Friday, January 28, 2011

Dead Things

The hobgoblin gave a croaking belch that passed as challenge, then quickly closed the distance between himself and the party. Behind him, the cowardly goblin finally got some guts and charged in after him. An arrow from Gildrid bounced off the hobgoblin's breastplate. The fighters and the dwarf went toe-to-toe with the large goblinoid, as Miss Adventure and Gustav attacked the goblin from the sides.
The hobgoblin ignored axe and sword blows, while delivering slashes with his long halberd. A strike from Laramine's glowing mace, finally brought the brute down, but not before he had injured most of the fighters. The little goblin's demise had been much swifter.
Finally left to survey the room, they found found it mostly empty, except for crude piles of rage and sticks that served as the goblin's sleeping mats. A few silver coins were crammed in the refuse. Gildrid kicked over a bucket only to find it full of stinking offal.
"Ugh!, goblin piss." he winced.
With no seeming threat approaching, the party agreed to go down the corridor the hobgoblin had emerged from. The corridor cut back on itself like a horseshoe and opened to large room that must have served as a barracks or eating hall. Crude stools and tables were scattered about. A corner had burn marks and the remnants of small fire. Some unidentifiable creature was a blackened husk on a spit above it. Miss Adventure sniffed at it, then made a face in disgust.
A single door was ajar in the northwest corner. Crowded about it, the group listened. Nothing.
The door led to a darkened hall, leading north. The hall ended in spartan room. There was a rugged, neatly made bed, a sturdy table with chair, and an iron bound box beneath the table. The far wall had a crescent moon drawn in charcoal. Miss Adventure climbed under the table to pick the lock, but noticed a key nailed to the underside of the table. The box was full of silver pieces of different makes and sizes.
Meanwhile, Gruffydd had examined the walls, looking for hidden doors. Again, nothing. Dividing up the contents of the heavy box, they group moved to the hallway Miss Adventure explored earlier.
When they turned left and headed towards the open door, where they could hear noises. It sounded like a high pitched cackle that could be laughter. Torches were hidden, and those with low light vision moved to peer in the room beyond. Two goblins in heavy leather armor were running away from, playing with a huge weasel!
A collective shudder went the the party as they remembered what happened to Dimzad, at the claws of a giant weasel. The goblin's rough-housing must have kept then from hearing the earlier scuffles.
Yelling, half the party charged in, while the other half loosed arrows at the weasel.
Despite their heavy armor, the goblins were defeated quickly, downed my a hail of blows from the Men and the Dwarf. Pin-cuchioned by arrows, the weasel whimpered off into a corner and collapsed.
The room must have been used to house the weasel, either as a guardian, as the kobolds from previous adventures had done, or some other nefarious use. There was a large bucket of foul smelling water, and a pile of dung filled with undigested bones pushed into one corner. More importantly, there was spiral stair, winding down into the dark, and a south facing door, covered in the painted skulls Miss Adventure had spied earlier on another door. Besides the skulls, there were words in crude script.
The party tried to decipher it.
"It says dead things,"Gildrid spoke. The party turned to look at him. He shrugged. "It's hobgoblin. It says dead things."
The boards were pried off, and weapons were readied. Gruffydd pushed Gustav to the front. "Here's your chance to earn yer money, boy".
When the door was wedged open, stale air crept out. Cobwebs covered faded frescoes painted on the walls. Gustav scraped a few away. The pictures showed the life of some forgotten saint. The holy man was portrayed performing miracles; guiding lost ships to shore, fighting dragons and other horrors. The final fresco showed the saint being held down by guards while an important looking nobleman plunged a golden dagger into the saint's chest.
While Gustav studied the pictures, he failed to hear the soft shuffling and low moans eminating from the dark tunnel. The skeletons were almost on him when Gruffydd gave a loud warning. Gustav turned and shouted" Back ye soulless beasts! Back to the abyss that spawned you!"

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