Tomorrow came, and nearly passed with uneasy calm … nearly. In the fading light of day, the hush was shattered. With no patience to await the following dawn, the Troll army, thirsting for blood, regrouped and retaliated with a vengeance. No melancholy thump and tapping drums sounded. Instead it was the shriek and wailing war cries of frenzied night creatures, the earth-shaking rumble of armor-clad legions charging Isabelle—this time equipped with scaling ladders, battering rams and mantlets to protect them. Wielding slings and bow, the Trolls unleashed their own daunting barrage of stone and arrows. Clambering at the walls and gate, and all around like locusts savaging a ripe field of wheat.
Then, from the castle hoarding, trumpets blared in reply, calling attention to Isabelle's highest turrets. Basking in the golden light of dusk, Lord Tristan's banners waved, beckoning her assailants to look—look up, and see what lies in store. They saw the sky descend upon them.
From the hoarding, sheets of burning oil, and an avalanche of rock and cinder rained down upon the intruders. It was the Gateman, and the bear taking charge. Folly launching arrows by the score. No 'love darts' these, as their fallen targets would attest. Through 'murder holes', Pandas dropped boulders with bone crushing accuracy. From cauldrons faithful defenders poured burning lime on the assailants skirting the castle. All along the battlements what archers could be trusted manned the walls. Any unfilled posts were taken up by commoners. It took no combat skills, only a shoulder and a forked staff to shove off ladders crawling with Trolls. Able bodied yeomen and peasantry worked alongside men-at-arm, slinging rocks, or firepots filled with tar.
“Look at the roaches skitter scatter!” shouted Folly. “They dare not tarry long at our door, pounding away with such loss.”
It was true. The fierce bombardment had the Trolls dazed and stumbling over one another in total disarray. Despite relentless attempts to punch through, the main gate held. “It's the portcullis,” said Folly. “Long as its down, she'll not crack.”
While thwarted in the front, Trolls massing on the flanks found more success. Without siege engines to help them, the demons resorted to another ally—fire. Sheets of flaming arrows lit up the night sky, landing amid stacks of straw, tar barrels, boards and other tinder building materials still lining the castle grounds. Fires broke first in the yard, upon scaffolding, and quickly spread to the stables.