4th day of Spring
Our five adventurers gathered to divide up the loot from their second expedition into the Caves.
- Triochmerin, a halfling swordsman
- Cunimund, a dwarven thane
- Jivko, a local archer
- Camphor, an archer from somewhere in the Duchies
- Orion, a priest of Stendarr
With them were their hirelings, the imperial mercenaries Eburhart, Gisfrid Ogre-Slayer, Hrodo, and Irmengard. Over Jivko’s objections, the mercenaries were each awarded a half-share of around 82 gp, the core party members taking 164 gp 3 sp 6 cp. Jivko managed to alienate the banker, but used Camphor as a straw buyer to acquire the set of thieves’ tools he’d seen on display in the bank. Cunimund repaid the debt he owed Triochmerin and Orion from buying his splint mail.
6th day of Spring
Two days later, leaving the wounded Eburhart to convalesce, the party headed out again, this time taking with them a newly-purchased mule and Orion’s recalcitrant donkey, now being managed by Camphor. Returning to the caves, they were searching among the low-quality goods in the goblin storeroom when they were surprised by a quartet of hobgoblins attacking out of hidden entrance. In the first exchange of blows, Irmengard lost her head; the next few seconds saw both Gisfrid and the new mule struck down. Orion was also wounded before the hobgoblins were slain. While he was binding his wounds – and, after consultation with Hrodo, magically healing the mule so that both Irmengard’s corpse and the unconscious Gisfrid could be hauled out of the dungeon – hobgoblins started firing crossbows from far down the passage beyond the secret door, striking Cunimund.
The party spent some time waiting on either side of the passageway, occasionally ducking out to shoot blindly down it, but striking nothing (since the hobgoblin guards were doing the same). At last they hurled a fresh torch down its length, then charged – striking down one hobgoblin. They reached the end of the corridor just in time for a hobgoblin guard to leap out again and fire his crossbow into Triochmerin, piercing his lung and leaving him unable to fight. They then had to turn to meet the counter-charge of the hobgoblin king and two of his elite guards, who nearly slew Cunimund with a single casual swipe of his blade. The archers peppered the hobgoblin guards with arrows (aside from Jivko, who was busy binding the dwarf’s wounds to keep him from bleeding to death), and Orion used the scroll they’d taken from the ogre on their previous trip to paralyze the king, who was then summarily finished off.
Triochmerin drank some of the potion they’d taken from the ogre, turning invisible, and snuck up the stairs to the south to explore. He saw two hobgoblins waiting in ambush in the darkened first room, and in the two rooms beyond half-a-dozen hobgoblin females and a pair of guards, but no particular readiness. He returned to the party to plan; the two thieves drank small draughts of the potion as well, then snuck up the stairs and backstabbed the ambushers without any alarm being raised. Orion caught up with them (Hrodo left behind to guard the mule and the wounded), and they continued south. Triochmerin (still invisible) snuck past the guards, then shot at them to draw their attention. The two thieves attempted to surprise the distracted guards from behind, but neither guard was slain, and the pair of hogoblins took refuge in the large room to the west which contained the king’s harem, whence the sound of hasty furniture barricades were heard. The quartet searched the room, finding a secret door leading east, but decided that with so many wounded and with seven hobgoblins behind them, they couldn’t afford to press on. Instead, they slowly extracted themselves from the caves, found that the donkey was still where they’d left him outside the cave mouth, and returned to town – without much coinage, but with the superior armor from the hobgoblin king and his guards substantially helping Orion, Eburhart, and Hrodo, while Gisfrid took Orion’s old panoply. (All four accrued debts for the armor’s resale value.)
On presenting the head of the hobgoblin king at the fortress, they were introduced to Captain Zhelyu, who sent off a flurry of lackeys and in short order had arranged care for their wounded and a feast for them the following night where they could meet the Castellan, Telesphorus.