If It Wasn’t for the Wolf, That Would Have Worked
Leaving the others at the entrance to Klarg’s chambers without saying a word, Rask began to sneak into the room, hoping to get to the back unnoticed where he might have a useful vantage point.
None of the goblinoids in the room had a clue he was even there…Until Klarg’s pet wolf, Ripper, began to growl. Following its gaze, Klarg noticed the halfling attempting to creep through the room, and immediately called out.
Seeing that the whole plan (if you could call what was carried out a plan) was going to Hell, the rest of the party charged into the room, getting the drop on Klarg, a massive bugbear, and the goblins.
The wolf was able respond to the new arrivals, and launched itself at the foe who was now closest, Torbjorn. It was able to sink its teeth into his flesh, but the dwarf cast off the wolf with little effort, and was not dragged to the ground by its vicious jaws.
Aurora tried to stay out of the fray, but entered the room enough to cast firebolt at Klarg, singing his skin and causing him to roar in pain. Dominique also decided to remain outside of the room, and instead played an inspiring battle song on his lute for support.
The two goblins were dispatched without too much trouble, but it took both Torbjorn’s greataxe and Adeline’s longbow to take down the wolf. By this time, Klarg had set his sights on the spellcaster, and was approaching Aurora with his enormous mace held high.
Damsel in Distress
His first blow missed, striking the cave wall above Aurora’s head and causing a shower of rock and gravel to rain down on her. Terrified, she fired back with another firebolt, striking him at close range and slowing his approach, just slightly.
By now, the other members of the group had finished with the rest of the enemies and were turning on Klarg, but they were not fast enough. Klarg’s second swing struck true, slamming into Aurora and knocking her unconscious.
Seeing a pretty lady in trouble, Dominique ran into the fight and cast cure wounds, healing her and bring her back to consciousness.
As Aurora rose to her feet, she saw that Klarg’s back was to her as he was locked in single combat with Torbjorn. She fought through exhaustion and fear, mustering all of her arcane strength into one last firebolt.
The ball of fire found its mark, striking the bugbear directly in the rump and causing him to crumple forward in pain. As his ass set fire, Klarg let out a giant sigh before passing away.
The Spoils of War
The adventurers looted the chamber, finding a decent haul in Klarg’s personal stash. They also stumbled upon numerous crates of supplies, clearly stolen from a caravan and marked with the symbol of the Lionshield Coster. Torbjorn replenished his supply of rope from the stolen goods, and crudely hacked off the pelt of Ripper, Klarg’s pet wolf, before everyone returned to the chamber where they had left Sildar Hallwinter.
Sildar was beginning to come around, and the party wasted no time extracting information from him. He verified that he and Gundren were ambushed on the road by goblins, and also confirmed what Yeemik said: that Gundren had been taken to some place named Cragmaw Castle, but he did not know where it was located.
Badly in need of medical attention, Sildar urged the party to escort him to Tumbledale, promising to secure a loan and pay them 10GP a piece upon arrival.
As they made their way out of the cave, the party noticed that the goblin hostage they tied up earlier had managed to chew through his ropes and escape. The group wasn’t concerned at all, though Torbjorn was a little upset that a goblin got away before he could murder it…
And so the party made their way back to the wagon of supplies and continued on to Tumbledale.
Arriving close to sunset, most businesses were in the process of closing by the time the adventurers got to Tumbledale. However, Rask and Torbjorn stopped at Barthen’s Provisions to deliver the wagonload of supplies while the rest of the party continued on to Stonehill Inn to secure lodging for the night.
After a brief, halfhearted attempt to convince Elmar Barthen to pay them more than the agreed upon amount, Rask and Torbjorn collected their payment and joined up with their companions at Stonehill Inn. The rest of the night was spent having a few flagons of ale, talking with the local townspeople, and listening to Dominique compose his new song, “The Wrath of Torbjorn Goblinsbane.”
New in Town
Aurora was the first to wake up, and managed to catch the first eastbound wagon out of town. She had let the party know of her intentions to leave the night before. Her close brush with death in the Cragmaw Hideout made her realize that the life of an adventurer was too perilous, and that he only real desire was to be with her lover, the heir to a rival kingdom. She set out to continue her journey to him.
The rest of the party spent most of the next day running errands around town.
Adeline visited Alderleaf Farm and spoke with its owner, Qelline Alderleaf. They shared a brief, but friendly, exchange before Adeline took her leave. Qelline noted that nothing was asked of her, and that Adeline had come to the farm for nothing more than a good-natured chat. She offered her assistance anyway, and welcomed Adeline back anytime.
When Torbjorn finally woke up, he found Rask and they started about town.
The first stop was at the Lionshield Coster, the trading outpost they had learned was the only place in town to buy weapons. Their transaction with Linene Graywind was much more amicable than the one from the previous night, and they ended up selling some goods they had found, as well as replenishing their supply of arrows.
Rask and Torbjorn also made mention of Linene’s stolen goods, currently sitting in Cragmaw hideout a half day’s ride away. There was some brief teasing of the information, but when Torbjorn and Rask learned that she was willing to pay for the information they gave her the approximate location, and even drew a crude map.
They also spoke of the Redbrands, a local gang of ruffians that were the talk of the tavern last night, and the trouble they had been causing around town. Linene told the two adventurers that a man named Thel Dendrar was murdered in the streets by the Redbrands, not even a tenday ago. They were making advances on his wife and he stood up to them, so they slay him where he stood. The body was taken away, and later that night his wife and two children went missing as well.
After receiving this harrowing news, Rask and Torbjorn left the shop and continued on to the Townmaster’s Hall. There they ran into Harbin Wester, the current townmaster, who questioned them about their business in town. Rask and Torbjorn could tell Harbin was a pompous fool, and decided to not even pay him the respect of an answer. If he wasn’t such a coward he may have been offended, but instead he just retreated to his office, claiming there was work to do.
They found Sildar in an office near the front of the building. It was being used as a storeroom, but he had already set about making some young employees clear the place out for his use.
He greeted the adventurers warmly and quickly paid them the agreed upon amount for escorting him to town. They hung around and spoke for a while. Sildar urged them to continue their search for Gundren, and find someway to locate this Cragmaw Castle that the goblins had spoken of. He also asked the adventurers to keep an eye out for his companion, Iarno Albrek, a fellow Lords’ Alliance member who had come to town a few months before to set up a constabulary. Word about town was that he had gone out to explore the woods near the Tresendar Manor, and hadn’t been seen since.
The adventurers left the Townmaster’s hall and went separate ways, agreeing to meet up later and investigate the local Redbrand hangout, The Sleeping Giant.
Torbjorn headed to the smithy and paid the owner to let him use the facilities. He took the wolf pelt, which he had collected from Klarg’s pet yesterday, and began to fashion it into a wearable cloak. He had botched a lot of the pelt when he sawed it from the body, but with some fabric and leather he was able to piece together a very warm-looking piece of clothing.
Adeline had spent the morning talking to the squirrels on the town green, and ended up losing track of time. She spent most of the morning communing with nature in the nearby area, becoming familiar with the terrain and its inhabitants.
Rask decided to head to the orchard on the northwestern side of town. One of the locals he spoke with the night before told him that the old half-elf who owned it, Daran Edermath, was a retired adventurer, and he was eager to hear his story. As Rask approached the house near the orchard, he could see Daran sitting on the porch in a rocking chair, enjoying the sunset.
As the two greeted one another, the ground trembled, ever so slightly.
No one was able to even percept the tremor, but it was growing closer, so they would certainly feel it before long…