We were slowly napping as we rested as best we could. But it’s high stress to rest before an attack when you aren’t sure what time it will hit and because of it I keep waking up, in half panic at the slightest noise. And you have to rest after you make your other preparations because you can’t just stay up for 24 hours straight right before a fight without having your energy crash. Sometimes it’s just the wood in the flooring creaking from the expansion of pressure changes caused by the temperatures under the stone tiles.
So, it was ending up as a sleepless forced rest; the kind of sleep where you feel like you’re just still tired and tossing and turning half the time. We knew at any minute all hell was about to break lose. That creates a lot of stress because even though I can stand up to any kind of evil, I can’t really do it while I’m dead tired, or hungry. And no matter how strong you are, anybody can be afraid of something sneaking up on you in the dark when you are vulnerable.
Rina was hiding with the dwarven women and children, while Asakura was next to me. I didn’t want Rina involved in this since she’s so fragile and it’s not a place for her to be able to even survive in, so that’s where she was sent deep into a secret hidden mine shaft. The other dwarven men and even about half the women that didn’t have small kids to care for were all armored and ready for war.
At some point the goblins would retaliate was ever present in our minds. We’ve been here for hours, waiting patiently sure that Svinn and the others are right. Our plan and strategy is in place, but we can’t do anything more until the goblins attack.
“This is also much scarier than a dungeon run because the sides are flipped and it’s almost like we’re defending a dungeon and the goblins are the adventurer’s. Defense is harder than offense too and have other disadvantages,” Asakura said to me.
“Huh?” I was confused but then realized she was right.
“Its possible right?” she prodded me again after I mulled over it for a bit.
“You are right,” I said. I gave her a pat on the back lightly which made her smile. I guess she just wanted to be acknowledged. Maybe the pheromones are making her anxious to prove herself to me?
To get ready of course I’d had to ‘feed’ Asakura for as much as I could between resting and naps but that doses the...person in question with a lot of pheromones and that can affect their behavior for several hours afterwards. Sometimes they’ll be too edgy like they had a lot of sugar or be blinded to negative things going on around them because I’m next to them or in this case she’s trying really hard to be like my number one, even though she’s already proven that a lot.
Wow this power is really overkill. There’s nothing like it. I literally have total control over almost all of them except Fox and they’d do anything for me. It’s completely seductive and I’m actually terrified I’ll misuse it because the power itself keeps throwing advantages at me all the time that are hard…impossible to ignore.
In Asakura’s case, she’s gotten greedy about it too and even being aggressive in proving herself, but in this case it does help in making sure the aggressive side of her is going to be strong in preparation for tonight. I’ve also been napping a lot on a makeshift pillow and blanket spread over the floor, while Asakura is the one standing guard over me and doing a lot of the night watch. If she gets fatigued I can partially dose her with more pheromone later, but its kind of a fake out in terms of restoring fatigue. Her mind thinks she’s not fatigued but it could actually be fatigued still hypothetically speaking and so I’ll have to keep an eye on that.
I have tried to give her some rest too, but this situation is just bad for both of us. For right now, we’ve been cowering in the small dwarven temple’s tower, watching the keep around us.
Don’t ask me why but for some reason shrines, churches, and temples have some kind of natural masking aura against mana tracking. At least that’s the information we received from Svinn and Fror, and they even showed it to us to prove it.
Is that proof that guardian spirits or deities of different races exist? I can’t help but get curious about the possibilities. If so, is there one or several since there are many types of demi-humans and races and is each exclusive to a certain demi-human group? So far it seems each demi-human has its own guardian spirit or deity too, but I’m not sure on that. Maybe they just have different names and haven’t figure out it’s the same one.
I don’t have time to worry about that now, and I change the current track of my thinking. Sometimes when you notice more detail than other people you want to go off on tangents and have to focus on just the main things.
Those and other thoughts keep going through me where we’ve been napping and waiting while watching for the goblin shaman’s assassination squad to show up. There’s a tapestry on each of the tower walls’ that myself and a whole bunch of other dwarves have holed up in to overlook the keep below us. It’s a good place since it has good elevation and is somewhat covered so that others would have to have super human eyes to catch us peaking out of the crack between the tapestry and the building window sill.
I woke up three times to get a drink and check on things, plus just waking up from jumping the gun. We have already waited out at least half the night. And the whole town is deathly quiet, because everyone knows what’s about to happen.
I could have sworn it was going to happen wasn’t it?
“Why is this taking so long? Shouldn’t they have come yet?” I accidentally said aloud.
“Its psychological warfare,” Asakura said, while comforting me from behind with her neck in the crook my shoulder and collarbone, pushing her warmth up into me from behind. “They know we are expecting an attack. And they know we think its tonight. So they’ll try to purposefully wait as long as they can to get our nerves all tight and let fear sink into the weak while expending energy prematurely. It kind of works on people that haven’t been in a situation like this before, but don’t worry. I got your back.”
We then waited some more hoping to ambush the ambushers.
I took another restless nap.
“Are they not going to come?” I asked Asakura asked while watching the window. She has rings around her eyes on her otherwise flawless skin from staying up half the night. When it gets stressful like this picking her mind is one of my options to still the terror of the dark for both of us.
“I think they’ll come. You do too, but you’re getting antsy,” came back the reply.
About an hour later all hell broke loose.
We heard a massive explosion, and suddenly the whole dwarven keep yard is lit up like a Christmas tree…that’s on fire with flames so hot they aren’t just the normal yellow and red flame color, but some blue and some other color from metal chemistry reactions also taking place.
“Goblins aren’t supposed to be this smart,” Asakura said gritting her teeth in anger.
“Wow they must have saved up a lot of resources for this,” Svinn said in a weird accent like he normally talks.
The way dwarves talk seems almost like a german accent for some reason, but who knows why. I am also fairly certain that dwarven is NOT german. It’s probable though, that german accents just seem to resemble the closest thing from our world to their culture?
We’re all up and armed peering out the window with the dwarves.
The whole keep is surrounded by a wall of eerie sparking flames on the land surrounding it. The heat wave from it is hitting us full force and sending huge spark clouds up the cavern’s ‘sky’ while we see it. It resembles a huge firestorm that is about to hit the keep in appearance, but it somehow prevented from doing so.
“They probably did that for fear and to try to break them psychologically speaking,” Asakura stated in a monotone voice.
“Well it’s probably working,” I reasoned, seeing how the dwarves are reacting.
“Oh my freaking hell, who knew they had that much power,” Svinn cried out again.
“How can they do that? Aren’t those advanced magic spells?” Asakura asked me.
“Hmm probably, I’m sure a beginner wouldn’t be able to throw around a fireball with a blast radius like that and they made a lot of blood sacrifices to do that I’d guess,” I said.
Svinn also muttered, “yep, blood sacrifices,” at almost the same time I said it.
The two dwarven mages had set up decoys while we’d put most the dwarven townspeople in the mines. It was the right decision because now four other houses are instantly aflame with the central plaza area crawling with goblin shamans and their bodyguards.
“How’d they get in so fast?!” Asakura cried out.
“Remember that door of twilight spell we saw earlier?” I said.
Asakura swore, remembering it and the big power goblin spellcaster that had summoned that door. He was definitely involved in this somehow.
“Well let’s do this; we need to hit them back. How dare those fuckers smite my town?!” Svinn cried out in both anguish and rage. His hands were clutching his weapons so tightly I bet he would end up with blisters before he’d even enter the fighting.
“Keep your cool. Remember they are hunting us, not the buildings. Anger clouds judgement,” I reminded him.
“I know that. But when it’s personal and your hometown you can’t help but be mad,” he raged back.
We, and a whole bunch of other dwarves began running down the stairs as fast as we could into the dwarven temple area. Sure enough, already it’s a battle ground with the shrine dwarves armed and fighting off goblins that are trying to get in.
Svinn charges forward almost before we can stop him because he’s filled with such ambition to kill the most. His axe is already grinding through a massive flood of rage, into biting into goblins that are currently rushing in at us with all of their stamina poured out. He’s smashing them in fury but threatening to be pulled under, until Asakura hisses violently and starts also striking at them as hard as she can in fury to keep him from being surrounded. We’re just trying to keep up with the dwarven heavy hitter. He’s actually pretty good. He can move fast while still using a lot of force and accuracy to his swings.
He’d be a dangerous opponent.
“Shun, Fror says to make sure you watch your kill rate with these. If they swarm you, its game over particularly for your lady friend,” Svinn cried out smiting them violently. The goblin gore is covering the walls.
“We have to stop them from lighting this building on fire. Get outside fast!” I cried out.
“Isn’t that suicide?” Asakura gasped.
“Being trapped in a burning building is!” I countered.
I’m also releasing my dwarven warhammer on goblin heads to relieve them of a terrible life.
“I smell smoke!” Asakura cried out.
“Oh shit! It’s already started! Find a window!” Svinn cried out. Even as we speak, there are large sheets of oily black smoke sheets that are drifting up outside the windows, but the heat hasn’t hit us from the lower levels of this building yet, for which we’re lucky. At least the deadly heat anyway, we’re already sweating like we’re in a furnace but I know this isn’t the full bulk of the heat yet to come.
We both start retreating up towards the highest point but it’s already too late. In a matter of less than a minute, the building we’re in has become at that point where you have turned an oven on but it’s not quite at 400 degrees when you are about to cook…pot roast with wavy air like you’d see walking in a desert. But I don’t want to be a goblin pot roast either, and both types of adversity are trying to get to us first.
“Quick up the stairs, drop out the windows and fight in the courtyard!” Svinn said to the other dwarves while we covered them. This part is to be expected. As long as someone is covering the dwarves from goblin swarming they can get out while we buy them time. This part was also what we’d discussed in planning.
We’re choking on the smoke less than a minute later while we’re fighting goblins. Even the goblins are trying to pull back, but killed by their own people for cowardice while the whole dwarven building is filling with smoke and getting hard to see in.
There it was. That’s the signal for the goblins to get out, we see as their officers are hollering that the building is now coated in flames. By figuring out to watch for it, it’s our signal to get out before we’re hit by a blast too. They also try to go for the windows and half of them end up trampling each other. Others are getting burned already while we’re retreating towards the cellar, which would be the most naturally cool place in the building. We also even see some of the goblins fall out of the windows into the flames with the most awful death screams imaginable and others hurling to their death from falling out from positions that are too high up without safety lines to drop down from.
Before now the smoke hadn’t gotten to us, but it’s rapidly starting to fill the area and makes it hard to see. We’re coughing a lot now and it’s getting painful to even breathe. In less than a minute we’ll be completely blind, and that’s terrifying.
“Let’s go! Asakura! Svinn! To me now, while you can still see me!” I cried out.
We’re all coughing shit out like crazy already and I can hardly believe this has all progressed so quickly.
I’ve made the decision for us to leave at the last possible second to try to get rid of as many goblins as we can. Both Asakura and Svinn’s weapons have more gore on them than mine do however. We know if we don’t take them out under our terms there will be more to swarm once we’re at our next checkpoint.
With Asakura on my back, and grabbing Svinn by the arm I cast the dimension door.
We’re now outside the building and begin fighting almost immediately trying recover from a massive vertigo topsy turvy feeling and brief nausea. I barely have enough time to get my stomach to not lose my lunch as I get my blade up in time to face more goblins. Sure enough there is a large force of goblins both inside the town and outside the walls, as part of this maneuver.
Other dwarves are doing their best to hang on but this is a bad situation. Most of them have already gotten out and we bought them the time to do so. It’s a successful mission if you consider how many of them were able to escape thanks to us, even though we’re falling back before the enemy.
“Whoever this goblin shaman is, he’s pretty good and knows strategy too,” Asakura grunted while splattering several goblins in a row one after another. Her fast killing speed, matched with my deflecting of flanking attacks from other goblins, create a way for us to move forward slowly. And we also have Svinn acting like our spear point.
“They are still trying to find the main shamans and there’s so many of them to have to search through,” Svinn said. This whole time he’s been using two way message spell work with the magic tracker dwarf mage while we try to keep up with him. Some of the shrine dwarves in armor have joined him and are now acting as his guards while they try to create a position for the dwarves to rally under.
I really should ask the dwarves to share this distance message system enchant. It looks like a really useful spell. I wonder if I can get hold of it somehow later.
To this point so much destructive magic fire is in place that the dwarves have no rally point. But they are still up and fighting…
“Have they found their leaders yet? Are they with the shamans or separate? Do we have one target or two? How could they be hiding still after setting everything ablaze?” I said in frustration.
“I don’t know yet,” Svinn said hoarsely.
“We better find out if we’re going to get anywhere,” Asakura said.
We’re still working our way forward, and I haven’t had to renew the runic shielding on either of them yet. But that’s unfortunately the only thing good that’s happening right now. The goblins have the offensive still, and that’s so nerve wracking that I think all of us are grinding our teeth right now.
“He says they are working on it,” Svinn conveys the reply after he rechecks with them on our questions for more updated news.
“There! There’s one of them!” Asakura cried out.
But it’s not a good thing.
The goblin shaman and the others with him have just finished a massive spell. It’s some kind of mid rank shaman covered in bloody magic glyphs drawn onto and covering his body and even cut into his own skin with a whole team of assistants. Together they’ve sacrificed a youthful goblin at the end of his death screams after peeling back the skin over his ribcage and ripping it open to cut out his heart, which they’ve started to eat with it still pulsing in some kind of psychotic ritual. And just as the spell has completed they summon a huge fireball which is…resting in the now dead goblin’s chest cavity with an eerie ruby red flame and rapidly burning all of his flesh.
“An equippable fireball from sacrifice? That’s new,” Asakura muttered.
Somehow the lead shaman is able to pick up and equip the summoned ball of flickering hellfire which he then holds above his head and screams something in goblin. And then just like that he’s throwing the massive fireball directly at us.
We’re lucky there is some distance though and it isn’t as fast as a normal attack spell when sailing through the air but it’s still a deadly threat.
“Oh shit!Dodge!” Svinn cried out, diving for cover.
“So that’s how they are doing it?” Asakura cried out at nearly the same time. She’s also diving for cover in the opposite direction and everyone is moving helter skelter to get out of the blast radius zone. I managed to stay with Asakura and also go for cover partly because she’d thrown me like a rag doll into the cover position she was going into at the same time, but I doubt I’d have make it in time without demon familiar strength. At the same time she’d been trying to throw me, I ended up using telekinesis at the last second to boost my jump. The explosion roars so loudly that my ears are pinging and I can’t hear well.
I did have to reinforce the shielding on her and Svinn immediately after both shields had totally collapsed.I’m dazed and lying flat on the ground and smell like a campfire looking straight up. I think the runic shielding and energy resistance spell stacked together are what have saved us. But it wasn’t quite up to the strength of the incoming attack. It takes me a minute to realize Asakura is shaking me violently to get me up. But because of the explosion I can’t hear a thing she says with all the ringing in my ears. After trying to tap my head and ears they are still ringing and buzzing.
Ahh, the runic shielding is completely gone on both of us actually but Asakura has taken less damage than I have, having collapsed nearby and immediately under me and my body aches like crazy. The ground around us has a circle with us in it that is only slightly singed, where outside of the circle we’re in has become somewhat molten and bubbly.
This is probably the hardest a spell has hit me yet so I can’t hear worth shit anymore. I’m just praying that the hit to my head isn’tpermanent on my hearing and this weird buzzing.
“***** **** *** ***** ***** ****,” Asakura noted, seeing it; I can’t tell what she said because of the ringing and bad sea of dizziness, but guess it’s about the molten ground because of the way she’s pointing at it.
Small heal, quickly done on my head. It doesn’t help much yet.
“***** **** ************** ******** ** *” Svinn said. I can see his mouth moving but nothing else as he’s crying out for support with tear filled eyes. He’s gesturing for us…to get up I think but I can’t make it out.
Asakura says something back shaking her head while I’m trying to not fall over from dizziness,” ***** *** *** ********* *********** *** * *****.”
I quickly recast the a couple of spam heals on both her and myself but Svinn doesn’t need them yet. Then after that, I started recasting it on Svinn and the other dwarves which are trying to buy us time to get up. I splashed some quick heals into my ears again, but it will probably take some time for the shock to leave me.
How long as I down? That was a powerful fireball! I still feel all wobbly inside like spilled jell-o.
Asakura is screaming something at me but I still can’t hear what she’s saying and while I’m still unsteady on my feet and nearly falling over. She then pulls me roughly and points at the goblin shamans which are cackling with glee and looking triumphant as they boast and shout at us.
Holy flying farms…they have a whole team of goblins lined up eagerly to be blood sacrifice suicide bombers about 50 meters from us but between us is a lot of burning ground that we can’t wade through and there’s also a lot of goblin skirmishers too. How the hell do their ‘suicide bombers’ get so eager for that? Maybe they used some kind of fearlessness spell on them as a group first and then promised them the ten virgins concept? They are already trying to get the next sacrifice ready. The goblins standing in line to go under the knife of evil are jeering at us while flipping us off, despite the distance between us.
Super duper crap.
Oh my hell…what have I gotten myself into?!
This must be an unnaturally high concentration of goblin shamans. And they are all eager to fight to the death for some reason. They are already trying to get their next fireball ready.
Elsewhere around us I can feel small pings of mana echo and realize there are probably about ten other teams of goblins all doing the same thing. That’s a lot of goblins and they’ve really put a lot of numbers into this battle for such a small town…blood sacrifice to the god of the goblins to summon hellfire fireballs that explode when throwing them.
I see a flash and then a second one right after that and realize those were fireball bombs just like the one that just hit us with another small puddle sea of flames washing out areas a dozen meters to our right where dwarves had just fled from. There is no mistaking the awful explosions that light up the underground cavern with blinding light like the sun at midday for a brief three seconds, except I can’t hear it explode anymore because my hearing is completely gone. There’s also a heavy light effect of the dark being sharper when the light from the explosions fade because of how it tries to overload the retinas.
Huge clouds of ash and spark are all over the place while we cough.
Asakura grabs my arm again and this time I start spamming runic shielding on all the dwarves near us as quick as I can to try to save as many of them as possible hoping for being able to make a big enough impact on the ones outside my immediate team. If there’s any chance of getting out of it, this is the way. I also risked putting up the fire resistance buff on each of them, including ourselves.
The runic shielding is the difference! As soon as it’s splashed on them, they are getting more courageous and feeling a better willpower to fight! It makes us all excited. It’s working! The dwarves aren’t winning yet, but we now have a chance to live while we are forming a resistance picking up dwarven survivors from among the dead as we roam kill; not staying in the same place. We have to roam to avoid goblin suicide bomber attacks, while Svinn directs where we leapfrog to since he’s good at reading enemy troop movements and attacks from many years as a veteran. We have to trust that the other two dwarven mages directing him from the air or elsewhere know what they are doing also, which helps his own skill even more. It’s actually a pretty good strategy. Because we have a mana sensor we can do it. Perhaps the sensor is picking up which fireballs are biggest and therefore the most ready to throw?
The dwarves are mad as hell for their small keep being squashed like an anthill. As we run we can hear dwarves cry out in grief when they see the dead dwarves that are their kin around us. There are more than a few bodies and this was a small settlement to begin with. That gives me a bad feeling. We have to end this quickly before all of them are dead. Others are crying out in rage so full of hate and revenge that they almost pass out from their blood pressure going up so quickly.
I tossed out heals as fast as I could on some of the burned dwarves but I have to stay fighting myself.
Because these are the shaman’s assistants they aren’t the stone cold shock troops of the goblin kingdom and don’t fight quite as well. But they can still be a challenge. I almost got bit by a few of them that somehow punched holes in my runic shielding a few times. When a hole is punched in the rest of the shielding is often still intact because I’ve reached a certain skill level, but they can try to reach in with their weapons through the holes the same way a burglar would use a broken window to reach into for a doorknob.
I renewed the shielding while having two or three goblins coming at me. We keep pushing them back, right when they are about ready to overcome us with numbers. But sometimes it’s because of Asakura’s intervention.
Right now she and Svinn are what are keeping us alive. They’ve become our rallying point while I’ve put all my other buffs on them.
I catch out of the corner of my eye that something has happened and I have a blue screen popup in the lower right corner of my vision, but because we’re about to lose the dwarven town I can’t even peak at it right now. Nor do I have Sunghee with me to interpet it.
There are about thirteen dwarves with us that are survivors while the non-fighters are still hiding in the mines. It’s not good. That means a lot of dwarves have died. The enemy also brought tons more firepower than I’d ever imagined possible.
We managed to then storm one of the shamans fireball summoning groups after about an fifteen minutes of pure evading and defensive spell work to keep shielding on a small group of dwarves rallying around me.
The shaman that we meant to slay isn’t too shabby though and then hit us with a cast of some kind of black tentacle goo that shot out from his stuff hitting two of the dwarves that were protecting Svinn and they are instantly entangled and pinned down but not dead thankfully. They fall to the ground are being choked alive while I renew their runic shielding. The shielding doesn’t immediately block the spell because the spell is so awful and offensive that it melts through their shielding like butter while I’m trying to keep it up.
I have to spam shielding spells like crazy on both of them and lose ten percent of my mana just supporting these two, to keep them alive. Is it worth the mana loss? I am tempted to let them die just to save myself. If I lose all my mana its game over anyway right? But they are his bodyguards and he’s protecting us, I realize it was a wrong choice to follow that temptation.
I spam the runic shielding as it’s eaten through some more while the goblin tries to replicate the same spell on Asakura. I somehow am able to pull off something new this time. I put another runic shielding spell in front of Asakura’s existing shielding, which I haven’t done before.
Holy crap. This is effective. There’s also some kind of damage absorption bonus?! It was almost a surprise to me too because I did it by accident.
The goblin shaman looks at me in complete confusion and shock as his offensive spell is eaten by my shield and dies while still standing. He’s noticed I’ve done something weird too and looks at me like I just cheated. He’s screaming something at me so hard; spit is running down his chin in some kind of tourette’s syndrome fits.
While that’s happening his assistants die quickly under the others’ blades. He accidentally sacrificed more than one at once in his fever for vengeance. Because of the madness of just how goblins are and their weird fearless spell some of them have euphoric looks on their faces in their fanaticism, but others are scared and piss themselves while going under the knife.
But that was a mistake for him to think he could turn his back on us. He thought if he did so only for a few seconds he could get a fireball going before we reached him.
He was wrong.
Asakura takes the finishing blow chopping the shaman’s head off cleanly after we punctured through some kind of stone armor spell that he’d used to create shielding for himself. The other shamans were pathetically weak and couldn’t cast it but he was powerful enough to at least get it on himself.
His eyes alight with red hot fire coals even while Asakura is holding his head. He’s trying to talk still?!
“What the fudge?!” Asakura is bewildered while holding it aloft.
Even Svinn is taken back and he’s used to this world.
“You can’t stop us. We have Nirenfuhrer, the great goblin. He can even wake the dead to fight for him!” he says without any pain and with staring eyes.
“Somehow he’s still conscious even with his head detached?! It also seems like he doesn’t care much that his own head has been detached, which is impossible,” I reasoned out loud.
“Some kind of dark curse,” Svinn noted.
“Did you recognize that name? or is it a title?” I asked Svinn.
He doesn’t answer back right away.
Asakura shivers like she’s picked up a bag full of earwigs. She throws the head onto the ground like it’s writhing with worms or cockroaches. I can’t blame her. I’d probably have reacted the same way. Dead people’s heads shouldn’t be able to talk after all.
“Svinn? I think that head fourth shaman guy is a necromancer that or they think they have a goblin version savior of some kind,” I said with an awful feeling in my gut.
“And with all the bodies here, he’d just have more fun,” Asakura guessed out loud.