Tagavorner Haykakan

Dances with Burning Wolves

Caves of Chaos, part 2

The as-yet unnamed party:

Arxire Coilbone, tiefling warlock (Rory)
Erdan Thistleborn, elf cleric (Michael G.)
Gogh, half-elf rogue (Brian)
-Esh, his donkey
Lichen, drow warlock (Nico)
Mathis, human monk (Zach)
Misty, elf paladin (Allie)
Naivara, elf druid (Janine)
-Kiko, her ferret [RIP]
Tyriel Morlane, half-elf ranger (Michael D.)

In the aftermath of the party’s first scrape with the Burndog goblin tribe of Blackstar Canyon, several questions remained unanswered. Such as, Where did the elf paladin go? For she ran out of the ogre cavern and back into the canyon as suddenly as she’d appeared. In her place stood another elf, this one decked out like a druid and carrying a pet weasel, and their prior companion Tyriel Morlane, the ranger from Fairbanks who’d failed to show up at the party’s appointed departure time. But, as the Halfswill dwarves say, “Voch inch”.

As the battered heroes again set up camp in the ogre cave—this time making sure to carefully watch both cave entrance and back door—the newly arrived druid decided to leave and scout the nearby goblin cave. Naivara snuck to the entrance and peered inside. The sounds of goblins moving heavy rocks were interrupted by a shrill squeal; shortly thereafter, two spears hurtled out from the darkness, one of them finding purchase in Naivara’s shoulder. The druid retreated, but hoping to gain more intel about the cave network, she sent in her beloved weasel companion Kiko. Intrepid, trusty Kiko snuck into the cave, a look of steely determination on his brave weasel face. Outside, Naivara heard a sharp squeak, the clang of iron on stone, the cackle of a goblin, followed by the crunches and squelches of very small bones and organs being chewed up.

Meanwhile, back in camp, Gogh had strung a bit of twine across the back door and hung a little bell on it. While taking a watch, Tyriel heard the sounds of large stones being moved around behind the door, but when he tried to sneak a peek behind it, he jangled Gogh’s little bell and received a goblin thrust in the arm from the cavern on the other side. Though concerned about the goblins’ machinations, the weary party wedged the door shut again and tried to rest.

After a few hours, they were ready to move out. It was decided to split the party and attack on two fronts. Mathis, Erdan, and Lichen were to lead a frontal assault on the goblin cave, while Naivara, Gogh, Arxire, and Tyriel opened the back door.

Mathis, Erdan, and Lichen immediately noticed that the stream of filthy water was no longer coursing out of the goblin cave. Inside, they could see that a great many stones, furniture, and other material had been stacked into two parallel walls, forming a sort of channel that let from the tunnel ahead directly toward the back door…the same door that the rest of the party were at that moment opening.

Naivara, Gogh, Arxire, and Tyriel saw the same hastily erected structures. The druid spotted a goblin standing on one of the walls, doing a poor job of keeping a watch. She fired an arrow that narrowly missed it, and it began screaming “Bree-Yark”, though none of our heroes could interpret the phrase’s meaning. Gogh, Arxire, and Tyriel advanced, just as a huge wall of water came crashing down the channel toward them. Naivara and Tyriel managed to hold their ground, but Gogh and Arxire were knocked off their feet and washed all the way through the ogre’s cavern and back into the canyon.

Having sprung their trap, the goblins sprang out from seemingly every dark corner and attacked. The monk Mathis surprised one such goblin and promptly bludgeoned him to death with two meaty fists. From behind him, Lichen and Erdan fired volleys of crossbow bolts and sacred flames, respectively, while Naivara and Tyriel pushed forward on the other front. Tyriel fell in a hail of spear thrusts, and Naivara was forced back with grave wounds. The monk and cleric pressed on and managed to stabilize the dying ranger and offer healing to the druid. Gogh and Arxire regained their footing and reinforced the party just in time, as the final goblin—a particularly nasty bugger with a freshly severed ferret head strung about his neck—was slain.

Lichen set about harvesting goblin faces. Really, the less said about this, the better.

The heroes gathered most bravely in a narrow side-passage, which turned out to be the goblins’ privvy (although in truth, in a goblin lair, it is difficult to tell where the privvy ends and the living quarters begin), to catch their breath. Erdan spotted a goblin scout sneaking around and warned the party just in time, as the little bastard’s yelping sent another wave crashing down the channel.

Scouting to the west, Gogh realized that several more goblins were lurking just around the corner from his position. Erdan and Mathis took up positions in a side passage nearby, when suddenly two wolves—engulfed in flame and mad with bloodlust—came howling around the corner. Gogh slashed at one, but quickly slumped to the ground, singed and bitten. Mathis and Erdan ambushed the other wolf, quickly dispatched it, and moved on to engage the first one and stabilize the thief. The rest of the party blasted away with spells, bows, and crossbows from the rear. Mathis even gave the Burndog goblins a taste of their own medicine when he picked up a smoldering wolf corpse and flung it at the remaining goblins. One of them made the mistake of spearing the tiefline Arxire, and it was quickly spattered on the back wall of the cavern as a result.

When the rest of their attackers had been killed and their thief revived, Naivara and Mathis announced their intention to give the poor wolves a proper burial, just as Lichen announced his intention to cut the pregnant female wolf open in order to harvest its unborn cub. Threats were made, deceptive explanations offered, invisibility potions quaffed, and things seemed to be heading down an unproductive path, when suddenly Arxire unleashed a bolt of lightning that turned the dead wolf and whatever was in her belly into glistening decorations on the cavern walls, Mathis, Lichen, and Naivara.

The party retired to the ogre cave they’d claimed as their own—all except for Gogh, who scouted ahead and discovered the goblin tribe’s women and children huddled at the back of a cavern. Things don’t look good for the non-combatants.

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