Midwinter Hype Post #2

It was a crisp evening, the snow laying over the surrounding land like a fine blanket untouched by foot traffic.  A small family, dressed in old and patched clothes, sat around a glowing hearth drinking warm drinks and sharing stories.  A middle-aged gentleman, decked in finery, looked well out of sorts sharing the room with the family, but he seemed to be engaged all the same, tastefully regaling the room of age old stories with a dramatic flair between his long silences spent with his tea.  Dinner was being prepared by the Irons in the kitchen, and the house smelled of both delicious meat and wafts of burning pine.

The ruckus from outside immediately drew the attention, and as uncharacteristic as it was, the finely dressed fellow was out of his seat before the rest of the room had clamored to the window.  A sharp blade hung loosely at his side as his hand slid into his overcoat allowing the tips of his fingers to caress the old, oiled wood handle of his pistol.  Between the great room’s large windows, at a run, and the thinner windows around the front door, he could make out a great many shadowy figures in the darkness.  The noise, albeit loud, was still a ways in the distance as a handful of bodies cleared the perimeter of the house and into the lights.  With a flip of the switch, the light poured into the darkness, likely half blinding those now standing in the front lawn.  He opened the door, inspecting the few quickly and with a precision that was well-trained.

“Why’re you on my land then?” he asked in a hurried and hushed voice, now looking beyond the few that seemed to be no real threat.  “I’ve half a mind to cut you down and go back to my tea if you don’t make it snappy.”

Before any of them could respond, a crack in the distance and the splintering of wood next to the man’s head had him raise a single eyebrow.  He scanned the darkness with a slight squint, seeing what no one would ever hope to laid out before him.  “Raiders,” a breathless voice coughed out in the cold, “hundreds.  Pouring in.  Everywhere.”

“Get in, ya gits.  Can’t stay out here with them marching up.”  The response was designed to sound strong, yet a bit of the fear laced his throat as he spoke them.  The report he was just given matched what he saw moving toward the house.

“Cookie!  Get what’s prepared and get everyone into the dining hall!” he called, turning his back on the few outside.  He heard their footsteps following him, and even the door closing.  Smart enough lads for the moment.  He looked to the hearth and saw he didn’t need to repeat himself, as the entire family had abandoned their drinks and leapt into motion to follow.

Down the front hall and through a large archway, people flooded into the room set for a nice meal.  An Iron hurriedly moved people along as they balanced and bobbled dishes, plates and pots with a variety of foods.  With very little thought to it, everything was piled haphazardly onto the table, as the rest of the house was ushered in from the front hall door.  The finely dressed gentleman did a very brief scan before moving about the room in a practiced fashion.  Moments later, solid steel walls fell into place one at a time, creating a barrier between them and the outside world.

“Might be a bit loud, but why don’t we get settled for supper?  You can tell us about the trouble outside once your bellies can be quieter than your mouths.”