Part 234: Pozzo: Update 8
UPDATE 8: THE ASSAULT OF CREMATION: JOSEPHWONGKS FIKODEGGUT, FARMER
I had been brewing a barrel of booze when Deki came running in shouting about the human army's arrival. I went rushing out into the halls to try and find out what was going on. There I saw Bobzzo rushing towards me. I tried to speak to him but he was muttering, and couldn't hear me or didn't listen. "..bloody idiots, wanking around at a time like this! Never seen such a poor show in all my life! Those blighters, do I have to do everything myself around here, what? Worse than the Assaults of Steam, and that was a pack of loony elves!..." and so he continued down the hall. I decided to follow him and try and work out what was going on. Bobzzo was walking to the Bonehoard, and he crossed right over to where it ran up against the wall of the gatehouse. As he walked over there, still muttering, he slung his pick off his shoulders and carved out a ramp out of the stone of the mountain on the gatehouse wall. Then he grabbed the triangular slab of rock he had just carved off, and with an ease and agility I had not expected, flipped it upside down, jammed it against the wall next to where he had just carved the ramp, creating another ramp. Almost immediately three blubbering and frostbitten dwarves came running and sliding down the ramp and rushed past us back in to the fort.
Kilohurtz was crying out "Oh Litast I'm hungry, you bastards! How long were you going to keep me up there?!" and as she walked past Bobzzo he nearly clobbered her with his pick but I grabbed his arm to stop him. "What is going on, sir?" I asked, but Bobzzo was already away, back towards our new defensive lines. "Is MACHINE Y linked up yet, Joe? Tell me it is, fellow!"
"I don't know sir, I've been brewing drinks" I replied. Without slowing his brisk pace Bobzzo turned to me and cried "Well what the devil have you been doing that for, you bloody loon?! We've got 834 barrels of the stuff! Plus whatever's sitting out there on the glacier on the backs of those dead elves!"
"I know sir, but I never feel safe about the amount of booze around here, ever since the winter of 139"
"Well no more!" he cried and walked down the access passage to the battery which he had mined out to help with lever linkages. "We'll have to close that!" He cried out to noone in particular. Before I followed him into the battery I looked at our defenses. MACHINE X had a massive hole in the centre.
"By jingo, what lad? I'm a busy man!" Bobzzo turned to me and angrily awaited what I had to say.
"Well, MACHINE X seems to have quite a massive hole in it"
"Oh! Right. Yes, well, lets not worry about that shall we? Had something of a minor mishap..."
"...I'll have someone fill it up before they get here, don't worry!" Bobzzo turned into the battery to find notwhoyouknowiam was already standing ready by one of the ballistae. "Tip top show old chap! Have a field promotion! You're now Captain of the Battery!"
"...But, perhaps you might do a bit better if you had some help?"
"Right you are squire!" said the suspicious looking animal trainer, and went off to fetch other dwarves.
"He's a suspect little bugger, isn't he?" said Bobzzo. Right then the Countess Cyster stormed into the room.
"Mr. Bobzzo! I know you might be busy but I am the countess and I demand to be seen!"
"What is it, your grace?" The countess looked surprised at the ease with which she had got his attention - he had been pointedly ignoring her attempts to talk to him for weeks and doing a good job of not realising she was there.
"Well, I have come to point out that while you have supplied us with extremely suitable rooms, my Husband and I are both with out burial chambers, of any sort, acceptable or unacceptable!"
Bobzzo laughed loudly. "Hah! Graves you're after? Well, your grace, I will that sort that our for you right now. And might I add: What a prescient request to be making at such a time, madam! Now please, I need to sort us out for this siege, madam." and at that the Countess said "Oh, well. Right. OK. I'll just...aaah...I'll just find something to do with myself, shall I?" and left. Bobzzo turned to me.
"Right. You, Joe! You go and find rabbitmonger and tell him to whip us up a few quick coffins. Then I need you to climb up to that...what was that blasted bridge thing called again? The finger thingee? Ah! that TRIBUTEBRIDGE device, and from there you should be able to see what's going on. Go up there and see if you can tell me what those lanky bastards are up to, what! And if you see Rotinaj on the way, send him to see me. Now go! ALRIGHT YOU BLASTED LOONS I NEED SOMEBODY TO BUILD A WALL!" I did as I was told and sped off to get a view of the enemy.
It seemed there were 5 different squads of about 15 or 16 each, in a sweeping semicircle around our lands from the east through the south to the west. Altogether they numbered just over 80, but each of them was mounted on a warhorse, meaning that we would need to deal twice the amount of death.
It was odd to see the large beasts being ridden by something proportionally appropriate - I had gotten used to seeing them with their legs buckled under the massive bulk of frost giants.
Squinting through the haze I could see that the leaders of three of the groups seemed bigger and were dressed more ornately than the others in the army.
I wondered why that was.
I noted down all that I had seen up there for Bobzzo and went to run back to the ballista battery but as I did I caught sight of something that almost made me cry out. I ran back down to find Bobzzo. As I walked into the room he was speaking to Rotinaj, "Why the bloody hell is it not linked up?! Get out there and hook it up before they reach the bloody gates, you fool!" Rotinaj pulled a face and shoved past TheWhiteCrane who was preparing to block off the access passage to the Bonehoard. I ran up to Bobzzo.
"Bobzzo, Sir! I've scoped them out sir, but-"
"Marvellous job lad! Have a field promotion! You're now my aide-de-camp!"
"But sir, there's something you should know..."
"Bloody typical noble. Well, she's on her own now. Good luck to her. If she's lucky, she'll make it back to the gate, and no one will fire a ballista at her blasted face." TheWhiteCrane finished assembling the wall and looked noticeably relieved that the battery was once again only internally accessable. He took up position at one of the ballistas and readied it to fire. Teim, Icedrake, and Cannonfodder had joined notwhoyouknowiam and were each standing next to their own ballistas with various expressions of joy, bewilderment, and resignation. Suddenly Bobzzo cried out. "Oh Litast! It's the 15th! The bloody election was meant to be today! Ok, quickly, any of you going to vote against me?"
"And vote for who exactly?" sighed IceDrake.
"Exactly lass! Exactly! Alright then, motion carried, seconded by IceDrake, I begin my 15th term uncontested! Are you writing this down, boy?" I looked around the room.
"What me? OK then."
"Good work lad! Keep writing too, I can feel a rousing one coming on." He turned to face the dwarves at the ballistas. "Right, now, all of you have a most magnificent part to play. These blasted traitorous lanks think they can hit us when we're weak! They think because we're being slowly whittled away by the gape-faces that we won't be able to put up a fight! Well I want each of you to send them a message. And do you know what a message is like?" He asked. Everyone shook their heads or rolled their eyes, knowing what was coming. "A Ballista, sir?" ventured Teim.
"A BALLISTA! THAT'S BLOODY RIGHT!" he roared. "GIVE THAT MAN A FIELD PROMOTION!" he cried afterward, and then stormed out over the bridge over the chasm. "Joe, keep following me!" he called out. I rushed after him, still writing. "Where are we going, sir?"
"We're conducting a meeting, obviously!"
"With who, sir?" I asked.
"What?" he asked, practically jogging through the halls.
"A meeting with whom?"
"It doesn't really matter who, as long as we hold the meeting."
"Are you ok sir?"
"Look, if you don't understand, I want you to go back up to the finger bridge or whatever it is, and watch out what happens. You should be able to see everything from up there. I'll join you once the meeting is over."
Still completely bewildered I said "Ok sir" and climbed back up to the roof to watch the siege.
"Make sure you write it all down, by jingo, what!" Bobzzo cried after me.