Wandering Through Terran–Chapter 10

January 12, 2010

Revised and Below the cut…

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Chapter Ten

Where a Siege Begins…

Slant gasped as he saw Dayspring leading Vera into the Council Chamber of Falston. Everybody looked to her with confusion as she curtsied to Slant and Eseen. She stepped back to address the group.

Master wizard,” she said. “Forgive me, but I believe I misled you in Bris.”

Slant looked to Dayspring.

Herb and I knew we were being followed,” the knight replied. “We didn’t know who it was, but I had a catch her and I took it. I didn’t know it was her. Or what she was carrying.”

Slant looked back to Vera.

Does your father know you’re here?” he asked.

No,” she whispered. “At the present he remains unaware of my location, probably squabbling with the ‘Old Sea Hag’ about it as we speak. Probably growing quite frantic at the moment, if I had to pose a guess.”

I would assume that you, Zev and Fenway devised some type of plan,” Herb guessed. “A plan that involved a member of a royal family sneaking out with an artifact of unknown power. Sounds like one of Zev’s plans.”

It wasn’t actually supposed to be me doing the following and transporting of the Gem,” Vera offered. “You see, Fenway was supposed to have returned for the Gem two nights ago. He didn’t, and there’s been no word from him. So I took it upon myself to learn their fate and deliver it them in Aven if at all possible.”

Little consolation to us,” Slant replied. “Zev was not our primary concern in any case. It would have been better if we had not traveled this far on a whim.” He narrowed his eyes on Vera. “And your father is going to be very cross with me when he finds out where you’ve been. I won’t go out of my way to tell him, but he’s still going to raise some hell over it.”

I suppose so. But still, you want the Vuku Gem?”

Slant shook his head as he rubbed his eyes, considering the options. Studying the reactions of the party, Dayspring wondered how they were going to handle this development. As Slant had noted, their journey had been extended considerably beyond what it needed to be due to Vera’s concealment of the fact that the Gem was in her possession. Everybody looked at each other skeptically, not sure what to say. With great reluctance, Dayspring stepped forward.

Alright,” he said. “I don’t think we have a viable solution as to what we should do with Vera. I’m sure she was just following the instructions that Zev gave her and didn’t realize what an inconvenience it would be for the rest of us. Regardless, this is where we are. We’re stuck in Falston with an army of goblins descending on us. We can’t escape, the airfields are cut off and they’ve got the road. So we stay and we fight. That’s all we can do at this point. So where do we stand? What do we have for resources?”

Slant and I have already been named to the Council of War,” Herb said. “We’ll be going to join in once we finish here.”

Have the wizards contact Bris and Dunn,” Slant ordered. “See how long until they can send aid. As for Vera, it’s best we keep her under wraps. For the time being, she will hold on to the Vuku Gem. O-Ren and Eseen will be her personal guards for the duration of her time here, staying in the castle as much as possible. Everybody else: get to the wall help to prepare the defenses. We will need to disrupt the goblins as they try to set up a full siege. Every advantage we can get will be a boon.”

The group broke, Dayspring leading the run to the wall. Looking out, they watched as the mass of goblins crossed the stream into the village. Archers and soldiers of Falston covered the escape of the villagers into the walled portion of the city. Dayspring turned to Olaf and Rick.

Alright,” he said. “We need to close that door the moment everybody’s in. You got that?”

We’re supposed to stay with you though,” Olaf stated flatly.

Dayspring groaned as he turned to look back out at the battlefront.

Look,” he said. “I’ll try not to get killed so you can do it later, alright?”

puup

Slant and Herb joined the Council of War in the Main Keep of Falston Castle. They were the only two of the five who did not call Falston home, but their previous deeds and reputation earned them a place on the Council. The remaining three members of the Council were a Guardian of Sorcery and two members of the Kingdom Government. One was the leader of the guard, a man named Malcom. The other was a young woman named Willamina, who had been elected by the merchants as their representative.

The Guardian of Sorcery called Albie worked a charm over the table, showing a construct of light that depicted the goblin horde surrounding them. Furrowing their brows, they all leaned over the table and studied it closely.

This is a larger army than I thought them capable of,” Herb said. The other looked on him in confusion. “The Rangers have long kept tabs on the goblins. Regardless, this force is one to be reckoned with. That might be a mystery to investigate later. How are we outfitted for handling a siege here?”

We have the food supplies to last a few weeks,” Willamina said. “Probably less, given that this is the season for travelers and it was a moderate spring harvest. Regardless, I would not favor our chances in a full out siege. It’s best if we can end this as quickly as possible.”

So be it,” Slant said. “We must plan accordingly. Devise a rationing system, make sure it lasts us as long as possible. As for the goblins themselves, I think we’d do best to take a proactive approach.”

Agreed,” Herb said. “If I might make a suggestion, we need to put ourselves in a position to rely on our best advantages. The city walls are strong, possibly the strongest in Terran. Provided they do not magically procure weapons capable of breaking through, we can hold out. We need to call for aid, pinch the goblins and make them fight on multiple fronts. Can you contact the other Kingdoms?”

We are already trying,” Albie said.

puup

Dayspring ran into a group of goblins as he helped to escort the villagers into the stone walls of the inner city. The last of them were sprinting up the causeway as the goblins descended on the expanse of the village surrounding the city. With archers covering from the walls, he and the other soldiers of Falston fought back the goblins with practiced skill. They had the village nearly evacuated as the goblins finally descended on them, right on their heels as they passed through the gate. The portcullis dropped as he Dayspring rolled through to the safety of the castle.

As he rose to his feet, the people looked at him fearfully. He sheathed his sword, giving careful consideration of his next action. Even the soldiers he had been fighting the goblins with were scared and shaking as the crowd regarded him. He straightened up and cleared his throat.

None of us thought we’d be the first target in a war,” he began slowly. “And I assure you, this is a war. The goblins will lay siege to this city. There will be no offers of surrender, so do not hope for a peaceful resolution. The goblins want one thing and one thing only: the head of every person in Falston. We have to make a stand and we will. Every one of you knows the history of Falston. Founded after the defeat of Magnus Draco, it was the first line of defense when the goblins descended from the Endless Mountains and first started their raids. It turned back the goblins until the rest of Terran built their armies and joined the battle. You held once, and you will hold again! For that is your legacy! Your resilience is that which Terran was founded upon! For Falston! For Terran!”

Cries of “For Falston!” and “For Terran!” echoed throughout the castle as the people rushed about to find their tasks. Daezael weaved through the crowd, looking for Slant and Herb. He gave Olaf and Rick little notice as they followed close behind, turning his focus on finding the others. Vera and Eseen greeted him at the door to the Council Chambers.

We were watching you from the wall,” Eseen said. “You were most impressive. Vera even took it upon herself to fire many of the shots covering you.”

Thank you,” Dayspring replied grimly. “Your father and the others devise a plan?”

The goblins setting up their siege towers now,” she answered. “We have archers harassing that process as much as possible. Probably a waste of arrows though. We have to be very lucky if—”

An explosion sounded from beyond the wall. Most people jumped in surprise before the guards on the wall gave an explanation.

We got a supply of their exploding shot!” they shouted eagerly.

Dayspring walked into the Council Chamber, his companions following closely behind. He walked over to the Council of War as they deliberated. Planting two fists on the table for support, he spoke briskly to them.

They’re going to strike at dawn,” he said. “A force that size, they’re intended for one purpose: eradication. And they won’t wait us out. Not for too long anyway.”

That’s what I’ve been saying for the last hour,” Herb said. “Even now, we get reports of a contingent breaking off to move towards Aven. They mean to destroy every Kingdom of Man in Terran.”

So how exactly are we going to stop them?” Slant asked. “Our resources would be formidable, but we’re facing a great many unknowns. The Guardians and I have sensed many powerful shamans of the goblin tribes out there. Bris and Dunn are under attack even now by hordes of pirates. The Dark Elf is believed to have overrun the kingdom of Tryps by raising the dead. And we have not heard from Aven. This is all across Terran. Every kingdom is threatened.”

All the more important that we gather our forces and turn back the invaders,” Dayspring answered. “Slant, I’ve heard tell of your prowess with battling dark elves. Is a goblin shaman really that much different? Herb, the Rangers are legendary for their ingenuity: what can you do for us now? And we have the Vuku Gem. Can we use that?”

Not the Gem,” Slant replied. “That’s power is something that we’re not likely to need here.

If we have a contingent of volunteers, I think I can turn the battle in our favor,” Herb said.

Let me be the first,” Dayspring replied. Olaf was about to say something, but Dayspring waved a hand and the knight remained silent. They all looked to Slant.

Give me and the Guardians of Sorcery some time to ponder the battle before us,” he said. “We must call on a myriad of forces for aid if we are to be adequately prepared for this battle.”

Dayspring nodded as the others looked to him, deferring to him. All in the room noticed the change in the standing. The Council settled the final details of their defensive measurements and adjourned the meeting. As they left, Olaf called Eseen and Vera off to an alcove where they could speak alone. Once he was certain of their security, he began.

I must speak to the two of you about Sir Dayspring’s safety,” he said.

Safety?” Eseen asked. “I thought you were going to kill him.”

What?” he gasped. “No! Quite the opposite actually. What do you know about accords that the Kingdom of Tryps reached with the lands of Tund?”

Not much,” Vera asked. “My father would often laugh about it because Tund was supposed to be unconquerable.”

True enough,” Olaf explained. “I myself am of Tund. Unlike Dayspring, I have been privileged to serve a higher council. That council has been negotiating a new accord. One that will make the Tund a formal part of Tryps. A major part of that is a shift in the regency. One that the powers of Tryps have agreed to.”

A shift in regency?” Eseen asked. “A new king?”

Yes. Lang will be the last in his line. My mission here is ensure the survival of the promised King.”

Dayspring?” the two girls asked in unison.

Yes. The treaties are signed and legal. The coronation will be held when he returns to Tryps. I need your help to make sure he does survive. You see, I am an assassin. But I was sent to kill another assassin. But I cannot guard Dayspring all day. I need your help to accomplish that.”

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