“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.