Wandering Through Terran–Chapter 12

January 14, 2010

Revisions galore.


Chapter Twelve: Sneak Attack

Where Eseen and Vera

Surprise Everyone…

The sun had risen and the people of Falston were gathering at the wall, preparing for the next attack. Dayspring coordinated the defenses with Herb, marching along the wall as they carefully positioned everybody for the battle. All the townspeople were frantically working to move the caches of arrows into place or setting up the alchemic stations that Slant and the Guardians wanted to have along the wall. In the early morning sun, they could see the goblins getting into position below them.

Have they made an attempt to treat?” Herb asked.

None,” Dayspring reported. “Our forces are nearly in place.”

Are you sure about this plan?”

No. But it does give us the greatest chance of saving as many people as possible.”


Unbeknown to their companions, Vera and Eseen proceeded with their own plan. Joined by O-Ren, they silently made their way out of the city and slipped through the goblin camps in the early morning. Moving across the plain, they rushed towards the airfield. The three women moved low and fast towards the presently moored ships.

We’ve got to hurry,” Eseen prompted. “The sun is going to be fully risen before long.”

We’re almost there,” O-Ren hissed. “Quiet!” Eseen’s bodyguard rarely spoke. When she did say something, it was quick and to the point—usually startling the people around her. With the two constantly accompanying her since arriving in Falston, Vera had grown to enjoy the presence of the two. Despite Eseen’s seeming wild nature and O-Ren’s almost fanatically devotion to duty, the two were a pair she could easily grow to appreciate the company of.

They reached the airfield nearly unnoticed, barely catching the attention of the goblin sentries. Vera quickly shot down the two equipped with horns, effectively delaying their ability to signal the rest of their force. Eseen and O-Ren charged forward, taking down the rest of them with ferocious yet graceful ease. While the young mage struck using a series of quick spells, O-Ren knew ways to kill without their enemy even knowing they had been struck. A flurry of hand motion and spells took out the goblins with ease. Once the enemies were cleared, Eseen stood before the group.

We need your help,” she said. “Falston is under siege and will need support from the air. Though airships have never been used for warfare, we need to do so now. It will require some improvisation, but we should be able to do this.”

What do you want us to do?” a young pilot asked. The freckle-faced young man looked up anxiously at their three rescuers.

We need to thin out the goblin army and give the people in the city some leverage,” Vera answered. “What we need all of you to do is strike at their reserves and the people still in Falston more space to fight. I’ve got a plan that should make that goal considerably easier.”


The goblin army stretched back as far as the eye could see. When Herb and Dayspring went out the city gates to treat with the general of the goblin army, the goblins lined the road extending beyond what had been the town. The doors and portcullis slammed shut behind them as they reached the table where the goblin general sat waiting. The leader of the goblins was a tall one, built more sturdily than his comrades. He wore no helmet, as many of his troops did. With green skin, red eyes, and yellow teeth, he gave a sardonic grin as the two approached. His armor was of human design, the red and black pieces that the Knights of Duramar were known to wear. It did not fit well on his lanky form, hanging loosely on his thin frame. His sharp and crooked features gave a leering expression as he regarded them.

I am General Hurok of the Seventh Host,” he said. His voice was a dark and weakening rasp, lower than the pair of delegates had expected. The pair of men introduced themselves before goblin continued. “I have never known defeat and likely won’t on this day. Greetings to you both. I hope you are both men of great reason and will find fit to save lives today.”

Here are our terms,” Dayspring said. “On behalf the city of Falston, I offer you and your people peaceful envoys of aid to help your people establish their own kingdom else where. Should you reject this offer, we will have no choice but to do battle.”

You realize we’re prepared to eradicate you all?”

What terms do you offer?” Herb interjected. He already knew the answer, but the formalities of the situation required he ask.

We will spare every man, woman and child who pledge themselves to servitude before our banner,” the General replied. “All others will be killed. Should you refuse, we will eradicate this city.”

Do we have time to consider?” Herb asked.

One hour. Your friend’s impertinence has earned you that much.”

With a quick nod, Dayspring and Herb turned back to the city. They whispered quickly to each other as they went. Behind them, the general stood up at his table.

That was about what I expected,” Herb said. “I hope you’re ready for some real chaotic times.”

I hope we all are,” Dayspring replied. He gave the single to above for the gate to open. Once they had passed through the gate and it was closed, a single archer stood up and notched a single arrow. He let it go, the shot finding its mark between the goblin general’s eyes. Slant watched as their enemies ranks broke down at the sudden strike.

Well shot,” he said to the archer. He turned to the other archers. “Take aim! You know which targets are yours to mark!”

He watched as they fired, the small payloads on the tips of the shafts exploding as they impacted their targets. Most shot at the slowly moving siege towers as they moved ever closer to the walls. While their specialty arrows were limited, they really only needed to use them for directing their attackers to the areas they wanted them. Carefully directing the archers, Slant watched as they took advantage of the initial first shot and the ensuing chaos. Dayspring and Herb came up behind him as the archers continued with their bombardment.

It’s going to take some more luck for this to work right,” the wizard said. “They have got more siege towers than I expected. Fortunately they also have a horrible aim with anything resembling a projectile.”

Can you use your magic?” Herb asked.

Not yet,” Slant replied. “Their shamans still remain hidden to me. We have other resources to deploy though.”

Just keep at it,” Dayspring said. “We’re off to a good start, so keep it up.”


Since only a handful of the workers had been on hand when the goblins first arrived, they were only able to get one of the airships ready. With the supplies on hand, however, they were able to load up that one ship with enough of their equipment to make the mission possible. Eseen and Vera watched the battle begin as the crewmen loaded up their ordinance of supplies.

They’re moving the siege towers into place,” Vera observed. “Looks like Slant and the archers are holding them back fairly well, but there’s only so much time before they get overwhelmed or run out of ammunition. We need to hurry.”

Eseen dropped into a crouch, feeling the ground. She ran her fingers through the dirt, listening to something only she could here. Vera looked at her with surprise.

What is it?” the princess asked.

The forest wishes to return here,” Eseen replied with a deep concern in her tone and on her face. He lay down on the ground and listened. “The ground longs to have life teeming from it again.”

Uh… right… could that help us with our present situation?” Vera asked.

It could. You can’t create a forest out of nothing though… at least not on land claimed by a different totem. But if everything goes right, I think we’ll have something to work with.”

One of the engineers ran over to them.

We’re all set,” he said. “Ready for take off.”

Excellent,” Vera said to him. “Let’s get in the air.” She turned to Eseen. The mage was now standing. “You got a plan?”

Nothing too terribly complicated,” the young mage replied. “I sense one of power that could prevent me from accomplishing what I mean to attempt. I will have to battle him first. You stay on the airship. I will do battle with this creature.”


Eseen broke into a run away from the airship, ignoring the cries from Vera and O-Ren. When it was clear they would not be able to get the girl to turn back or catch her in time, they silently loaded onto the airship. The ship lifted off slowly as the crew worked on preparing their payload. Using a spyglass, Vera checked on the progress of the battle ahead.

They’ve broken through the front door of the city,” she stated. “Just like they planned.” She looked back at the crew as they worked getting things ready. “We’re almost in position. Have the bombs ready.”

They quietly nodded affirmation as they continued to modify the barrels of oil into exploding cannisters of death. Once they were finished with their work, they rolled the cannisters to the lower level of the ship. From the cargo hold, they would simply roll the cannisters of oil out and let them fall onto the goblin army below. O-Ren positioned herself at the top of the ramp with a torch in hand, ready to light each cannister as it rolled out past her and of the ship.

We’re almost in position,” Vera said. She climbed down the ladder to check on the progress. “How are doing down here?”

Everything is prepared,” O-Ren answered. “Ready to go on your mark, your highness.”

We’re almost over the bulk of the goblin army Get ready.” Vera moved to the front, where she looked looked out the small viewing window. “Now.”


The people of Falston were falling back to the keeps of the castle when the first explosion sounded from outside. Fighting his way to the wall, Slant saw the airship dropping a constant stream of bombs falling into the goblins. He turned with a grin to his friends, shouting a description of what he saw.

Come on!” he shouted. “We’ve got an airship bombing them!”

The men and women of Falston were immediately revitalized by the sudden shift, renewing their vigor as they turned back the goblin assault. Looking to the mountains, he saw a group moving down the slope towards the city. He grabbed Herb’s shoulder as the Ranger came to his side on the wall, pointing to the new group approaching. Looking through his spyglass, the Ranger smiled.

Dwarves!” he exclaimed. “I would say they need to provide us with an explanation as to where all these goblins came from!”

Slant nodded as he looked back to where the goblins were rushing the forward gate of the city.

We might just survive this,he thought. Now where is Eseen?

He had not seen his daughter up to that point, but had given the matter little thought with the chaos of the day. Looking out, he saw the tiny figure running towards the goblins. Reaching out a hand, he took Herb’s spyglass and turned it towards the figure.

Oh no,” he hissed.


The goblin shaman saw Eseen as she ran towards his army and smiled. With great anxiety he bounded around the lines of the goblin troops and approached the girl. The other goblins sensed the flow of destiny drawing the two together and did not impede either. They came face to face as the goblins scrambled away from the fire. A wizened and diminutive old goblin with dark and wrinkled skin, he regarded the young mage coolly.

So here you are,” he said. “Your totem is the forest, is it not?”

It is,” she replied. “I am Eseen of the Forest. I claim the true wisdom of the oldest trees as my strength. I can sense your totem is the mountain.”

I am called Curoon of the Coldest Peak,” the goblin shaman replied. “I claim the harsh strength of the deepest bedrock as my strength.”

I suppose we are well met then.” She bowed slightly to him, giving some reverence to his age. “In the name of my totem, I challenge you for this land.”

I accept your challenge.” He raised his staff to her. “You walk without a staff. You must a a formidable enchanter indeed.”

I have it when I need it.”

Reaching up, she pulled a small twig from her braided hair. Whispering gently to it, a low glow arose from the the tiny sliver of wood. It extended to a staff about her height, an array of runes and markings carved into the side.

Are you prepared, Master Goblin?” she asked.

Curoon gave a dry laugh and charged. He moved faster than she had expected, his true speed and strength concealed by his size and appearance. Swinging his staff, he tried to strike her in the head for a quick end to the battle. Despite her lack of experience in combat, she was easily able to defer and deflect his blows.

As the battle wore on, Eseen grew more nervous. Curoon drew on almost no magic as he attacked, and seemed to have no intention of doing so. His strategy seemed concerned with not allowing her the time to cast a spell of any kind.

This might have been a bad idea, she thought. But we need the totem. The balance is off. We need to restore it.

Seeing an opening, she gave the goblin a strong kick to the gut. He stumbled away as Eseen got to her feet and casted a quick spell. Planting the staff in the ground, she dropped to a knee and put her hand on the ground. He charged at her again, but she simply moved her staff and redirected him away from her with a wide swing.

As she completed her cast, she stood and face him.

I plant my totem here,” she said. He gave another lunge at her, but she redirected him to the ground with ease. “Falston will once again be a forested land. The mountains will have no strength here.”

He was about to give a retort when the ground gently shook. Looking to the dirt, he saw tiny leaves sprouting up from the earth. As he stared in confusion, they split and rose. Slowly trees began to emerge around him. He stared at Eseen as he crouched to admire one of the rapidly growing trees.

What power is this?” he demanded. “None should have this within their capacity.”

There was once a forest here,” Eseen replied calmly. “In the ancient days. One that the Dragons had ignored for eons. It was destroyed when your ancestors raged their war in the aftermath of the one between men and the dragons. You failed to honor all the totems, so the forest will return. The fires took the lives of your comrades, giving them to the earth. Now she restores this land in her image with their essence. Consult your totem if you need to. It will tell you what I have told you.”

Fuming the goblin backed away from Eseen.

This is not over,” he hissed. “We will meet again, child.” Breaking into a run, Curoon bolted through the trees.


The direction of the battle shifted in the favor of the people of Falston as the forest emerged. Many of the goblins fled out of fear as trees grew up from the earth around them, the rest slain in the arrival of the dwarves. Slant met the leader of the dwarves at the city gate. Though considerably shorter than most of the people, the dwarves carried their stocky frames with a measure of pride. Dressed in thick mail and leather helmets, they jovially introduced themselves to the people of Falston.

I am Barnack of the Dale,” the dwarf cheiftain introduced himself. “I am the Chief of the Halls of MonteCraft. Though I would have chosen different circumstances for our introductions, it is a great honor to meet your acquaintance.”

After all the necessary introductions were made, they turned to the matter of the goblins. Barnack shook his head in frustration as they broached the subject.

I am ashamed to admit they escaped my domain,” he said. “It has long been my sacred task to watch over the goblins. They heard the call of their king, apparently, and managed an escape from the Lost Brig. Normally they are dim-witted and slow, barely worth monitoring. But they managed to cause quite a bit of trouble.”

Of course,” Slant said. “Though our people may not look like much, we tend to be a hardy and surprising breed.”

Surprising is definitely the word for it,” Barnack agreed. “You must be quite resourceful indeed. To summon a forest is no small task for any people.”

I suppose my daughter will have to explain that.” He turned to Dayspring and Herb as they came down from the wall. “Any sign of Eseen?”

That looks like her walking out of the trees now,” Dayspring said. He pointed to a spot to the right of the road, where they looked to see the young mage leaving the trees to move towards them.

As she drew closer, they saw she had a large bouquet of flowers in her hands. Her head dropped as she approached, trying to avoid her father’s disapproving glance. She stopped in front of Slant, refusing to meet his eyes.

Forgive me father,” she said. “I know I put myself in more danger than I should have—”

Cupping her chin in his fingers, Slant raised her face up so he could look her in the eye.

You did well today,” he said. “You should have let me help though. I do know a thing or two about the elemental totems, even though I have pledged studies to none. But don’t tell your mother.” She laughed gently at that. He looked down at the flowers. “Where did the flowers come from?”

A gift from the forest,” she said. She saw the town elders and stepped over to them. “The forest has returned to the Kingdom of Falston. It will have a myriad of gifts for those who come to walk through it in peace, a curse on those who do not. Many trees there will bear fruit, and they will guide you to wood should you have a need for it.”

Of course,” Willamina said, taking the flowers that Eseen held out to them. She looked to Slant and Herb with concern on her face. “What happens now?”

We see where the war moves to next,” Herb said flatly. “This was just the first battle. We learn where our path takes us next.”


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