Tillean Swiftblade was kicking himself after the fiasco at the aqueduct site. He should have crushed those pesky goblins, and he knew it. Instead, his inexperience had cost the lives of good elven warriors, with more still captured by the greenskins. In spite of his best efforts, he had been unable to locate the site of their camp and free the prisoners.
Fortunately the goblins hadn’t stayed around after wrecking the aqueduct, and the builders were able to rebuild it. However, they had needed to clear the rubble of their first attempt before starting again, and the resulting delay had led to a drought that saw some of the people of Ellisor die of thirst, whilst others starved after the resulting poor harvest.
If Tillean had been unable to locate the goblin camp, the goblins had also shown no interest in causing more trouble for the Elves. They had melted away into the wilderness, leaving just a handful of rotting corpses to show that they had ever been there, and none of his patrols had found anything amiss.
The Last Stand?
Wulfrik von Gottring was nervous as he led the garrison of Drakkenburg out. After the last fiasco, he needed a success to restore his troops’ faith in him, otherwise no-one would want to follow him into battle. At first everything was quiet, and he began to think that this patrol would be uneventful, but as his knights crested the ridge of a row of hills, he saw the greenskin army before him. He felt a sense of dread as he saw the forces facing him – they outnumbered his small garrison by nearly four to one, but he crushed the feeling, and began to deploy his men.
Gorbad wuz delighted ta see da hoomies before ‘im; dey was so squishy, ‘e wuz sure ‘is boyz’d make short work of ‘em again. Der boyz raced forward, expectin’ ta eat well on roasted hoomie tonight, but nuffink went da way it should!
Wulfrik had learned his lesson well, and instead of trying to chase down the swift Goblin cavalry, he left them for his handgunners to deal with, leading his knights against the greenskin archers. Surprisingly, his initial charge failed to break them; despite suffering heavy casualties, the goblin infantry displayed tremendous courage, and with the initial momentum of the knights’ charge spent, the close combat degenerated into a slugging match. Fortunately, their heavy armour protected his men from most of the Goblins’ blows, and Wulkrik’s own prowess was enough to tip the balance in their favour. As the archers finally turned to flee, they were quickly ridden down.
In the meantime, the Drakkenburg Fusiliers had decimated the Goblin wolf riders, and as they attempted to avoid the barrage, they ran between the Phalanx and the remainder of the advancing Goblin infantry. The Phalanx charged – not with any expectation of actually catching them, but simply to drive them back. As expected, the skirmishing wolf riders fled before the Empire infantry, but their flight caused a chain reaction, which saw all of the remaining Goblin infantry flee with them.
In order to hurry the flight along, Wulfrik led his knights to charge the wolf riders, but to his amazement, the Goblin cavalry – their wolves already tired from running – were unable to escape, and were ridden down by the Empire horsemen. With their leader dead, the surviving greenskins melted away. Wulfrik had redeemed himself, and his men cheered at the resounding victory.
Gorbad Gutrippa lay on the damp earth, a hoomie lance broken off in ‘is chest. ‘E didn’t understand what went wrong. Hoomies wuz squishy, ‘e should ‘ave won! As his vision faded, he wondered who would lead da boyz now. Not Horgrin, surely? Dat thievin’ sneak’d never find ‘em a good fight.
An Unexpected Bounty
Brondi Belgarsson was riding high. Not literally, obviously, no self-respecting Dwarf let their feet get far from good, solid earth. But everything was going well at Kag Maldur, and as he peered through the foliage at what appeared to be a Goblin camp, he knew things were only going to get better. As he crept back out of sight, he knew his hatred of these damned greenskin scum would soon be slaked with blood.
Horgrin Da Stomper wuz celebratin’. Wiv dat cheat Gorbad outta da way, he’d finally been recognised as da true leader of da boyz. Now dey’d see what a REAL Boss could do. As ‘is boyz started to fall around ‘im, it took a while for ‘im ta realize wut wuz ‘appenin’.
Brondi had planned the attack to perfection, Halbar’s Marksmen opening fire on the wolf riders, whilst Rogi’s Gunmen engaged the spider riders. Brondi himself led Thorbak’s Clanners in a straight charge against the encampment. It was a risky strategy – if the greenskins reacted quickly, the Warrior band could find themselves cut off and surrounded – but he gambled that it would take them time to organise and counterattack.
Everything went exactly according to plan. The spider riders were decimated by the Thunderers, and whilst the sole survivor managed to outflank them, he could be safely ignored whilst they switched their fire to other targets. The Quarellers forced the wolf riders to flee and followed this up by charging and routing a unit of archers. Meanwhile, Brondi and the Clanners had smashed through both the second unit of archers and the spearmen supporting them. The battle was over in short order, with only minimal losses among the Dwarves.
On capturing the encampment, Brondi discovered an enclosure containing several Elves and Humans, likely captives from previous battles. All of them had been treated harshly, and were seriously wounded. Negotiations were quickly opened to ransom them back to their respective settlements.
Brondi used the gold from the ransoms to raise a second unit of Warriors, and as the garrison grew in size, he realised that he would need a second in command. Having fought with Thorbak Flameaxe for several years, and knowing of his friend’s prowess, he was the obvious choice. Galel would have to take over the leadership of the Clanners.