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.
“Target the wolfriders! They be the leaders!” shouted Pyotr. He was no stranger to battle with the goblin clans, though it had been many years since he had traveled the dark reaches Dymrak with his brother.
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. Turning back to the yard below, he took aim at another goblin, and wondered how Hasan and the others were faring, above on the tower battlements.
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!
“Blessed Halav,” fffft! Stephan muttered a Traladaran prayer of protection, as he nocked and let fly as many well-aimed arrows as possible.
“But wait….”, Stephan peered for a moment at approaching goblins. He puzzled over why the goblins bore no torches. He had fully expected them to try to ignite the rest of the homestead in flames. They had gathered all the water they could find in preparation for this, but for some unknown reason, the goblins were not using that tactic. Instead, the Wolfskulls charged toward the oak door leading to the hall.
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.”
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.
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.
Arrows wounded the Wolfskull riders, so they took cover behind one of the buildings, ordering their footsoldiers on to the door. The defenders targeted them, raining arrows down upon them as they charged through the yard completely vulnerable. This, in turn, exposed the archers to the Red Blade goblins below, who fired slingstones at them, but the group did their best to ignore them and focus on the charging Wolfskull.
Four of the goblins were felled by the time they finally reached the heavy oak door that led to the main hall. It had been barred and nailed shut, so the goblins set about to hacking at it with their axes, while the Red Blade provided what cover fire they could with their slings. Stephan adjusted his aim accordingly.
“Come on, now, Stephan, time for one more, then off with you! It won’t take them long to hack through the door!”