January 2-14, 2015
Needle in a Haystack
Nytdain 22nd of Flaurmont
Art and Explosions
On the way up the stairs to the next level, Stephan had convinced Burik to give him his sword back. In turn, Burik grabbed the new magical sword that had been taken from the minotaur. “You can hold on to the armor and bow for now, son, though I’m probably going to want those back at some point, if you don’t mind,” the bruised and beaten Stephan mentions to Burik. Burik smirks and shrugs his shoulders, knowing that he would soon be losing his newly obtained magical gear.
The dusty, ancient art gallery has old, flaked pictures on the wall, surrounded by wide, decorative wooden frames. The pictures, most appear to be portraits but more details cannot be discerned without a closer inspection, are each 3-4 feet wide and 5-7 feet tall. The two gigantic statues are of Huttakans like the others below. These two statues are made of some sort of pale pink stone. Shiny in some places and dull and cloudy in others. No visible exits can be seen from this room and the stairs in the stairway do not go up any farther.
As the Company moves into the art gallery and before anyone can touch anything or begin a careful inspection, an explosion rocks the tower, shaking the walls and floors and causing dust and small debris to fall through cracks in the ceiling.
Suspecting the evil wizard has managed to get himself up another floor, or perhaps hide himself by means of some trick, Draven is drawn to the statue to his left as enters the room. Not trusting any pagan idols, he prods at it with his mace, seeking to determine if it is anchored to the floor or can be moved by some means.
Those Darn Statues
The statue is large and seemingly heavy, though as Draven pokes it with his mace it seems to move forward a bit, as if having been rocked. When its eyes begin glowing a soft green color, Draven realizes that he wasn’t moving the statue, it was moving on its own. A loud booming voice fills the room, though the words are in some unknown language, “Sdaude dre reaukul uf yuir krekelce.” The statue, having formerly been kneeling down on one knee slowly stands up, its narrow arms raising up in front of it in defensive position, its stony pink hands forming into fists.
“To me!” yells Draven as he takes a defensive stance of his own, waiting to see what comes of his triggering the beast into motion.
Griffin looks at the gigantic animate statue, it’s twin across the room, and steps to Draven’s side. “Retreat! Pull back to the stairs, brother! It’s size will work against it in closer quarters!”
|Engaging the animated statues|
Draven steps back and brings his shield and mace up to protect himself from the mighty pink fists attempting to pummel him but he is unable to stop either attack! The force of the blows pushes the young priest back toward the near wall as the pink statue steps forward.
Marcel hears a slight grating sound, like stone on stone and sees the statue next to him begin to move, as if coming to life.
Marcel is in no shape to fight statues off at the moment. He echoes the call from Griffin to retreat. He, however, will back down carefully to provide a rear guard for the others to escape.
Falling back from the flurry of blows, Draven drags himself towards the door, fighting off collapse.
The second statue turns and faces Marcel. It balls up its fists and immediately throws two punches at the Traladaran warrior but only one of the strikes is true. Marcel brings his shield up as he steps back. From over his shoulder, Remar flings a magic bolt at the statue, but it seems to have no effect. Stephan jumps forward near Marcel, his sword out in front of him, ready for the fight.
“They must be traps, left by our wizard. If you have a magic weapon, that may be the only way to hurt them!”
“Everybody out for crying out loud!” Marcel steps towards the door. He then let out a roar that booms and fills the hall:
“Bow before the Grey Company! Big, pink pebbles!”
"Out?" cries Stephan, "how will we catch that damn wizard? We need to press on!" He steps up and swings his sword at the statue and hits. Several small chunks of pink stone flake off
“You and which bloody army?” Asks Marcel, increasingly miffed to have the upstart run the show. “We need to get them one at the time.” Marcel would have loved to recapitulate the dire situation that he, Draven and Stephan are in, but his throat is parched and can speak no more.
To drive the point further, he steps once more towards the door.
To help his friend, Griffin steps up and slashes at the living statue, hoping to drive it back a bit. Griffin drives his blade home, hacking off a large chunk of the statue. The statue responds by swinging back at him. As Griffin steps back and brings his shield up in defense, it catches the heavy, pink arm, completely deflecting the blow. Griffin’s block was so effective, the statue’s arm cracks and breaks off as it hits the shield. The statue, who had followed up his attack, swings out with his other arm, trying to hit Draven. Worried that another hit may take him completely out of the fight, Draven flings himself back against the wall in retreat, placing his shield in the path of the strike. His defense is well timed and expertly deflects the blow, but there is enough of an impact to push him back and when he leans back into the framed picture on the wall behind him, he suddenly loses his balance as the canvas rips and he falls through an opening in the wall and ends up sitting on his butt in a narrow passageway that stretches to his right and left.
|Draven "finds" a secret passage|
Confused on whether the party is attacking or retreating, Iris steps up next to Griffin and swings her saber at the statue, hitting it. The statue attempts to dodge, but manages to throw itself off balance. Remar sends another magic bolt at the 2nd statue, but again, it seems to just fizzle out when it hits, causing no visible damage. “These things seem impervious to my magic!” the young mage calls out.
“Come, my brothers! I know not if this passage will lead us to the wizard or not, but they will certainly get us away from these… things!”
Griffin realizes that the wizard must have passed through a secret door into these hidden passages. “Iris, Ree, Remar, follow after Draven! I’ll hold this guy off. Burik, Akaios, we could use some help out here! Back Marcel up!” As he shouts, he takes a powerful swing at the statue’s other arm.
Heeding the call of Draven and Griffin, Ree heads for the newfound exit from the dangerous art gallery. She easily steps through the opening and joins Draven in the narrow passageway. Iris follows her, as does Remar. Burik and Akaios step out into the room and join up with Marcel and Stephan, forming a defensive line between the second statue and their companions. Griffin’s sword hits the statues remaining good arm and he feels the blade bite deeply into the brittle pink stone. As the statue recoils from the blow, Griffin notes sees that it moves a little slower; its wounds are taking their toll.
The statue on the far side of the room steps up toward Marcel and the others and lashes out with two fists, one at Burik and one at Stephan. Both blows are easily blocked or parried as the two warriors give ground to aid in their defenses. “Yie mesk leuye klos flude,” it says as it attacks.
The one armed statue calls out to Griffin, “Ga law aedranarr,” as it continues it’s attack. Griffin steps back and brings his shield up to block, narrowly avoiding the strike.
“Out we go, friends.” Marcel, seeing that one painting opened to a passage, eyes the nearest painting on the wall and dashes to it. He knocks it with his shields in hope to open a new passage.
Lunging back to his right, Marcel smashes his shield against the nearest picture and finds that it also contains a passageway behind it. The statue takes a swipe at him as he dives through but only manages to strike the wall, smashing the ornate picture frame in the process.
Seeing a closer exit, Burik, Stephan and Akaios all make to follow Marcel. As he climbs back to his feet, Marcel sees Burik get hit by the statue and crushed against the wall. Akaios takes a swing at the statue while Stephan helps Burik through the opening. The burly Thyatian quickly follows the others to safety.
On the other side of the room, Griffin and Remar make it through the opening as well. The statues follow the fleeing Company members to the opening, but once everyone is through, they return back to their original positions.
Both passageways are dark and narrow. They both follow the main room around to the left and right and end in dead ends at both ends. There are several alcoves in each passage that lead up to the backs of the other framed pictures. Small spots in each of the paintings allow the main room to be viewed secretly.
Griffin peers across the inner room as the statues return to their pedestals. He yells across to Marcel’s group in the southern passageway. “Okay, keep your guard up! This fellow has shown he likes to do tricks with invisibility.” “And stupid invisible walls,” he mutters. “I’ll see if I can get through from my side.”
Hoping that the layout of the floors in this tower were consistent, Griffin sprints to the northeast end of his passageway. Stupid not to have the passages connect, so, therefore, they must, and we just haven’t figured out how yet. He starts with a quick pass on the wall where he thought the stairs up should be. The little git couldn’t be that far ahead of us - Draven and the others put that minotaur down pretty quick. And there has to be a floor above this one - where else did that explosion come from?
A Secret Door
After searching for a few moments at the end of the hallway, Griffin finds what he assumes is a secret door, though he cannot initially find the latch for it. He checks for traps and finds none then looks for the latch, eventually finding it on the side wall tucked into a small niche. Depressing a movable stone switch, an audible click is heard and the doorway swings partyway open, revealing a small chamber with a spiral staircase leading up, similar to all the other stairwells in the tower. Upon entering the room, the outlines of two more doors are easily seen, one that probably leads back out into the statue room and another directly across from the open secret door, no doubt leading to the area that the rest of the Company is currently in.
|Secret doors all around|
Griffin calls to the team members on his side, “This way!” then moves to open the door to Marcel and his friends.
Griffin quickly locates the release mechanism from this side of the door and opens it. Marcel, Akaios, Stephan and Burik are all standing at the ready as the door opens. Marcel says he had found the door, but had not quite figured out how to open it yet. The Grey Company stands together once more at the bottom of yet another spiral stairway leading up further into the Tower of Xitaqa.
Griffin eyes his comrades. Almost everyone is wounded (except himself, of course. How lucky…) “Okay, let’s change things up here. Burik, you’re up front with me. Then Stephan. Ree and Marcel, watch our rear.” He looks up the stairs. “I think we’re gonna find the bad guy soon - let’s all be ready and hit him hard and fast. Clear?” Heads nod, and Griffin starts up the stairs.
Where Did He Go?
This spiral stairs leads up directly into the next level of the tower, no door separates it from the main chamber. Dust hangs heavy in the air and the far end of the room appears to have been somehow blasted away. Bricks and rubble lay about the room. A burnt smell fills the room.
The rain and wind blows in from outside. The room is room is comfortably, but distastefully furnished with a bed made from the splayed jaws of a dragon (badly damaged by the explosion), a triangular table of green-stained oak, and two orange wooden chairs carved to resemble crouching humanoids.
On the wall right hand wall hangs a hide map showing the positions of the ruined homesteads. An iron bound chest rests up against the left wall. No one appears to be in the room.
|The wizards chamber needs some remodeling.|
Marcel eventually makes his way into the room from the rear. He stretch his spear horizontally to sweep the empty space in front of him, making a point of passing by the chest, and the bed as he makes it towards the blasted wall.
“Show yourself, dwarf!”, he shouts in anger. He loves the rumble of his own voice in the echo-y hall.
Staying back in the stairwell, Draven clutches his chest, trying to hold everything together until they can set camp. I’m sure I’ve a broken rib or two at the very least. So hard to take each breath when it stabs at you like that. From where he stands, he peers as best he can into the room, fearful of another invisible attacker, but just as certain that their quarry has fled by way of the hole in the wall.
Looking out the window into the late afternoon rain, Marcel can see what appears to be several dark shapes flying away from the tower toward the west. It looks like several of the large nasty bats accompanied by what looks to be the yellow robed man, also flying. After but a moment, they veer to the south and out of sight of the tower.
A quick search of the room reveals no invisible surprises. The cold air of the rainy afternoon is making the upper tower chamber chilly. Watching out the window gives a decent view of the north and west ends of the ruins below. Several groups of Goblins can be seen running toward the south of the ruins.
|The view from the top of the Towe|
Griffin follows Marcel to the gaping hole in the side of the tower and watches the figure of their foe fly away. “Bastard,” he mutters. “Marcel, keep an eye on those goblin dogs - make sure they aren’t trying to get to the front door to cut off our escape. Everyone else, take five. Stephan, I have some food and water here for you. Meanwhile, I have some work to do.” He turns his attention to the room and the large chest. He cracks his knuckles and goes to work, first checking the container for any sort of trap or explosive, especially since the room already looks blown to shreds. Once he thinks it’s clear, he calls over Ree for a second opinion, just to be sure. Then he sets to work with his picks. Hopefully, there will be booty to make this venture worth it!
The chest appears to be untrapped and Griffin gets to work on the lock. The lock proves to be difficult and Griffin works on it for some time. After about 5 minutes, he finally gets it open. With a click and a smile, Griffin carefully opens the chest.
The chest contains a few changes of clothes in mostly tans and yellows. There are two small sacks filled with coins, one full, the other about half full. A leather satchel containing six small clay bottles bearing a familiar mark, the little silver bell of Chardastes the Healer, revered by Thyatians and Traladarans alike. There is a golden amulet wrapped in a small piece of velvet, another potion vial, with a bright green liquid inside, a delicately carved bone scroll case with brass stoppers at each end, a small, jewel encrusted silver casket containing a handful of gemstones, and a small ebony box containing a single silver needle and a strand of golden thread. Remar and Ree both look over the contents of the chest as everyone else oohs and ahhs at the loot. All seven potions are magical, as are the amulet and needle and thread.
Iris quickly identifies the scroll as very old, probably of the Taymoran Empire times, some 3000 or more years ago. She explains that the Taymorans were death worshippers and their domain once covered the land that makes up modern day Karameikos.
Marcel peers at the loot. To his amazement, it doesn’t stir his imagination. He runs his fingers in all of the coins. Never in his miserable life has he imagined seeing this much coins. Yet, he hardly cares. The potions seems interesting, but yet again he isn’t sure that he’d drink something coming from that Goblinhole. Hopefully, Iris or someone else will be able to vouch for the swag.
He keeps an eye on the fleeing goblins. Cowards. But yet again, what’s here to keep them if that yellow dork isn’t there to dangle his shiny coins under their noses. He reaches for a yellow robe and start plotting how he’ll modify the cloth to make a pretty shield cozy. The idea of a cozy has been simmering since the days where his shield got enchanted to glow. Yellow isn’t pretty, but the thought of using a wizard’s robe to cover his shield is too funny to take a pass.
"OK, friends. We’ve got the yellow wizard, with a map and all. He looks like the bad guy. We have to get this tapestry from the homestead and… I don’t know, burn it to hell." He awaits someone smarter to tell him that this is a bad idea. However, he feels pretty good about himself. All that is missing here is Argos… he scans the sky once more, worried.
“Someone keep close hold on that needle and thread - that seems like just the thing one would need to stitch up a fantastically magical tapestry,” says Draven as he looks dubiously at the collected bottles of ersatz healing. “I’m in pretty bad shape, so I think I’m going to risk one of these, if no one objects?”
“Draven my Friend, I’ll personally deliver your body to the nearest church if it doesn’t work out.”
“That was a joke.”
Draven takes a wholehearted swig with his eyes closed to a slit.
Griffin nods his approval. As Dad always said, “Keep the healer up, so he can keep the rest of you up.” He clears his throat, “Why don’t you hang on to the rest of those, Brother. The funky green one, too. We’ll head back down in a minute to the dormitory and catch our breath. You can triage folk there.” He looks around the room. “Akaios, can you gently get down that map. It may have clues we’re not seeing at the moment.” Turning his attention back to the chest, he hands the sack of silver to Burik. “Buddy, you seem to be traveling light these days, and I know you’ll keep good track of this.” Griffin puts the gold and chest of jewels in his kit, then hands the scroll back to Iris. “Why don’t you keep this for now - you may be able to puzzle more out about it later.” Staring at the rest of the booty, he hands the amulet and ebony box to Ree.
Griffin looks around the room again, hoping to glean any more information about this mysterious mage. Beyond the fact that he had extremely tacky taste in furniture, nothing came immediately to his eye. “Stephan! You are gonna have to fill us in on this mage character. In detail. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the little git.”
“Okay, let’s get out of the weather, folks. I think we’re gonna head down to the room with all the beds, then get ready to push on out of here. The gobbos are fleeing like rats - maybe they know something we don’t.” He hefts his much heavier sack to his shoulder. “Unless there are any objections?”
Remar notes that there is evidence of some previous writing going on at the green table. He notes some ink stains here and there though any papers or implements seem to have been taken.
Burik hefts the small sack filled with coins with an audible grunt. His narrow frame nearly collapses under the added weight. Akaios, after rolling up the hide map, quickly comes to his companions aid. “Here, take this, I’ll carry those,” he says, trading the map for the heavy bag of coins. “I don’t trust you with them anyway.”
Burik begins to complain about Akaios’s judgement of him, then realizes the map is considerably lighter than the coins and makes himself busy helping others adjust their packs.
Draven considers the wounds of his companions and doles out some of the other healing potions, giving one to Marcel, Stephan and another one for himself. Seeing that Stephan is still considerably wounded even after drinking one, the cleric gives him another, which does a much better job of mending him up.
“We’re not what anyone would call hale or hearty, but I think we can get out of this place in one piece now.”
Griffin smiles, “Good job, Brother. Folks are looking a bit better.” He eyes the bedraggled Stephan. “You want a blanket or something?”
“So, are you all ready to get out of here? Marcel, those gobbos leaving. Don’t suppose they took those baboons with them?”
“Okay, so let’s get out of here. I think we can scoot through the room with the statues easy enough. Then there’s that room with the damned invisible walls. Then it should be smooth sailing the rest of the way out.
The group makes their way out of the uppermost chamber of the tower, back down to the level with the tall, pink stone statues. Going through the secret passage and back to the picture opening closest to the exit door, the Company manages to make it through the room without disturbing the statues. Down another spiral flight of stairs leads the companions to the “invisible” room. Stephan visibly shudders as he enters this room, no doubt remembering some horrible torture he had endured here at the hands of his captor. Using his spear as a guide, Marcel slowly maneuvers his way through the room. Down one more flight of stairs brings them to the bunkroom. Everyone looks around, exhausted.
Remar sits himself down on one of the beds. “So are we going to push our way out of here now, or are we going to hole up and rest for the night. I can go on, but I’m not sure how much longer I can keep it up AND be able to use my magic. This place is secure and dry. If we get out of here tonight, at best, we could make it up to our campsite at the top of the ravine, right? It’s still raining. It looked like those Goblins were fleeing, right. I bet they know they have been beat and are running for the hills. I think we should hole up here for the night, get some rest and then head out in the morning.”
Several others nod and murmur in agreement, then Akaios speaks up, “That sounds mighty nice to me, I know I’m dead on my feet, but the problem is, we only have enough food for eight of us,” he looks at Stephan, “and there are nine of us if I remember my numbers right.”
Burik, looking like he is ready to take a long nap, speaks up, “Maybe we can camp out here, secure the doors really good, and a few of us, the ones not as beat up, can scout out and look for some supplies? These folk had to eat SOMETHING, right?” He chuckles nervously hoping someone else supports his idea and then volunteers to go out scouting.
“Okay, I guess now would be a convenient time for some of us to scout around and look for some supplies. Who feels up to joining me?” Griffin asks.
“I’m far from fit, but I’m not as exhausted as I was. And someone has to keep you out of trouble!” Draven replies.
Griffin attempts a wounded expression, but fails. “I don’t know what you mean, Brother. I strive constantly to stay out of trouble!” I’m just not very good at it.
It is decided that some folk will go out and explore the immediate area, looking for food and supplies while the others will stay put and rest up, hopefully securing the 2nd level room for an overnight stay. Griffin, Draven, Marcel and Akaios will venture forth while Iris, Ree, Remar, Burik and Stephan will stay behind. Before they leave, Remar attempts another healing spell on Akaios, but is unsuccessful. He does successfully heal Draven and Marcel up just a little bit more, though, bringing Draven back up to full health and Marcel almost there.
Carefully, the scouts head down the stairs to the main floor chamber where the Hobgoblins had been encountered. It is just as they had left it. Two dead Frost Wolves and a pile of heavy crossbows. The bows are quickly gathered up and taken back upstairs to be used as defensive measures. They are have a very heavy pull, but Akaios and Marcel are able to cock them with just a little extra effort. Akaios uses all but one remaining bolt of his and loads the extra ones up. They are placed strategically to be used to defend the room in case of an attack. Remar then asks everyone to gather in the middle of the room so he can cast Magic Mist on the area. He chants and casts for about 5 minutes then a shimmering silver mist seems to envelop the area, stretching from door to door and covering nearly the entire room. He says he will be able to try a few more healing spells on some of the other companions after he has rested a bit. The two footlockers will be used to barricade the doors and there is talk of some folk heading back upstairs to grab the chairs and table from the wizard’s room, being careful around the statues of course. Burik offers to try to take some meat from the dead Frost Wolves below and try to cook it, which would probably increase the food stores quite a bit. Everyone else munches on the remaining food that Akaios leaves behind.
With a bit more rest under their belts, the scouting group heads back down to the main level of the tower, hoping to find some food and supplies.
“Okay, folks, let’s make this slow and thorough. Don’t want anything sneaking up on us. I’ll take point, then Marcel and Draven. Akaios, you take the rear for now.” Griffin leads the way back to the room with the frost wolf corpses again. He gestures at the door not sealed with swords. “We haven’t checked this door yet. I’m assuming the gobbos that left out that door are gone,” and he gestures at the bigger door, “but this is an unknown. And I’m curious.” He readies his crossbow and checks the door.
The other door, leading to the south, is locked and barred from the inside. Griffin detects no traps. Unbarring it is easy enough, though there is still the locking mechanism to deal with.
Griffin sets to work, seeing another lock to pick. But wait, why do they have this barred and locked from this side? Is there something in there the gobbos don’t like?
He stands up and shrugs, “Eh, let’s check out the gobbo’s escape route first. This isn’t going anywhere.” He pulls the swords that are wedged into the door out and turns to the others. “Ready? Let’s do this.”
The door is opened. The sound of rain falling can be heard and a cool breeze blows in. The short corridor can be seen leading to an open area about 10 feet ahead. Across the open area, an open door can be seen that leads to the outside. There are some blood
spatters on the floor and near walls, but there are no signs of the Hobgoblins. Moving carefully and quietly down the hall, the group approaches the room at the end of the corridor. It looks to be some type of foyer or entryway to the tower. Immediately to the right of the corridor stands a 10 foot tall Hutaakan statue, similar to the many others present in the area. This one is carved out of a marbled white and grey stone and appears to be some type of warrior or guardian. Everyone gives it a wide berth as they move into the room. Marcel takes up a spot to the left, Akaios remains in the corridor and Griffin and Draven move toward the open door. The statue does not move or speak, though no one approaches any closer than they need to. This area looks as if it had recently been used as a campsite. A burnt out campfire sits in a stone circle close to the statue and food remains are scattered about the area. An old blanket lays near the wall and Marcel finds a quiver with 10 crossbow bolts leaning behind a chunk of wood that may have been used as a seat. Some crude bone dice can be seen near a rough circle drawn on the floor and a few copper coins lay scattered nearby. A crudely constructed table lays on its side just past the firepit, its former contents lay scattered on the floor. There are no Hobgoblins here, though the faint smell of body odor lingers around the edges of the room.
|The front door.|
The open door leads out to a cobblestone courtyard in front of the tower. Wide stone steps lead down about 4 feet to ground level. The court yard is overgrown with tall weeds and flooded with many wide puddles from the continually falling rain. Griffin can see several buildings across the ravine from the tower. All but one of them have closed or blocked doors. One building directly across from the tower has a wider doorway, the side of a double door, and these are actually open. Off to the left, Griffin sees another door that leads into the cliff that the tower is constructed on. To him it seems that it might lead into the ancient library room the Company first entered the tower through.
Griffin stares around the relatively empty room. “Well, hells, looks like we’re gonna have to get wet.” He peers out into the gloom, eyeing the doors across the courtyard. “Let’s check out those over there first. They even left the doors open for us! If we get into trouble that we can’t deal with quickly, fall back to here again and we’ll barricade ourselves in here. At least we know that most of the area behind us has been cleared.”
Griffin readies his crossbow again and proceeds quietly through the rain and mud. He listens as he moves, hoping to get any hints of opposition before they are aware of him.
The group splashes across the open courtyard and ravine to the wide open doors on the other side. The occasional sound of a distant baboon screech is the sound besides the falling rain.
As the scouts approach, it is clear that this building is being used as a stables. The smell of horse is strong, though no horse sounds can be heard. It is dark inside.
While Griffin and the others are approaching the stable, Marcel drifts to the left to unravel the opened space ahead of the passed the open ravine. He takes it very slow, sacrificing mobility over awareness, expecting a bunch of goblin dogs to show they ugly, but meaty, heads.
Draven follows Griffin close to the edge of the stables while Marcel wanders off to the left down the center of the main ravine. Akaios, who had been bringing up the rear, is divided between following his old friend to the open stable door or following the increasingly eccentric Marcel along the ravine. Griffin and Draven slide up to the door and Griffin turns and whispers back to his friends to be quiet and follow his lead. That is when he notices Marcel a good distance away, heading to the north, and Akaios about halfway in between, looking unsure of himself.
As he makes his way along the ravine, Marcel sees a few more buildings jutting out from the sides of the cliff walls. All of them have dark, open doorways though he cannot see into any of them in the fading light of evening.
As Griffin prepares to call out to Marcel and Akaios, he and Draven both freeze when they hear a sound from inside the stables. A thud then a slow dragging or scraping sound, as if something heavy were being slowly pulled across the floor.
Griffin glares at the retreating Marcel and waves Akaios to follow him. We may have to have a talk when we get a moment, you and I, Marcel. Then he turns and catches Draven’s eye as he draws a bead on the stable door. A quick nod and he steps into the room, searching for a target.
Marcel is really wondering what the fuss is about as he backs down from his peek to the North. If there is a place where the rear is vulnerable, it would be certainly where the party is about to enter through a narrow door, in a dark place.
Marcel assumes that he is misunderstood. He gets this tingle when he feels that he is channeling supernatural forces. Superstitiously, he waves his hand, defining an invisible wall across the ravine. Knowing, or hoping, that no harm can come from this direction anymore, he turns around and heads to the stable where his friends probably managed to find trouble (or horses).
Griffin enters the room and sure enough, this space has recently been used as a stables. Several crude stalls have been made by propped up beams and branches, though no horses reside in here now. Griffin luckily avoids stepping in a pile of horse droppings as he moves further into the room. The source of the sound is not immediately clear as Draven holds high his holy symbol, letting it’s divine light wash over the dirty room. Empty feed sacks, broken chains, bits of rope, old riding gear and other items litter the floor, rest on the stalls or hang from pegs in the walls. The cluttered space is about 15 feet wide and about 20 feet long. At the far end, in the left hand wall, a wooden door rests in a frame.
The scraping sound can be heard again, only briefly this time, but definitely from this room. Draven points to a length of rusty chain that stretches along the floor near the open ends of the horse stalls. As Griffin looks, he sees it move a bit, scraping along the stone floor as if being pulled from the far end. The two carefully trace its path and see that the near end of the chain is wrapped around the first horse stalls wall. The far end leads into the darkness of the very last stall.
Behind them, they can hear Marcel and Akaios shuffling up to the door. They enter loudly and shake the water from their heads and faces. “Damn all this rain,” Akaios says. “Shit!’ Marcel yelps as he steps right in the pile of horse manure.
“Darnn, the way north WAS clear.” Marcel grumbles as it occurs to him that goblin horses also need to go. He then realizes that the others are occupied by something ahead, shuts up and flicks the dung up in the air, missing only by a little Akaios as he shuffles forward.
Griffin takes out his Elf charm for the extra light, then slides up next to the stall and peers carefully around the corner.
The chain leads into the last horse stall and ends abruptly at a pile of dirty, damp hay. Griffin can see the chain quivering slightly where it goes into the hay. Marcel pushes forward to get a look as well while Draven checks the nearby door and Akaios stands guard at the entrance.
Finding himself well backed-up, Griffin decides to be a bit bold. He steps out of cover, crossbow aimed at the pile of hay, and says, “All right, come out of there. Nice and easy. Show yourself.”
Marcel, anticipating some kind of firework, ready his weapons and tries to see what is going on from the rear of the pack. Akaios then notices that Marcel has wrapped his spear forearm with a strip from one of the yellow gowns of the wizard. He isn’t sure whether this is good looking, or just a stealth liability.
As Griffin and Marcel lean forward toward the haystack, it suddenly explodes as a skinny yellow Goblin leaps forward, wielding the broken handle of a whip. It screams loudly as it lunges toward Griffin and Marcel, the chain can be seen, hanging from his left leg.
Marcel sees the scene develops in slow motion and is not phased. He point his spear at the goblin and, evaluating, exclaims with a booming voice:
“Cow before me you yellow wad! Lay your face into the dirt!”
As Marcel yells at the Goblin, it’s eyes grow wide. Unexpectedly, it stops it’s attack and throws itself onto the ground in submission, though it still holds onto the whip handle.
Marcel, without a flinch, steps forward and places the tip of his spear to the back of the goblins’ neck. That was unexpected, he thinks to himself.
“Griffin, my friend, let’s make friends with the little yellow toad.”
As Griffin kicks the whip away, Marcel kneels down beside the goveling gob.
“Tell me about the Yellow one, oh, yellow one. Why hast he forsaken thee? Why is the chain so heavy?” Marcel asks in a goofy, antiquated, Traladaran speech.
The Goblin begins to grovel and cry. It turns over to face Marcel, puts its hands up above his face. “Ohh, ohh, please don’t hurt us or poke us, masters. Dotzag is sorry. He doesn’t mean to scare you.” He scoots back a bit from Marcel and leans back on some hay. The Goblin looks emaciated, he is nearly skin and bones. His thin yellow skin is bruised and scabbed over. He wears thick iron manacles on both ankles and wrists. “I tell you all you wish to know!” Marcel again demands to know about the yellow robed wizard. The goblin stares at the yellow fabric wrapped around Marcel’s arm and his bloodshot eyes grow even wider. “Ahh, you be a yella wizzer too? Don’t hurt me or turn me into an Elf! Ahhh, no!” He cowers for a moment, then continues as Marcel prods him. “Dotzag just Faz Plak. Faz Plak all slaves. Faz Plak master too. Dotzag just slave. Tend horses. Shovel shit. That all.” He then moans and holds his belly, which can be heard making sounds of hunger. He looks past Marcel and Griffin longingly at the door leading further into the canyon wall. He wails and moans some more.
|A groveling Goblin.|
Griffin sneers at the pathetic thing. “Marcel, see if it knows where the gobbos stored their food. He’s probably not going to know much about the wizard, but he did recognize the yellow, so you might as well see if he knows anything about him as well.”
Cast of Characters:Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard
Marcel Maas, a homely but sincere wielder of spears aspiring to cooking greatness commanded by +Christian Blouin
Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer
and +Jason Woollard as The DM