Second session, here we go!
The quartet approached the lowered drawbridge into Nightstone carefully, unsure of what they would find. The only activity that could be detected was the incessant and irregular ringing of a church bell that could be heard from the steeple that could be seen over the pallisade wall. With Aera scouting ahead, the group crossed the drawbridge and entered the town.
Upon entering Nightstone proper, they found several large boulders scattered throughout the village, as if they had fallen from the sky, some of which landed on building, damaging them. While Bran investigated the graveyard to the north of the church (noticing that many of the dates on the gravestones had the exact same dates from five years ago), the rest of the party entered the church to investigate the cause of the church bell's ringing.
As Bran returned to the church to rejoin the group, Aera investigated the door behind the pulpit. Through the cracked door, Aera found two goblins gleefully dangling from the bell's pull rope, bouncing up and down. Bran and Stark attempted to subdue the two goblins but they nimbly dodged, one of them knocking Stark unconscious. The rest of the group managed to take the pesky goblins out, then treated the dragonborn's wounds, stablizing him. One of the goblins was wearing a pendant of a silver unicorn, the holy symbol for the goddess, Mielikki.
As the sleeping Stark rested, Bran and Malagoth explored the town square, noticing a large 10 foot wide and 5 foot deep crater that looked like something had been ripped out of the muddy ground. As the pair looked around, two worg wolves padded around the corner of the Inn, and rushed at them. As Aera joined them, one of the worgs landed a nasty bite on Malagoth, nearly knocking him to the ground. Several mighty blows later, the two worgs fell to the ground, dead. The remaining party members discussed what to do next, and decided to rest in the church. Before resting, Aera scouted ahead and peered into the front door window of the Nightstone Inn, noticing that the taproom was in shambles, broken tables, chairs, and bottles everywhere. Aera decided to return to the temple, and the party rested to heal their wounds.
After resting, the party, including the now restored Stark, investigated the village further. After raising the drawbridge to keep goblin reinforcements from arriving from outside of the town, they found a trading post called The Lionshield Coster. Inside, a single female goblin was pulling items off the shelves and stuffing them into her backpack. The adventurers subdued her, and attempted to question her, but no one in the party could speak the language of goblinkind, so they tied her up, gagged her and knocked her unconscious, leaving her against the outside wall of the trading post. Stark and the others provisioned themselves, finding a few useful everyday items.
After jumping across the broken bridge, and Malagoth nearly falling off of it, the party made their way to the gatehouse. Turning around to look at the village below, the quartet noticed that someone had lowered the drawbridge. Annoyed, they made their way through the gatehouse and into the inner bailey. The keep had taken a great deal of damage in the attack, with the northwest tower partially collapsed and the southeast one almost entirely destroyed. Stark, Bran, and Aera squeezed their way through the rubble of the northwest tower, which had once been a kitchen. They found a door that had been barricaded from the other side, so the goliath swiped away enough rubble to squeeze through and into the kitchen. Using his great size and strength, Malagoth shoved into the rest of the keep, pushing away the furniture that had been piled in front of the door.
Past the portal was the ruined Great Hall of Nandar Keep. Four guards, named Kaelen Zam, Alara Winterspell, Sydiri Haunlar, and Torem Breck stood protectively in front of a long dining table. The guards were wearing tabards that marked them as in the employ of the noble house of Nandar. All four guards were grievously injured in the attack, Alana with a broken leg. After the party allayed the guards' fears that they were being attacked again, the guards moved aside to reveal the broken and crushed body of Lady Velrosa Nandar lying on the table. Her Ladyship had been in the southeast tower at the time of the attack and was killed nearly instantaneously.
Kaelen Zam revealed to the group the events of the attack. Nightstone was bombarded by rocks dropped by a giant floating castle in the sky. The keep was attacked first, and a large boulder knocked out the bridge, cutting off access to the village. In the event of an attack, normally the villagers would retreat into the keep for protection, but with the bridge out, the villagers fled north. Kaelen reveals that the townfolk probably fled north to some bat filled caves about an mile away. The guards who were stationed in the towers help the villagers flee the town. Once Nightstone was deserted, four pale-skinned giants descended from the sky, uprooted the nightstone in the center of the town square, then took it back to their castle. The cloud castle left soon thereafter, drifting eastward.
Bran helped to heal Alana's broken leg as Stark searched through the rubble of the southeast tower, looking for any clues as to why giants would want to steal the figurative heart of the village, but finding none. The guards told the party that they were able to see a band of goblins along with two worgs enter the city and begin looting the abandoned houses. Kaelen pleaded with the group to please help take the village back and roust the goblins from their homes.
After much discussion, the party decided to try to draw the goblins to the keep in order to bottle them up at the break in the palisade leading to the bridge, which had now been repaired by lashing three ladders together and securing the ends with heavy rubble. Bran would remain behind on the bridge to provide support with his bow as Aera, Malagoth, and Stark would rouse the goblins and get them to chase the adventurers.
The trio stealthily worked their way around the southwest wall but two goblin archers spotted Malagoth from the top floor of the windmill. Aera rushed the windmill, the aarakocra nimbly jumping up to land beneath the narrow window. Malagoth and Stark rushed for the entrance to the interior of the windmill, and found a ladder on the inside leading up to the topmost floor. Aera and the goblins fought and she was joined quickly by the goliath and dragonborn, and together they made quick work of the two archers. As the fight was happening, Bran lit two fire arrows, planting one into the side of the windmill and another solidly into the middle of the dirt road that connected the town square to the bridge leading to Nandar Keep.
The trio continued up the west palisade wall, making their way to the drawbridge. After raising the drawbridge once again, Malagoth slammed a javelin through the winch and into the ground, making it difficult to lower the drawbridge once again. Stark also set a bear trap inside of each tower and covered it with hay to discourage anyone else trying to lower the drawbridge again.
Setting the plan in motion, Malagoth remained in the town square while Aera and Stark moved down to the base of the bridge. Malagoth was about to start to bang his shield and start yelling to attract the goblins when Stark pulled out his thunder cannon, Serenity, and fired a extremely loud shot into the air. Almost immediately, nine goblins from all over the village left the residences that they were hiding in, and began running to investigate the thunder like crack that came from the south part of town.
Startled by the unusual weapon that Stark was wielding, Malagoth ran to join his companions while being chased by the goblins. The goliath dodged shots from the archers, and as he dashed down the dirt path, Malagoth brushed aside one of the goblins in his way. The goblins continued to pepper Malagoth with arrows, even though two of the enemy's shortbows broke through bad luck.
As several of the goblins ran by Bran's flaming arrow that was burning in the middle of the path, Stark fired Serenity twice, felling two of them. Malagoth reached the bridge, and turned around taking a defensive stance as Aera readied her dagger and Bran fired arrows into the dark, hoping to hit one of the attackers. One of the goblins closer to the square suddenly turns around and heads back the opposite way.
As the party continued to cut down the goblin attackers, a sharp yelp of pain that suddenly stopped short was heard from the town square. One by one, the goblins fell until there was only one left, approaching from the east. With a sudden twang of a crossbow string, the one of the last goblins tumbled to the ground in a heap. Behind the goblin, a Chondathan woman in her 30's with blonde hair appeared, holding her crossbow at her side. The woman, introducing herself as Kella Darkhope, approached the party, kicking the corpse of the goblin as she walked by.
Kella told the group that she had been in town because she had been told about the nightstone from friends and she wanted to see the monument for herself. During the attack, she had been knocked unconscious and trapped beneath a beam that had fallen from the ceiling in her second story room at the Inn. When she regained her senses, the rest of the villagers had already fled and goblins had begun to pillage Nightstone, preventing her from leaving. Kella managed to kill one of the goblins who was rummaging through the taproom at the bar. When the party distracted all of the goblins, Kella was able to sneak out after the one that was hiding in the kitchen of the Inn and kill him with a crossbow bolt.
Malagoth and Stark searched the west wall for the last goblin and found him cowering behind one of the giant's boulders. Easily subduing him, the party and Kella brought him back to the keep to be questioned. The goblin's name was Pojo and he revealed that he was a member of a goblin clan ruled by Boss Hark. The goblins had been run out of Ardeep Forest by the elves who lived there, and had moved into the caves north of town. During the questioning, Pojo revealed that the goblins had captured the villagers who stumbled into the caves, looking for refuge. When Boss Hark discovered that Nightstone was undefended, he sent a goblin raiding party to plunder the town. Malagoth asked what the clan were doing with the captives, and Pojo told him that they were using them for food, which angered the goliath, who backhanded the goblin. Malagoth told Pojo to take them to the caves, but he refused because he was scared that the group would kill his twin brother, Tot, who was still living in the caves. Malagoth struck a deal with Pojo that if the goblin would take them to the caves, they would allow Pojo to enter ahead of the party so that he could find his twin brother and get him out of the caves before the party entered the goblin camp. The company settled in for the evening for a well deserved rest, and they made plans to attack the goblin's cave in the morning.