?”
“Nay father,” she replied. “Novannes and Hakos are beyond your help. All the rest are unharmed.”
Maruc nodded, “I will be more useful given a few hours to prepare. Feldard, do you think we have time?”
Turning to Miklos and Maruc, “Aye, there may be some time to recuperate but please spend some of it in prayer.” He looked out the window. “If only the heavens would open and rain on the flames…” Frowning, “It sorrows me that my arrival is not under a happier sky. Tell me, Pyotr, is there any hope of putting the fire out? Is it at least contained?”
Feldard glanced toward the burning palisade, then to the trees beyond that hid the goblin invaders. “If Pyotr can lend me a good shovel, I will do what I can to slow the spread of the fire. That should give you the time you need Maruc.”
“The barn and gatehouse are lost,“ stated Pyotr. “The northern barrier is certainly breached, but I don’t think it will burn beyond that.” He spoke to the dwarf. “Brave warrior, we have no idea how many lurk in the wood, and what attack they may launch should you venture out. There is little wind, and I think the fire will not spread beyond where it currently burns.”
Miklos collapsed in the relative safety of the great hall. He introduced himself to the folk then immediately took advantage of the break in events to spend more time memorizing spells. What little time they have between assaults had to be used constructively.
Hasan had greeted the new humans quickly, and caught up in their obvious closeness, he echoed Maruc’s offer to help. But the elf chafed in the tower. Unlike the two humans, whose preternatural concentration on their meditations amazed all, Hasan stalked up and down the tower’s stairs, alternating between efforts to spy out their adversaries and halfheartedly helping the dwarf organize their defenses.
Finally, he could take it no longer. They were stuck inside, and the goblins’ patience would probably be short. He burst in the the tower’s main room and roused the group, “Come now. Here we sit, surrounded by enemies and fire and yet we lock ourselves into place? We must strike out. As soon as dawn breaks, we must take the battle forward. I can lock the door so no goblin shall pass. But we must prepare to fly.”
As the elf spoke, ominous chanting and the beating of drums emanated from the dark. Beyond the treeline, numerous small fires were lit, one after another. It appeared as if a horde of invaders lurked beyond the treeline. Thankfully, it was a cloudless night, so they would be able to see any attackers approach the compound. For now, the goblins remained in the wood, their glowing red eyes flickering here and there amongst the trees.