Final Preparations

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Uthon frowned as, with his escort stepping close all around him, he came around a corner to find Lord Blacklock laboring with a shovel as he and several powerful Lupus were working together to dig a trench.

"What manner of madness is this?" the captain of his guard muttered in a low voice, obviously confused by Blacklock's behavior.  "The Master of the Hunt digging holes?"

"Not holes, captain," Uthon quickly interjected as, in that moment, he realized what the powerful Lupus leader was attempting to do.  

"A siege trench.  Something that'll slow down a heavy, ponderous piece of seige equipment."  The Lupus must've learnt something from a scout, something about what was about to attack them.  He looked over at the captain.

"And we'll be helping him.  Find us shovels.  Now!"

Seeing the powerful Master of the Order of Grim working side by side with his mortal enemy, the Master of the Hunt, the other Fisted manning the walls also came to the realization that whatever the news was, it was important enough to bring the two together to work on a common cause.  And that was enough to bring them in droves to help, each armed with a shovel or a mattock.  They quickly took up positions around the two leaders and, with some direction given by Blacklock, began to hack at the frozen ground.

With the combined efforts of several dozen powerful Fisted and human warriors turned to the task, a long and fairly deep trench that ran along the front of one of the primary defense walls quickly appeared.  Not satisfied with just one trench, Blacklock quickly directed his makeshift work force to the other side to dig another one there.

They had just about completed the second trench when a lookout on the wall shouted:

"I see dust!" the Pantor soldier cried.  When all eyes swung onto him, he pointed towards the distant hills.

Standing some distance away, Kelly glanced at the Pantor and saw his pointing finger.  Frowning, he looked in the indicated direction and saw the dust rising in the cold air.  Taking into consideration the current wintry conditions, to make such a cloud would take a massive force.  A force like the Primiad horde.  Lifting his binoculars quickly to his eyes, it didn't take the elvish officer long to confirm his suspicions.

"It's the Primiad," he grimly announced.  "They've finished moving through the barrier hills and are advancing on our fortification."

Kelly frowned and let the binoculars drop from his eyes

The cloud of dust approaching from the hills was now clearly visible as it drew closer.  If he were any judge of distance and speed, he gave the Primiad perhaps an hour before they were on them.

"Then things get interesting," he grimly muttered.

Van Joss glanced to his right and watched the massive beasts leading the horde towards the alliance fortifications for a moment, the battered knot of Moonrunners keeping pace maybe a kilometre off their flank.  With the ground pretty much flat between the hills and the heart of the plain where the fort was built, the gargantuan creatures were making good time, their tree-trunk legs sending impact shivers through the ground underfoot with each step.

"We just don't have the energy to outrun them," Darkfyre growled, the Moonrunner captain pacing the limping human on his right. "I only hope my messenger has reached the fort already. Or the defenders won't have time enough to prepare for the assault led by those giant monsters."

Van Joss didn't reply, choosing to thoughtfully frown instead.

Even if their runner had gotten to the fort ahead of the horde, there was no guarantee the defenders would understand the rather cryptic report they had sent with him. Or how to modify their defenses to counter the devastating power of those wall-crushing beasts. 'What we need is another delay,' he mused, his thoughts generating possibility after possibility and just as quickly discarding each one. ' Something that will slow the horde down just enough to buy a bit more time ...'

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