Before them was a corner tower with a black, forbidding exterior. As they came near, horrible cries and screams crept through vents and barred windows. It was as if the very rocks were warning them away.
Arrow slits were visible at all levels of the tower facing out from the walls and in toward the courtyard. Their placement on the interior was poorly chosen. It appeared to Linvin they were installed there in case of revolt or some other overrunning of the palace. If that were the case, they would be of little use. The narrow portals were placed at the edges of the semicircle where they would not easily be noticed. Such positioning preserved the powerful presence the builders desired from the tower.
It was clear to Linvin, however, the holes were afterthoughts insisted on at the end of construction. By placing them for aesthetics, the slits were woefully insufficient. There were no interlocking fields of fire for archers. Furthermore, blind spots where no arrows could reach were numerous. None was as glaring as that around the main double doors. The area had no protection.
Having seen such structures before, Linvin was unmoved by the impending doom. His family, however, shook with fear. He tried to calm them but even Anvar despaired.
The wagon stopped with the door to the cell very near to the gates of the tower. Goblin Soldiers drew their weapons and donned shields as they formed two lines from door to door. Between was a narrow path. As if ferocious beasts were behind the bars, the Captain unlocked the door and then stepped back as the cage swung open.
Slowly the elves crawled from one cell toward another. There was really no need for the precautions by the goblins. Linvin and his party were weakened and sick from hunger on the long journey. The goblins had clearly heard of their exploits and took no chances.
Stumbling forward, as if sleepwalking, they dragged their chains along the path and through the door of the tower. The goblins in line jeered and taunted them with warnings of punishment they would receive inside. Hanging their heads, the condemned elves shuffled through the doors.
Inside, the bare stonewalls were adorned only by a spiral staircase leading both up and down. Mounts above sections of stairs held lit torches. Goblin guards walked back and forth and up and down the stairs. Before them was a huge round room furnished with a lone desk and chair. Behind the desk sat what was perhaps the largest goblin Linvin had ever seen. He was taller than Linvin and easily weighed as much as the four prisoners combined. Scars peeked through gaps in his chain link armor. On his belt was a whip and beside him sat a spiked club. Even the approaching goblins escorting the prisoners were fearful as they drew near. The Captain, however, showed no such reverence.
“Sergeant Hugon...these are the Elves taken prisoner at the river crossing,” the Human Captain stated as he dropped a rolled scroll on the table. “They are not to be mistreated.”
Hugon angrily opened the document and struggled to read its contents. Then he began to laugh. Moving the parchment over to a lantern on the desk, he set the orders ablaze. “That’s what I think of your orders. I do as I please with my prisoners.”
The Captain drew his sword. Hugon stood quickly and took hold of his club. The other goblins in the tower drew their weapons and rallied behind the Sergeant. In spite of the insurmountable odds against him, the Captain held his position.
“I want you to acknowledge that you have taken custody of the prisoners,” the Captain said with his blade pointed directly at Hugon’s heart. “You will be accountable for any deviation of the orders from this point forth.”
The Goblin Master snorted and answered, “I have them now, Human. Now be about your business. I wouldn’t want you to get your pretty uniform dirty.”
The Captain looked at the jailor with disdain and sheathed his weapon. “Goblin scum,” he branded as he turned and left.