“First things, first,” Stephan muttered as he ran back up to the room to douse any fires that may have been burning out of control. He found the table cloth he’d accidentally set afire smoldering and producing some smoke but, luckily, the fabric was not readily flammable. He made sure it was out and then checked the shutters to assure they were locked shut.
Back in the main room, and seeing Miklos and Alphana lying prone, a sickly white hue in their skin, “What can be done for such ailment? I know not.” And he swooned a bit. His own wounds and the lack of sleep were taking their toll. His hand involuntarily grasped a nearby chairback for support.
While Kuzma knelt over the more seriously injured to pray that the demonic bat poison be cleansed, Irina saw Stephan’s swoon.
“Here, Stephan, sit. You are bleeding yet. Drink this.” Placing the symbol of the Immortal King Halav on first her left then right cheek and then on the forehead, she prayed for healing.
Feldard’s head still ached from where he’d been struck by the slingstone, but he tried not to concern himself with it—his wounds were minor now compared to some the others still bore. What did bother him was the presence of the goblins outside, surrounding the keep. Everything about them irritated the dwarf. He imagined he could smell them even at this distance, could hear them sneaking up at this very moment. Their chanting had stopped—they’d be attacking soon.
“Everyone at the ready!” Feldard bellowed out in warning. His volume ringing painfully in his own head.
The dwarf glanced around the hall but what with the attack by bats apparently, everyone else was up in the tower. He’d have to hold the entrance on his own. He waited battle axe at hand, the adrenaline of imminent battle staving off the effects of his concussion.
Maruc cast his shiled and flail asside and checked Miklos. Eyes dilated. Heartbeat slow, irregular. He grabbed a torch for a nearby sconce and waved it over the mage’s face a slight iris reaction. Good, he’s in a bad way but its not terminal. Maruc pulled him back up the stairwell and groaned when he saw Alphana. Kuzma was attending to her, calling to Halav in her native Traladaran tongue. Though the wound may be healed, there was little that could be done for the paralysis. She was in the same state as the mage. Maruc joined the Sukiska elder and checked the body for the puncture wound. He placed his mouth against the rent and sucked the excess fluid away spitting the rancid contents aside.
“Get me boiling water and a clean towel!” his strenuous voice was directed at no one in particular, but he expected it to happen so he went to Miklos and pulled the robe aside to investigate the contusion on his shoulder. This was cleaner but closer to the heart so it had affected him quicker. He started sucking at the wound. He continued until the clink of a bowl of steaming water broke his rhythm. “Thanks,” he said absently and began washing Alphana’s injury before turning back to Miklos and doing the same.
At the dwarf’s bellow, Maruc saw the grey-faced elf pulling on his armour, and preparing himself to defend the hall. “You’re not fit to defend anything. Come here and no arguments. Blessed Halav!” he cried, “Mighty Halav on your earthly throne, I seek your aid to further your cause. Strengthen this worthy elf-prince Hasan so that he may aid me and thus aid you!”
The mage’s mind swum as his legs no longer supported his weight. It was an odd sensation, it was like realizing you were only a puppet after your strings got cut. He has rolled a ways down the stairs and picked up a few scratches. As he laid there as his breathing became shallow, his arm was twisted behind his back. Not painfully, but his bodyweight was making his hand go numb.
He felt movement. Maruc was suddenly there. Then the blight glare of a torch, he tried to squint and failed. He was being pulled back up the stairs. No not there! That were he was running away from. He was powerless. Maruc was gone again.
More time passed.
Then Maruc was back. Miklos was barely conscious, he couldn’t close his eyes. He gazed sightless at the ceiling.
Hasan felt warmth emerge from a small spot in the crook of his elbow. Not heat, just warmth. It then spread through to the rest of his arm, a tingling feeling followed by the gentle ease of a late summer morning. He had been blessed again by healing grace. He grinned and went down to see the dwarf. Light began to shine through a chink in the thatch above the great hall. Not sunlight yet. But dawn would come soon.
The dwarf greeted the elf with a grunt. “So what was with the bats?”
The others quickly gave the dwarf the news, and he grimaced at hearing of the Miklos and Alphana. “That is unfortunate.. however…our plan remains the same as previous. We have our remaining archers pick them off as they spend time ramming down the make-shift door. Once they are through, we warriors hold them here in the hall for as long as possible before retreating up through the tower. The hall stairway to the upper level is nigh impassable—I’ve seen to that—so they’ll have to use the tower stairs following us. We will then use that advantage to cut them down one by one on the stair. They will rue this attack!” The dwarf’s fervored gaze fixed on the elf’s for a moment then looked to the door—anticipating the upcoming battle, perhaps a little too much.
The spotters noticed movement in the forest. It seemed the goblins were gathering to the east. There was no more drumming, but chanting started up again. It was different in tone—less rhythmic, more shrill and chaotic.
“I know this ,” said Stephan. Having served in the Duke’s Army, he was no stranger to the battle customs of the Dymrak goblins. “It is their death chant.”