Commander Vadim walked up to Fenna.
"Once a man tried to claim amnesia when he was caught breaking into a victim's home. Another time, a criminal tried to pretend he had the sleep-walking sickness," he told the woman. "If I had a copper for every time I'd heard a thief claim that 'they didn't know how that stolen item ended up in their home.' The predictability of excuses."
When Clive tried to reason with him, Vadim regarded the man over his shoulder, listening but unmoved.
"A misunderstanding you say. Then how do explain that house!?" he ended his question turning to Clive and pointing back at the destroyed building. "Property damage of that magnitude is no misunderstanding. And comes with a hefty fine, I might add.""My..my. Is that how you address someone with heavenly mandate and of high-esteemed position of a Noble & what more of an Actress..."
He didn't even let Kyouka finish her flowery soliliquy.
"Quiet! I've heard enough of your excuses!"
Suddenly there was loud shouting coming from the eastern gate, at the end of Main Street. Vadim knew the sounds of his own men. Then the town bell began ringing. It wasn't long before guards from the eastern gate came running.
"Commander!" the guard came through. "A traveller flown in on horseback to report an a raiding force of The Witch Queen heading our way. We see them on the horizon."Why would she come for us. What strategic importance comes with such a small town so far off the main trade routes. Will she leave no stone unturned?
"200 strong, at least. Skeletons, with two ogres in tow."Our garrsion is worn thin,
Vadim thought to himself. They'd been whittled down over the last two months from 140 men to a mere 62. And 20 of them had been loaned to Bridgeton to help with the sudden activity of goblin caves. That left a garrison that could not handle this attack.
"Your orders, Commander."
Vadim could not take any chances with his citizens. He had to protect them above all else. "Order an evacuation of the town. All citizens must leave by the west road and make for Bridgeton."
"But Commander, theres no time. The enemy will catch us on the road."
"Not if we hold the gate. Do not question me, soldier. You have your orders. All citizens are to leave immediately. Harold. Farkner. Take 5 men with you to provide escort, promote any citizen with courage to help. The rest will stay of us will stay and hold off the raiding force."
Vadim turned to the group of adventurers. "However and whyever you are here is no longer of any consequence. The citizens of Hommas need your help. I need your help. Of course, as adventurers, you have no obligation to stay, but I'm asking you... please, take this contract: Hold the gate with our men, so that these folk may live to see another day."
It was a quick and messy contract. Not official - stamped by the Adventurers Guild. There wasn't even a reward worked out. Such a contract would be rejected by most adventurers probably. He looked over all of them as his men rushed off to the gate. There were calls for his attention and so he half-turned away from them. "Follow if you will."
He wouldn't beg. He was too proud. 35 men to hold against 200 skeleton warriors and 2 ogres. It was a death sentence without the adventurers. But if they could just hold long enough then he would happily give his life for that.
Finally he turned his back on them and ran east. When he arrived at the gate, he climbed the palisade and looked to the horizon where he saw the raiding force. He did his best to look stern, to hide his fears, and then started barking orders.
The men closed the flimsy wooden gate. It wouldn't hold long. All those with archery skill stood on the palisade for the time being, but the real fight would be on the ground and they need everyone there when the gate was breached.