The grotesques at the walls trumpeted in their low infra-sound rumble. Nyx and Erebus had fallen. Two more of the invaders were removed, but there was an unknown number still within the alliance's borders. Shinji would have frowned if he still had flesh to do so. Instead, he rose his left hand in a closed fist gesture, which caused his men to spring from their half torpor they had been into full and alert attention.

For a moment Shinji's mind wasn't on the here and now. For a brief moment between command given to his squad and their moving out, his mind was back to another night. One that was literally a world away and a lifetime ago. Another night. A bad night.

Then the moment ended and Shenji's squad ran. No words were said. No orders given. They ran to the bunkhouse. Defending the people there was their objective. He and two other skeletons bore sword and shield. three others wore robes and held inscriptions of magic. They would be enough, at least until help arrived.

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

Corwin's ears flattened at the sudden infra-sound. The stone watchers had yet to move. He was confused. Were they acting as spotters? Were they simply unable to leave their posts?

He, Lun, and Celest continued on. They had fought the shadow-things Nyx and Erebus, yet were not unscathed by the encounter. that building would provide a chance to rest and recover. It was also their objective. If they could kill the caravan, or even hurt them enough, they might break whatever treaty they had with Kronos.

Then goblins were in their way. Had they lain in ambush? Corwin couldn't know. His sense of smell only picked up the sickly sweetness of the fungus that was stitching his pack together from their last fight. All he knew was that several rough garbed green-skinned creatures were in their way led by one with a short sword.

The rough clad goblins set upon his pack, chittering in some strange language. Their leader grunted before looking to Corwin himself, sword drawn and held out as if blocking the lupine's way. "Whatever, you guys seem to know what you're doing."

The Lupine growled, his short swords drawn in a reverse grip as he charged this goblin warrior. For a moment Corwin regretted that this creature was under Kronos's thrall. He was a front-line fighter, yes, but he was crafty. the goblin kept trying to trip his legs, get inside his guard, and keep him from establishing space.

"Why do you fight for Kronos so gladly?" Corwin's voice, but he wasn't the one speaking. Midori used him as a mouthpiece. He hated it when the unworthy master did this. Beyond the violation he felt, it left his throat ragged with traces of a headache after.

The goblin's ears perked as he rolled under Corwin's attempt to pin him to the ground. "I am Lutz Ferros. I am of the Dungeon Confederation's member Guild of Sancrest. You are not attacking Kronos's holdings."

"Lies! There is no way a whelp of a dungeon could have taken the monster resting at Damala's heart!" Corwin felt the unworthy master force his body to move, letting him get impaled on the goblin's blade to use his sheer bulk to pin his opponent to the ground.

"Uuugh the frak?!" Lutz was outright disgusted as the lupine drooled on him as its snout almost touched his nose.

"You will- URGK!" Whatever the wolf was going to say was cut off by lutz stabbing it between the ribs with a short-bladed knife, causing Corwin to roll off of him to flop bonelessly on the ground, sword protruding from his chest.

At first Lutz thought the battle over. He pulled first the dagger out, and then, planting a boot on his opponent's chest, retrieved his sword. There was a look spared to Corwin before he moved to assist the alliance's goblin forces against the other two.

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

Shinji's forces could see the goblin skirmishers Good Neighbor had sent as reinforcements getting cut to ribbons except for one. His left hand raised, three fingers pointed. Then two. Then he saw the shimmer of a shield spell activating. Except it wasn't a vertical shield. This one formed horizontally, creating a platform in the air. Then another formed just close enough that he could leap to it, letting him gain more height. Then a third formed, giving him more height. His men waited as he used his new position to observe.

The wolf that the delver had run through, impossibly, sat back up. Its movements were jerky. Almost as if it were a marionette on someone else's strings, rather than moving of its own will. In the faint light Shinji could have sworn he saw the wound on its chest closing.

He saw the delver, Lutz, engaging with a pair of ragged monsters.

For a brief moment it was that night again. Kamio not seeing the ambush designed to take him from the board.

Now, as then, he leapt. His body a missile, His aim, as before, true. the sword strike pierced the lupine's skull just as its movements were starting to smooth. His weight knocked the lupine prone again, blade driving deep through skull into the dirt.

Before he could properly get to his feet the other two fighters of his squad had started repeatedly hacking the body apart until it started to dissolve into the sort of ash that always happens when a dungeon creature falls.

As that occurred, two shields were raised. Both blocking the other two lupine from their quarry.

Lutz's eyes were too big, his hand twitched.

Shinji's head inclined to the skeleton not maintaining a shield to go with him as Shinji used his sword to gesture to the bunk house. These lupine fought with tooth and claw rather than blade or finesse. they were armed, yet were reduced to unarmed strikes and biting at the magical shields that kept appearing then disappearing, weaving as Shinji moved to cover his flanks and confuse both lupine.

It made the pair easy to bait.

Then one shield was raised as a platform, allowing his subordinates to strike at their enemy from elevation as their focus continued to stay on him..

Then the platform disappeared. The lupine attempted to turn, to parry the attack, leaving them open for Shenji's own attack. One died outright. the other had one of his men in its jaws as both shield bearers and he attacked. there was a crunch.

Then dust.

Those that remained started towards the bunkhouse.

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

Lutz felt sick as he was guided to an empty bed. The caravan's healer placed a hand on him and frowned. There were the spidery words of magic spoken. The glow of wounds closing. Yet he seemed perturbed.

He looked to the slender halfling. "Well, what is it?"

"I cannot say. It feels like there is something wrong, but also that your body has been knitted together." The halfling sounded confused.

For the moment Lutz lay back, paying little mind to the skeleton at the door, or at Thom's annoying noises.

His eyes closed. Something was off about those lupine. Where was their fur? How had they gotten the drop on them. Lupine have amazing senses yet acted surprised when they ran into Lutz's skirmishers.

Something nagged at him, but he didn't want to trouble the healer. That might not be all there would be tonight. Better to let the kid rest. He seemed new to actual fights.

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

Shinji looked to Lutz with concern.

Yet Thom blocked his way. The short man had a dagger aimed at the skeleton. "We might have an accord with your dungeon, but I draw the line at letting any of you lot in here. Go do whatever you overgrown harvest decoration feels like doing outside."

Rather than press the matter, Shinji left. The remains of his squad stayed posted at the bunkhouse as he started for the dungeons proper. Before he started running though, one of his men pressed something to him. Something dropped when the lupin died.

A nod.

Then Shinji started running


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