Atis Rulreg saw them first. An Iron arrow shot out of the winter night, and slammed into his lower body, tearing off a chunk of fat. He reflexively blocked the second, and swung his crossbow up, quickly sending 2 true shots in to the skulking shadows that seemed to loom all around now. Thuds and indwarven screaming marked the impacts, as two goblin bowmen doubled over around Iron bolts that passed straight through them, tearing up their guts, and leaving them choking down nausea.
Atis glanced around. He was surrounded. He blocked another arrow, before a fourth tore into his hand, and he felt his fingers loosen involuntarily, his crossbow falling to the ground. A snarling goblin appeared from the gloom, charging at him with its evil looking flail whirling. Atis knew there was no point in running.
"GOBLINS! GOBLINS FROM THE NORTH!"
He dodged one blow, but the reverse took his legs out, and he couldn't stand before four more blows had shattered his arm and torso. Atis couldn't breath, his head swam, and he didn't even see the blow that caved in his skull.
The alarm sounded throughout the fortress. As one, the dwarves stopped their labours for a moment, looking upwards towards the surface, hearing the hammering on the rock. Understanding. Then, chaos. Shouting, rushing, clamouring chaos. The leatherworker dropped a half made cloak, and sprinted for the stairs with a pair of scissors still clutched in his hand, terror driving all thought of his mother's advice from his mind. Anita dropped the rock she had been carrying away from the new metal stockpiles at the bottom of the fortress, and rushed upstairs, heading pell mell to the surgery. Ludwig carried on his mining, hacking at the rock a little harder, sweat gleaming on his sculpted biceps.
For Tigerpixie, and the rest of the militia, the reaction was somewhat different. The training paused, and then the relative silence was cut by her urgent shouted orders. "Whirling Boats, she paused...the squad was one dwarf now, leaderless without Atis...take the ammo you've got, and head to the bunker. Bridled Crystals, Gloved Palaces - Choke point A. NOW! She turned on the the spot, and rushed from the room, followed by the Geared Banners - Denpaged's oldest squad, and our finest warriors.
Civilians fled down the stairs, military moving quickly in to position, and a goblin skirmish force moving through the trees to the front gate. Silence fell, and it was the silence of the tomb, reaching back in time to remind stout hearts that one day they would be buried beneath the earth.
The first layer of defenses was the traps est up at the very start of the fortress. The goblin flailer proved easily equal to the first, but as he sidestepped the large chunk of rock spinning down at him from the ceiling, he was unable to avoid dodging in to another, which slammed in to his back, sending shooting pains through him. He rolled forwards, as a third block smashed in to the ground next to him. The traps, intended for single thieves, not groups of well armed and trained warriors, were defeated.
The next layer would hopefully prove more resilient. Around the double staircase leading down in to the first level proper of the fort was a circle of malevolent, iron clad dwarved muscle. The flail goblin led the way...he would have to descend in to a hell of steel...
Goden sniffed, and adjusted his grip on his spear. "They're right here. No sense in waiting" he stated simply, before leading his squad, The Bridled Crystals, up the stairs in a charge. The goblin archers took aim, as he ran to engage the goblin melee specialist.
He watched the spinning flail carefully as he charged, and ducking a particularly high swing, lunged as hard as he could. There was a snap, and he thought for a moment his spear had given, until the goblin, thrown back by the force of the strike squealed and crumpled around its splintered thigh bone. His fellow speardwarf yelled "Bridled Crystals!" and stood over the fallen goblin, stabbing downwards. An arrow flew past Goden's face, and he twisted and lunged, thrusting his spear one handed into the hand of a goblin archer. He twisted the spear, and the goblins hand exploded in gore.
The rest of the militia came pounding up the staircase. Tigerpixie leapt to engage a bowman, incensed that she had been denied kills by Goden's impetuous glory hunting. The most highly trained military dwarf in Denpaged, clad in steel with a masterwork steel sword vs an enlisted goblin bowman, clad in spider silk, with a copper dagger for back up...
She opened arteries in his gut and leg, took off his hand, knocked the goblins teeth out with the flat of her blade, then stabbed it in the gut again, releasing it's last meal over the cave floor. She considered breaking step to finish it off, but kept running past it's falling body, chasing the now routing others.
As she did, a dwarf ahead of her tripped over...a shadow? No! A thief. "Snatchers!" she called - the routing goblin bowmen had been supposed to cover the infiltration of child snatchers, who would sneak unseen in to the fort, and take dwarven children to raise as goblins. The shadow started, and became a goblin figure, running almost next to the axedwarf who had revealed it.
That wasn't a good place to run. The dwarf had the sense to aim a blow ahead of it, and it was forced to dodge back. Then forwards as a spear grazed it's arm, then back as the axedwarf turned to box it in. It was good at dodging. It lasted almost 10 seconds.
Tigerpixie had leapt past it, spotting another of the vile snatchers. It was fast though, and she was encumbered by steel plate.
The rest of the militia spread out to see off any remaining goblins. They were unscratched.
The snatcher heard pounding footsteps behind it. It didn't dare look back. It ran as fast as it could, trying for the safety of the night, and a humiliated return empty handed, and missing almost the entire squad that had been sent as cover.
Tigerpixie was faster by a head.