Out of the Woods

Episode 5 - ...Be Here

Goblins, goblins, goblins!

Part One

Euphoria defends herself handily against the goblins in the cornfield, but knows the odds are stacked against her, so she shouts “FIRE!” to rouse the townsfolk. Valna, up on the rooftops, hears her and can just about spot her amongst the corn, and rings the town’s bell to rally Llanfairfach. Fensir and Fax awaken and come running and, pointed in the right direction by Valna, head into the cornfield – Fax transforming into a bear along the way. Euphoria throws one of her assailants through the air, and the others, hearing the sound of reinforcements and unable to get past her shield, make a run for it. Fensir knocks out and captures the tossed goblin, while Fax and Valna – who quickly realised the bear is her Dragonborn friend – head into the corn, startling Euphoria as they chase after the fleeing goblins.

Euphoria and Fensir head back into town and tell the frightened townspeople to prepare in case the goblins attack, and take their captive to the temple to interrogate him. The mainly learn that the goblins have a leader, a “captain” named Balzar, but their captive is oddly wise to their tricks and refuses to tell them anything more. Meanwhile in the woods, Fax discovers bear form is great for killing goblins – as are Valna’s martial arts, of which she has achieved a new level of mastery. They kill four of the fleeing goblins and capture the last one before returning to the town.

Regrouped, the adventurers realise that Liafel is missing. Valna hits upon a plan to put their two captives together in one of the town’s small prison cells and secretly listen in to their conversation, and so she waits next to the cell while the others go looking for Liafel. They find almost no trace of her, even with Fax trying out another new form: a wolf. Liafel’s tracks lead to a strange symbol picked out in stones at the south edge of the town, but there’s no sign of where she might have gone after finding it…though as she’s a ranger, that’s not entirely surprising.

The others return to find that Valna also gone! Her plan hit a snag – the goblins spoke to each other in their own language, and Valna’s knowledge of Orc was only close enough for her to pick out one or two words. The goblins picked the lock, and Valna decided on a new plan: to let them escape and follow them. Fax, still a wolf, catches up to Valna just in time for the pair of them to watch the goblins recover trinkets from the bodies of their dead comrades in the woods before heading into a disused mine on the other side of the woods north of town. The others join them, and after setting some kindling across the mine entrance as a makeshift trap, they sneak inside, discovering that the goblins are indeed inside. Their captain, who has a pet giant rat, has killed the interrogated goblin, but still has another eight goblins with him. The team prepare for an assault…

Part Two

The adventurers head into the cave, and from a hiding spot Fensir telepathically freaks out one of the goblins, causing an altercation. Before they can see how that plays out, Fax’s keen wolf ears hear something entering the mine – it’s Liafel! She tracked her friends to the mine and discovered another small party of goblins heading to the mine entrance, so she ran in stealthily to warn them. Euphoria and Fax lead a charge back to the mine entrance, deciding to fight where they have a chance of escape if things go south, and engage the three goblins there – who have a couple of swarms of rats at their command. They kill a couple of the goblins but the noise alerts captain Barzan and his horde, who come up from below.

In the fight that ensues, the adventurers kill another of the goblins and injure many of the others, but find the odds overwhelming, especially when Fax, transformed back into his regular form to cast a entangling spell to slow down the goblins, is felled by a crossbow bolt. Fax’s vines and the fire they prepared earlier keep the goblins at bay as they return to Llanfairfach to regroup, and they rest overnight to prepare to finish off the goblins.

In the morning, the group are given half of their promised reward and they spend it on equipping themselves for the battle ahead. Back at the mine, Fax rushes in in bear-form and sets off a trip-wire trap which misses him, but alerts the goblins. Too of them pop their heads around the corner of the mine shaft and shoot at the bear before running back inside; when the group follows, they only find one of them, who Fax and Valna quickly finish off. They head down the passage to the main chamber, but there’s no sign of the goblins – until Fax enters, at which point three of the survivors leave their hiding places and shoot at the group. In the ensuring fight Liafel rides Fax into battle, Euphoria decapitates Barzan’s pet rat and almost kills the captain himself in one blow, Valna wipes the floor with goblin archers, Fensir’s powers cause a goblin to drop dead as it imagines something horrible happening to it, and Fax once again tastes goblin brains.

With the goblins and rats all dead, they determine that Barzan wasn’t magical at all – he’d lived a long life for a goblin, and learned some of the ways of humans, declaring himself a “captain” when he stole parts of a soldier’s uniform and tried to adopt human military tactics. He was also wearing soldier’s tokens around his neck on a chain, and had started a tradition among his “men” of wearing individual trinkets. His “war chest” contains 53 gold pieces, documents from soldiers of the faraway Crown Islands, a heavy crossbow, a spell scroll, and a mysterious journal written in an unusual language using dwarven script. Fensir is able to read it; some pages are missing but there are multiple entries using an unfamiliar dating system, talking of a search for something the author couldn’t find in a variety of very strange environments that don’t resemble anything in Casparia. The group take a brief moment to rest, then take the goblin’s swords and crossbows before heading back to Llanfairfach with the news that the threat is ended.

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