Session #3, here we go!
Right before dawn, Bran and Mal woke up and walked down into the village. Their first stop was to be the gatehouse, where they checked on the winches for the drawbridge. Finding their sabotage to be still in place, they walked north to the temple. Bran moved to the front of the church and knelt, offering up a prayer to the goddess, Mielikki. After finishing his supplication, Bran was pleased to hear a familiar sounding wolf howling in the distance.
The pair of warriors returned to the keep, noticing Stark resting in the keep's gatehouse, Kella resting outside against the outer palisade wall, and Aera and the guards sleeping inside the keep proper. As the sun rose, Bran heard the sounds of horse's hooves against the dirt road leading to the drawbridge. Waking everyone, the party ran down to the gatehouse as seven mounted riders neared the drawbridge.
Kella, Stark, and Aera hid behind the gatehouse tower as Malagoth and Stark looked through the windows of the tower at the approaching group. The riders consisted of five men and two women, all dressed in leathers, their saddlebags depleted from their journey. Their leader was a swarthy handsome man named Xolkin Alassandar. Xolkin called for the gatehouse guards to lower the drawbridge. Stark answered, bluffing that the winches were damaged and it would take a few minutes to repair them. Asking about Xolkin's business, the half-elf replied that they were in search of a wanted criminal from Daggerford, a thief named Kella Darkhold. Kella looked visible shaken, and asked the party not to give her up to the seven riders. Xolkin told Stark that they were hunting a thief and that Lady Morwen Daggerford herself sent Xolkin and his men after Kella. The party delayed them as long as possible, while Aera successfully disguised Kella as a man. Aera noticed something squirming beneath the arm of Kella's loose shirt but didn't say anything at first. Rejoining the group, Kella remarked that she looked like a mage, and said she had just the thing to play the part. From beneath Kella's sleeve, a flying snake flew out, and landed casually on her shoulder, wrapper part of its tail around her neck. Kella called the snake Slimy, and said that it was her pet. The party asked her what was the issue with Lady Morwen, and Kella told them that she had insulted the Lady of Daggerford's twelve year old son and stolen his coin purse. The party decided to call the disguised Kella, "Tim".
Once the disguise was complete, Mal and Stark lowered the drawbridge and allowed the riders to enter the city. Bran hid close to the church as not to be seen by the newcomers. The remaining three party members related the story of the giant's attack on Nightstone and the subsequent raid by the goblin clan. Shocked by the events, Xolkin offered to help guard the town while the adventurers would travel a mile north of town to rescue the villagers from the Boss Hark and the goblins. Aera took two of Xolkin's riders, a man and a woman, to the Inn to find some refreshment. Stark and Kella waited by the gatehouse as Bran hid nearby, watching. Two of the riders entered the gatehouse and raised the drawbridge and took up posts watching for more goblin raiders. Meanwhile, Mal led Xolkin to Nandar Keep to meet the four guards that were guarding Lady Velrosa's body. Xolkin was amazed by the destruction and of the goblin bodies that were left in the street after the battle of the previous night.
Aera and the two men entered the taproom/dining room of the Inn. A sign with dwarven runes hung askew above the bar. The roof above had collapsed and a bed and a dresser from the second floor were lying broken in the middle of the taproom. Also, the body of a goblin with a single crossbow bolt sticking out of his chest rested over a broken table. As the man and woman searched behind the bar through the broken bottles for an alcoholic beverage, Aera finds a few things on the second floor of a partially destroyed bedroom.
After Xolkin and Mal spoke with Lady Velrosa's guards, Xolkin agreed to protect the village until the adventurers return with the captives. With that, Xolkin's men lowered the drawbridge and the quartet plus "Tim" began walking north to the goblin caves.
After a half-mile or so, Bran saw a wood elf standing in the tree line of the Ardeep Forest trying to get his attention. The ranger carefully approached the elf, who warned Bran not to enter the Ardeep Forest. As Bran turned to leave, the elf told him, "I believe this is yours," and with a short series of barks, Smoke, the wolf that Bran had raised from a cub while protecting the Cold Wood, bound up to him. With a final warning to stay out of the forest on pain of pain, the elf retreated into the dark shadowy wood. WIth a howl, Smoke padded alongside his master, and the two rejoined the party.
After a mile of travel, the adventures found a rocky hilly cliff face with a gaping cave mouth set into its side. Tall pine trees grew atop the rocky ridge. Bran surveyed a series of tracks coming and going from the cave mouth and determined that the clan consists of approximately 30 goblins (of which several were killed in the previous night's battle). The party decided to release Pojo and told him he had ten minutes to get in and get his brother out. Pojo ran up the hill and disappeared into the cave. Ten minutes later, Pojo and his brother Tot wave to the party from atop the rocky ridge and disappear from view. The party deduceed that there must be another entrance into the caves and decide to split up to find it, with Mal, Aera, and Kella (now undisguised) to enter from the front and Smoke, Bran, and Stark finding another entrance.
After walking along the rocky cliff side, Smoke, Bran, and Stark discovered a stream entering the side of the hill. After alerting the other group, the trio waded into the water and enters the narrow passageway. Smoke tried to drink the water, but didn't seem to like the taste of it. Aera, Kella, and Mal approached the mouth of the cave, with Aera scouting ahead. The large twenty foot high cave held a forest of stalactites, along with several ledges with a goblin archer stationed on each one. The aarakocra stealthly dispatched one goblin archer and noticed a mud pool beneath the first ledge. A large bald domed head rested in the warm mud bath, only his nose and eyes showing. The ogre softly snored as Aera moved on to the second sentry, only to lose her footing momentarily, alerting everyone in the cave.
Bran, Smoke, and Stark (who was being led in darkness by Smoke) traced the stream to its endpoint and discovered that the goblins used this as a well. Carefully moving to the northwest and finding a small tunnel that was blocked by a round boulder, the trio heard the sounds of battle coming from a large chamber to the east.
Malagoth waded into the combat, attacking the ogre in the mud bath, who stood up and pulled his great club from the muck. The remaining goblin archers hopped down from the walls and moved into to attack. Bran, Smoke and Stark, who lit a torch, ran into the large chamber to join the battle. Kella, stayed at the lit entrance of the cave and fired crossbow bolts at the ogre in the mud pit. Bran, fired one arrow than ran into the cover of the stalagmite forest, only to find the ogre's mate hiding in the area. Smoke took out two of the goblin archers as Stark killed the first ogre with his thunder cannon. Angry and devastated, the female ogre left the cover of the stalagmites but was brought low soon after. Mopping up the last of the archers, the party discovered that the ogres had been feasting on human flesh.
TO BE CONTINUED