It was good to breathe the fresh air of the Tanglewood Forest again. Weary from our battles within thoughts of rest were on several of our minds, but Jacare insisted that we must make quick time back to Drakonheim to give ample warning of the impending goblin attack. He even suggested bypassing the investigation of the spot marked X on the map we found. We decided that rest would have to wait if we wanted to discover what X was and get back to Drakonheim before the new moon.
The group decided that in order to try and avoid being ambushed within the forest again it would be best if Varis and Swiftwind take up flanking positions 15 feet out to each of our flanks within the woods when we marched. Both seemed agreeable, which was not surprising since they spent most of their lives within the woods. It was not long a march towards the X when we first spotted movement in the trees. It was a lone goblin, or so we surmised, who quickly fled into the forest when he spotted our approach. This happened again after a few more hours. This time it was a pair of goblins whose twisted, wretched arrows they loosed at us and then quickly melted deeper into the woods. They all seem to be heading the same direction that we are. How many goblins may possibly be massing at this location?
We press on, ever closer to the spot marked X. It takes only about another hour when almost all of us spot several goblins hiding in ambush. Lucky for us, we have seen them before they have had time to attack us. The group acts decisively and within moments all of the goblins are dead, save a lone survivor that Jacare insisted we keep alive in order to interrogate him. The pitiful goblin is badly wounded and frightened when he realizes he is at our mercy. Jacare is decidedly effective at retrieving some interesting information however. The brute of a Hobgoblin equipped in full plate armor from the complex we just left was Rutven. The letter we found from Rath is his superior and the X is where Rath is located. Anticipating we may encounter more than just a few goblins we decide to rest and prepare ourselves. Jacare makes it known that he wants no harm to come to our goblin prisoner and that we will release the wretched thing before we depart. Nobody objects.
After our rest we set out again, determined to find what X is. It is not long that we come upon a gruesome sight. Blood spattered on the trees ahead puts everyone on edge. A quick search and we discover its source. Three bodies of what appear to be militia from Drakonheim stuffed haphazardly in some nearby brush. They have been stripped of everything save their badly dented and gashed armor. We leave them and make a marking on the map so the townsfolk can perhaps recover their bodies after this is all done.
We have found a camp. Is this the spot we are looking for? There are several tents and goblin archers posted on watch. Jacare devised a plan. Swiftwind and Varis will hide here on the east side and wait for us to flank around to the west. We give them the last of the alchemy fire so that when we are ready they can create a distraction. When the goblins are occupied we will attempt to get into the back tent that appears to be where a commander would be placed and look for more information regarding the attack. I think the plan would have worked flawlessly if it weren’t for Varis missing his mark and not starting a single tent on fire. I asked him about this later and he simply shook his head and muttered “Auta miqula orqu”. We still did very well. The fire created enough of a distraction that with quick action the rest of us quickly overtook all opposition on the west side of the camp while Swiftwind lead a large group of goblins on a wild goose chase in the woods. This little camp was run by a goblin that actually commanded and rode a large viscous wolf. Within his tent we find a lock box that contains orders. The orders are to move west on the new moon and to patrol the perimeter of the base camp. We now think this is just a small perimeter camp and the base camp is close at hand.
We carefully continue forward when after only a half hour we spot a wooden palisade wall through the outer edge of the forest to the east. After our two stealthy wood elf friends scouted the perimeter we are certain this is the place we are looking for. This is a large encampment with a gate and two towers on the west side, guarded by two of those miserably accurate goblin archers and a gate, four towers, with more archers, and two ballista by a north and south opening on the east side of the encampment. We decided to give the goblins a taste of their own medicine and everyone readied their ranged weapons and we snuck just within range of the west side towers. We all picked our target and on the count of three, except I forgot the three we all loosed our shots upon the two archers. Before their lifeless bodies hit the ground Jacare looked at me and said “what happened to three?” We waited for a response, five minutes, ten, nothing. We took a wide berth on the north side and made our way to the east entrances. We repositioned ourselves again for a volley, and with a proper count all six of us loosed our shots upon our targets. Flawless! Four goblin archer guards in four towers dead within a breath. Again we wait, but nothing. We had intended to lure some goblins out, kill a few and run off towards Drakonheim but we decide with our luck we should get a closer look. We split up into two groups and move towards the north and south openings of the east side. Badger Grey, Jacare and Swiftwind to the north while myself, Benus Tugae and Varis move to the south. Using rope, Jacare climbed into the northernmost tower, I climbed into the southernmost tower and Benus climbed into the tower just next to me. Varis positioned the southern ballista to face within the camp and I hoped that Badger and Swiftwind did the same to the north. Within the camp we could see a large tent, more than a dozen smaller tents and siege equipment. Campfires were spread throughout the camp and that reminded me of our plan at the first smaller camp we came upon. I quickly scrawled a note on a parchment and through my arcane arts floated it over to Jacare telling him I would start a fire. He signaled me the go ahead and I set out to the task.
Starting a fire was a simple enough task, using the same power that I moved the note I simply plucked a burning ember from one of the campfires and moved it towards the nearest tent. For good measure I moved another ember onto the corner of the large tent. The fires that ensued were expected, as were the goblins that quickly jumped out and moved around excitedly. Not expected were two large ogres that jumped up at the back of the western side of the fort. The most shocking was when what appeared to have been a large mound of grass and stubble stood up, it was not a mound, it was a troll. We had faced a troll before, on our way to the cavernous complex, but this one was in armor. Not only did it have massive armor, it carried a large sword and a large curved bow. This was no ordinary troll of legend, this was something different. I’m not sure that I was able to track everything of the battle very well, my mind was racing as it began to unfold, but this is what I do remember.
The goblins soon multiplied and seemed to come out of every tent in small waves, advancing in different sized groups towards the eastern gates, the Ogres and the troll also advanced, but they seemed to be scanning for a threat. In the towers we stayed hidden and on the ground they stood at the ready. Something must have happened however as soon I heard arrows loosing and I think they were firing at Jacare. I’m not sure what happened at the north gate but soon after this started I heard Varis loose his ballista bolt and then head out towards the east. I kept my eye on the grouping of advanced goblins and it seemed that perhaps the troll had spotted Jacare and had fired his bow in that direction. As I peered over the edge it seemed that for sure the encampment had figured out that there should be goblin guards in these towers and they were advancing on us to see where the guards were. I quickly started one more fire, a tent in between Jacare and the troll to try and obscure the monstrous things vision. At this point the goblins were two numerous to count and had advance in several groups on the north, south, and central edge of the encampment, all encroaching towards us. I’m not sure if Benus had shown himself before, but when I heard the clunk of ladders against my tower and the rest he showed himself then. He had saved me once before in the Tanglewood Forest with his ability to manipulate the arcane energies just as I do. He truly is a mystery to me, for at times watching him I swear he reminds me of the old legends of healers, the true believers of the ancient gods, clerics, mystics. But he wields arcane energies, so I think he has learned to manipulate them to heal. I even learned a small trick of his I think and now am able to heal, to a limited degree and the effort is great so I can only attempt it about once a day. Ah, I get off track, Benus had revealed himself to the enemy, with ladders now on our towers goblins would soon follow, using the same spell he had in the forest he shot large gout’s of fire from his hands killing the goblin ascending his ladder and hitting several others as well as the troll. I quickly muttered an incantation putting a large group of goblins, including the one scaling my ladder to sleep, but I do not know how Jacare dealt with the situation. It also seemed that Varis had abandoned the southern gate as I saw a glimpse of him outside the encampment just east of the gate. If things were bad before, they only got worse after that.
I spotted several groups of goblins quickly dart out the back western side of the fort, and perhaps even some of the large hairy brutes that someone called bug bears as well. Varis engaged an ogre outside the gate and maybe even the monstrous troll, I’m not sure, when I looked that way and he was fighting, and it seemed that an ogre had also focused on Jacare in the tower. I heard a lout booming sound and a blast seemed to throw a large group of goblins down, and perhaps send the troll staggering, Benus again had weilded the arcane arts. I thought Varis was doomed as he was becoming overwhelmed and fell, but Badger came running to his aid. For a moment I thought Swiftwind had fled, until I just noticed an arrow come flying in from a small copse of trees, hidden there he could fire on the enemy and distract them. I quickly muttered the words to produce the same resounding boom and concussive force that Benus had used and the troll finally went down, as well as giving one of the ogres a good beating. But it looked like Varis was out cold. Badger made it out to him and took up the fight while throwing oil on the downed troll and Swiftwind kept pelting arrows upon the enemy. However, those damned goblins that went out the western gate seemed to have flanked those outside the fort on both sides now. Benus produced another resounding crash on a group and I put a large group asleep so Badger had a fighting chance to protect Varis. It was then that I noticed the bug bears had also flanked around the the front and Jacare jumping from his tower INTO the encampment with an ogre hot on his heals. If that wasn’t bad enough, when this was happening hobgoblins dressed in armor started coming out of the large tent. Back outside the gate Badger was singlehandedly fighting off the bugbears and some goblin archers, he was taking damage so we all focused to his aid. Swiftwind kept downing enemies with well placed arrows, Varis miraculously rolled over and reached for a potion and I focused on some stragglers. It was then that I heard a racket across the camp to the west, the ogre that was chasing Jacare was ripping apart a small tent and a hobgoblin and a bug bear dressed in armor were yelling at him. Was this the commander, was this Rath? We were yet to find out.
The hour grows late and my eyes weary. I will have to finish recalling this fateful battle tomorrow night, I simply cannot focus to recall it now.