Fifteen

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“Get her out of here!” Jürgen shouted just as the goblins charged towards us.  The deafening sounds of metal upon metal filled the air and behind us, guards now spilled out from the keep, ignoring Edgard’s commands to raise the drawbridge and stay inside.  

It was a strange order, and one that made me turn to look at Edgard as behind me, Thorin wielded his axe with deadly precision, cutting down two goblins in one stroke.  Edgard unwound the chains from around his neck, breathing hard as he  looked up towards the goblins, none of whom charged him at all.  They seemed to keep their distance away from him, even though they attacked the men around him with such force that sent some of the men staggering backwards.  

Seeing how the goblins kept away from Edgard sent a feeling of dread to creep up my spine.  Something didn’t seem right, I thought as I found myself backing up against a rushing goblin, blocking the blows from his curved sword with my own.  This one was too strong for me, each blow weakening my resolve as he began to gain the advantage over me.  But before I could raise my sword to attack at the first sign of an opening, Thorin spun around and struck the goblin in the head with his axe.  

Our eyes met for a brief moment.  There was so much I wanted to say to him, but there was never a good time to do so.  And even now, he turned away from me in response to the shrieks of an approaching goblin.  

Edgard began to shout behind me in a language that was neither that of men or dwarves.  I watched the goblins’ ears almost prick in attention as they paused to listen to him.  Jürgen and Bernd turned to stare at him, horror written upon their faces.

“You’re with them?”   Jürgen’s voice wavered as the shock settled, the memory Tadd and Jerrel, and those of his wife and child coming back to me in a flash.  I saw it on Bernd’s face, too.

“Who do you think sent those goblins to attack the caravans on Old Forest Road?  Coming back from Dunland, you were all laden with more treasures than anyone could imagine,” Edgard sneered.   “But don’t blame me.  I only follow orders.”

He barked a few words to the goblins before turning around and rushing towards the keep.  The goblins strengthened their attack on us and this time, I knew I was no match for them at all for the wound on my leg began to throb, the bandage that Inge had wrapped around it loosening from around my thigh.  

Once again, I heard Jürgen shout to Bernd to get me inside the keep and away from the courtyard.  I turned to run towards the keep, but a goblin suddenly appeared in front of me, swinging a long sword in an arc across my torso.  I screamed as it sliced through my tunic, thinking only that it was the end of me.  I saw the flash of Thorin’s necklace fly in the air, landing on the cobblestones away from me as the sword left my hand as well.

But Bernd rushed towards me just in time, cutting down the goblin before he could attack me again and grabbing my hand as we ran towards the keep.  We could hear the gears raising the drawbridge in the distance and I ran as fast as my legs could take me.  Thorin picked up his dwarven sword and ran behind us, clearing the bridge just before it began to rise up.  

Deep in the town, the bells began to ring again, but this time, it was joined by the sound of two different horn sounds.  I recognized one of the horns as that of Fennhill’s soldiers, but did not recognize the other one.  

“Dwalin has brought the dwarves,” Thorin said, a faint smile gracing his face as he continued his attack on two goblins who had managed to jump over the bridge just before it shut completely.   

Bernd disappeared into the courtyard which led straight into Lialam’s residence.  The keep had been built by Lialam himself, protected by high walls even when it was already within a town with its own walls.  Before tonight I had no idea why, but now I did and a deep rage began to rise up from my belly.  

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