The war was not going well for the Barony of Maradon. Up and down the battle-scarred lands of the Dran Feldar, the elves of Jhanakai had defeated the Baron's men time and again. Now the last of them had been driven back to the keep at Cobb's Gate. Cobb's Gate was Maradon's final outpost in the Dran Feldar, guarding the main pass between Maradon and the disputed territory. If the elves drove the Maradon troops out of the keep and took it for themselves, the Maradon army would no longer have any significant access to the region, and the war would effectively be over. Maradon's hopes of mining the mithril in the Dran Feldar would be dashed.
Besieging Cobb's Gate had not been difficult. The only communications route remaining was the pass itself. Elven archers ambushed any columns that tried to get through. Now Glythwyl stood before the door of the keep with only a small force of elves. Their initial orders were to simply stop messengers and spies from passing into or out of the keep. However, Glythwyl received a dispatch during the night which changed that. A new asset was being sent to him that would reduce the keep to rubble. He was to launch an assault upon the fortress as soon as the creature arrived. The very idea of this beast filled even him with disquiet, and he wondered how the men of Maradon would react when they first caught a glimpse of it from behind their ramparts.
Inside the keep, Valera looked at the men she had remaining. The mercenaries had fled before the besiegers had managed to cut them off. This angered her, but really she had expected no more of them. Her last archer shot one of the deserters in the back before the rest made it into the rocky defiles of the pass. The ogre wounded at Kragg was still there. She wasn't sure how useful he'd be, but she had the impression he wanted to redeem himself. Time would tell. If only reinforcements could get through the pass, they'd be alright. The elves, up to this point, had no way of driving them out of this position. Given the small size of her troop, their supplies would last all the way through the winter – even with the ogre's appetite – and she doubted the elves themselves could endure that long, exposed to the harsh cold in and around the pass. Winter at Cobb's Gate would not be kind to a force foraging for its subsistence.
The sun was still below the horizon, but the sky began to glow ever so slightly with dawn's approach. As it did, a pair of battle-hungry eyes, neither human nor elven, looked down from a wooded hill upon the keep and the small camp of besiegers, impatiently waiting for the moment to strike.
The watcher had reconnoitered well. He knew of the ogre in the keep, and of the beast the elves were going to launch against the fortress. Entirely untroubled, he was confident his own brute could handle them both.