The Spire’s dizzying magic thickened the air yesterday as we waited. I was charged with passing signals from one tower to the next, while a grizzled veteran, a dwarf named Noori, instructed us on the mechanics of the trebuchet. Soon enough the sun fell, the enemy kept its distance, and my companions on the tower fell into a lolling slumber – brought on by boredom as much as anything, I suppose.
When our rookie platoon leader fell asleep, I stole a peek at his orders from High Command. Simple enough, we were expected to target their siege weapons. The human scolded me for it. True enough that it was none of her concern, but it’s in the nature of an officer to busy herself with the affairs of those around her. I also liberated Stong’s coin purse and a pair of vials. The purse was surprisingly heavy – a good take, and already my summons pays for itself!
As the sun rose behind the shimmering haze of our walls, the enemy stirred. The host looked terrifying in its black armor, blurred by the Spire’s magic into one massive, oily mob. A commotion arose below, and the city gates screeched opened. A gaggle of half-naked, stumbling prisoners, dirty and chained together by their necks, was herded out into the wasteland toward the enemy. Though the cruelty of it made me sick, a part of my mind reeled at the possibilities. A negotiation? Is Machial fearful? I had little time to ponder, but I’m sure they were taken from the Dols. When I return, I shall ask around. Though I have been swallowed into the belly of the beast, I will not rest in my efforts. Knowledge is the supporting keystone that makes the tower crumble. (F.A. told me that.)
The sun rose to full light, and a huge shadow … thing rose up from the host. It gave a ghostly shout, and the enemy advanced. Despite Noori’s efforts at coordinating the trebuchet, the gobs continued blundering and knocking their heads together, until a few of us began encouraging them. We egged them on with laughable imitations of drill seargents and bawdy tavern jesters. Finally, we got off our first shot, a direct hit on one of the enemy’s siege weapons. It splintered the wooden tower with a thunderous crack, and we all cheered. Soon enough though, the enemy advanced and tore apart the tower north of ours, killing the human I’d been signaling to only moments before.
At the same instant, there was a loud crack that shook our tower as if we’d been hit. As it turns out, our trebuchet had snapped a pulley and, because of my size, I was asked to climb inside its workings. Below, Noori was bleeding from a cracked skull. The human, I believe her name was Onu, managed to revive him. I, in a moment of pity, threw him one of my precious potions. I suppose there’s justice in that, and I don’t regret it. I crawled in amongst the ropes and pulleys, and easily got the thing working again. The dwarf was still dazed though, and it took all of us to get the gobs focused again on their task of reloading the trebuchet.
Just as the battle’s tide seemed to be turning, a Hiver raced toward us. My instinct was to ready my sling, until I remembered we weren’t facing a raid in the Dols. The moment the wasp landed, three enormous vultures, carrying orc riders, appeared through the Spire’s haze and landed to challenge him. I’m not sure how I feel about defending a Hiver – but to face these grisly creatures, we’ll need every weapon in every hand.