Ludo turned to Stephan and Hasan. “Well, this is a fine mess you have got us into.” Grabbing his rope and grapple, he swung it up and skillfully secured it to the top of the ruined tower. “Let’s get on top of this tower and slay these ogres when they get bow range. If we are lucky maybe the two golems will help us.”
While the dwarf had been the first to want to leave the tower, uncertain of the safe passage of the stone guardian, he now wondered at the wisdom of leaving their only defendable structure for an open path. “Miklos, if we leave the tower, do you believe the guardians will attack the gnolls and ogres? If so perhaps just moving to the other side of the bridge and awaiting the outcome is better than full flight. We are in no condition for another forced retreat.”
“Not to worry, Feldard,” interjected Stephan. “Miklos has the map and control over these guardians,” he gestured expansively toward the two massive steel statues. “Those ogres are no match for them. And the beasts looked frightened to boot.”
Stephan’s grin did not seem quite as cocksure as his words.
“Well my vote goes to blindly limping into unknown territory, wounded and completely unprepared.” Maruc grinned, “I wonder if we could ask one of the Hataakans to heal us went we get there, assuming they are kindly disposed toward us and alive after a thousand years. After all we have one of their maps. Let’s hope they don’t assume we stole it.”
The priest hefted his shield back on. “Lord Halav, grant us good fortune.” He climbed up the ruin and prepared the defenses with Ludo.
From his vantage point atop the tower next to Ludo, Miklos had good range and line of sight to the tunnel entrance. This place was clearly well designed for defense. “Everyone, get away from the tunnel mouth I shall attempt to bring the roof down on them.”
Miklos glanced nervously at the bridge and hoped his lightning bolt wouldn’t fracture the bridge instead of bringing the roof of the tunnel down. But they had little choice he had to delay them until they were well into the mountains, and whatever lay beyond. Two great forms of ogres emerged from the shadows and behind them the snarls and wolf cries from the tunnel. “Cover your ears!” shouted Miklos. With three swift cutting gestures with his hand he barked a word of power. A blinding flash and an ear-splitting crack silenced the gorge. The ground rumbled with the vibrations of falling rock. A cloud billowed out of the tunnel mouth. Shards of splintered rock spun out and scattered across the bridge.
The dust settled the two great ogres lay prostrate at the base of the rock fall. Miklos sighed with relief. and turned away. ”I think I caught a few in there, lets hope they don’t think of a way around it.” Miklos stopped when he saw Maruc’s face. “What is..?” he turned to the the ogres picking themselves up.
“Let them come,” chided Hasan. “Wound them now, but let our new friends hold them as we leave this place behind. These sots are no match for the magic here.” Hasan sent an indifferent pair of arrows into the hulking forms below, then went to bar the tower door with a centuries old spear. “This should slow them at least a little while,” the elf shrugged.
The ogres were wounded, but not severely. They seemed more angry than anything else. They charged through the bronze doors of the tower. No one could see inside, but they soon heard the ogres’ battle roars. Then, the sound of a struggle. It did not last long. There were sounds of bones cracking, and then silence.
Well, not quite. From the tunnel entrance to the bridge, there were sounds of rocks and gravel being moved as the gnolls worked to clear the way through to the bridge. Down below, the gnoll leader sent another small squad to investigate what had happened.
The door at the front of the tower, through which the ogres had charged, was closed once again, perhaps by the steel guardians, or perhaps on its own.