“Who are they and how far behind are they?” Lockhart stepped up to pull his shotgun and check his revolver. Decker was sitting on a rock, his rifle across his lap, and he spoke.
“About an hour, and it is an army. I count about a thousand men and maybe thirty giants among them.”
“So we have an hour to build defensive works,” Katie said. “I recommend a trench with the ground shoveled into a wall of sorts so we can stand five or so feet above them and not expose ourselves entirely to enemy arrows.”
“We have slings, bows, spears and some copper swords and knives,” One older man stepped forward as he spoke.
“Aren’t you taking your families to safety?” Zisudra asked.
“Our families will not be safe if the Elamites break through.”
“Too early for Elam, wouldn’t you say?” Katie spoke up. “Don’t you mean the Jiroft culture?”
Zisudra pointed at his people. “These are the last of the Jiroft, and they are the first in the Indus. The men after us are Elamites, from Susa and other places where they built on top of the old Gott-Druk settlements.”
“My people settled this far east?” Elder Stow did not know.
“Mostly in the Zagros Mountains,” Katie interjected.
It was fascinating to watch the Shemsu work. They lifted stones with their thoughts alone, and placed them in the wall where they would do the most good. Some stones they set aside to heave at the enemy. Some smaller ones were collected for use in the slings. The trench needed to be dug, but they had some early bronze tools to help with that, then also some literally dug by hand.
Even as Decker reached out earlier with the eagle eye to see and count the enemy, Roland reached out with his own hunters sense and found a tribe of dwarfs not too far away. Better yet, they were working the mountain with the help of two ogre families, and they had seven adults between them. He called them to come in and help, and they did, reluctantly. Roland figured fifty ax wielding dwarfs and seven ogres would help the odds a bit.
“No,” Zisudra complained. “You and Boston need to stay out of it, not drag a bunch more into the fray.”
“No,” Roland said. “I am not staying out of it. I have friends.”
Boston’s eyes got big. She realized she had been willing to go along with whatever her Lord decided, but she suddenly felt human again, though she remained an elf, and she agreed with Roland. “No,” she said.
Roland explained. “You said I worked for Lockhart, and he needs my good work.”
“And he would not be a good employee if he did not get all the help he could,” Boston added, and grinned at her ill logic, but Zisudra just threw his hands up and did not argue.
The dwarves arrived about twenty minutes before the enemy was expected. All they could do was drive a number of spikes into the field, the kind that would cut a man’s foot open if he stepped on it. They put a general hex on the field, so the enemy would lose their courage when they charged. And the Shemsu searched for as many big rocks as they could find so the ogres would have something to throw. The men were not happy about having ogres in their midst, but they were assured that the ogres were friends of the hunter, and on their side, and that helped some of them, anyway.
They were somewhat ready when the enemy topped the ridge. The army of Elam looked like more than a thousand, and the giants looked especially big. The men behind the wall held their weapons with sweaty hands, and prayed. The ogres looked ready to smash something. The dwarves looked determined, but Zisudra knew this was not the battle of the five armies. They were not facing stupid orcs, and there were no eagles coming to bail them out.
Decker got on a high rock and clicked his scope into place. He figured at that distance, it would be hard to pick out targets and hit them. But he also figured giants were hard to miss, so he opened up and did not wait for orders. “Go for the giants,” he hollered, and Katie got her own scope and opened fire. They hit ten, and more than a dozen ordinary men who got in the way before the enemy realized this was not going to stop. They appeared to hesitate, but when they charged, they came yelling and screaming like berserkers on a rampage.
Decker and Katie switched to rapid fire, while the others opened up with their pistols. Roland had the archers ready and waiting, while the ogres began to heave their stones, like cannon balls. Boston saw several men taken down by the spikes, and more were piled up behind them and had to go around, mostly with looking down at their feet and not exactly charging. The arrows went, and the slingers began to heave their stones.
Elder Stow held back with his weapon. They had determined with his limited charge, it would be better to wait and take out any giants who got close. When Elder Stow finally let loose on one of the giants, the giant’s head exploded, and the enemy around him began to retreat.
The men behind the wall held tight to their spears and swords, expecting the wave of the enemy to crash into the trench and come up against the dirt wall any minute. Some of the enemy all but stopped in their tracks. Some were pulling back. But they still expected twice their number to come up against them, and even with all of the extraordinary help, they all understood they might not survive. Then at once, everything stopped. Everyone froze right where they were, human, dwarf, ogre and giant, all except Zisudra and the travelers.
Varuna appeared, and Shivishuwa and a big man, a bit of a giant in armor with an ogre sized sword in his hand