Woke up in the middle of the night to the noises of goblins approaching. Rylee’d been on watch, and her raised fist indicated we should remain very quiet…but the goblin party moved on and we were left in relative safety on our Cliffside sanctuary.
In the morning, we restarted our journey down the cave adjacent to the healing pool, but after several hours, the passage closed on us…debris from the events of the prior day apparently had led to a tunnel collapse in this area as well. So we backtracked back to the smaller cave system where we’d encountered the goblins (and other things). We retreated from this cave system into the large cavern and considered our options…fight the creature that guards the other tunnel, or try the remaining cave.
Considering our makeshift weapons and dysfunctional armor pieces, we elected to pursue the latter. At first, we regretted this decision as the cave was going deeper into the earth, away from our ultimate desination…the surface. After several hours, and a number of awkward glances between party members as we considered our situation, suddenly the cave began to ascend.
Skall the sorceror noticed it first…the walls in this area have been worked by humanoids. The air changed here too, smelling fresher, but with a, deep, earthy tone. As we climbed, the ambient light seemed to be increasing. Bioluminescent moss on the roof of the cave glowed ever so slightly.
We came to a turn in the cave that led to a cavern, and everyone’s senses went on overload. Tarik crept forward and peeked around the corner…and spied a dense field with some clumps in it. Then he realized those clumps were the bodies of goblins. Arven and Skall stepped out from the cave and approached the field, noting some buildings in the distance…which included what appeared to be a keep of some sort with high walls. Tarik approached one of the goblin corpses to analyze it, when Skall shouted—vines had erupted from the field growth and wrapped around his legs. Arven approached the vines around Skall to attack, when he too was grabbed by vines. Scrimshaw rushed out to assist Skall and Carth charged in to assess the full situation. Each team member fought to free each other.
Arven was the first to break free, and he and Carth charged a larger mound in the field—they had realized that was the source of the vines. Tarik picked up a spear from the dead goblin and started quickly making his way to the battle. Tarik threw his spear, but missed badly…muttering beneath his breath. Skall took a lot of damage, but was able to send bolts of magic into his attacker. Scrimshaw fought the vines both from himself and to free Skall. Arven and Carth continued to hammer the larger plant mound, but it could take a lot of damage and keep on fighting. Tarik made it to Skall and Scrimshaw, but then got tied up in vines himself and was unable to fight free for a bit.
<< Roaarrr >>
It came from across the field, just a large and dark shambling shadow at first which revealed itself as a massive mushroom-based, mycanoid-type creature. This creature charged into the fray…Arven and Skall rose to face it, while Scrimshaw turned his attentions on the mound. Skall and Tarik managed to break free of vines, Tarik retrieved the spear while Skall sent more magic missiles into the mound. Scrimshaw healed Skall, while Tarik attacked the mound. Arven and Carth’s attacks were only partially effective against the mushroom creature…his spongy body absorbed some of the impetus of bladed weapon attacks.
Skall nailed the mushroom creature with a spell, which enraged the creature…which then raced to attack Skall, despite Arven and Carth raining unimpeded attacks on him. Tarik’s offensive struggles continued, while Skall took massive damage from the creature. The entire party encircled the creature, attempting to hold it still, but it wanted Skall with a passion and wouldn’t be deterred. Skall then fell into darkness from his massive injuries, and Tarik grabbed the gnome up and turned to keep him from being obliterated by the monster. The monster’s hatred for sorcerer skall was so great, it barely damaged Tarik’s exposed back, so intent on attacking the gnome, it was. Carth and Arven’s attacks finally brought both creatures to bay, while Scrimshaw’s skill proved effective as he coaxed lost Skall back to breath again. Tarik and Carth raided the bodies of the goblins for anything useful, while Arven moved towards the buildings in the distance.
Our heroes arrived at the keep first. It was a somewhat tall, non-scaleable structure…the drawbridge had rotted away to nothing. The moat was deep. Arven retrieved a goblin body and thew it into the water, and with a massive splash—the body was pulled to the depths below by something very large.
Vowing to return to the keep, Carth urged the group to investigate the buildings to the side. Some were in disrepair, but most were intact…but hadn’t been utilized in some time. Several chests were discovered, one of which had some gems and coins in it. One set of scale mail armor was discovered…it was decided to give it to Tarik.
The dead goblin display in the water had the group on edge about swimming the moat. As a group, with some well-conceived prayers and ingenious crafting and engineering skills—managed to erect a temporary, if not precarious drawbridge.
The keep proved to be fairly (and thankfully) boring by comparison, several long-abandoned weapons remained from an unknown occupation, but a back exit was discovered and it appeared to climb towards the surface. The parthway was well constructed, made of well-carved stone as we continued to climb. Dim light became stronger, we cast aside our torches. As we approached the surface, we experienced conflicting emotions…daylight…and hopefully freedom, teased and antagonized us from a distant half-mile ahead.
The surface was…absolutely beautiful! Tho’ none of us could look for long and were forced to avert our faces as our long-dark eyes fought for focus through the pain of the first bright light we’d seen in months, if not longer for some of us.
In the far distance, beyond the fields, there were forests. We headed that way to be “away” from the entrance to our “former slave pens”, and to provide some cover and/or shelter. Chills ran through our bodies as also in the distance, but not nearly as far as we’d have liked, were the howls of massive Worgs. The sounded as if they were coming closer. Not wanting to be caught in the open by these murderous creatures, we began running towards the trees….and later towards a home-type building we could now see. We closed on the building surprisingly fast…fear of the creature, fear of the unknown, and fear of being denied the sweet taste of freedom we’d only minutes old on our tongues, we ran like the wind!
We made the lodge with very little time…we ran through the open gate, and much to our surprise, the Worgs stopped just short of the fence and were seemingly unable to pass into the incomplete enclosure.
We explored the lodge…it was large, with a big cooking area, several sleeping areas, a library, inside running water…it was amazing! A few of us even bathed—though one or two of the others, we’d really appreciate if they would as well <audible>
We ran a reduced watch this night. Everyone slept well…Tarik fell asleep in the library reading. So many books from many sources. A truly brilliant collection, most of the books were first editions. In the morning, Skall and Arven were flirting with the “outside”, just beyond the partial gate. The Worg tracks were still present, but there was no sign of them or the tracks leading away. In the distance, Arven spied a hill no one had detected last night…we roused the rest of the party and made for the hill…