We took a few minutes to gather our thoughts… and any valuables we could find on the fresh goblin bodies around us. One of the items found was a nifty key ring! Using the keys, we were able to get into the door that I was sadly unable to open on my own. Turns out, these goblins like to lock up their food. Every locked door we found in this place has had some sort of food inside the room. No pickles just yet though…
One of the doors out of the main room led to what I can only assume was Ripnugget’s bedroom. The place was generally trashed, but had some pristine looking horse shoes hanging on the wall. That kind of confused us all, but we just let them be.
Headed out into more of the complex, we ended up backtracking ourselves to the entryway that we first came in on during our “Storm the Gates!” movement. This time it was empty, and we found a staircase leading down, and what looked to be a bunker. Wanting to clear out the above area first, we pressed on instead of heading down the stairs at this time.
We found ourselves at the bottom of the other watchtower, and the big guy charged up top only to find two passed out goblins with a sack of half-eaten pickles in it. Guess we found our pickle thieves. He cut off their ears, and promptly tossed them over the side. Amusing, I must admit.
Next, the big guy started breaking down doors and smashed into the courtyard area. There were a few of those nasty goblin dogs in there, and we decided to close ourselves in the hallway behind a door while the bard went up on the tower and just picked them off with her bow. Made things easier. Once we pushed past the bodies of the dogs, we were able to see the bonfire, or rather it’s smoking and smoldering remains, where they were burning bodies. The stench of charred flesh and burned excrement filled the air out here. It’s a wonder these goblins didn’t ALL run away, instead of just the three we saw. But then again, that was just three we SAW. We found yet another food storage room out here, with the empty pickle buckets in it. There was also a hastily boarded up room with some crushed goblin bodies on the outside of it. Fearless adventurers that we are, the door was battered down, and we found….
A horse. A very nasty, very big, very beautiful, and very hungry horse. We were all fairly impressed by the animal, and after getting some grain from one of the store rooms, the big guy was able to calm him down. We immediately began planning how we were to get the horse off the island since the bridge is down. The best idea (in my humble opinion) is that I will ride it off the edge, with the boat being below us. As we are about to go over, the mage will cast a spell to slow our decent, and we will fly ever so gently down! I cannot wait for this Nualia business to be over so that I can do that. It will be GLORIOUS!
Searching the rest of the ground floor here, we didn’t find anything else of note (although at a later time we would come back and find a secret door… that led to a latrine. I’m still confused as to why they would put a toilet behind a secret door…), so we head towards the stair we found earlier. This is where the real fun began!
In a room with six doors, we listened behind each. Through four of them we heard nothing, some guttural animal-like noises were coming from behind another, and the last we were able to hear something that sounded very female-like. A quick discussion led us to deciding to check what was behind the door with the voices. The gnome knocked. I don’t know why, but he did. I think they responded, but I wasn’t close enough to hear. Then he took Ripnugget’s head (because we were carrying it around with us), opened the door, and peeked the head around the corner.
The next string of events is actually a bit weird and funny at the same time. The women in the room screamed at the site of the head, the door was pulled open all the way and an ugly, hulking bugbear wielding a flail swung at the gnome all at once. He missed, and we were then able to see that the “women” were actually goblin women; whores, if I was to assume correctly. After the initial swing, the gnome dropped the head and tried communicating with the bugbear. Amazingly, he put down his arms, seemingly afraid of the little guy, and conversed; asking us to let him go and he would just run away, pointing to one of the doors that we didn’t hear anything behind. Meanwhile, in the back corner, I could hear the big guy revving himself up. One by one, as the gnome talked with the bugbear, we cleared a path between the big guy and the bugbear. Finally, the gnome backed up, giving the bugbear the impression that we were going to let him through. I swear I HEARD the corners of the big guy’s mouth curl up into a smile.
In an explosion of motion, he charged the bugbear and a short but bloody battle ensued. The big guy took a few hits, but between us all, the enemy was dispatched quickly. During this time, since the mage placed some magic grease on the floor of the room, one of the goblin whores slipped and killed herself. We cut the head from the bugbears’ shoulders, and locked the whores up in one of the food stores upstairs.
Next, we opened the room where the growling was coming from. I will never get the sight of what was in there out of my head until the day I die. Goblin babies. A lot of them. All in cages. Horrified (well, everyone except the gnome the bard and the big guy anyway), we discussed what to do with them, as bloodthirsty as I may be, I will not stand by while innocent children are murdered, even if they ARE lowly goblins. I mentioned slavery, and the mage gave me a dirty look then shoved me out of the room. Oh well. There was more exploring to be done.
I opened the door in between the two we’ve already opened, and walked down the hallway it revealed. It made a sharp right turn, and as I turned, I saw a fairly large individual at the end of the hall, wielding a very big sword and a very big shield. Figuring the rest of the group deserved to know about this development, I calmly walked back into the entrance room, and told them what was coming. The mage was standing in the doorway as I stepped past.
Letting loose a guttural yell, the man charged down the hall, and then stopped, mid-swing, in front of the mage. I’m pretty certain I noticed a puddle appear at the mage’s feet at this point. Yet another person in this place was willing to talk instead of fight, and he agreed to let us know all the secrets of the stronghold (that he knew of) if we let him leave the island in one piece. He was, after all, just a hired bodyguard and our appearance apparently went out of what he thought he was being paid for. We accepted his offer and escorted him to the edge of the island where he could jump. Meanwhile, he told us how many more people were in there that we should worry about (if he is to be believed), and most importantly, where the tentamort is, so that we may avoid it.
Once we got our information, we allowed him to take a door to tie his armor and weapons to, then he piled it on top of the door, tossed it over the ledge, and jumped himself. He was the one who told us that there was a secret treasure room on the first floor, which turned out to be the latrine. Oh joy.
Going back downstairs, we searched the bedrooms… which the big guy made a point to roll around in the beds of the two women. Strange orc. Avoiding the door that the tentamort is through, we next found ourselves in the prison area. And lo! We found Shalelu at last! Worse for wear, we found the keys to the cell and gave her water and food. We decided that for now it would be best to have the kid take her down to the boat and wait for us there, as we didn’t think anyplace down here would be safe.
Going through a few more doors we eventually found the lesser of the two bad women down here. She apparently knew we were coming and cast some spells on herself, and there was a little bit of a waiting game before she managed to force out hand. After some fancy spellwork on the mage’s part, we were able to subdue her and put her inside one of the prisons. Yet another one down and somehow still alive. Here we are, about to delve deeper into here, and we have two possibly dangerous enemies at our backs, even though they SEEM out of the way… we shall see….
To be continued…