Dreamweaver Chapter 151
I used the new hand signals that I’ve been learning from Gyle and the Lieutenant to signal to leave all my sharpshooters on the portion of roadway that we held on 3rd West and ten civilians with the best weapons we had that weren’t military issue, but took the frontline armored dwarves with body shields went with me and my inner team. My plan is I’ll get new sharpshooters once we get a bit further and I also have it on good authority from Sunghee and Gyle that the goblins will come back to this street so range specialists will be needed here. I did take every civilian that I can with me, but it’s starting to look more like a mob than a platoon of soldiers.
But because I’m learning the hand signal codes on the spot for and from the dwarves, I did have to redo my orders several times. Because he’s done militia duty before, Gyle has coached me into using it even now, and is still good with it. Sometimes he also stops me when I’m about to make an error, which helps a lot. I’ll be able to use this in future battles to know the dwarven hand signal codes to save lives later. Of course I feel like I’ve only got about 1 percent of all the code and don’t understand any of it.
The civilians fiercely demand the right to be the first to search buildings I found out. This is annoying though because they are desperate and don’t always know how to defend themselves so I can’t protect anyone. But they still expect me to throw all my energy into protecting them just because I’m a mage and have access to shielding magic.
So do dwarves distrust magic because they are too demanding of it when it works?
It’s some kind of stubbornness in them wanting to take it back themselves but I don’t have the patience or resources for it. That’s the down side of having few deaths and injuries with shielding magic. Now they think everything is fine but it isn’t. They are just seeing red and want revenge and a chance to strike back. And being in tight enclosed spaces with little military training is brutal on them or anyone for that matter. But it’s not as bad as it would have been on Earth if it had happened there.
“These guys will just get killed doing this Shun. Have them pull back and have the regulars do it. Hell, it’s even better if I do it,” Sunghee argued. She knows she can talk back a bit to try to sway me but the others don’t dare.
Sunghee still looks very shaken up from her near close call with death not too long ago. I can see redness around her eyes from trying to hide that she was crying too, and her voice is all nervous and quivering. She looks like she’s just barely holding things together mentally.
And that’s affected Rina too, who is hiding behind me half the time.
Still there wouldn’t have been a safe place to put them. We don’t know if there even is a single safe place for women and children in the goblin swarmed fortress even if I were to give them a break. And it’s hard to get messages around what’s going on and where.
But Gyle defended their desire to do so. “What if it was your family?” he demanded when I wanted them to slow down the house to house searches.
“He’s right. We have to do the house to house searches. We may really save a few lives that way. Sorry to say it,” Sunghee defended.
“In principal I agree with it. But it does slow us down and there’s a tradeoff of not saving others elsewhere plus the worry of losing more mana but let’s do it. Have the dwarves do it though, both of you stay next to me,” I sighed.
“Got it,” Rina said. I can hear Rina is relieved to hear me say it.
“Acknowledged boss, we follow you first,” Sunghee said after her at nearly the same time.
My lieutenant doesn’t like it. I can see it in his eyes and face that he thinks its favoritism. Well fuck him, I thought.
“Are you ready to move?” I asked him.
“Yeah I am. I’ll back you up,” he replied coolly.
The house to house searches are the most dangerous. I can’t even tell what the hell is going on half the time because of too many bodies in tight spaces and less time to react in little spaces. Plus there are blind spots and confined narrow spots where your friends can’t cover you as well.
Hell it’s even hard to stay on top of protecting them in the street, not counting goblin murder holes set up in house wreckages.
The city now resembles something of an earthquake zone I’d seen in the news recently before coming to this world with how everything is all messed up and damaged from goblins trying to wreck everything they can see.
The dwarves are naturally hardier and resistant to physical blows and trauma despite being smaller than us. I’d also noticed they are denser in muscle tissues too, but that has an effect on their blood. Their blood is almost the same color as ours, except it’s a very dense darker red compared to ours probably from the cells and tissues in their bodies being more densely packed into a small frame. In other words, since their blood and bodies are more resistant, it means that I think they have more red blood cells per square inch than we do; hence their blood looks dark but still crimson hued when they are hit. Until now I hadn’t had a chance to slow down to see it, and the mana sensing confirmed what I’d seen about the red blood cell count.
“I know that, and I agree but I’d prefer if it weren’t the volunteers doing it and instead the people with the best armor,” I countered.
It does little good. The people here are too neurotic to listen well. They want to know if people are alive in their own houses and nothing I can do will make them see reason on this issue. They grudgingly are taking orders sometimes, but it’s because of how successful I am that they are suddenly whiny little bitches wanting me to force their revenge with them. And this has become a sloppy mess with the additional psychological effect of some of them seeing others try to balk at my orders. I guess that’s why experienced commanders are so important. Their name carries a lot and the popularity helps with people accepting the psychology of their orders. Plus they have a trail of not only bodies, but disciplining the unruly.
There’s a reason you need commanders that won’t take shit from anyone, I find out pretty fast.
I pray my soldiers that we’ve left behind on 2nd west and previously seized territory are still alive as we are on 3rd West trying to move forward. This street is filled with bodies both goblin and dwarves all together and its clear this is almost like a civil war in how it looks. If you ever saw footage of bombing ruins and stuff…it’s kind of like that except there wasn’t a bomb but just a ton of collateral damage from all kinds of stuff.
There was quite a ruckus here and a lot of them died from a big explosion of some kind. That put me on my toes. An explosive device? No wait…it must be a goblin shaman spell that went off to further their malice and mayhem. It’s like the dwarves described earlier of the shaman’s banding together for mana explosions but I hadn’t connected that it would look like that when it went off because I’d not actually seen it before.
We had to clear wood debris away from the remaining ground that is still scorched and smoking to avoid a city fire. If it had been anything but dwarven stone here for houses that’s what it would have already have been.
“We’ll probably still have to come back and do a couple of thorough sweeps of the big backyards for each house too, including any farm animal barns and chicken coop areas,” Sunghee reminded me.
Ahh, that’s right. Many civilians houses in medieval areas like this one and on this world will all have a livestock pen in the backyard usually.
“That’s good thinking. As always you are reliable,” I gave her some encouragement which made her force a dark lit smile.
Just being in this awful city wide siege has covered a lot of my men and people with dust too. The girls are trying to keep the dust and debris from buildings collapsing that cakes the air off their clothes and skin but it just doesn’t work well. Everyone has dirty and gritty faces coated with what looks like chalk because of the mass destruction. And because they are dressed provocatively it means they are going to want to force me to take them to a bath house later if we can find one that’s still working.
Yep, definitely looking more and more like an earthquake zone now.
We managed to salvage every weapon we could find which we hand out to whoever needs them and we’ve also rescued three survivors that were pretending to play dead. The problem is not only dwarves pretend to play dead and that slows up recovering territory considerably when people are afraid of being gouged from below.
Of course then we lost two civilian volunteer dwarves to sneak attacks from goblins also pretending to be dead. The civilians are more vulnerable because they are in a hurry to check if bodies in the street are relatives or friends too and that was why they’d been lured so easily and from running ahead of my defensive line which I’m not going to risk jeopardizing just for some people being impatient. They were already dead before I could get to them, though Gyle and a few others gutted the goblin assassins before they could get away. After that we found nine more goblins playing dead or injured which we ‘dispatched’ to hell.
The scariest part was a stretch of ground that was a mini plaza not too far from here where we’d met a whole entire platoon of goblins playing dead. We were fortunate that it was accidentally discovered and we didn’t really have any losses but that was only because a civilian dwarf had tripped and accidentally fell on a goblin before we’d moved into the plaza.
The dwarves made short work of that ambush squad.
Disaster narrowly averted. I’m hoping the others will be more alert in the future.
“They do this kind of thing a lot. It’s a common urban warfare tactic,” Gyle reminds everyone. “So make sure you double tap them,” he added, while giving an example for some young dwarven children to watch. He’s right to do this but jeez I hate the sound of weapons gutting bodies, you never get used to it.
It was a bit strange that he’s teaching that to dwarven youth that are following us but I guess that’s what happens when you have a world that has constant warfare in it.
“Don’t make any noise, as you search the buildings. If we draw too many enemies it could divert our plan,” I said.
We lost three more civilian volunteer dwarves about ten minutes later but then gutted another 14 goblins in a full frontal skirmish of them charging our people. I managed to save one but the other two took spears to the neck…more than once. No healing is going to fix that in time no matter how expert you are with magic.
It’s hard to not feel like I let down my men and Rina pats me on the back to comfort me, “it’s not your fault Shun. They were gone before you could even start.”
“At least they weren’t his regular platoon, although I don’t want the civilians to die either,” Sunghee answered back.
The platoon dwarves are strangely silent now while staying ready to strike and very tense.
But after that it seems like its skirmish after skirmish from here forward with the intervals of war increasing. Somehow we must be getting close to the heart of the enemy’s troop concentration? These two or three dwarves I feel bad for but they weren’t prepared to fight, and had poor skills. So I wasn’t able to save them in time. That third dwarf even though we saved him, he’s also in no shape to be able to fight again. I sent him with the group of dwarves taking care of women and children survivors.
It’s a reminder that I’m still vulnerable too.
“You’re doing OK Shun. Just keep trying. It’s not your fault bad things are happening. Keep us alive and we’ll have fun later,” Rina continues to echo.
At the same time hearing it the dwarven lieutenant suddenly I catch giving me looks of jealousy for having two beautiful women.
This waves of skirmish system is how the goblins are avoiding and confusing the dwarves’ main military units. They are sending everything out in small countless raids at once to make it hard to go after everything. It’s like sand slipping through your fingers before you can stop it. For both sides it’s a war of throwing men at each other too, in a guerrilla war.
Within ten minutes we have another skirmish. A whole goblin platoon is ended soon after. This time no one dies but I lost another ten percent mana. I energy tapped another dwarf, and this time I energy tapped a goblin. But the energy feeling of tapping a goblin feels icky and slimy somehow. I feel nauseated from taking their energy because the feeling of evil is so putrid.
Sunghee finds her courage and takes the lead running to the front to try to reduce losses when she sees how much everybody makes me flinch. She’s weaving in and out with a sort of weird martial like moves that are fluid and graceful while she shines, but still not being too flashy either. She’s dispatched five goblins early in the next skirmish, while the rest of us try to keep up. Third skirmish ends with one dwarven civilian loss and over fifty goblins dead, thanks to more barrier fence trickery. Without the barrier fence I bet we would have lost over twenty dwarves if not more.
It’s going to be one of my best utility moves in the future if I can manage the mana cost better.
Then I have to stop to use my energy transfer spell ability by tapping dwarven volunteers to get back what’s been used.
Damn it. If only I was more powerful. If only I was so powerful I could pull this whole army forward with no losses. I’m still too weak. I feel angry about the civilian losses.
We ended up rescuing more civilians soon after. The volunteer followers and my own platoon seem to have morale surges whenever we pull someone out of rubble, or sometimes a building that goblins had been trying to smoke them out, or in some cases houses with stairs collapsed on the first floor while the second floor survivors were still struggling to keep the goblins out.
It’s the first time I’ve seen it and Gyle helped point it out to me. “This is why dwarves make the houses so tight and defendable. See that stair design? It’s designed to purposely collapse so if something like this happens the residents of the house still have a chance to live by creating a hedge to prevent the goblins from getting to the second floor with the rest of the structure intact. They’ll cover the stair way well on the next floor with a collapsible cover too and just buy time while the military are trying to regain ground or do sniper duties from the upstairs window slits.”
“I like it. That’s genius,” Sunghee noted.
“I like it too,” Rina nodded.
I didn’t say anything. I just hope all their houses have these. I worry if it’s an economic trick everyone can have access too.
But as we’re moving down the street, we find not all of the houses had all the defense upgrades. Some people couldn’t afford them. And some people were upgrading in parts, and hadn’t gotten to those parts yet. Inevitably people had to choose the food storage and food preservation upgrades in their houses first before anything else, even though they were dead set on getting defense upgrades.
Every time we’re moving I can hear boots and metal jingling. It’s starting to become a familiar sound. And even when they are trying to be quiet and without armor there are still metal belts, weapon parts, chains, and shoes with metal soles. The dwarves also have this odd fascination with chains for some reason, much like how a few years ago in the U.S. teenagers would attach chains to their wallets, with spiked jewelry.
The volunteers aren’t so bad but sometimes I have to heal injuries that seemed reckless and could have been avoided. I wish they were better armed and had more fighting experience too. I lost a lot of energy to shielding and healing. But slowly we’re getting through. Finally about three-fourths up the street near the end we collapsed the whole street.
Wait a minute…the fact that I’m even thinking this means I’ve come a long way. When I first came to this world I would have taken any help I could get. But if I can recognize the differences between a civilian fighter and a real soldier I’ve grown a lot. I shouldn’t be able to be this picky about who is helping me either.
Turns out some of the dwarves started crying and they hate seeing their homes destroyed, plus the cries of lamenting for the dead loves ones. Those are the worst; I’m not good at dealing with the emotional fallout that they have. We can console the ones that have lost places to live that we can rebuild but it’s harder to console the ones that have lost real irreplaceable people.
It’s also worse on the property aspect of things if it was an inherited house from someone who has passed away or that has a lot of heirlooms in it. That happened to be the house just like that. Everyone feels bad but we had to do it. Three expert carpenter civilians had pulled loose the pins holding the main support beams up in that wooden house and then it was pushed over by a team of ten dwarves and a lot of wooden beam braces against the side of the house with everyone together.
It took awhile with a lot of sharpshooter cover fire. Then we had to repeat the same thing on the east side to match it and fill up the street with a bunch of crap with volunteers stacking the rubble as high as they could. Then we had to leave a whole squad of volunteers guarding this part of the makeshift wall, with another squad continually stacking it higher and higher while using anything available.
Another 19 goblin scouts killed in crossfire of our next skirmish as we’re trying to get ready to leave wall we’re building here. But it was close calls again with nearly losing another dwarf, and a second dwarf woman with minor wounds. The fact that they can even wound the dwarves with a mage guarding them is proof they are actually tough little bitches when they swarm together. They seem to have a good grasp of teamwork too, which surprised me and makes me think they’ve been planning this for a long time and that goblins aren’t worthless fodder to underestimate. They know how to feint and then have the goblin next to them try to do a sneak attack over the distraction.
I risked the heal spells on both of them.
We received a distress call to go back to 2nd west then after that via runner scouts. The intersection was kept in our control but seven dwarves are dead and another 23 goblins dead after that after we lifted the siege again. Many of those deaths of dwarves occurred while we were still running back to support them and I wish we could have gotten there sooner but there’s so much rubble impeding movement.
We’re lucky we got there in time as they had been pushed back while trying to still not lose everything. Then we helped them move the line back to the most optimal defensive position on the street. Some of the civilian dwarves we have erecting makeshift foxholes but because they street is cobblestone it means they are using furniture, wood, building parts around the cobblestone instead of actually digging, and anything around them and going up in ring walls instead of down into the earth.
“Damn it. They are determined to steal our hard work,” the Lieutenant jeers. He’s stirring up the men again who helped take this street. It even works in getting Gyle mad too, who is usually pretty casual about everything, hearing the Lieutenant.
Is he worried about who gets credit? I just wanted to save the town.
Who cares about that?
I wonder if we should collapse all the streets I briefly wonder. I can’t worry about 1st west, 2nd west, 3rd, and all the way up to 5th west while taking all of those blocks. I have to think not only about what’s ahead but how to keep what I’ve gained.
When I asked Sunghee about it to make sure there aren’t any other options that I haven’t considered, she likes the idea of collapsing the streets though a lot of the dwarves are very skittish, wondering if it’s the ‘right thing to do’. It’s also obvious they are worried about the loss of material wealth and their property.
I don’t see any way around it. And the military hasn’t responded in time yet. If there were one gatehouse to hold they would have done their job but the goblins are already in the middle of the city.
But we’re lucky.
Somehow another option has turned up.
When we get to 5th west Cassius the fire mage is there with his own team. He’s glad to see me surprisingly. After greeting each other briefly we waste no time in getting to work. I can see Cassius is pretty worn out just to get this far. He’d started way across at the other end of the city of 5th west and been trying to fight his way up mostly with very little ground covered.
I have mixed feelings now. It’s amazing and wonderful to have reinforcements but our initial meeting with Cassius wasn’t the most peaceful of terms. He has some rivalry with other mages to the point of not caring if they die sometimes.
And if I let him call the shots I could become expendable.
I should have known it was him because he was almost to the armory when a huge fireball gutted about fifty goblins at once in a massive firestorm that almost took out a couple of houses with it. He is also somehow able to control not having the flames spread to things he doesn’t want…most of the time. It’s not a perfect science with fire magic it seems. He has a few volunteers that try to cover flames going out of control with some kind of enchanted buckets.
You would think he’d have gained more territory considering his awesome magic attack area effect but the down side is he has a cool time before he can launch a massive explosion. Plus the dwarves don’t like him to target houses directly. And on top of that he doesn’t have as much total mana as I do.
Thus, he’s going forward only slowly.
After we reach a defensible perimeter arrangement we briefly we have a quick powwow between my core assistants and his men over a map. While doing so people from both sides are covering the street with arrow fire to keep down the never ending stream of goblin reinforcements that keep continuously pouring through this intersection to get to other parts of the city.
“How bad is it?” I asked him.
“It’s fortunate you helped out when you did. 5th west and 5th east have been their main routes to pulverize and transition skirmishes all throughout the city. Their initially fighting to take the main central road seems to be a ruse to bog us down but they have substantial troops there too,” Cassius’ Lieutenant explains hurriedly.
“Damn. So my theory on this was right. But this does mean once we capture this street the West side can easily fall into our hands,” Sunghee said aloud. Some of the dwarves that don’t know her give her a speculative look like she’s showing off, but my team and the ones who have seen my team in action for awhile already know she’s proven herself well.
“That’s true what you said about being able to hold the west part,” Cassius said.
“This is awful,” Rina echoed after several other dwarves are also moaning.
“Did you fight all the way here?” Cassius inquired with surprise.
“Pretty much,” my lieutenant said.
“Svinn sent us from the main area south of the gate house they took. We’ve been crossing over taking every street we can since the main central street. But we need to be sure there aren’t any big transportation routes they are using that we miss besides through the main gate house in the north and 5th west and east,” I explained.
“My gosh, I did all I could and we barely got here in one piece. I’m amazed you’ve done really well!” Cassius exclaimed.
He’s got new respect for me, which is cool. Rina and Sunghee look proud of me too but I’m still playing it kind of humble and non-challenging since Cassius is supposed to outrank me.
“We think once those areas are battened down, we’ll have a chance to keep the city. But it’s pretty bad on those two other main roads,” his Lieutenant confirms.
“Why those two roads? What’s so special about them?” Sunghee asked before I could. She’s a veteran so she knows there must be a reason.
“That worries me too. I think it’s because the water conduits for the city both go up and down those two roads. If we leave that unchecked they could also cut off the city water supply if they penetrate far enough south ward to where the flow control gatehouses are located,” Gyle answered. I’m surprised he knew that. But he is pretty smart.
“Wow, that’s really bad,” Sunghee said.
“Yeah a city that can’t drink water won’t be able to fight for long,” Rina said right after.
“Now that makes sense. With no water it would be easy to starve out a city like this quickly,” Cassius said.
“And they would do it while making it look like they were sending skirmishes on every street. It’s a good tactic,” Sunghee confirmed.
“But how did they know which cities have the water aqueduct conduits? That isn’t common knowledge right?” Rina asked.
Rina didn’t realize she’d just hit the golden question of the day.
A few dwarves paled on that question. They’re afraid to answer it and Cassius and I both can see it.
“Actually that’s a good question,” Sunghee said.
“Yeah, it implies they know more than they should. Did they have someone working from the inside to help them?” I asked Cassius.
“I don’t know but they shouldn’t know where the water control is or that it goes down the streets that they picked out. I can’t imagine how any dwarves would help goblins against their own. So it’s very weird indeed,” he responded.
“At any rate, we need to take back what’s ours. The time for vengeance is now,” the dwarven Leiutenant for my platoon said with a look of fierce anger. He’s kind of a hothead it seems.
“Why isn’t the military getting here faster? I’ve had a hard time just mobilizing survivors and whatever city guards weren’t killed already,” I said.
Cassius sighed. He’s mellower and calculating holding his emotions in check, unlike the others. “They’ll be here soon. That’s where the golems went before this went down and it was obviously to draw them away from the real fighting. They’re mobilizing, but there was a decoy goblin army sent 10 miles south of here to Gkhuntzyrville. They did a battle there and are already on their way back but it was a tactical fake to draw out the main army for this to be staged. We were also fortunate it seems that the goblin leaders didn’t know about the new secret king’s underground highway yet or we would have already lost.”
“Damn,” Gyle and a few others exclaimed.
“For now just keep people moving, mobilize everyone even children if you have to. We have to also get everyone out of compromised buildings and to safety,” he said.
“Children? That’s not right. The goblins would harm children?” Rina exclaimed.
“Yes they would. They’d enjoy it too,” the lieutenant answered for her.
“Better them to have a chance than to starve after their parents are killed. That’s the reality they face,” Cassius’ lieutenant said.
“I don’t like it but there are already a lot of war orphans in some cities. We’re not being cruel it’s just there isn’t place for everyone. I’m already helping everyone I can,” Cassius said in follow up. Remembering his damaged mana core I believe him. But the others aren’t always sure, except for his own team.
There weren’t any complaints after that.
“Do we have a safe zone in the southwest to put non-combatants without getting them killed? If we put them in the wrong place some goblin could patrol finding them is my worry,” I asked.
“I get it you’re thinking of like a red cross refugee station,” Rina guessed.
The others have no clue what she said, thank goodness.
“We do. There’s a big dwarven chapel to their creator god here,” Gyle said pointing with a dagger. “If I remember the emergency plan right it was to be setup as a tent city for refugees in the case of the city having an emergency?”
“That’s correct. But they should use this street route here that I’m marking on the map to move. The other areas I can’t vouch for and aren’t as safe,” Cassius confirmed. He’s already making some ticks in chalk on the map while the dwarves look at it.
“That route will take ten minutes extra,” someone said.
“But I cleaned out the goblins in these areas myself. It’s the safest route,” he insisted back.
“Is the Lord of the City safe?” Gyle has an intense look of anguish on his face.
I slipped another regeneration spell on Gyle to stabilize him just now. He still looks kind of pale. But hopefully that will help.
Ahh I hadn’t thought about that. To the dwarves their City Lord would be an important piece for their military and civilian morale.
To my surprise the anticipation has a lot of the other dwarves scared stupid too. They are all very quiet waiting for this answer. Now that the question is in the open, they also see very few of them know with certainty if their leadership is intact.
“He is, and so is his family. The War Twins intercepted a squad of goblin assassins that got as far as the Lord’s own inner citadel before being cut to pieces. The War Twins are holding the south part of the city in check and have stopped goblin troop movements from the east flowing to the south but they need us to cover the west and recovery of territory from west to north and east,” Cassius explained.
I’ve heard them mention the War Twins before. It’s almost like a mythical legend except they are real dwarves somehow.
“Got it? You have your orders! Take back 5th west!” Cassius’ lieutenant confirms loudly.
The dwarves all barked some kind of weird confirmation thing in dwarven like militaries do when excited on Earth. Already everyone is filing back into row and column rank formation to go hit things again. The street is wide enough that Cassius’ team is in a rectangular form on the left with my team in the same type of arrangement right next to his on the right with both of our squads taking up the street.
“Let’s go! Move out!” I said.
We make it a competition to do the most good while trying to not take chances. Both of our teams are good but have differences though. Cassius’ team focuses on killing them before they get to the line, while I focus on impenetrable defense. The Cassius team gets cut up a lot easier and more often I notice, without actually justifying much extra in the number of kills. We’re killing goblins too, and not too far behind them.
While I’m healing up Cassius and his team, he lets me have the weapons and ammunition in the armory and guard station. Within five minutes the dwarves have carried out everything possible into the street and are distributing it evenly among them with a mad rush like everything is a hot potato.
He takes a quick moment to come over and speak to me at a certain point about a third way up the street.
“Now I understand your message. There aren’t very many healing magic classes anymore. A lot of them were targeted by demons hundreds of years ago to try to snuff out one of the best defenses against them. It’s lucky you are here,” Cassius said when I healed him.
“It wasn’t a compliment but a warning. You’ll have to be careful of being hunted for many reasons,” he responded smoothly.
I purposefully centered the heal over his mana core. With a bit of sensing I can tell the heal does help stabilize his mana core, which is still sick probably from trying to force mana through when he’s tired repeatedly over time. It probably will be sick this whole battle and I didn’t eliminate the problem yet. But it did cut down on what looks like minute swelling and cracking in his mana core and improve things a little. He will need a lot of treatments however, with his mana core still this sick.
So there are illnesses similar to the body for mages specifically it seems.
But can we get down 5th west in time to relieve Svinn’s group? The fighting keeps getting heavier as we get further.
I tell him our plan and he agrees with it but now we have too many dwarven civilians to manage. We counted 79 civilian dwarves after that all wanting revenge. Hell if there’s any more of them I’ll be afraid of getting mobbed. It’s not good to have a whole lot of angry little men behind you that get into fights easily and don’t take direction. We decide to send twenty each back to 2nd west, and the main street where Svinn is held up while taking the rest with us to help with house to house survivor searches so our main infantry troops can stay in the street to plow goblins.
Going north up 5th west turns out to be a huge battle ground with more goblins than all of the streets put together. In addition to our other problems, the enemy had been seeing we’d been taking street after street and predicted that we’d go to 5th west next. But he hadn’t been able to predict that we’d put two mages and two heavy infantry groups on that same street to push him back, even after they were throwing everything they could down that road. The street is wider than the others too but that’s actually to our disadvantage since the goblins out number us in every skirmish too. The wider street just lets more of them move down it quicker.
We executed another two goblin platoons quickly. Two dwarves almost died, but if I hadn’t been casting runic shielding and heals then it would have been more like twelve or fourteen dead.
Cassius accidentally set the street on fire a couple of times and threw three fireballs in the next hour killing over a hundred goblins all together. Fireballs are dangerous as fuck too, I find out and the heat if almost as harmful to us as it is to the goblins. Whenever he launches one there’s this big whoosh heavy sound in the air that makes your ears fill your head with roaring and a feeling like your hair standing up on end with a heavy intense pressure in the air, then a massive vaccum blast sends a heat wave almost everywhere after the explosion. And even if you are far away you can feel the heat vapor intensely filling all the air even a hundred yards away just like when you open an oven that’s been on full heat for a long time.
At one point I found Sunghee cradling me from the heat with her own body pushing my face into her bust while her head and shoulders are over me when the blast felt too close to us.
“Thanks,” I said gruffly.
“Shun, stay alive. It all depends on you,” she said worriedly.
The buildings here are sturdier, so he isn’t as worried about torching the town even though I’m a bit wary of the small white picket fences in people’s yards are up in flames. Even far away a lot of windows have been virtually instantly disintegrated by the air pressure in Cassius’ fireball explosions.
That guy is pretty reckless. Or desperate. No wait, probably both.
During that time I healed his mana core two more times and life energy tapped two of his soldier lackeys. I also spent the whole time spamming magic missiles, and killing a good thirty by myself. Unlike my magic missiles which has no cool time almost, Cassius’ fireballs have a really long cool time so he can’t just whip them out whenever he wants to. Sunghee gets another twenty killed, managing to gain a bunch of attention from the dwarves by herself in some kind of weird hero worship.
I’m not getting as much ‘glory’ from the dwarves as Cassius, just because he’s a freaking psycho killer. But in my own way I think having saved way more dwarves than he’s killed in goblins more than makes up for it. Sunghee is somehow comforting, checking on my quickly every skirmish; at least she and Rina haven’t forgotten me.
But my Lieutenant is giving antsy and anxious looks at Cassius’ squad. I think he wishes he were in their team. I am trying to resist the feeling of what’s up with my little turncoat as we march on.
Almost every fifty feet we have a major skirmish. I don’t think our sharpshooters ever stopped reloading their crossbows the entire night.
Eventually we push hard enough and not only capture all of 5th west, but we then are able to take the cross street perpendicular to it that spans the whole city all the way to 5th east. Unfortunately we were trapped at Main Street where Svinn’s group is lodged. And we’ve lost count of how many goblins are killed.
But the goblins aren’t giving in, despite knowing they are losing now. They are too prideful and bloodthirsty to admit they are losing ground too. They’ve pulled everything remaining to try to avoid losing being pushed out of the city. I even glanced squads coming at us from the east side of town that looks like where the enemy still had control of the city, which is good since it means we’re making them run desperate.
Finally we are half turned towards the north gatehouse which has been the eye sore for all of our current troubles. I had to put down barrier fence to prevent the goblin snipers from targeting us while at the same warning Cassius to not ricochet his fire attacks off the fence and kill us with friendly fire, which is a danger because the fences are a light almost transparent blue.
I had to reset my protection from normal missiles spell twice in a row after that. Despite putting up the fence to protect me and my men while providing cover for other dwarves to surge up from behind, the goblins have identified me as public enemy number one and the biggest threat to their being able to take this fortress city.
The barrier fence, in conjunction with Sunghee trying to also protect me with my platoon lieutenant isn’t enough when there’s a swarm of about five hundred goblin fighters on this street because its right in front of the gatehouse. Though not all five hundred goblins hold range weapons I bet about eighty of them did and most of them are aiming towards us.
Cassius can’t get up because he’s also being targeted. His men don’t want to risk him being shot at either. They’d risked it before but not with this many snipers.
And we can’t get the dwarves moving up fast enough to cover the right flank position next to me and to help cover the murder hole at the edge of my fence that is a bit too big for us to hold adequately.
“Svinn! Svinn! Svinn!” suddenly comes a chant from behind us.
The man of the hour has arrived. He’s come out of the intersection where this street runs perpendicular to Main street trying to come to support us. I’m surprised he’s still alive, since half of his men have goblin arrows sticking out of a lot of their mail chinks and look ready to die. Some of them look pretty violent and bleeding but not all of them are. It seems if you can get a chance at armor there’s an inner mail vest too.
But they still must be in pain. These are the die hards of the city that know they probably will die anyway but force themselves onward.
I knew Svinn was popular but I’ve still underestimated how much of a war hero he is. The dwarves are chanting his name like he’s a rock star. Men and dwarves all around us are trying to flock to his banner, where he has a flag banner carrier next to him and several other dwarven champions. They are crashing into the goblin line to join us with astonishing speed to try to come up and join me at the front line while I’m trying to keep my men healed and shielded.
“Hold our city!” I hear his snivelly voice. It’s kind of funny when Svinn uses his battle voice which sounds weird. But it works. They seem to recognize it quicker, even though it’s a weird voice. I wonder if he has a gnome grandmother somewhere? They had whiny voices like that.
There are even dwarven fanatics that use themselves as body shields to protect him! That’s seriously fucked up in a way but its true worship. I’ve never seen anything like it. The dwarves in his line of defense are strong enough they are pushing the goblins back even when the goblins are using all their strength to push and compensate for it.
“To me! Take back the gatehouse and cut the enemy off from reinforcements!” I yelled as hard as I could.
Svinn is working his way towards me seeing a chance for us to converge our destruction on goblins at a mutual position.
But that’s weird.
He’s using magic? No…wait it’s not casting magic? It’s some other kind of magic. I didn’t know he could do something like this before but it’s seeping out all over him. His weaponry is glowing a light blue that almost matches my barrier fence only maybe a bit hotter and sparkier.
What is this? It’s strange. Svinn isn’t a magic user, so what’s that magic seeping out of him?
The dwarves recognize it and identify it right away. But what they say makes me queasy.
“We have a dwarven hero! A dwarven hero class has appeared! This signals the rebirth of our people! Now not only the humans and demons have their heroes! We shall be a mighty people once again!” the fanatical lieutenant in my platoon cries out.
“Uh what did he say?” I asked Gyle.
But Gyle is in awe of Svinn right now.
“We have a hero class now man? Isn’t that cool?” he finally said without taking his eyes off Svinn.
So … I get that I’m not the hero. It kind of hurts my pride, but a dwarf is the hero?
OK…that did not sound gay at all from that fanatical lieutenant either. I want to shut him up but it sounds like religiously connotated, which means if I disrespect them I’ll probably be beaten to a pulp.
I don’t get it.
The dwarves are getting into a frenzy even more now with the spread of the words of a dwarven hero re-emerging. There must be some special meaning to it or they wouldn’t be this worked up.
But to the dwarves for some reason it’s a big deal that all of Svinn’s armor and weaponry are glowing light blue with some sort of weird white flames that only burn goblins.
Wait, if I get too close will that burn me too since I have demon DNA in me? Um, this isn’t good. I can’t cheat holy power with deception either since it seems that the holy flames burning goblins are sort of passively controlled and not consciously done.
Gulp…somehow I have to avoid Svinn from meeting me head on.
But I’ll have to ask Sunghee and Gyle about it later. Gyle almost got shot for staring at it and looks like he’s seen a ghost.
Throughout the night I keep hearing the dwarves all over the city chanting Svinn’s name. What does it mean? They aren’t screaming the City Lord’s name, nor the General of the Southern Army, nor the Dwarven King or Prince’s names, but the dwarven hero’s name.
Within another hour the dwarves have re-energized themselves and had a renewed fury I’ve never seen before. We managed to push the goblins back out of the gatehouse. Now the wall and city are secure from the outside, but it also means we have to pure the east side of the city which was totally cut off, being entirely filled with goblins that the dwarven military feel will have an easier time of starving them out.
Supposedly we won. But there’s a whole barricaded section on the east still to take. The generals want the men to rest up, particularly Cassius, Svinn, and I. Conveniently I disappeared before Svinn could meet us by going out of the main area where the troops and civilians are together. It’s been hard work and they have a lot of barricades up. Each barricade is now littered with tons of soldiers filling the city, now that they have a proper organized response.
Goblin bodies are everywhere too.
Tomorrow we have not just worry about that east side, but there’s a whole army of goblins still outside that are still probably wrecking farms and orchards outside on the surface. That has to be dealt with so that the city isn’t starved out. Then trade ways will have to be reconnected and roads cleared in order to keep the city prosperous. It will probably be awhile before the roads can be done since they’ll have to have a whole army for that. They also don’t want to start on that until the east side of the city is retaken.
To be fair there are other gates on the south and west side of the city that branch out to other parts of the dwarven kingdom that are still open. It seems like that’s how they got their troop reinforcements in though we wish they’d gotten here sooner.
Gyle is gone somewhere probably with the other dwarven people doing some kind of renewal celebration thing. Some dwarven officer gives me a chit for credit of a week’s worth of inn rooms and meals.
Rina and Sunghee are too tired to talk.
And we didn’t have any more chances for ogre bounties which sort of is disappointing. I did cache in on and get my 3 gold back when I gave the head to a military official, who looks at me with wide eyes. Even dwarves fear ogres quite a bit still, despite actively working to exterminate them at every chance.
For trying to help heal his mana core Cassius knows he will need repeated treatments. He gives me a sack of silver pieces. “Make sure you visit me later for follow up treatment,” he whispered.
When I later deposited it in the inventory box, I can see its 10 gold easy.
That’s a lot. Seriously a lot. That’s too much work for a lousy small handful of gold. But maybe for him, he can earn that much easily.
So just from trying to save the city here, I made 13 gold, counting the ogre head with it. And I didn’t have to loot and steal from civilians so I won’t feel guilty about it, like some common mercenary thug.
I still have to hide from Svinn who tried to meet with me a few times but every time I see him coming my way I hide.
Will a dwarven hero be able to tell if demons are close? I have to figure this out fast.
Do all races have a hero? Or just the dwarves get one this time?
I need to ask Fox about this.
My money bag = 137 gold 35 silver 17 copper+ 13 gold = 150 gold 35 silver 17 copper