Under Siege

“Hasan, these goblins will not wait for dawn to attack again. We will need to make our stand here.” Feldard stated grimly.

Hasan nodded and decided the best course of action would be to steal away for study of his spellbook. He withdrew the old tome gingerly, for it was hundreds of years old. It was Elrond’s spellbook before him, and who knows what Elyan before Elrond. He studied a spell he had not used before.

Feldard prepared for the upcoming battle by organizing defenses—setting up long range weapons at the ready on the tower and along the balcony in the main hall. The dwarf then began picking out and preparing the best defensible melee areas.

Meanwhile, Miklos threaded his spellbook back into its oilskin bag. He rubbed his eyes. All this reading wasn’t good for him, he was sure he couldn’t see as well as he could when he was younger. ‘Be thankful if you live out the night, failing sight should be the least of your worries.’ he thought.

He also went to the water bowster and took and gulp and nodded to Hasan who was being fussed over by Maruc, who had finished his meditation. Depite the the incescant drumming and Feldard’s singing, the cleric felt better. He always felt better after communing with the avatars of mighty Halav. He wandered over to the water bowser in the corner of the room and helped himself to a draught and splashed his face. Then he realised he still handn’t bothered to take his dreaded armour off. A good thing probably in the circumstances. He glanced around after the others and spotting Hasan he went over to him.

“Let me take a look at that cut, we don’t want you to catch anything nasty now do we?” Disregarding the protests of the elf he bound the minor wound.

“Feldard wants to go though some defensive ideas with you Miklos.” said the Elf

“Where is he?”

“I think he’s downstairs in the Main Hall.”

Catching up with the Dwarf was a different matter and after a short and ugly conversation about his injury Maruc felt than instead of wasting his time he went in search of Stephan. He got a similar protest that the scratch wasn’t worth his time but Maruc insisted and swiftly bound his forearm anyway.

Only then did he look to himself. He gingerly removed the shin-guard and looked at the caked blood and ugly yellowing bruise. He sighed and cleansed it then produced his small pot of witch hazel and dabbed it around then tightly bound his calf and replaced the armour. The laceration on his shoulder needed stitches so with a great deal of pain and patience he did the best he could to sew himself up.

He straped his shoulder guard back and surveyed the woodland from the arrowslit. Occasionally he caught some movement. It disturbed him that these goblins were forgetting their old interclan enmities, he didn’t know much of their history but it was just common sense that if they all got together the Duchy would be in trouble.

“Well more fool them if they choose to gainsay the wishes of Halav Incarnate on His Ducal throne.” he said thinking aloud.

For Miklos’s spellcasting, the dwarf figured the main hall to be best—to better encompass more of the goblin numbers. To this end, the dwarven engineer had formed a corral of sorts, just inside the doorway of the hall, using tables, chairs and other large furniture to blockade the goblins from the main hall stairs, keeping them contained to the lower levels where Miklos can best use his magics on them from the balcony above.

Feldard then set up a blockade and weapons cache just within the tower door. A place where the family defenders could beat back those goblins that escape the Miklos’ magic.

If all else fails, and the battle in the hall begins to go against them, Feldard figured he or Maruc can take out a good number whilst retreating slowly up the narrow tower steps.

Miklos nodded in agreement with the tactics that Feldard suggested.

To help keep up morale, the dwarf sang a traditional dwarven battle song over top of the goblin drums and chanting. His deep baritone voice rings loud and undaunted, if a little off-key at times, echoing within the hall.

Stephan finished assisting Feldard with defense preparations and then headed to the tower to observe what he could of the goblins.

“What are the goblins awaiting?,” he spoke aloud to no one in particular. He watched and listened for signs of tree-felling. Peering into the moonlit night he said, “If they are felling trees, it may mean they’re building some sort of siege device. Could be a simple battering ram. That may mean they do not intend to await the fire to die down and enter that way. They may try to make a new entry. I wonder if they are also trying to dig…”

He turned to Pyotr , “If they mean to climb through the burned barn, we should be ready to re-alight the flames just as they try to enter! Do you have pitch or other flammables that could be made ready? We’ll give them what they think is an opening but trap them in a gauntlet of flame!”

“Hmmm, that is quite an idea brother,” replied Pyotr, scratching his beard. “We have some cooking oil, but I am not sure that it will do the job. And of course, if we venture outside, we will be open to spear and arrow attack.”

And in a lower voice to Pyotr, “We should ready boats to escape if it comes to it. The horses are lost and what remain can be turned out. We can round them up later. The boats should be made ready in case we need to escape in haste.”

What that, he turned to spy again on the goblins to ascertain their number and activity.

Hasan closed his book and stretched wearily, climbing to his feet and turning up the stairs to the towertop. The goblin din rose as Luna, beloved by elves everywhere, began her nightly fall to her daily doom. Hasan shivered in the cool early spring night. Dawn approached, he knew, but dark minutes came first.

“A lovely day in store, then,” he said, rather meaninglessly, to Stephan, who watched the night with him.

“Thanks be to Halav,” the human uttered. It wasn’t clear to the elf if the human meant much by his words either. The two watchman nodded to each other and returned to their wordless scrying.

It was about three hours before midnight when the drumming and chanting stopped. Amidst the ominous silence, the defenders of Sukiskyn took up their positions, ready for anything. The western spotters saw a dozen Wolfskull goblins—ten on foot and two on wolfback—charging across the bridge and over the remains of the gatehouse toward the northern yard. Simultaneously, eight Red Blade rushed across the northern clearing, heading to take cover in the ruins of the barn.



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8 responses to “Under Siege

  1. Feldard

    When the drumming stopped, Feldard mentally reviewed his preparations. It would have to do – he was out of time. He headed to the towers 3rd level, their hosts room, where the women and children were already gathered in wait.

    Darya and Alfana were already in position at their windows, bows at the ready. Darya to the east , Alfana to the north.

    Feldard looked over the remaining women, recalling that at least two of them were clerics – forbidden the use of a bow by their god Halav – foolishness, if you asked the dwarf.

    “You, Woman” Feldard said, pointing to Masha, the recent widow who was huddled holding her infant daughter, “give the child to the Elder. Take up a spot at the window here with that bow. You too boy, you are taller than me. It’s time you defended your home.”

    Feldard could hear the call of the watchers atop – the goblins were on the move from the north and west. He quickly set up, Masha and Matvey each at a window slot with a bow. Masha facing to the north, Matvey facing west between Alfana and himself.. The boy had to stand on a chair to see out through the window.

    “Hold the bow like this,” instructed the dwarf. Feldard had seen the elf do it oft enough, to know how to show the boy. “Notch the arrow. Pull back to your ear. Come on boy! Use your strength! Good. Now aim at your target and let loose..” The arrow whistled, but Feldard was too short to see if it hit its target.

    With a nod to the boy, Feldard took up position on a chair at his own window slot, facing to the west and loaded his crossbow. He counted his bolts.. only 8 left. He had to make them last and make each shot count. He had a grand view of the bridge and the northern yard, not to mention the the goblins making their charge. He took aim at what seemed to be the lead goblin and fired off his bolt.

    As he reloaded, Feldard glanced about and saw that the boy was working on notching another arrow, as was Alfana.. but the woman Masha was just sobbing uselessly. “Dammit. Darya, take her place at the north window. You man, Stellios.. watch the eastern woods. Let us know if they begin to charge from that direction next.”

    His bolt was in place and the string pulled back.. he turned back to the yard below and took aim at another goblin…

    He wondered how Hasan and the others were faring, above on the tower battlements.

  2. Hasan

    The goblin’s crazed gibbering shattered the eerie calm. Hasan almost grinned their opponent’s finally careened into range. “From the north and from the river, Stephan,” he muttered, even as he drew his first arrow. Twang! “Do you see any that bear fire? Bring them down first!” Fffft! “Come on, now, Stephan, time for one more, then off with you! They are drawing near the doors!”

  3. Maruc

    Maruc lent against the banister of the balcony. He stretched his stiff leg and felt the pull of the stitches. Close at hand lent his shield and flail. He was nervous, the wait wasn’t helping. The urgent cries from above meant at least the action was going to start soon. He idly wondered if they had enough arrows.
    He glanced across to Miklos who stood just inside the doorway to the tower. “I nailed the bottom tower door shut to the armoury and the doors to the courtyard but I haven’t had time to nail the window shutters, we’ll have to rely on their latches.”

  4. miklosdostevar

    Miklos shrugged, “I don’t think it would matter either way, all we can hope to do is delay their entry to give the archers plenty of time to shoot them. Looking on the bright side I found enough cord for another escape rope, but it wouldn’t hold an armoured man. The women could use it. And Hasan probably.” He crossed over to the arrowslit facing the courtyard. “Looks like their taking cover in the barn. I’ll let the others know I’ll try to encompass them as they cross to the main hall, they should be easy enough to pick off then.”

    Miklos called his plan up the stairwell then positioned himself by the arrowslit facing the yard and prepared his first sleep incantation.

  5. Feldard

    Hearing the mage call up his plan, Feldard nodded and bellowed it on up to those manning the tower battlements, in dwarven. Hasan should be able to inform the others.

  6. Stephan

    “Blessed Halav,” fffft! Stephan muttered the Halavian Prayer of Protection as he nocked and let fly as many well-aimed arrows as possible. The jittering goblin-held torches provided some means of target.

    “But wait….”, Stephan peered for a moment at approaching goblins.

    “You see, Hasan? Some of the beasts are placing their torches on the ground to divert our targeting!”

    Stephan adjusted his aim accordingly.

    “I am with you Hasan!”, he readied his gear and followed the elf down to blood and glory….

    “Blessed Halav….”

  7. Maruc: 10xp+10xp
    Miklos: 10xp+10xp
    Feldard: 10xp+10xp+10xp
    Hasan: 10xp+10xp
    Stephan: 10xp+10xp

    Maruc: 17,435/24000
    Miklos: 17,510/20000
    Feldard: 17,545/34000
    Hasan: 16,855/32000
    Stephan: 16,350/32000

  8. Note: I just rolled the skill checks for Maruc’s healing skill, but unfortunately wasn’t successful on any of them. Sorry!

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