Varden is helping with the preparations for the potential invasion, but it's clear to those who know him that it doesn't appear his heart is in the task.
"Varden what is your issue? Protecting these people has to be our top priority. If you are going to be the mayor then you need to be seen to believe that our defenses are actually going to mean something."
It was strange to hear such tones coming from the Gnome. As Varden thought back it was evident that Taylor was channeling Sir Richard.
"You know, Taylar (or whoever may be listening), my people have a saying; 'Run from the things that can fly, and fly from the things that can run.' I wonder what good our defenses will be against one of the dargos-dragons. We've seen flying versions of these bugs before, and walls won't stop wings. I wonder if we're creating walls to keep others out, or ourselves in."
Taylar looked at Varden. There was a certain coldness to his eyes. "Varden, there comes a time when you have to draw a line in the sand. A line which says this far and no further. I have never had a home before, and I have one now. I have a wife, and friends, and a house, and a community, and all sorts of other stuff.
When the Dargos come, and I am sure they will, they will be spearheaded by lumbering titans and dargos dragons. They are our job. We are the heroes; we have to deal with the dragons and the huge monsters to whom our curtain wall wouldn't slow for a moment. Our allies and the townsfolk should be able to use the walls to defend themselves against the tide of skittering critters that make up the bulk of the Dargos forces.
What is more important is the symbol that this will make, not only to our own people but also to other towns. People see this as a time of prosperity, a time of plenty, and a time of peace. It is time for people to understand that to secure peace is to prepare for war."
"I have a home" says Varden in hushed tones, "up there." He gestures without looking to where the Floating Island should be; instead looking out to make sure nobody saw him make the gesture. "I left to see how things were going on down here. How can I tell my people that they should re-enter this world when this kind of peril is happening at every turn? The Tusk War, the Exilic War, the Ludemar War, this Dargos War. What next? Saving these people is important, yes, but for how long? What catastrophe follows this one? When will the next cataclysm happen? These people need more than walls and warriors to save them. Can we offer more than that?"
Varden looks around, grim. "How can we offer more than false hope?"
"False hope my friend is better than no hope at all."
Taylar ran his fingers through his close cropped hair. Taylar went on to layout his plan of defense for the small town. He did so with a series of scribblings on a page, every line drawn with the hesitancy of the illiterate and the delay of someone who still thinks of paper as priceless.
Taylar's plans were increasingly delicate. They displayed a series of lookouts and snipers. They showed where the three siege weapons would be placed and where the crews would shelter. It marked in red the points which would prompt the non martial citizens to seek shelter under ground.
It laid out the series of supplies and water stores. It laid out the training of weapons crews, the acquisition of arms and armour for a militia of sorts, the supplies of arrows and oil, and the building of a floatwood barrage platform from which flaming oil and arrows could be rained on an army while it was delayed by the walls.
"First they came for the humans and I did not resist because I was not a human. Then they came for the dwarves and I did not resist because I was not a dwarf. Then they came for the elves and I did not resist because I was not an elf. Then they came for the gnomes and I did not resist because I was not a gnome. Then they came for the Volanti and there was no-one left to resist with me."
Varden is surprised by the depth of thought that went into the plans, wondering how much of it was his friend, and how much was the warmongering weapon. If it truly was Taylar creating these plans, there would of course be some small window or tiny back door somewhere, like a thief hired by the merchant’s guild to give advice on security measures. Either way, the defense was sound and there were no tactical holes to be found that he could address with their current resources. The idea of a walled city was intriguing to Varden, as such fortifications were considered antiquated and weak in a land where many of the population fly. “Well,” says Varden, loud enough for all around to hear, “those bugs will have another think coming if they plan on waltzing through here. If only all the cities can be this prepared.” He walks around, reviewing the troops. Maybe hope is hope, regardless of how small.
While Varden was speaking Taylar had been doodling, his mind suddenly focused. Of the rough sketch it soon became evident that the idea was a tripod for supporting arbalests or heavy crossbows which could be trained to fire upwards.
"IF we can get some low charge dispel magic wands we would be able to deal with some of the magical flyers. Mundane flyers will be resisted by the regular units armed with ranged weapons and the arbalests which can fire straight upwards. Net launchers may also be a solution for dealing with mundane flyers."
"I had plans for building a roof over the town, but it would simply take too long. Taylar flipped to a sketch which criss crossed the whole town with walkways attached to pillars spaced around. Something which generated walls of force across the top of the town would be ideal, although the cost involved would be enormous." While Taylar is flipping around Varden notices a sketch of a huge floatwood orb twice the size of skyhold pock marked with cannon ports. A huge red eye marks the centre of the orb, an eye which looks a lot like Hecate to Varden
"If our next quest is successful. We will have the ability to resurrect any defender who falls pray to these creatures. That should allow us to amass an army."
Varden looks at the blueprints with growing alarm. "Those plans look really intense" he whispers. "Just remember to have a backup plan in case things go sideways. Make sure that those under the city can escape to the bottom of the cliff if necessary. My uncle used to say 'if escape becomes the only option, make damn sure it still is an option.' I'm going to meet with Mother Kenralt right now to see about shoring up the abbey and maybe adding an infirmary. Out loud, as he is walking away Varden declares "It seems to me the defense of this city is in good hands. Many pairs of them. At this rate, the bugs may bypass us entirely! Ha Ha Ha!"