The Silver Tower Chronicles Adventures in other worlds, other times, and other realities

10Jul/13Off

Enzi’s Irregulars #0054

Using summoned beasts to drive the defenders off the wall had been a brilliant move. As the spell wore off, the beasts had disappeared and cleared a nice clean path to the empty walls of the base camp. The griffin riders could easily throw their javelins down to keep the guards at bay. As a horde of goblinoids surged over the south wall, it was obvious that a lot of planning and preparation had been made for this assault. Enzi wondered if they had waited for Beren and Syrian to leave as well.

His time thinking was cut short as he dove into a fight for his very life. Enzi ducked to the side as a shining metal weapon was thrust at his gut. The Feergrus man was surprised to see how well the goblinoids were armed and armored for this battle. Most goblinoids were lucky to have armor at all and their weapons were often of inferior make. Such disadvantages had made the humans feel confidence in fighting the goblinoid horde. The people of the base camp, however, still had an advantage in arms and armor.

That was made especially clear as the two wood golems stomped into battle. The metal weapons of the goblinoids hacked and chipped at the mighty constructs. They left great scars on the golems but the magical monstrosities felt no pain and kept trying to fulfill their commands. Without fear, the wounded golems charged through the goblinoids, smashing them with hefty fists. A great many of the foes were pummeled. Javelins rained down from above, but they were of little consequence to the clockwork machines. They blend of science and magic had made them extremely hardy.

Eurysa worked to deal with the aerial threat. Several rangers might have aided her if they were not busy with the threat on the ground. The gorgon did not aim for the mounts. They were far tougher than the hobgoblins that rode them. Without riders to guide them, the griffins were just beasts. They would flee a battle like this and look for easier prey. Hitting a rider on top of a griffin while on the ground was extremely difficult. Eurysa finally landed a shot, although a hail of javelins began to fly in her direction after that. She took cover as best she could while trying to shoot down another hobgoblin.

Ritter, Aldebaran, Kava, and Mayitso were in their element. Those four inhuman mercenaries were in the thick of the melee. The vodyanoi was enjoying the fight. She always felt good in a battle where she could let loose and really draw blood. She felt better if she could do it a lot. The sheer number of goblinoids meant that Kava had gotten her fondest desire. The others were merely slogging through their foes, hoping for a victory. Ritter had little love for goblinoids. The Halz often had to deal with incursions of the monsters underground.

Enzi had not seen any display of magical power from the Storm Queen. He was not sure if that was good or bad. The teenage girl was powerful, but had several issues. She could certainly bring down the griffin riders without hurting anyone. The aerial foes had Eurysa pinned down. Enzi moved to make sure that the goblinoids moving towards her position could not engage her. Mayitso quickly jumped in to help. That was when one of the hobgoblins fell from the sky.

An arrow had felled him, but it had not come from Eurysa. As yet another hobgoblin fell, Enzi tracked the arrow's flight back to its source. He saw a very different teenage girl this time. It was the young woman who had been a ranger's apprentice. It was Lunaris Justis, and she had finally learned how to use her bow. Her archery skills had greatly improved since Enzi had last seen her. It was obvious that a lot of practice had gone into her improvement. Enzi heard the hobgoblin leadership call out.

Ritter snorted, “They are calling for a retreat. Let us hurt them as much as possible on the way out. That way they will not want to ever return!”

“Now you're speaking my language!” Kava replied with a fierce grin on her overly wide mouth.

Many of the goblinoids trying to get over the wall were cut down. Many of those who did make it over wished they had not. As the Irregulars gave chase, they saw why the retreat had been called. Standing to the south were Beren Gendar and Syrian Dow, along with their forces. At Beren's side were the severed heads of three Tarvoni. Enzi imagined that those were the sorcerers responsible for the catoblepas stampede. Not many goblinoids made it to the safety of the trees, and only two griffin riders escaped.

A great many cheers rose in the base camp. They had won. However, the cheers died as it came to worst time of combat. It was time to clean up the bodies. It was bad enough to have to haul out rotting and festering goblinoids corpses and have them burned, but you also had to deal with those who had fallen. Each person that had died that day was a friend and ally. Enzi wondered what had happened to the Storm Queen. She was not his favorite person, but she was young and still had the chance to learn and amend her path. Lunaris had proved that a person could change and become better.

After thinking that, Enzi heard a snoring noise. It was Lunaris. She was leaning against one of the walls, dead asleep. He supposed she deserved it. It showed she was still the same person, if stronger than she was. Enzi hoped she would continue to persevere, to learn from her mistakes, and keep becoming a better person. Searching for the Storm Queen, however, was less fruitful. There was no sign of her anywhere in the base camp. That fact worried Enzi greatly. He quickly called on Mayitso to try to sniff her whereabouts out.

Trying to find the Storm Queen's scent among the smells of blood and death had to be terribly difficult. The lycanthrope circled the area until he found a trail. It lead northwest, away from the base camp. The Storm Queen was extremely independent and did not follow directions well and especially hated taking orders. It did not surprise Enzi that she would wander off to do her own thing. No matter how powerful she was, going alone was still extremely dangerous. Even the most powerful person could be caught in a surprise ambush.

The group continued onwards, looking for answers. Mayitso was in the lead, sniffing out the trail. Suddenly he stopped and his fur bristled. The stealthier members of the party moved forward. Of those few, only Enzi could understand what was being said. The people were speaking in Rava. The Feergrus man recognized one of the voices as the Storm Queen. She had not come out this way with someone, she must have come to meet up with these people. Enzi's curiosity was piqued.

“If you think offers of money will sway me, then you know little of me,” the Storm Queen stated coldly.

“Coin is but a means to an end. With enough, you can have access to anything,” a slimy male voice replied.

“Then if your master has so much coin and power, perhaps he can arrange something more worthy of me than mere monetary bribes,” the young Ravaleian girl responded sharply.

“If you are capable of providing the magical power that he needs, then I am sure he would find a way to reward you with whatever it is you actually want. All we need is your power and your silence.”

“I am surprised you did not go after someone more local,” the Storm Queen said with pretend innocence.

“There are several who might have the power we need,” the slimy voice replied, “But only a few that are willing to do something that can never be spoken of again.”

“Then we will see if your brave leader is really willing to do as he says,” the Storm Queen replied, “With his power, he needs to grant me a magestone.”

“I... I do not even know what that is,” the slimy voice said.

“Then you had best learn and see what your ally says to that. Then we can perform whatever odd little ritual he wants and I can pump whatever it is he needs full of magic. It will be even more powerful with access to a magestone. He may see that as all the more reason to track one down and acquire it.”

“I will see what he says,” the slimy male voice stated, “But you had best be as good as they say you are. Not only that, your ability to keep secrets must be perfect!”

“Why would I care about your august leader's predilections?” the Storm Queen asked, “All I care about is me. You make me happy, you can have the world. Anger me, and I will show you my wrath.”

“Then we will meet again soon,” the slimy voice said, “Be prepared. Our leader will come. The site is almost complete.”

“I will be there. You had best have all that I want.”

Enzi heard the noise of several people moving away. The sound of chain armor could clearly be heard. The Storm Queen then moved to return to the base camp. There was a brief panic. Enzi wondered what would happen when she discovered she had been followed. However, the Irregulars had moved out of the path while Enzi had listened. The Ravaleian girl paid absolutely no attention to the fresh tracks and did not even look around her for danger. She passed Enzi and the Irregulars without spotting them.

It would not have taken much for her to have seen them. Just a turn of the head or the use of a spell to detect life. Her nonchalant attitude was worrisome. It was especially worrisome considering that whoever she had talked to did not sound like the most noble of folk. Such meetings usually required more caution. The Storm Queen wandered back to the base camp and looked rather shocked as she saw it. Smoke started to billow upwards as the bodies of the goblinoids were burned. She did not rush back, she was instead disappointed that she had missed the carnage.

In the confusion of soldiers rushing about, Enzi's Irregulars easily melted into the crowd as they returned. Enzi was not sure what to do about the Ravaleian sorceress or even if anything needed to be done at all. It was her business. The problem was the possibility that it could negatively affect the war or the people of the area. The Feergrus man decided that the best course of action was to inform General Cassius Tessium. Perhaps he would have a better idea, or at least be prepared for whatever may come.

The Nuvroci general had little to say about the matter. He was as clueless as Enzi, but appreciated the heads up. More reinforcements were on the way, so things were going to get crazier than they already were. The losses from the recent attack would be filled, along with more warriors. The general was worried about how much control he could wield over growing assembly of motley soldiers. This would hold especially true if the incoming reinforcements were mostly Ravaleian. It would be a true test of his leadership.

Having turned back a major assault, however, hopefully gave the base camp plenty of time for repairs and to reorganize. The golem mechanics were already busy patching up the two wood golems. Instead of repairing the south walls, the damaged portions were being torn down. The new camp expansion would be to the south. The haphazard expansion of the base left a few nooks and crannies here and there. Sometimes it left a wall with extra protection as well.

Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Trackbacks are disabled.