With no goblin in sight for leess, the now reunited Fools went inside along with their hosts to grab a bite to eat, something to drink, and discuss their current position. After they all had been thoroughly fed and watered, the Fools ovaled up to talk. Half of the group (Steven, Peace, and Beard) sat while the other half (Brant, Ryan, and Renee) stood to face them. Brant and Ryan were standing to speak with the Fools, Renee was standing because plate mail is uncomfortable to sit on the floor in. Ryan started the meeting.
“Okay gang, I know we’re all excited to see each other, but we have a towns worth of people’s lives on the line. While we were coming in, Beard was tracking their movements as best he could and estimated the force to be in the lower thousands. How they got that many goblins together and across so much land I will never know. What are we going to do? Or, more to the point, where do we stand in matters, and how ready are we for this? Rhubs?”
“A complicated question, sir.” Brant just couldn’t help himself now that Ryan had an actual rank. “We, Steven, Peace, and I, are already promised to lend our aid to the town of Parity and were dispatched out here to get our hosts here to aid in the fortifications. We have been in multiple skirmishes and at this point are getting near exhausted in the daily spell area of things. We might be able to go back to Parity as the six of us and raise the defense there, but it will be hard pressed. We really need the McErdan brothers here. What can we do, sir?”
“I’m not sure. And stop calling me sir.” Ryan said.
“Yes, sir,” Brant said almost under his breath.
“I can try talking to them,” Renee said as she levered herself off where she had been leaning against the wall. She walked over to where the brothers were sitting and began talking to them in hushed tones. That there was some kind of argument, everyone could see, but none could hear. This continued for a minute or two; all the while the other Fools were exchanging glances, before finally she came back over. “Its settled.” she said. “The McErdans will shield this place as best they can and come with us to Parity’s defense.”
“How did you do that?” Brant asked keeping most of his incredulity out of his voice.
“Well Guilt is a standard issue Paladin negotiation tool, not to mention they realized that they would have no where in under 15 leess to trade their farms goods anyways if we failed.” Renee said with a small smirk.
The spell took only a few minutes to set up and then set. The group all mounted up and began the trek back to Parity. They passed the first few leess relative silence. Now that there were stickier people than he, Brant maintained a position along with Steven to put their moderately trained Listen and Spot checks to good use, up near the front. Beard and Renee brought up the back with the casters bunched in the middle. Ryan was just slightly behind Steven and Brant. Brant heard it first, but it was Steven that discerned what it really was. They had heard a dull thudding sound, plodding ahead and off to their right. The two called a rest of the others and then went off to scout what it was. Steven found the tracks and then discerned what it was. They talked about what else it could possibly be but there was little to no doubt. They returned to the rest of the group, greeted by curious stares. It was Peace that spoke up first. “Well? What is it?”
Steven and Brant exchanged a glance, then nodded before saying simultaneously, “They brought a cave troll.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Beard muttered as he flourished his axe and rolled his eyes.
“We’re pretty sure that’s what those tracks are. What this means for our plans in the future, only time will tell.” Steven said sagaciously before mounting back up on his pony.
When they were only a half leess away from Parity they heard the clatter of spears on shields. The goblin forces were getting ready to attack. Brant signaled them to circle there horses and said, “Okay, guys, we need to bust in through the lines and get quickly repositioned inside the city to aid the militia as best we can. Paxus, do you have any more fireballs?”
“I have about two. Why?”
“I need you to blow us a hole to ride through. Think you can do that?” Brant asked with a small smile.
“I’d like to see them try to stop me.” Peace replied.
The group got reordered for the charge and then began at a distance-eating canter. As they cleared the last of the forest they saw the goblin forces surrounding Parity. It was a huge force that had besieged that little village. As soon as they saw the goblins, they broke into a gallop with Peace at the head. Peace had already begun to hold out the material focus for the spell and recite the incantation. If one had been observing this death charge from the side of things, it would have seemed like Peace’s impact with the back goblin happened with such force that a ball of shooting flames erupted form the collision. Just as Peace’s horse moved it’s front hoof to trample the goblin, Peace finished the semantic component to the spell and released it. It blew a swath of death and combustion almost all the way through the goblin ranks. By the time any of the other goblins had time to react, Peace had already shifted his position to the center of the group as Steven, Ryan, and Brant took point.
As they got closer to the front rank, Steven whipped out his bow, while Brant and Ryan unsheathed their swords. The goblins at the front turned to face this new threat only to have many of their number subsequently shot or cleft as the three cleared the rest of the way. They made it past the frontline and began to cover the modest intervening distance between the foes’ front lines and the hastily set barricades surrounding Parity.
They barely made it to the midst of the gap before Brant heard the twang of bowstrings behind them. The first volley of arrows reserved for the villagers had instead been fired at the Fools. With a wave and a word, a arcane shield was raised by Edir. Only a few got through, before the shield was up, and were caught by Renee’s heater shield on her back and by Steven.
The militia pulled the barricades apart for the Fools then dragged them back together. Dismounting before his horse had even stopped, Brant jogged up to Branwyn and saluted.
“Reporting as asked sir. What’s next?” Brant said with a breathy grin.
“Well bless my soul, so you have. And with even more aide than was asked for.” Branwyn said with a short laugh of disbelief. “What’s next you ask? Well I doubt there will be much fighting today. That’s too bold for a goblin by half, even if he does have a couple thousand of his closest friends. No, we won’t see any action but a couple of stray arrows till nightfall.”
“Well then I suppose we shall have to let our casters rest a regain their strength for the fun to come.” Brant said and started back to where his friends were dismounting and walking their mounts to the Inn’s stable.
Branwyn started forward and grabbed Brant’s arm. “Thank you, master bard. You may have just saved us all.”
“Don’t thank me yet Branwyn. We have a long night to go before we have thanks bandied about.”
Brant told the casters to gather their strengths about them and prepare for the night, then he went to his room at the Inn and allowed glorious fatigue overcome him before his anxieties could keep him up.