|mwk longsword||x2||Bag of Holding||Hobgoblin Outriders|
|mwk studded leather||x2||Bag of Holding||Hobgoblin Outriders||bears a red whip over a wolf’s head|
|mwk javelin||x6||Santiago x3 & Bag of Holding x3||Hobgoblin Outriders|
|Potions||x3||Bag of Holding||Hobgoblin Outriders||Unidentified|
|Dire Wolf||x1||Daethin||Hobgoblin Outriders||studded leather barding & military saddle|
Daethin asks the wolf its name, and it responds to him with a thought of sounds in goblinoid.
When the Elf attempts to speak the name aloud, Piruk chimes up… “Crook-tooth. or that’s what it sounds like.” is that it’s name?
“I suppose so.” Daethin responds.
The group searches the corpses of the two Hobgoblins. The pair appear to have been scouts. They are carrying longswords and javelins and are armored, like the dire wolf, in studded leather armor. The armor on each of the corpses bears a sigil of a crimson whip cracking above the head of a snarling wolf.
Kit bends down to examine what the Hobgoblins had been poking at when the group stumbled upon them. Lying face-down among the coarse mountain tussock-grass is the body of a human woman. She is dressed in simple clothing which is soiled and tattered as by a very rough journey. She is barefoot and the soles of her feet are calloused and bloody. Further examination reveals that her dress has many vertical slashes down the back, which cut through to her skin. There is also a ring of raw skin around her neck.
“Slavers.” Daethin remarks. He begins to search for the back trail of the two riders and their quarry. It is not difficult to locate as neither party seemed particularly interested in covering their tracks.
After Eleanor says a prayer over the body of the woman, the group sets out following the track of the woman to its source.
While travelling, Crook-tooth appears to have warmed to Ceffyl and to have accepted him as an alpha figure. Daethin and Kit scout ahead along with Belfry keeping their eyes peeled for any sign of danger.
The trail begins to descend from the high, alpine meadows, hugging the side of the mountains as it winds its way along the edge of a vast, mountain valley. A tall cliff rises to the right side of the road and plummets in a sheer drop to the left. Stunted evergreens cling tenaciously to the cliff-side. And occasionally jut up through cracks in the ancient roadway.
After approximately two hours travel, Kit and Daethin come across a tall post jammed into a pile of rocks. A bleached ram’s skull adorns the top of the stake, which has a crosspiece inserted through the eye-sockets. A crude banner made of some sort of animal hide hangs from the cross-piece. It bears a crudely drawn image that seems intended to depict a badger, or maybe a bear on fire. When the rest of the group catches up to the scouts, Piruk determines that it looks like the sort of battle standard used by many of the monstrous humanoid races to mark their territory.
As the group travels on, they continue to see similar sign-posts. Some are just skulls on sticks and some display the weird, flaming critter sigil.
It is now getting close to 5am and a mist has begun to rise from the mountain vale. The group proceeds in the gloom of the pre-dawn light. Soon, Belfry lets out a soft squeak and Kit and Daethin pause to see what the bat has noticed.
Ahead of them, looming in the murky gloom, the pair can see the squatting shape of some sort of complex. A dark bar of a wall cuts across the path and a couple of shapes that must be buildings rise up beyond it.
After reporting back to the group, Rayne decides to send Belfry ahead to investigate the compound. As he flies over, he recognizes two buildings beyond the wall and a large, towering structure at the edge of a crevasse beyond them. He spots what appears to be a large humanoid on top of one of the buildings, a few others gathered around a campfire and a wagon hitched to two aurochs stopped on the path.
After some discussion, the group decides to move in for a closer look. Daethin and Kit creep up to the wall, where they spy what appears to be two hobgoblins sitting beside a dying campfire. Beyond the faint ruddy glow, they see a third, larger figure looming in the shadows. Between themselves and the sentries huddles a mass of slaves, lying piled on top of one another in an effort to keep warm in the chill mountain air. In the middle of the path stands a wagon with a large iron cage in the back.
Rayne arrives at the wall just as Daethin and Kit make their move. Kit creeps through the shadows along the wall and places a conter-of-mass shot directly into the nearest slaver’s back. As the Hobgoblin lurches from his seat in sudden pain, Daethin looses a rapid volley of two arrows. The first takes the slaver in the shoulder, while the second severs his spine at the base of his skull, passing through the back of his head to protrude out his mouth, killing him instantly.
At this point, Santiago rushes in and hurls a javelin through the shoulder of the other Hobgoblin. His attack is immediately followed by Rayne, who lets fly with a well placed fireball revealing the face of a rather surprised ogre, just as it envelops the entire campfire circle in a burst of magic flame.
The fireball incinerates the remaining Hobgoblin before he has time to react. The ogre, however, manages to survive the blast, but looks severely worse for wear. The rest of the party chooses this moment to rush the camp. Lanna charges towards the staggering ogre, astride Ceffyl while Eleanor and Piruk make for the huddled slaves and the cage on the cart, respectively.
Suddenly, two more ogres join the fray. The first rises from atop the squat stone tower to the right of the path and lobs a large chunk of masonry at Rua’Lanna and Kit, missing horribly. The other, rushes from the shell of a burned out cottage to the left of the path, hurling himself at Piruk and sending him reeling with a mighty double-handed swing of his greatclub. Piruk, reeling but not out, returns the favor with change, dropping the ogre with two swings of his maul.
Out of immediate danger for the time being, Kit and Daethin move forward to investigate the tower while the rest of the party sets about tending to the refugees. Rua’Lanna uses her lays a hand on each of the former slaves, channeling a controlled amount of Ehlonna’s life-giving magic to help speed their recovery. Meanwhile, Piruk lays into the cage door, shattering its lock with just a few blows of his maul.
The occupant of the cage turns out to be a very battered and bloody cleric of Kord who introduces himself as Olympos. He thanks Piruk for his assistance and accompanies the rest of the slaves beyond the wall of the compound, where Rayne is attempting to make them comfortable.
Meanwhile, inside the tower, Daethin and Kit enter into a large common room. A spiral staircase in the far right corner leads both up and down from the main floor. A few articles of travellers’ gear lie stacked in the corners and The fireplace, though dark, still emits warmth from an earlier fire.
Daethin chooses to go upstairs to confirm that the ogre on the rooftop is dead, while Kit creeps cautiously downstairs into the gloom. Striking a sunrod to illuminate the darkness at the foot of the stairs, Kit spies a short hallway at the end of which, looms a pair of double doors. She creeps carefully forward, scanning the floor intently for traps…
Which is why she fails to see the net hurled from the shadows. Her adrenaline pumping, Kit manages to free herself from the restraining net, but just as she is about to turn and run, she is tackled from behind by an iron grip and dragged through the door at the end of the hall.
Daethin, returning to the main floor after checking the roof, hears the sounds of a scuffle coming from the lower level and a gasp of alarm in a voice he recognizes as Kit’s. Rushing down the stairs, Daethin sees the same empty hallway that greeted Kit just moments before, save for the lone sunrod lying discarded in the middle of the corridor…