So after much debate, and a rousing story recanted by yours truly, we decided on a few things: First, burning the brambles we were in was a bad idea. You do not know how happy I was that we were able to get past that line of thinking. I’m all about violence and destruction as much as the next guy, but that move was just so insanely stupid (as it most likely would have resulted in OUR deaths), that I could not stand by and watch it happen. In fact, I’m fairly sure I would have left the party had that happened. I will not commit suicide, or be even partly responsible for miles of forest being needlessly burned to the ground. Secondly, we were going to search these brambles for a possible alternate way in, while at the same time watching the island for activity, and seeing if someone came to feed the Monster in the Hole. Spending a day searching and watching, nothing was found, and nothing seemed to be going on. Also, it seemed that no one was going to come out and feed this Monster. Which really made me think that there was no “alternate” way onto and off of this island. Oh well. That left us with our last option: Go back to Sandpoint, and talk to my da’ about using his ship to get onto the island.
Despite my pushing the point, everyone was still reluctant to go that route, and finally I agreed to give two more days of watching and waiting before heading back. In that time, the only thing that seemed to happen was that the mage’s bird spied the goblins throwing bodies on a bonfire in the courtyard of their structure. One a day, over two days. The first looked to be human-sized, the second smaller, which we believe could be a goblin. Finally everyone conceded that the boat was the best bet, as the bird also was able to find a cave entrance on the other side of the island that was about 85’ or so up from the water. So me, the bard, and the gnome all headed back to Sandpoint while the mage, the dwarf, the big guy and the kid stayed behind. Oh yeah! I almost forgot. On the first day, that stinking kid came barreling through the brambles making as much noise as a stampede of elephants, saying he came to “make some gold” as he held up and obviously bleeding bag filled with goblin ears. I don’t know what it is about that kid, but his mere presence aggravates me to no end. He has no right being out in the thick of things yet, but he keeps putting himself there. Making introductions, I didn’t object to having him along, because someone has to make sure he stays alive. I think I should also mention that I noticed that the dwarf was acting strangely these last few days. Less holy, a little rougher, and almost like a completely different personality. And I could be wrong, but I swear that people were calling her by a different name too. I’ll have to pay more attention later.
Two days travel back to Sandpoint, we arrive, hit up a store or two for a few extra supplies like rations and such, then I go talk to my da’ about getting a boat. Nothing going on at the moment, he agreed. I worked out for the fee to just be taken out of my next few runs pay, whenever I get back to that. We got on The Broken Mast, and set out for the rendezvous point. Oddly enough, they weren’t there yet, so we waited. And waited. Aaaaaaand waited. Finally, the mage’s bird showed up with a message and said, “We’re running late, nevermore.” and flew away.
This next part was told to me, so all the details may not be 100% accurate. While we were walking back to Sandpoint, the bodies continued to be thrown onto the bonfire. One a day. On the third day, they caught sight of three goblins hurriedly throwing a makeshift rope off the island, climbed down and started swimming to shore. Despite needing to meet up with us, they went after them, and I’m actually glad they did. The mage and the kid were able to catch up to them, and they were going to try and ask them questions, but the goblins attacked them instead. The kid killed one of them, and the mage caught the other two inside a magical web of some kind (he explained exactly what it was to me in great detail, but I didn’t even understand half the words he used). He then took this opportunity to question them. Turns out, they were deserters, as they apparently started sacrificing other goblins for this ritual, and they were scared, and ran away. The best part? They were the current guards on duty! They had no other helpful information (that I remember being told about anyway), so they were just let go.
Finally, after being a few hours late, everyone met up, and we all got back on The Broken Mast, and sailed as close as we felt safe to the island. From there, we got on a rowboat, and went to where the cave was. The plan now was that I was going to climb to the cave, find something to tie the rope off, then everyone else would climb up afterwards. So, rope in hand, I climbed up, then peered over the edge of the cave entrance. I then decided to make a tactical change in plans, scooted to the side of the cave, and climbed the remaining 15’ to the top of the island instead of the cave. I try to not confuse bravery with stupidity. The fairly large squid-like creature with many eyes and lots of sharp, nasty teeth 10’ inside the tunnel I’m fairly sure would have eaten me for lunch had I engaged it alone. From the description I gave, the dwarf said it was something called a “tentamort”.
Once up top, I scouted around for a back door. Other than three of those goblin dogs, I wasn’t able to find one. So instead of trying the front door again, we decided to go up. I climbed up the wall of the stronghold and was able to spy two goblins immersed in a game that involved dice and cards, sitting next to a trap door. Our way in! Climbing back down, I let everyone know what was going on, and the dwarf, the bard and the kid decided to go up with me. Halfway we stopped on the roof, 10 more feet to go to the tower top. The kid handed me a flask and said it would make me invisible… I was skeptical, but figured what the hell? I downed the potion, didn’t die, then climbed up and snuck behind one of the goblins. A few seconds later, everyone else climbed up, and between the four of us, we dispatched the guards with little to no noise.
The rest of the group was helped up, then after listening for anything on the other side of the door, I crept through, then down stairs into an empty room with two doors. Giving everyone the “all clear” they then joined me. Listing at the doors, we heard two goblins talking behind one. Something about stolen pickles. The other door was quiet, so after making sure it wasn’t trapped, I crept through there and into a hallway which ended in two more doors. Goblins behind one, nothing behind the other. But the silent one was locked, and sadly was beyond my lock-picking skills. We’ll have to come back later and break the door down. Not wanting to announce our presence just yet, we all went back into the initial room and were going to wait until they changed guards to proceed. It wasn’t long when we heard the sounds of battle coming down the hall, so we all saw a golden opportunity and rushed down and through the door.
Once through, we were greeted by the sight of three goblins squaring off with who looked like three Sandpoint guards, and one waiving his hands in the air like he was casting a spell. Then there was the big baddie himself. I can only assume that the more threatening one standing on a throne next to one of the large lizards we’ve recently seen ridden is Ripnugget himself.
Bursting into action, we were able to surprise them and at least kill the chanting one before he did any damage. Ripnugget attempted to mount his lizard once or twice as the dwarf kept him off of it. Meanwhile, the three goblins attacking the soldiers just walked through them before they poofed out of existence. More illusions. One by one, the combatants fell. Ripnugget charged across the room in an attempt to run away from my blade, but his reprieve was short-lived, as I caught up to him and was able to plunge my rapier into his back a few times, felling him soon after the bard took down his mount.
Few injuries among us, we stood over the bodies. One baddie down…
To be continued…