Ronlin slowly pulled back the rain drenched hood of his dark cloak while scanning the yard around him. The mostly gutted but still burning cook house and barracks illuminated the area with a constant orange glow allowing him to take in the results of their initial assault. Numerous ogre bodies lie along the top of the wall, near the guard post, and face down in a large puddle in the middle of the yard. Based on the acrid stench filling the crisp night air, the alchemist succeeded in trapping at least a few ogres inside the barracks. They would have met their end being burned alive which was a terrible way to die, but nothing was too painful for these brutes to endure after what they had done to his former brothers in arms.
As Ronlin stooped down to retrieve an arrow that had missed its mark, Lobo padded over, stopping a few feet away to shake out some of the water soaking into his thick grey coat. Ronlin gently touched the wolf’s snout, dispelling the magic that he had used to expand the size and effectiveness of his companion’s bite. As Ronlin pulled his hand away Lobo playfully snapped at it while growling questioningly.
“Don’t’ worry boy. There are plenty more ogres inside the keep for you to sink your teeth into.”
With that Ronlin stood back up, depositing the recovered arrow into his quiver just as Jakardros drifted down from the sky, landing gingerly on the ground beside him. A moment later Kibb came sauntering across the yard to sit at his master’s feet.
“Well done sir,” Ronlin began, “your support from the air allowed Bleck and I to eliminate the brutes in the old guard post and stable. Plus you bought time for our new allies to work their magic.” Ronlin firmly clasped Jakardros on the shoulder before continuing.
“Jakardros. We will retake the Fort. The plan worked and the hardest part is behind us.”
“If you say so Ronlin…if you say so.” Jakardros leaned down to scratch Kibb behind the ears, gently shrugging off Ronlin’s hand as he did.
Though his reassurance was intended to try and help snap Jakardros out of the mood he had been in for weeks now, Ronlin found himself believing what he said. The plan had worked considerably better than he had thought it would. Attacks such as this one had a tendency to dissolve into chaos as unforeseen factors inevitably came into play. In this case though, things had gone just about as well as they could have hoped. There was no question in Ronlin’s mind though, without the aid of these new allies, they wouldn’t have stood a chance.
Based on the somewhat arrogant account that Pitticus was currently giving to Vale and Kaven, he and G’vern had managed to kill 10 – 20 ogres just through well placed magic and bombs. Though his attitude sometimes rubbed Ronlin the wrong way, the evidence certainly supported their claims. There was an old Black Arrow saying – that a man whose deeds are truly great has no use for exaggerated exploits. That certainly seemed to be the case for both the sword wielding elf and the scientist.
As for Morgrym, it was still too early to determine how effective he would prove to be in a fight. That being said, with the keep still occupied by an unknown number of unknown forces, the dwarf would get a chance to show his mettle before this fight was done. His sword and shield style would be invaluable in the tighter quarters of the keep, where holding strategic points would be the key to victory.
Ronlin drifted back from his musings as the others began walking over.
“On to the keep then Captain?” Vale asked. “We won’t have the element of sur-“
“Talky-Kaboom longshanks used fire kabooms to burn lots of uglies,” Bleck interrupted excitedly. “Bleck love fire. Bleck love dead uglies. But Bleck sad he no get heads. Why skinny bomb man burn up Bleck’s heads? Maybe Bleck take bomb man hea-“
“Enough!” Ronlin said sharply, “we’ve won a small victory out here – but our real challenge lies in there,” he added while gesturing towards the front door of the keep.
“We don’t know what sort of numbers they have inside the keep. In fact, we don’t even know how they managed to overrun this place so quickly and efficiently to begin with. So be prepared for anything. I need everyone focused, especially you Bleck.” Ronlin shot Bleck a steeled look to ensure the goblin understood the severity of the situation.
“Sorry Ron-Lan,” Bleck said sheepishly.
“If you need any healing or to do any other preparations, now is the time,” Ronlin stated. “Once everyone is ready to continue, we push on through the keep.”
Ronlin turned away from the group and walked a few steps towards the heavy wooden doors barring their way into the keep. Even from this distance it was clear the doors had been bent and broken and then shoddily repaired. Ronlin slowed his approach to wait for the rest of his companions to follow. Within moments a short stout shape pushed past him striding with purpose towards the doors, calling back over his shoulder has he did,
“Dinna fash yirsel Ronlin. Ah will tak’ th’ leid oan this. The ogres wilnae fin’ it easy tae push bygane mah shield dyke.”
Ronlin cracked a slight smile as the rest of the company got into their positions for the assault. He had almost forgotten how comforting it was to fight alongside a loud mouthed dwarf.