Ambush

PCs Present:  Baldwin, Ebin, Huggra, Reeny, Thorg

Four of the party members contracted severe fevers after being bitten by giant rats.  Overnight, they each had a very similar dream:  they were in a torchlit procession of figures wearing deep purple robes and hoods, with the symbol of a black inverted ziggurat on the front.  They descended a spiral staircase in utter, freezing darkness except for the gradually fading light from their torches.  Finally they reached the bottom and found themselves alone in a dark room with an old man who gestured to a door behind them, asking them to open it for him.  Behind the old man stood a pale young woman with jet black hair wearing armor, staring off into the distance.  When they awoke, their fevers had broken and they felt considerably better.

Chaarogn, the orc chief charmed by Huggra, was left in the custody of Zeleth for questioning, which did not go well as Chaarogn had no intention of cooperating with anyone but Huggra.  He eventually became combative and had to be restrained.  Hagalpin, the Curate, successfully converted more of the party to the worship of St. Cuthbert in exchange for healing.  While he ministered to the wounded, Inverdia, another priest of Cuthbert but belonging to the doctrinal purity arm of the church, came by to visit the sick and wounded.  Hagalpin was visibly nervous in his presence, but Inverdia proved to be a friendly chap and even offered his assistance on the party’s next raid against the caves.

The party set out later than usual the next morning, intending to take the road instead of cutting through the woods to throw off any humanoid patrols.  But alas, the hobgoblins under their chief, Mogogek the Plunderer, had set up an ambush where the road narrowed and passed between the heavy woods and the stream.  About a dozen hobgoblins, archers and warriors, surprised the party.  Fortunately, the party had taken along groups of crossbowmen, halberdiers and pikemen from the Keep garrison and so were not outnumbered.  It appeared they would fight through the ambush relatively unscathed when Mogogek himself appeared with his bodyguards and and enormous troll, Khuh Spine-Breaker.  Huggra was able to charm Mogogek and turned him against the troll while the others finished off the ambushers.  Khuh slew Mogogek and refused to die as its severed limbs continued attacking until the party was able to douse the body with oil and set it alight.  It was a near-run battle which resulted in the deaths of several of the garrison and severely wounded Thorg, who, by now, is used to that condition.  Neither Mogogek nor his troops possessed any valuables but the party did find a black iron slave collar hanging from the chief’s belt.  Once again they retreated to the Keep to recuperate.

Zeleth had more information for the party:  two nights previous, the guards in the Upper Bailey had captured a human scaling the outer walls.  He was a slight, wiry man, armed with a bandolier of daggers and what appeared to be vials of poison (the alchemists will test it to be sure) so it seemed obvious that he was an assassin.  The man could not be interrogated because his tongue had been cut from his mouth, so they are holding him in the cell block next to the old guild hall, guarded around the clock.

Also, rumors among the guards had it that figures were seen skulking about the garrison burial yard outside the north walls (near where the assassin was captured).  Whenever the guards went to check the area, no one was there.  They are believed to be aiding the assassin.

Generous tithing to the Church of St. Cuthbert assured that the party was healed back to full strength, so they set out once more.  Soon they were met by one of the escaped slaves of Turkey’s band, who informed them that the hobgoblins had raided their camp and taken several of them, including Turkey and Squirrel, prisoner.

The scene of the ambush was as they had left it, bodies and blood strewn about.  They cut through the woods, taking their accustomed route, and stopped briefly to spy on the portal dig site.  Chaarogn was sent forward to scout and reported that he saw the gnoll and bugbear chieftains apparently arguing with each other while the other humanoids were running about in confusion.  Chaarogn mentioned that the bugbears appeared to be the only tribe left unscathed by the party’s relentless attacking; the gnolls were not involved with the activities of the other humanoids, being paid in food and loot merely to scout the area.

The party sought the now unguarded chambers of the dead Mogogek, hoping for an easy haul of treasure, so that’s where Chaarogn led them.  The party was quite large by this time, having retained the services of the garrison troops while adding Inverdia, his silent acolytes and Chaarogn to their numbers.  The hobgoblin caves were no longer heavily guarded and the few warriors present were easily swept aside.  They discovered a vast armory, beyond which lay the quarters of Mogogek.  It was at this point that they decided to rest and take inventory of the armory.

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