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Author Topic: Siege at Tecaknazom, year 230  (Read 771 times)

ProfessorA

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Siege at Tecaknazom, year 230
« on: September 29, 2009, 03:51:28 pm »

What follows below is my account of a recent siege on my vanilla DF fort.  Just something for anyone unemployed or bored at work to read over.  All of the basic events are taken directly from the gameplay.  Nothin here is terribly unusual, but I needed to flex my writing muscles today....

###

Twenty years had passed since the legendary Otarkalan Likotzunek felled the fearsome titan just outside Tekacnazom, and ten years hence a goblin arrow had pierced his heart.  In the years since, foes of the fortress had become scarce - sporadic skirmishes with inexperienced savages and trembling abductees who were adults only in appearance.  On a late afternoon in early summer Uvash found herself jogging up the rolling hills west of the river, towards the chasm that lay there.  Scouts had reported the presence of a human crossbowman, named Tamed Sherishida, leading one of the invading squads towards the gates.  She muttered curses under her breath as she thought of the fort's seargent-at-arms, Kivish: his unmatched skill made him a natural choice to lead a large squad of axedwarves.  His nervous unease with his own abilities made it another natural choice to drink himself into such a stupor as to miss out on the battle.  Uvash had not thought twice - Tamed was clearly the most dire threat, and now that opportunity had come her way to prove her dedication, she would allow no other to accept duty's call.

"Stay low," she whispered aloud, "every step behind the cover of ZEFON's Blessed Earth is one less bolt to parry."  She heard the familiar sound of iron jangling ahead and reflexively tightened her grip on her hammer.  She huddled against the steep, grassy slope and pulled silent breaths: they could not be far...



As the hammerdwarves scrambled their way across the drawbridge, Aban had no doubts as to what was happening.  The northern tower was her post: farthest from the drink stockpiles, she suspected her status as the resident rookie among the archers was to blame.  She scanned the northern horizon.  Her eyes fell upon the dust kicked up by approaching goblins on the ridge.  She raised her crossbow, squinting as she spotted their silhouettes in the setting sun.  As they marched into definition, she could count about a dozen - clad in leather armor and iron caps, most were likely to be archers.  A tall figure led the pack in iron chain and leopard leather, carrying a pike on its shoulder.

She checked her quiver: 35 bolts, carved from what felt like donkey bone - they were not nearly sufficient outfitting for the battle to come.



Over her racing heart, Uvash suddenly heard the clamor of a fight from the approaching squad.  One of the war dogs, having wandered far from its caretaker, had leapt upon Tamed and tore through his leather armor with its teeth.  He shouted in alarm and brought the butt of his crossbow down on its nose.  The dog fell to the ground, and loosed a squeal before a bolt pierced its head.  Several goblin axemen stood behind their leader in an echelon formation, laughing confidently.

Uvash was close enough to see the earring Tamed wore - the bony remains of a human finger, curled round into a ring.  She had heard merchants' countless tellings of the story where the man had shot off the same finger - the reasons for the shot and its range varied wildly between sources.  Every story, however, stressed his steady and impressive aim.  And, of course, that finger.

He clutched the wound in his chest, and hunched over.  His wheezing gasps were whispered blessings from ZEFON in His depths, and she momentarily rose to charge.  She could not forfeit this opportunity, she thought at that instant.  Then she recalled the titan-slayer, Otarkalan.  His love for the thrills of battle gave him an unshrinking boldness, and won him a king's tomb.  His lack of discipline had put him in that tomb a decade ago.  She fell back to her position of ambush, but her hesitation had proved costly - as she dropped to the ground she saw his head whip around quickly.  His eyes fixed on her position, and Uvash pressed herself tightly against the grass.

As she heard him approach, her mind raced to estimate his distance.  He may have steady hands but he's just foolish enough to die today, she thought.  Finally, as his feet crunched in the dead flora, unbearable and loud, she crouched on her feet and sprung into the air, war hammer high above her head.



The nearest squad looked fifty paces out of Aban's range.  She could spot two more in the distance, and thought of the rest of the fortifications nearer the front gate.  Looking behind her shoulder over the bunkers carved out of the mounds of natural stone, she spotted her older brother standing on the road in front of the drawbridge.  She suddenly recalled him talking of his duties as manager, and it quickly became clear he was awaiting his meeting with the human caravan that had safely made its way into the trade depot.  In all her life, she had known no fear as dark and cold as the one that flooded her heart then.  Even as she heard the nearing squad enter firing range, she stared in a slackjawed awe: had he not heard the calls of siege?  Even the humans, hauling their carts, had made their way to safety now.  She began shouting to him.  He seemed to take no notice as small iron boots stomped the solid rock below her tower.



The sounds of battle seemed distant to Uvash, the images as through glass.  It appeared as though it were someone else who had brought their hammer down upon Tamed's chest.  Though every goblin shrieked an alarmed warning to each other, the human had made no sound but expelled a muted, sputtering breath of wind and blood.  The crossbow fell to the ground, still empty from the dog's execution.  His lifeless limbs dangled behind him as he slammed into a pair of goblins, scattering their ranks.  Uvash briefly allowed a wicked grin to peel across her face before her lips and brow pulled downwards into the grim visage the other soldiers knew well.  One by one she swatted the vermin, sending them tumbling awkwardly in every direction.  A few tried to break their falls with deformed limbs - she would come back for them later.  Her neck and face flushed with sweat, and she savored the summer sunlight pouring through her helmet.



Aban could not move through all her panic.  All around she heard whistling bolts strike armor and the ringing of iron and steel.  She saw her brother, still by the gate, impatiently turn his head away.  Despite the din of battle he had not heeded the warnings of any military personnel.  Finally, fortune's gears turned - the human guild leader had appeared and the manager rushed to him, selflessly eager to conduct the meeting which would deliver the fuel desperately needed by the massive furnaces.  And yet she still could not seize her calm back from the void.

She could now see the enemy squad nearest her emerge from beneath her post.  They had not yet taken any notice of her, and had turned their heads to look away from the fortress, where across the river Dastot and The Bravery of Fortifying had successfully terminated their assignment and were now approaching.  The goblins looked ahead of themselves again as a cage trap snapped shut over one of the wrestlers, who hissed as he rattled the bars.  Ignoring his gnashing subordinate, the human pikeman led the remainder towards the river.

She watched as the vile wrestlers grappled the steel-clad warriors, holding them in place as the pikeman took flight.  Shouts of retreat echoed around the river.  Aban watched helplessly as Dastot did what he could to clean up, but for all of its noise, death and blood the battle was over.

That night, Aban would blame her spine, injured years ago in basic training, for having frozen her crossbow.  Her peers laughed off the lie - one of the guards had suffered a similar injury before she had come to the fortress, and that hadn't stopped her from slicing several attackers into chunks.  That same guard had her throat ripped out that day, and was buried ceremoniously by a hundred griefstruck mourners.  Her bad back was all she could conjure up for the accusing glares and jeering faces, and everyone knew it was not nearly enough.

Thankfully, her beloved brother never heard so much of a whisper of the incident.  Too many dwarves had too much fear of the consequences in disrespecting such a position.  Of this she would forever be glad - for a coward will forever take the greatest consolation from even the least of honors.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 03:54:09 pm by ProfessorA »
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