As predicted by Fate, the creature with prophetic abilities that resides in the village, an outside influence had come to Tempest. But could these “heroes” truly save his precious home? In all his years, Wilhelm had learned one thing. ..Nothing is sure. Ever. And sometimes, you need to take extra steps.
Had he made the right choice? Sending strangers to clear the Goblin Warrens was going to be a messy job, so perhaps it was better not to include any of his own troops. But there was always the possibility that these strangers would fail and that the Goblin’s would be ready for any future counter attacks. And that is why he had picked two of his own to follow them.
“Florentine” Chess was by far the stealthiest member of the community. His flair for the flamboyant could be overlooked so long as he would be able to follow the strangers. And should he encounter any Goblins along the way, his sword would find their vitals before they could even scream.
Daygon, a mighty Dragonborn, is a young warrior. But he also had reason to hate the Goblins and was vicious in close spaces. Wielding blades in each hand, he has defended the village time and time again. Though only recently coming to age, the youth of Tempest learn have learned an early lesson. It is better to die with a sword in your hand than with you back turned running.
And so the choice had been made and they had been sent. But that was over a day ago…what could be delaying them?
Florentine and Daygon creep along the trail towards the Goblin Warren. They are stalking the tracks of the strangers who accepted the challenge to clear this cave. Fools, a child could follow the trail they created. Surely the Goblins will know they are coming and have time to prepare traps.
Choosing to leave at twilight, Florentine and Daygon are navigating by moonlight. For Florentine’s Eladren eyes, it is more than enough. They stop a hundred yards from the cave and slowly approach. It seems clear, no sentries (just as expected). Florentine halts, something has startled him. Unfortunately for Daygon, his Dragonborn eyes cannot find the light needed at this hour to stop himself as he crashes into Florentine.
Near the entrance to the cave, a tree shudders and turns towards the duo. The tree creeps forward…MOVING! The tree stands erect and moves into the moonlight. Bark and steel have transformed a giant man into the appearance of something wild. Nearly 7 foot tall, the man stands as a legend before the duo. In fact they know him by reputation and legend alone…Old Man Willow. Supposable born during the last major storm some 80 years ago, he lives in the wood near Tempest. His unkempt appearance and gigantic red beard serve to augment the wild look in his eyes.
Calling the duo by name, Old Man Willow inquires about the strangers he saw go into the cave. Florentine explains that Wilhelm hired them to clear the cave but he does not trust them. Therefore he sent Daygon and Florentine to follow them and ensure they get the job done. Old Man Willow tells the duo that he has no love of the Goblins and will join them in their quest to eradicate them.
Deciding their first priority is to find the strangers, the group sets out. Again, the strangers took no precautions to hide their trail so it is easy to follow. Florentine scouts ahead and reports that a battle has taken place off on a side tunnel and that multiple goblins were killed. He also states that all of the goblins had been decapitated and their heads were nowhere to be found. The group decides that Wilhelm was right not to trust these…animals.
Pressing forward Florentine, Daygon, and Old Man Willow continue to track the path of the strangers. They are lead down a tunnel that ends in a room where the ceiling has collapsed. Blocking the entry way is a table, though no sentry or watch is seen. Taking the initiative, Old Man Willow steps to the table and announces in a booming voice “Strangers, show yourselves!” The trio notices two sleeping forms the right of the entrance and two empty bedrolls. One of the sleeping forms stirs and pulls out a crossbow. Daygon fires a warning shot and the tension in the room becomes palatable. A burst of frost emerges from the second sleeping figure, destroying the table. Florentine jumps to restrain Daygon and the first figure yells “Wilhelm sent us to destroy the Goblins”. Jett, known to the trio as a stranger, stands and holds his hands out in a gesture of truce. Winterwolf rises and an uneasy alliance is built.
As introductions are made, Jett and Winterwolf realize that both Loretta and Nightsire are missing. The party searches the area for signs of them and a single footprint is seen leaving the area. It is Loretta’s, though how she became so stealthy is not known to the party. They know her as brash woman who typically walks the world creating the biggest impression she can. The missing members’ packs are assembled and Florentine asks about the bag of heads that Nightsire was carrying around. Jett replies that “Wilhelm wanted proof of what we had done, and Nightsire took this to mean he should bring back the heads of all the Goblins”. Nevertheless, the party leaves the bag of heads as they head forward.
Investigating a small path near the camp, the group discovers two holding cells that the Goblins have used for prisoners. The bones and rags are a reminder to those from Tempest of the long war that has been fought against these creatures. With nothing but memories to find in these cells, the party trudges on.
Taking point, Old Man Willow halts the party. Ahead there is a large cavern with light emanating from it. He suggests the rogue scout ahead to get a layout of the place. Peaking his head around the corner, Florentine sees an ambush in the room. A large number of goblins are in the room with one central figure that appears to a shaman of sorts. Flowing robes and a staff identify this particular goblin, and Florentine reports back to the party. As they discuss the best plan of attack, Old Man Willow’s patience runs out and he charges into the room. The ensuing battle is brutal and quick. Old Man Willow charges forward, the ground swelling with spikes to overwhelm his enemies. Acid, flames, and ice emanate from Winterwolf to overwhelm foes. Florentine dodges in an out of the battle, rarely finding his mark. Then, in a moment of opportunity he teleports behind an enemy and cleaning strikes is spine. Daygon stalks foes with both swords drawn. As the foes fall, Daygon rummages through their remains. Standing in the back, Jett rains down bolts of lightning at key opponents. One goblin escapes, its squeals of terror echoing off the stones. As the battle comes to a conclusion the party catches their breath and surveys the area. Among the foes, a magical cloak is found.
In the far eastern corner of the cave the party discovers a door. The most unusual feature of the door is that it is surrounding by polished stone. The brash Daygon opens the door to find a series of stairs. Those leading up have been caved in via a controlled demolition making the route impossible. However, another set of stairs leading down is clear. Pressing forward by descending the spiral stairs approximately 3 flights the party ends in a large storage room. Curiosity gets the better of them and the party opens all of the storage crates. Finding nothing but stale siege rations, cloth, and wine turned to mostly vinegar. Further inspection of the room reveals a corner that has collapse revealing more natural tunnels. Though the opening is small, the party is able to squeeze through.
Setting up a search pattern as they move, the party descends further it to mountain. A fortunate glace backwards by Florentine reveals a boulder hiding an opening. As the brutes of the party make ready to lift the boulder to the side, it moved easily to the side. Some sort of weight and pulley system has been set up making it easy to move the rock. Behind is a thin tunnel of carved stone. Dust has settled for ages with little disturbance. Two lone sets of footprints move down the hallway, one with confidence the other with caution. Opting to follow this hidden path, the party finds themselves winding through a serpentine hallway; left, then forward, then right, then forward, repeat. Ending at a door, the impatience of the group gets the better of them as the party rushes through.
Inside is a set of three crypts. Musk and rot permeate the air as the silence is broken by the crackling of bone upon bone. Undead horrors immerge from the crypts and assault the party. White searing light radiates from Jett, knocking the undead back. Ice engulfs one of the skeletons and if falls to ground shattering. With a roar of triumph, Old Man Willow steps forward while his skin turns to bark, his hair dangling down in green leafy glory. Daygon steps forward, severing the head from one of the zombies in one strike. In little time, the party stands triumphant and silence again punctuates the crypts. A thorough search is conducted and three things of note are found.
First, in one of the crypts a protective staff is found. As Winterwolf picks it up, a slight blue shimmer covers him.
Second, Daygon closely examines one of the zombies. In a moment of personal horror, he recognizes the clothing the creature wears as belonging to a fallen militia member of Tempest. An elven member of Tempest, his body was returned to the earth a few years ago. How it has risen again in this place is unknown.
Third, another mechanical device is found. When activated, it enables the party to move one of the crypts to reveal a ladder locked by a grate. The combination of acid and brute strength easily removes the grate…darkness is the only thing beyond. Deciding to set up camp, the party settled in the unsettling location for another tough night.
Tune in next time as the party descends into the darkness. What lies below the crypt? Is this how the undead were smuggled into the mountain? Where did Loretta and Nightsire disappear to? Now that the spirit of the Goblins has been destroyed, who is the heart?