Eno Granitsa Gorckiite

Wight Fright

Returning to town the party liquidated the large gem they had liberated last time and used the proceeds to rent the empty apartment for a month, splitting the remaining 150 gold pieces among themselves. With the party’s ranks swelled by two, Triochmerin having recruited a powerful and agile elf by the name of Alix and Orion being finished with his training, the party set out once again for the ruins.

Arriving at the ruins, the party cut down a large tree and worked a portion of the trunk into a serviceable ram. Thus equipped they made short work of the solid double doors which had stymied them before.

Seeing that the doors had not been opened in some time, the party guessed that Sir Fragobert had not come this way, and cast about for a different route. Smelling a foul odor from beneath the caved in tunnel, Triochmerin and Gron made their way carefully through the collapsed passage to investigate. Though they were initially disturbed by the foul black pancake creature buried beneath the rubble, the party promptly forgot all about it once Cole had carved it up a little with his longsword to prove it was dead. It was decided that the passage should be cleared so as to allow the rest of the party to pass through, and Gron set about directing the work.

While Orion and Cole were on the surface cutting timbers for the supports they observed three large wolfish forms enter the ruins. Running towards the growls and barks the entire party got to the courtyard at about the same time, and battle was joined. The largest of the creatures, a Worg, slew Gisfrid’s donkey before being put down by a hail of missile fire. Of the two wolves the Worg had commanded one was slain by Orion and the other gravely injured Cole before Jivko skewered it with an arrow.

After the battle, Orion healed Cole and the party returned to clearing the passage as before. Deciding to spend the night in the passages beneath the ruins, the party backed themselves into the room where before they had encountered the giant snake.

Despite Jivko’s traps the party was taken unawares by a trio of HUGE weasels, which slaughtered the party mule and Gisfrid’s new guard dog. Alix tried to get off a sleep spell but before she could one of the creatures injured her to the point of unconsciousness. As Orion, Gisfred, and Cole pounded one of the three into pulp the third was busy sucking little Triochmerin dry. Despite the best efforts of Orion and Cole, Triochmerin passed out from blood loss before the weasel could be killed. The last of the abominations, having slain the dog and downed Alix, was set to engage Gron when Jivko sunk an arrow deep into its back from across the room, slaying it instantly. In the morning when Orion had his spells back he healed Triochmerin and Alix and the party continued on their way.

Deciding not to continue down the collapsed passage (for metagame reasons), the party passed through the double doors they had previously chosen to ignore and came quickly into a hobgoblin latrine. After a disgustingly thorough searching by Gisfrid, it was confirmed that there was no treasure in the latrine pit. Cole translated the writing on the walls as your everyday restroom graffiti, except for one note “the ogre password is blueberry”.

Continuing on, the party came across a room in which they discovered a strange steel plate burnished to a sheen on one side, but with no apparent use. Also, in a crate of furs, Jivko discovered two large fist sized amber gems which he estimated to be of great worth.

In the next room was a row of bare cots, and a pile of bedding in one corner. When Gisfrid poked the pile with his sword, a baby weasel about the size of a housecat scurried out. As it appeared peaceable, Gron fed it some of the donkey meat and bundled it up to take back with him. Also discovered in the mound of bedding were 4 or 5 pounds of silver coins.

Proceeding ever onward, the party encountered a stone sarcophagus chained shut, much like the one they had opened earlier. After Jivko spent 15 minutes attempting to pick the padlock Gisfrid set to work smashing the chains. Attracted by the noise, a ogre armed with a burning plank charged into their midst. Despite Shri Jah’s yells of “BLUEBERRY!! BLUEBERRY!!” the ogre took a swipe at Gron and Alix, just barely missing them both. As the rest of the party piled on, Shri cast his sleep spell and the ogre was defeated with no injury to the party. Searching for the ogre’s treasure, the party came across a room with two forges, one lit. Gisfred noticed a shiny something behind the flames of the lit forge, and when the object was fished out it was revealed to be a golden ingot. Despite more than an hour of additional searching, no other treasure could be found in the area so the party returned to the sarcophagus and broke it open.

Inside was a long dead ogre, who despite being quite clearly deceased, still refused to stay down. Though Orion and Gron lit him on fire and Cole and Gisfrid dropped the heavy lid on it, the thing still managed to get to its feet and grab Gisfrid. As purple light flared, Gisfrid grew visibly paler and the life was sucked out of him. Though Triochmerin’s and Jivko’s magic arrows sunk easily enough into the creature, Cole’s blade bounced harmlessly off it as the monster turned and sucked the life from Cole as well. As the party grew desperate, Gron had a genius idea; calling out for two of the party to take mirrors and attempt to direct some of the sunlight from the well shaft into the room. In order to buy time for the plan, Orion and Gron charged the wight, attempting to pin it in the corner, away from the archers. Seeing that normal weapons were useless against the fiend, Orion snatched up one of Jivko’s enchanted arrows from the floor and Triochmerin threw Gron Radegund’s Dagger. Fighting through the intense pain and weakness instilled in him by the enemy’s grasp, Gron flew into a rage worthy of song; the dreadful wight could not withstand his ferocious attack and crumpled to the floor beneath the punishing dwarven assault.

Opening the coffer at the foot of the sarcophagus, Jivko found a stunning golden necklace encrusted with valuable jewels. Collecting their loot, the party limped back to town, for once without a single casualty though many bore injuries of some sort.

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And Then There Were Rats

In town the party came across Sinaed who is an old friend and companion of Orion’s. Sinaed was passing through town looking for work as a mercenary, but agreed to join the party as a full fledged member. Before Orion left to level up he gave Sinead his plate mail. While in town everyone but Triochmeren, Sinaed, and the training charecters pitched in to buy a party mule.

The party went through the woods led by the elf Cole and came out right near the ruins and then continued on to where they fought the zombies the prior day. The party continued on and found a room that looked like an old sleeping chamber with a holy symbol on the wall that they grabbed.

Then they continued into a very similar room except this one had an archway with a tapestry hanging from it and a chest. Cole went to look through the archway and the tapestry fell on his face and turned out to be acidic. The party tried everything from knocking him out to splashing oil and watter on him. Then Triochmeren lit the oil and it burned off. So the rest of the party who had pieces of the slime on them, burnt off all that slime and it all came off.

In the chest the party found old healing herbs. while examining the chest for traps Jivko found four bottles. Two were sealed with a red seal and turned out to be healing potions and two with purple wax were poison-like and the tiniest sip made Gron sick. Triochmeren gave Cole one of the healing potions and he was quickly healed. The party also found another holy symbol.

The party continued through a rough cut tunnel that ended in a t-intersection. The corridor to the north ended at a door. The party decided to venture south instead. Down the corridor were two doors across from each other. Jivko listened at the east door. He heard what sounded like the cheeping of chickens. Gron opened the door and was jumped by a bunch of big rats. The rats quickly began to swarm over Gron, but then were put to sleep by Shri Jah the elf. Gron closed the door and told Jivko “Those were NOT chickens!” Then more rats came out through the seals in the door. The rats, including the sleeping ones, were easily killed and in their nest the party found lots of coins and textiles. In opposite corners of the room the party found magical writing and a metal flask.

Back in the corridor, the party examined the west room, but found it empty. Continuing to the south the corridor opened into a wider area with stairs leading down to the south and a passage to the west.

At the edge of the stairs leading down, there was magical writing engraved into the floor. Gisfrid quickly determined that it was something that shot magical missiles by leaping across it and getting shot, then having to leap back and getting shot a second time. Sinaed got hit as well.

The party decides to forgo the stairs for now and while the party sits and heals, Gron investigates the passage to the West. The passage continues past what looks like an opening to the well from the floor above with a passage continuing on the other side of it towards the north.

Gron rejoins the party and the party continues down the West passage, past the well into a large room with stairs leading up to the West with what looks like daylight streaming down. There are passages West and South and double doors to the North. There appear to be recent footprints, but it is unclear where they lead.

Gron examines the South passage, but it ends in a rather shaky looking rockfall. The party then goes down the West passage finding an empty flask along the way. The passage ends in a storage room. The party decides to search with Sinaed remaining in the passage to guard. Then something grabs Jivko’s leg and he screams. It turns out to be a giant snake. Everyone tries to kill it and there’s a battle, the snake loops around Cole, Jivko gets hit by Cole and almost dies and finally the snake rears up and dies. The party decides to cut open the snake and finds a HUGE ruby! The second healing potion is used on Jivko and, while he is mostly healed, his leg is still badly damaged and he can’t walk unaided.

The party explores some more and discovers a secret door towards the West. Gron, Sinaed, and Triochmeren decide to explore down the tunnel and after a long, twisting walk the passage ends at another door. Listening at the door, the small party hears goblins and decide not to pursue this passage further and return to the party. The party return to the stairs leading up and return to town.

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A First Visit to Stara Kula

Having recuperated from their previous adventure in the caves of chaos, the party was asking around town for hirelings when they encountered the morbid dwarf Gronn, the robust elf Cole, and the impatient warlock Darquan. After brief negotiations these new adventurers were recruited into the party as full members.

Having decided to go in search of the missing Sir Fragobert, Orion was sent to find out what he could about the ruins. The hunter Honditar gave them directions, as well as a warning to steer clear of the forest, for the old man who lived there with his pet mountain lion had gone violently insane of late.

The party set out for the ruins and though there were some minor navigational issues the ruins were reached without event. It was observed that in addition to the imposing ruins there was also a ramshackle military camp nearby. Though the rest of the party voted to explore the ruins first, Darquan struck out alone for the camp with Orion following exasperated in his footsteps. Before the two had gone 20 paces they were set upon by strange wolf-like things. The wolf things could not long bear the combined fury of the party’s archers, Orion’s steel, and Darquan’s considerable magics; turning tail at the first sign of resistance. Though Orion and Camphor pursued them, the cowardly creatures easily outstripped their pursuers and lost themselves in the forest.

Searching the camp, the party salvaged a suit of mail, which Cole quickly donned, and some barding for Darquan’s mount.

Upon entering the ruins the party was attacked by a strange purple bush, which somehow managed to fire its spines like arrows. Though conventional weapons proved ineffective against it, it ceased its struggles once Gronn and Gisfred set flint and tinder to it.

Continuing their exploration of the ruins, the party found a desecrated chapel, with a strange symbol drawn in blood over the altar. When Darquan investigated the bodies piled in the corner, they leapt up and attacked. Having bludgeoned Darquan into unconsciousness they turned their attention to Orion but failed to land a single blow before the party brought them down.

Descending through a large trapdoor in the chapel floor the party entered a room with 15 headless skeletons laid out ceremoniously on stone blocks. The party continued on uneasily past the skeletons into a room occupied by a large stone sarcophagus chained and padlocked shut. After Camphor picked the lock, the party heaved off the lid and discovered a bronze coffer filled with coins.

Continuing on, the party passed a room with three passages and a very strange statue. Though it had originally been of fine make, the head had been removed and replaced with a crudely sculpted, one eyed, fanged horror. After a little examination the party continued on but as they passed in front of the statue its eye flared purple, prompting them to attack it. As it stood unresponsive, the party called of their attack, and rather sheepishly walked onward, paying the next pair of statues no mind. As Shri walked between two however, magical beams shot out of the eyes and struck him, visibly paining him. After much discussion and experimentation during which Cole too passed through and was also eye beamed, Orion simply smashed the status’s heads off, allowing the rest of the party to pass by unharmed.

Past the statues was a huge iron door, which Cole forced open. In the room behind the door Gronn noticed something a little off about the stonework and deduced the existence of a secret door. Despite employing Orion’s crowbar, none of the party, even the laughably mighty Gisfred, could force open the door. Giving up, the party continued on into a room quite literally FILLED with bones. In 15 niches were 15 skulls, presumably taken from the 15 headless skeletons the party had previously found.

After a good deal of experimentation, the party could discover nothing of value about the apparent dead end, and so backtracked to the room with the first of the statues. While the rest of the party waited, Shri and Gronn each took a passage and went to see what they could see. Not a minute later Shri came pelting back out of the dark yelling about something or other. As the party took up battle positions 6 zombies descended on them from the direction Shri had gone. The battle that followed was as brief as it was fierce, and by the time Gronn had made his way back to the party it was all but over. The sole casualty of the battle was Yrmengardis, who Gronn bandaged. As night was falling the party decided to return to town, and made the journey easily, carrying their wounded and what treasure they had collected.

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It Came, It Looked, It Ran

As the party stood amongst the carnage of the orcish commonroom, they heard the pounding of many feet and something unsettlingly large coming their way. There was a moment of hesitation, then Orion began barking orders “Triochmerin, round the back; Gisfrid, ready your bow; Shri and Yrmengardis to me; Camphor, bring that lantern here, drink this potion and hug the wall, hit the big guy when he comes through”.

As everyone was assuming battle positions a huge orc in battle dress was seen to come a few steps into the light, then turn and flee the way he had come. The party made to follow him but turned back when they were met by a veritable stampede of orcish women and children.

By the time the non-combatants had passed, the orcish warlord (as the party assumed him to be) was out of sight but not, it would seem, earshot. As the party rushed north up the sloped passage they had seen him take seconds before, they came to a T intersection with a heavy wooden door to the right, and a curving passage to the east.

Pausing to listen, Camphor detected the sound of stone grating on stone off to the left and so the party hurried onwards down the passage. Not 100 feet later they were stopped short by a solid door, stuck fast in its frame. The mighty Gisfrid heaved at the door but it stubornly refused to budge. The entire party laughed aloud as, rolling up his sleeves, the frail elf Shri steped up and put his shoulder, popping it open with ease.

The room behind the doorway was surprisingly plush for an orcish cave, with worn but comfortable furniture and cushions on the floor. As Triochmerin watched the rear hallway for approaching enemies, the rest of the party performed a thorough search of the room.

Camphor soon discovered a tunnel cut into the wall and hidden behind a fine tapestry. Ducking quickly into and out of the hidden room, Camphor’s broad grin alerted the rest of the party to the presence of treasure. Camphor, Shri, and Orion hurriedly striped the secret room of everything of value, most notably a large iron chest, weighing perhaps 100 lbs.

The party held a rushed conference and decided to get out while they were ahead, hurrying out of the caves, pausing only to collect Jivko’s unconcious form and to swipe the tapestrys from the walls. The party traveled along the road untroubled until nightfall found them not quite half-way back to town. Though it was suggested that they make camp for the night atop a nearby hill, it was decided that such an exposed resting place just would not do, and so the party pushed onwards, hoping to camp in the shadow of the town walls.

Heavily fatigued and weighed down by both their wounds and their wounded (not to mention the orcish treasure) the party was ambushed a few hours after nightfall. As they passed near the river splashing was heard and many man-sized forms were seen to charge up from the water.

As the party hastily and none too willingly readied themselves for battle Triochmerin and Camphor loosed arrows into the ranks of the dark forms, but to little effect. As their charge brought them into the light it was observed that the enemy resembled overgrown, bipedal lizards all armed with crude stone spears. Gisfrid and Camphor quickly fell before the lizard-men’s fierce onslaught.

A truly ferocious melee then began as the party fought with the abandon of cornered animals while the lizard-men gave as good as they got. After a time two of the strange creatures broke off the combat and began dragging Gisfrid down to the river. With two combatants gone, the tide of battle turned and Triochmeren’s well placed shot sank into the side of Shri’s foe. Seemingly inspired by the gods themselves, Shri Jah exploded upon the creatures surrounding Orion, cut down all three of the abominations in a flashing whirlwind of steel.

With the fight over, Triochmerin rushed to Gisfrid, barely alive by the water edge, and began bandaging his wounds while Orion did the same for Camphor who was also close to death. The still active members of the battered party then regrouped and spent the next hour stashing the heavy armor and weapons in the woods and moving the more gravely wounded, as well as the iron chest (still unopened), to a camp in the woods, out of sight of the road, where they spent the night.

In the morning Orion used his magic to revive Jivko and the entire party limped back to town. On the way back they met a caravan coming the other way and Orion exchanged pleasantries with the guard and warned them of the ambush. Upon arrival in town the party set up the wounded in the tavern to rest while Orion made various enquiries. The chapel could spare no magical healing for the adventurers but an acolyte was sent to help tend to the injured.

Noone could contribute any information on the lizard-men the party had encountered, though the guard captain expressed concern over the ambush. It was also observed that the stable hands had caught two of Sir Fraglbert’s horses running loose with no riders and the keep was expectedly abuzz over this. Orion, Shri, and Triochmeren made a foray out later that day with Camphor’s donkey and Orion’s mule to recover the items of lesser value they had had to abandon at the ambush site the previous night. Upon arrival they found their things still hidden were they had been left, and also looted a heavy gold necklace from the largest of the lizard-men. Returning to town the party members broke off to go about their own business for the day.

The next morning Orion and Triochmerin went, on the recomendations of the banker, to see a Parthenios about selling the golden necklace as well as the silver armband Triochmerin had been holding onto. The meeting did not go particularly well, and they were forced to vacate the residence at speed in order to avoid violence. The swords, armor, and tapestries were liquidated with the help of the common trader and the necklace and armband were given over to Orion’s possession for safe keeping.

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Something Big This Way Comes

8th day of Spring

Our intrepid party begins this day resting and preparing for the evening’s feast in their honor. Cunimund decides to take a break from the party’s activities and Eburhart and Hrodo decide to follow his lead and leave the party as well. The party is overjoyed when Gisfrid decides to accept their invitation to become a full member of the party.

At the feast the group met Castellan Telespohrus who thanked them for their efforts. They were also introduced to Shri Jah, the nephew of Jayashree Ghoshdashtidar, an advisor to the Castellan. The party was asked to allow Shri Jah to join the party. Shri Jah was highly recommended and deemed well-suited for the life of an adventurer.

Having healed, rested, and re-stocked, the party decided to venture the next morn to complete their explorations of the hobgoblin caves and hopefully find the hobgoblins king’s treasure.

The party returned to the store room where they were attacked by hobgoblins through a hidden entrance. Listening carefully prior to proceeding, they here banging from the hall where the Hobgoblin king had met his doom. From that direction, four hobgoblins charged to attack. Two were hulking brutes armed with whips. Triochmerin and Gisford were both in the lead and Triochmerin was quickly cut down, while Gisfrid suffered a minor flesh wound. Gisfrid continued to fight valiantly, at one point with three hobgoblins around him. Orion moved up to assist and the remaining Hobgoblins were soon dealt with. Orion then healed Triochmerin while Gisfrid fortified himself and the bodies were searched.

Continuing back down the tunnel the party discovered where the hobgoblins had left crates of cloth behind. The adventurers found another storeroom, empty of its belongings.

The adventurers returned to the rooms at the top of the stairs where the thieves had back stabbed the ambushers last time and again found the three rooms there empty of most of their items. The party decided to try the secret door leading east that they had forgone last time. Gisford manages to bust the door open, only to find himself under attack from a rotting ham, which he manages to duck. The party continues on and finds another room still containing some hobgoblin weapons and armor. Upon opening a door barred from their side, the party finds an exit from the caves that matches one they had seen from the distance when they first entered this cave. It looked like the caves were interconnected.

About to give up on this empty cave, the party realizes there was another path they had neglected to explore and after wandering that way here voices in the distance. They continue on only to find humans chained to the walls along with a gnoll and an orc. The party quickly offers water, healing, and rescue to the humans and find that they are the merchant Ditwinus, his wife Radegund, and a guard, the remaining guard not having survived confinement. In the meantime, Shri Jah is able to speak to both the gnome and the orc and attempts to interrogate them. He discovers the names of their clans and learns that each live in a nearby cave. Unable to get additional information from them, the party dispatches them.

Before heading back to the fortress, they revisit the room with the armor and weapons so Yrmengardis, the rescued guard, can arm herself and to gather what loot they can regretting their lack of foresight in leaving their beasts of burden behind in the fortress. They make their way back to the fortress and to the guild hall where they meet Guildmistress Marina. The Guildmistress makes the party honorary members and rewards them with 100 pieces of gold. While there, Radegund invites Camphor to her room where she rewards him with a magic dagger.

Camphor asks Orion to inspect the dagger so he can identify its properties and Orion welcomes the dagger as part of the party’s loot. It is decided that for now it will rotate between the three knife wielders beginning with Triochmerin. While at the guildhall Triochmerin asks Yrmengardis if she would like to join the party as a henchwoman. Upon consulting with the rest of the party it is agreed that Yrmengardis will join them if the party equips her and provides for room and board.

The party rests for the evening and prepares to venture forth in the morn.

9th day of Spring

The party travels back to the caverns (once again sans beast of burdens), but decide to begin at a different cavern this time. They decide to try the northern most entrance. Upon entering they are greeted with shelves of heads of all manner of species including human, orc, gnome, goblin, and hobgoblin. A trick of light, perhaps, makes it look like one of the heads moved. The party pause to reconsider their choice of caves, but decide to continue onwards.

The tunnel leads to a t-intersection and upon first entering the T, four orcs attack the party from the right tunnel. Gisfrid and Orion find themselves in the lead while the rest of the party squeezes behind (down the left tunnel) to fight. The orcs in the rear make wild spear throws while the two in the front attack. Shri Jah decided to watch the read of the party as it extends down the left tunnel. These first four orcs are dealt with quickly only to find four more orcs charging up the left tunnel. Fortunately, Shri Jah was on the alert and those orcs are also dealt with fairly quickly. The party, barely wounded, decided to carry on.

The right tunnel led to a store room so after a quick search, the party headed down the left tunnel. This tunnel eventually opened up into a largish room with multiple entrances, perhaps a dining hall. Jivko listened carefully and heard voices coming from the two doors across from the party. The party decided to take them by surprised and rushed through the rightmost door, only to find themselves surprised by 30 or more orcs in the room. Surprised by the numbers, the party failed to act immediately and found themselves under attack.

Unseen by the members in the read, three orcs sneak through the other entrance to attack the rear of the party. Gisfrid is quickly struck down and bleeding. Shri Jah decides that this would be a good time to use his spell of the day, a Sleep spell and begins to prepare. Orion and Yrmengardis prepare to defend the front of the party. Camphor and Triochmerin prepare their arrows. The party faces a dozen or more orcs while the remaining orcs huddle in a corner.

The archers let off their shots, which fly true. Shri Jah is attacked, but manages to dodge his attacker and release his spell. Fifteen orcs are put to sleep and Shri Jah earns his party membership. The 3 orcs in the rear continue to attack, with two attacking Jivko who is wounded. Orion makes his way down the other passage to the rear of the three orcs and attacks.

After stopping the blood gushing of Gisfrid, Triochmerin and Yrmengardis begin to slaughter the sleeping orcs. Orion cuts down one of the three remaining fighting orcs, while Jivko, Shri Jah, and Camphor attack the others. The other two orcs are killed, but not before Jivko is seriously wounded and knocked unconscious. A small mass of orcs, mostly women and children, flee past Orion. Camphor stops Jivko’s bleeding and the party begins to regroup. Orion heals Gisfrid, but nothing more can be done for Jivko.

A loud booming noise is heard heading towards the party and they back into the room they had just emptied of orcs and prepare to fight.

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An Unexpected Meeting with Royalty

4th day of Spring

Our five adventurers gathered to divide up the loot from their second expedition into the Caves.

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.

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A Gathering at Pleven Kula

Five adventurers met en route to Pleven Kula, in the south-central Borderlands:

(Cunimund and Camphor had previously had a run-in with a boar, some crows, and a thief in the haunted village of Tryavna, but that’s for another story – or maybe a return visit?)

Arriving on the first day of spring, they were granted entry around noon, subject to satisfying Curate Adamantios of Orion’s bona fides and Orion’s taking responsibility for the others.

In a couple of hours of asking questions around the fortress, they determined that the caves they sought were a few miles down the eastern road, off of a ravine. They heard that each cave held a different kind of monster, that there were large dog-men living in the upper caves, and that a powerful magician would slay intruders. A knight – named perhaps Sir Fragobert – had led a large party eastwards a week or more previously, but apparently had been heading toward some ruins rather than the caves the party were planning to investigate.

They set out impatiently, found the ravine and its macabre flooring of bones, and entered the first cave on the southern slopes. As they reached the second intersection into the tunnels, they were charged by a half-dozen goblins, with a half-dozen more in the darkness beyond throwing spears at them. Most of these were dispatched, the remnants fleeing their guardroom up some stairs and barring a door. After binding their wounds, the party pursued them, breaking down the door at the top of the stairs to find the refugees being tormented by a room full of hobgoblins. Although Cunimund offered them peace, a female hobgoblin offered instead to eat the adventurers – after she was quickly struck down, the other females retreated, and after only a few seconds’ combat the surviving males followed. Camphor spiked shut the door they left through to give the party some breathing space.

Feeling badly injured, the party returned to town, laden down with weapons scavenged from the goblin guards and a pittance in coins. Orion and Triochmerin lent some funds to help Cunimund buy splint armor; even with Orion’s prayers, it took them three days to feel ready to fight again, which was enough time for the armor to be fitted to the dwarf. Cunimund also hired a quartet of mercenaries who’d been sharing the common room and the tavern with them – Eburhart, Gisfrid, Hrodo, and Irmengard – and returned to the caverns the next morning.

Heading into the same cave, they turned the other way this time, only to meet six more goblins and an ogre. The goblins hung back and threw spears, while the party’s marksmen concentrated on the ogre; the ogre was clumsy, and after several exchanges of blows, Gisfrid brought him down. At that the goblins broke and fled back through the ogre’s lair. The party followed only a little way, brought up short by the sight of a sleeping cave bear. Instead, they searched the area short of the bear, finding the ogre’s treasure.

Although Eburhart was too badly wounded to fight, the party went back into the goblin warrens. There were many goblins in the next chamber, who heard the party coming and started to build a barricade of their furniture. Orion tossed a couple of flasks of oil onto it, then Cunimund tried to light it with a hurled torch, but his cast fell short. Before Gisfrid could follow up, the goblins’ chieftain charged over, followed by three guards; the next torch sent most of the barricade up in flames, preventing the others from following their leader.
Orion, Cunimund, and Gisfrid fell back before the goblin elites, pulling them out into the hallway where the rest of the party waited; arrows made short work of the goblins, albeit not before Orion lay once again unconscious on the ground. The remaining goblins offered the contents of the chieftain’s chambers in return for their safe passage, and when the party agreed, nearly three dozen of the short, twisted fey filed past them.

Once again returning to the fortress, the party sold what they could of the loot they’d found: a tapestry, a keg of brandy, some swords and spears…

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