The group then returned to the audience room, to join once more the noble clans. The walk was silent; no one was willing to talk first. And if both the dwarves were thinking about the horrors that managed to destroy the capital of the Holy Kingdom, for the general Borin, it was even worst. In the past hours, he was thinking again and again about what could have caused the power inside him to fade. But never he imagined something that terrible, something that bad. He thought that it was the god behind the ratmen that was responsible for it, and that he plagued the surrounding of his city. Reducing the aura of Aria emanating from the humans.
When they finally arrived, they saw Aesseryn sitting on a chair. She was even paler than the human general, but she still wanted to hear what will be discussed. She was, after all, the Great Magus in charge of this army. Even if she wasn't as strong as some of the old fossils buried under the books inside the Academy of Magic, they were no longer alive. She was probably one of the strongest human magician and the only one that already had to deal with the ratmen. And she could answer all the questions about what she and her fellow mages will be able to do in the incoming war.
The king of the mountain returned to his throne, and after that, began the probably last audience of his reign.
-Fellow dwarves, honorable humans. By now, you have all learned the terrible truth. Our army had failed to contain the ratmen inside the Deep Mountain, and the vermin are leaving their dark holes. Another terrible news to add, the destruction of the Holy Kingdom of Aria!
After saying this, the few dwarves that weren't knowing everything gasped, in horror. It was their only allies in this war, and if they were already all dead, they will have to bet on the feeble peace with the orcs and the reinforcements from the elves. No one was really optimistic about those two, even worst, some thought that convincing the orcs will be easier than the elves. Making those grass eaters leave their forests will be incredibly hard.
-Besides the white capital Atria, my engineers have noticed more chaos. Lucia is destroyed too, overrun by an army of undead. Their leader is a strange one, they noticed a ghostly ratman invoking more lich. His army is roaming the western part of this country, and already is besieging Forlong in the North. Countless zombies are rampaging all the small villages in the countryside, and I fear that in less than a week, everything will be destroyed. For that, the dwarves from the Grey Mountain offer their condolences.
With each news, the visage of both the general Borin and the Great Magus Aesseryn were getting more and more grave. That news was the logical consequence of the fall of Atria, but they never expected it to be that quick. And with Lucia already destroyed, the ratmen can quickly invade more than half of the holy kingdom without a problem. No matter what happened, this clearly told them that the ratmen are even more organized than they thought.
-Excuse me your Highness, but, do you know from where this ratman ghost like you told it is coming or even where he is going?
-Only during the destruction of Atria, that was coincidentally at the same time as your assault on the ratmen city, we saw him. Previously, we haven't received any reports concerning an army of undead or a ghost shaped like a ratmen. As for where he is going, it is toward Ronta, and right now he should have reached …
-MY KING! MY KING!
At those words, everyone turned his head to see the running engineer. What news couldn't wait to be properly transmitted? And especially verified by the Iron Beards, meaning that no errors could be found. At that moment, however, the dwarf breached the protocol and directly gave the report in his hands to the king of the mountain. And he, in return, opened his eyes in a manner near comical. Of course, everyone was mumbling about that, and the reaction of their king. Meldun grabbed the engineer by his collar, and threatened him.
-ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THIS?
The dwarf was shaken by the strong grip of the king, and some Iron Beards were even closing on him, in case he did something unusual.
-Ye-Yes, my ki-king, it has been verified by three different engineers. We don't know why, but they are FIGHTING!
Meldun let go the dwarf that fell to the ground. The engineer was clearly not perturbed by that, and after a small bow, he quickly dashed out of the room and return to the cave where he was observing the ratmen.
-Thongril? Thongril, quickly verified this! Where is he?
-My king, you sent him with the head.
-Oh, yes, that's true. I guess I will have to trust it if three engineers have sworn on Makan. Fine, I will tell all of you what I just learned. It is just an observation, don't get false hope or anything. Right now, the undead army and the ratmen army are fighting outside Ronta.
IMPOSSIBLE! That thought was shared by anyone after hearing the king talked. No matter what, the two armies were clearly lead by a ratman or by someone shaped as a ratman. And they both attacked and destroyed the holy kingdom of Aria, one of the main enemies of the ratmen. So why, the two seemingly similar camp are currently fighting each other? This left everyone baffled and not knowing what to do? Especially the dwarves.
Right now, even if the army of the coalition is still strong and filled with humans after they died, no one else will help them. However, if they managed to convince the undead army to fight the ratmen with them, they will have a strong ally in the incoming war. But, by doing so, it could be considered as treason for the humans, since they were responsible for the destruction of Atria and numerous human lives.
Another out of breath engineer arrived inside the room. By now, everyone was used to, and they all expected more news about that conflict. The worst case would be a simple misunderstanding, meaning that both the ratmen and the undead are allies. The best case would be the confirmation of such battle, a great news. Meldun quickly grabbed the report and listened to what the engineer had to say. After that, he dismissed him, and in his face could be seen a huge smile. That was something no one expected to see before a long time.
-Friends, I have a great news. The two armies, the undead, and the ratmen are truly fighting. And most importantly, the ghost shaped as a ratman is a strong sorcerer. He invoked a huge purple sphere that managed to destroy the ramparts of Ronta. He has numerous lich under his command and legions of ghouls and zombies. Right now, his army has been destroyed, but no sign of that ghost. He probably escaped, but that will mean a thorn in the foot of those vermin. Some troops that were marching toward us are now being redeployed toward Ronta. The ratmen are not taking this new enemy lightly. The best scenario would be of course that both of them kill each other. The more, the better. That way, general and Great Magus, you will have your vengeance and we, will all be able to get rid of those rats. FOR MAKAN!
Every dwarf song the name of their first ancestor, the first king of the mountain, Makan. Right now, even some smiles could be seen on numerous faces. Before, they were all worried and depressed, fearful of the future, when they will have to face the entire might of the ratmen alone or with the remnants of the army from the holy kingdom. But now, another player entered the fray, someone nobody expected.
After that, they all talked about what fortifications would be needed, what tunnel should be opened or sealed. They talked about the food, the water, how protected they were, where was located all the ammunition. Everything was ready for a long siege and some months of battle. The humans mainly talked about where they will sleep and where was the necessary buildings for their daily lives.
After that, for three days, they were constantly consolidating their defenses, constructing new weapons and resupplying all the outposts. The armors were remade with some fresh runes created by the runesmiths, the weapons were sharpened. Barrels of used water were stocked near the gates, to prevent any risk of fire. During that time, countless reports kept appearing, signaling ratmen in certain tunnels, reporting some strong noises under the ground. But for the last century, the dwarves had made sure that only the Heart of the Mountain could be reached from the two fallen mountains, and only there the final battle would be conducted. Near the dusk of the fourth day, a report arrived in the hands the king of the mountain, leaving him pensive for nearly a minute.
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