The adventurers awoke after a restful night after returning from their journey to help search out the kin of Thoradin. With several days remaining until Thoradin returned to Hawksbridge, the current party decided to have Crono, Stravo, and Eth contact Donnell Waynwood about his past inquiries for their assistance.
The local leader of the Stone Hawks regretted to inform them that the homes outside of Hawksbridge were still being attacked, and more families disappearing. With that information, the three adventurers left to go to Threecoins Chapel to purchase a few healing potions for their journey. Afterwards, they picked up the remaining members of the group at the Sleeping Wizard Inn.
Together, the adventurers headed south out of Hawksbridge on a journey to uncover the mysteries that have been plaguing these people. With Shivra scouting ahead of the group, the adventurers came upon the first abandoned hunter’s cabin. The door was broken, with no motion and lights coming from the home. The group separated into teams to search for information that shed any light onto the abandoned cabin.
As Eth and Shivra scouted the grounds nearby to uncover any tracks, Crono and Stravo went inside the cabin to search for clues, while Malroc and Luak stood guard outside. Searching the hunter’s cabin showed signs of struggle by the slashes and cuts on blood-stained walls, but no further details. Meanwhile, Eth and Shivra discovered some faint tracks that continued to lead south, but the trail was lost among the underbrush leading into the forest.
The party regrouped, and decided to continue to head south in the direction of the tracks. The adventurers slowly approached the next abandoned cabin, but something in the atmosphere did not sit well with the party. The group decided to go in and survey the empty home and its surroundings in the same methodical manner as the last home.
As Crono and Stravo searched the empty home, Eth and Shivra slowly scouted the clearing around the cabin for tracks, but the unnaturally quiet forest did not set well with the elves. These two elves stealthed around the cabin’s surrounding land, only to see a band of marauding goblins sneaking up upon Malroc and Luak, who stood guarding the area. As discreetly as possible, the rogue signalled her comrades outside the cabin.
“Stravo. Crono. We got company.” Malroc whispered over his shoulder. The minotaur nodded to the barbarian, and they both slowly grasped their weapons, hefting them over their shoulders. Luak planted his feet, slowly tamping them into the dirt, readying to charge any enemies that showed themselves. The bard and swordmage gradually drifted toward the front entrance, unsheathing their blades.
There was a soft twang of bowstrings from beyond the clearing, and arrows flew out of the darkness, striking Luak. The moonlight revealed the outline of goblin archers and it was enough for the enraged barbarian. The goliath charged, his angry roar echoing through the forest, his massive greataxe promising death to the archers. As Luak brought his axe to bear, more goblins leapt from the underbrush, their crude, wickedly-edged short swords gleaming in the moonlight. The small humanoids swarmed the large goliath, their sheer numbers threatening to overwhelm him.
Malroc rushed to his friend’s aid, his axe hewing down a goblin with each swing. Crono again jumped into the biggest group of enemies, his swordbursts blasting through multiple goblins with every attack. Stravo conjured blasts of magical energy, some seemingly coming from his allies rather than him. The bard shouted encouragement to his embattled allies. “Take heart! And fight on, my friends! Our destinies are too great to end here!”
The druid and the rogue attacked the goblin invaders from their concealed, flanking position. Eth channeled the power of nature and blasted a bunch of goblins, his chill winds freezing the blood in their veins. Shivra stalked in slowly, looking for an ideal opportunity to put her razor-sharp daggers to use.
While the party hacked their way through the lesser goblins, two larger, tougher goblins stepped forward. These two were more heavily armored than their companions, and armed with big, vicious-looking axes. Shouting a war cry in their strange, goblin language, they entered the fray.
The battle became much more dangerous, with the archers and the axe-wielding goblins being the main threat. After they had been battered and bloodied, these vicious goblins went into a reckless fury, their strength seemingly increased by their rage. One goblin hit Stravo with a grievous cut and the half-elf fell to the ground, clutching at his bleeding wounds.
Seeing their friend fall, the rest of the party fought with renewed determination, tearing into the remaining goblins. Axes, blades, and spells decimated the rest of the marauders. The party rushed to their fallen companion, bandaging his wounds and offering whatever healing they could muster. After a few tense moments, the bleeding ceased, and Stravo staggered back to his feet.
“Should we rest? For the bard’s sake?” The question was asked, but Stravo shook his head emphatically.
“No! There are more of these damned creatures out there! More of these wretches waiting to prey on the innocent! On our friends! On our family! We defeated this group. But we are rare talents with spells and weapons, while these hapless farmers and woodsmen are not. We must root these vermin out, and defeat them! Kill all of them that threaten Hawksbridge!” Stravo spoke with a fiery determination.
“Kill them all,” Eth agreed, and the swordmage, warden, and barbarian shouted their assent. Shivra said nothing, but nodded her silent, grim approval. The dark elf began searching the bodies of the fallen and the rest of the party sooned joined her. They found little other than some gold on the bodies, but the tracks that the goblins had left were still fresh.
“They’ve no food or water,” Shivra spoke aloud. “They must have a camp nearby.” In short order, the druid and the rogue were back in the woods, following the trail that would lead them back to the goblins’ camp. Even in the low light, their keen elven eyes found the signs the goblins left.
After following the goblins’ path, Shivra and Eth came upon a goblin encampment. The rest of the party followed after the elves, and before assaulting the enemy camp, they regrouped and planned a strategic attack. Undetected, and using Stravo’s magic, the bard quickly moved Malroc, Crono, Luak, and himself into the goblin camp, bypassing the enemy sentries. Shivra and Eth skirted the perimeter, trying to flank the guards and take advantage of the chaos that their friends caused.
Unfortunately, the sentry goblins reacted faster to the intrusion than anyone anticipated. After the main party’s initial, brutal surprise attack, the goblins on watch turned and ran toward the intruders, pulling their bows and firing arrows. Left without their planned targets, the elves continued moving around the perimeter, hoping to find more targets of opportunity.
The goblins rushed the party’s main warriors. Malroc drew upon the fury of nature, causing roots and vines to ensnare the goblin fighters and pull them next to him, and his mighty axe killed many of them. As before, Crono dove headlong into the fight, his magical swordbursts hitting multiple enemies. These goblins were more hardy than the ones he killed earlier, and the swordmage would have been overwhelmed if Stravo, Luak, and Malroc hadn’t been nearby. The bard shouted words of encouragement as he fought, renewing and empowering his allies. He alternated between striking goblins with his longsword and deftly conjuring magical blasts that confused and bewildered his enemies.
Surrounded by enemies, Luak fell into a deep rage and thundered about the battlefield, spreading his attacks against many different enemies. His anger may have left him unsettled, for his swings were often wild and erratic, with goblins ducking under his greataxe. When the barbarian’s attacks did strike home, however, Luak was gratified to hear the crunch of bone and feel the spray of goblin blood, and the goliath roared with delight.
As the battle continued, more goblins came out from the tents in the encampment. One was a devious spellcaster, whose spells caused Crono and Malroc great hurt. One particularly vile spell left the mighty minotaur wracked with pain, leaving him unable to move about properly. Eth and Shivra finally entered the battle to great effect, immediately setting upon the most dangerous goblins. They scattered before the elf druid’s mighty evocations and the drow rogue darted into the ensuing chaos, eager to put her vicious dagger blades to use.
The remainder of the battle was a brutal, hard-fought one. Ultimately, the Heroes of Hawksbridge proved victorious, narrowly defeating the goblins. The last enemy was exceedingly difficult to hit, the agile goblin dodging out of everyone’s attacks. It was the frustrated goliath who finally struck the elusive goblin down, his deadly greataxe cleaving the poor creature in two.
After the fight, the party searched the bodies, finding a fair bit of gold, as well as a magic staff. Exhausted from the fight, the party made camp and rested, using the reprieve to discuss the events so far . . . .
(More to come soon!)