“Time’s up,” Cinder’s voice was gleeful now, oozing with confidence, with little trace of Zavra, save the arrogance. “My people are going to tear you apart.”
“You better hope not,” said Murith. “If we go down, they’ll be hard pressed to stop one of us from ending you.”
Cinder muttered something in return, but by then I was focusing on the people outside the ancient watchtower that we were defending. There were more than twenty, and most of them were vampires given their scent and breathing patterns. Some of them were better armed than others, with my ears picking up the sound of foliage brushing up against a breastplate and the distinct sound of a bow being strung. I relayed this to the others with hand signals which Murith translated to Bull in a whisper. The big man looked nervous, but he would not break.
“I do hope they get on with it,” said Renoit, examining the edge of his sabre in the firelight.
“You must be in a hurry to see your own insides then, fool,” snarled Cinder.
“As you are to part with your head,” rejoined Berkhilda, looming over her.
Cinder opened her mouth, but a booming voice from outside drowned her retort.
“You in the tower, send Zavra to us, now!” The voice was male and menacing.
“He’s so assertive, we better do what he says Ragnar,” said Murith, rolling her eyes. I laughed.
“Now why would we do that?” I shouted back.
“We will let you live if you send her out,” boomed the voice.
Git and Murith snickered.
“Do you really think we are that stupid?” I shouted back.
There was a pause, then the movement outside intensified.
“Good, my axe has grown thirsty,” said Berkhilde.
An arrow sailed through one of the window slits, shattering on the stone walls. I heard other projectiles hitting the door and stone outside.
The Goblin handed me a small cylinder. I looked at Murith, then Bull, and then stepped up and tossed the little bomb out the window. Fire blossomed outside, lighting up the area. Bull and Murith stepped up then, firing at the silhouetted vampires. I caught a yowl of pain. They retreated back into cover, another arrow flew past Bull, narrowly missing him.
“One of them is a very good shot,” said Murith.
Just then something slammed into the reinforced door of the tower, causing it to shake. Renoit was on his feet and ready in an instant, but the sturdy door did not give way.
“Get in here and kill them!” shrieked Cinder. A cuff from Berkhilda sent her sprawling. To my surprise the smaller vampire remained conscious, trying to claw and snap at the big woman in spite of her bonds.
The door shook again. This time the sound was different. They had a ram of sorts. The next hit was accompanied by a splintering sound. I moved to the door. The ram hit again and again. Cracks appeared. After another hit, Renoit slid forward, jabbing his blade through the breach and pulling it back with undeniable swiftness. The edge was red and the pounding ceased for a moment. Then I heard a shouted command and the tread of a half-dozen men.
Then the door buckled inward, tearing from the hinges and our enemies spilled in.