Sitting on the cold stone floor, Meznick was looking through the burlap sack, deciding which of his dwindling rations he would have for dinner. He grabbed a sad looking turnip, and looked out the window of the tower that faced the setting sun. Alta Toon. A cursed, abandoned ghost-town. Once a thriving cross roads occupying a strategic hill, the town was burned by the Baron’s forces in the last great war. The Alliance of the Duchys managed to turn the tide (with no small help from the halflings, Meznick thought- and laughed to himself at his pun), but the surviving villagers never returned to this place. Alta Toon- “Old Town” in old Tynese, has never looked older.
Curse this war. Curse the seige that has prevented his replacement from relieving him for the last two weeks. Curse the window he has to pee from and the cold air. Curse his ears and eyes for landing him this job. His ears….
Meznick’s half-elf ears suddenly picked something up. Was that a grunt? He was always hearing things in his perch up in the tower. But he knew he had to check anyway. He peered over the window- and gasped. They were right under him. Hobgoblins. A small war-band of them- two to three score, picking their way through the abandoned, roofless buildings forty feet below.
His eyes darted about the small room he occupied at the top of the tower. Rope ladder- he had remembered to pull it up (he had been getting lazy about that lately, having to lower it every time he needed to go take a shit). Pigeons- oh gods….the Pigeons. Let them keep quiet, with the leather apron covering their cage. Crossbows- one heavy and pre-loaded, as the man he replaced up here taught him. One light next to it. Wouldn’t do him much good against fifty. He peered over again, reminding himself that they could not hear his breath. They were heavily armored for hobgoblins in splint mail- and uniformed more so than the army of rag-tags that passed on their way to Tyn two weeks ago. And these had red triangles painted on their shields. Then again, that other army was nearly a half mile away on the main road. These were literally right under his nose.
Sturmler was large and tough for a hobgoblin. All of the Red Tusks were. He walked up to a stone wall of the abandoned town-once a church or some lame human place of gathering. He fished the map out from under his cloak and flattened it against the wall. Most hobgoblins couldn’t read- many of them subscribed to the goblin belief that written words stole your thoughts- but you had to have basic knowledge of maps to be a Red Tusk, in addition to warrior skill.
Right Hand pointed to a drawing of a Peninsula that reached into the Golden Sea and hooked to the north: “Is that where we’re going?”
“Yes.” Sturmler answered. “One more day, two at most. Then this business is finished.”
“is that a fortress there?” his deputy continued, bringing his eyes closer to the map “..a human village?”.
Sturnlers eyes narrowed and a smile broke his lips, exposing his nasty underbite and yellow teeth. “Halflings.” he said.
The two looked at each other, and a low rumble emerged from the pair in synch, turning into loud laughter as Right Hand cocked back his head.