Though the battle in the square was over, alarms continued to sound throughout the city. Tuck guided the party to the cellar of a building within a few blocks of the tavern’s location. “This is one of our safe houses that we use when scouting through the city for information,” he said wearily, “one of the few that hasn’t been compromised by the goblins yet. I’ll set up some surprises for the goblins, should they get too close to our hiding spot”.
The party rested as Tuck left the cellar, and Mother Taessa saw to their wounds. The minutes ticked by slowly, but eventually Tuck returned with a grin. “I used some of the dwarven bangers to lay some traps for the goblins, Simon. Best to rest for now, we’ve still got a long way to go before we’re through with this adventure!”
About ten minutes later, there was a sudden explosion, followed by the sounds of goblins shouting. Then it sounded like a large brick wall fell down and the voices were silent. Tuck grinned, “Looks like that got most, if not all, of those buggers”.
Within the hour, Tuck looked at the party and said, “All right! Time for us to try and make the tavern. It sounds like the goblins have moved to another part of the city to look for us, and our next objective is close, we have to go now, before they decide to come back and do a more thorough search. The inn was a fancy place before they sacked Glynn. It was two floors tall, and I’d imagine the goblins have put it to the torch. That is likely to make our search for the entrance to the thieves’ guild…interesting”.
The sun was going down as the party moved to a ruined tenement building. Tuck motioned for the party to climb up a ladder to the roof of the building. “The roofs will be watched, but less chance of running into someone out for a stroll this way. Remember, goblins can see in the dark!”
The party moved across the rooftops, avoiding the few goblin archers they saw on the way. Suddenly, Tuck stopped and hissed through his teeth, “By my father’s beard!”. Pointing at a building in front of them, he said, “They didn’t burn it down at all! The bastards are using it as a tavern!”
Coarse goblin laughter and flickering light spilled out of the windows into the cobblestone streets as Tuck led Roku, Trish and Simon around the building to try and find a back entrance. Gurgle, Storm Crow, Kabuto and Mother Taessa all stayed on a nearby rooftop where they would be out of any direct combat, but could see what was going on in case the others needed assistance. As Tuck turned the corner, he froze and backed slowly away from the corner. He turned and told the others, “There are some windows there, but I couldn’t get a good look. The thing I did see was the kushna standing guard”.
Simon crept around the corner to look at the devil dog, then sprang lightly to the rooftop behind him. He pulled a rope from his pack, fashioning a lasso from it, before he snuck to the edge of the roof and with a perfect throw dropped the lasso gently around the kushna’s neck and jerked it off its feet. Trish could hear the kushna start whimpering, and charged around the corner, swords drawn. A swift double cut ended the kushna’s life, and Simon came back down from the roof, coiling his rope and placing it back in his pack.
Simon looked through one of the windows and could see a number of goblins swilling ale, as well as a few kushna napping at the feet of their masters. There was a small open beer garden area where some goblins were absorbed in a dice game. Tuck snuck to the corner of the beer garden, looked around the corner, then swiftly returned. “More kushna,” he said.
Simon said, “I’ll check and see if there’s a way in through the second story”. Without another word, he scaled the wall and was soon looking through a second story window into a once fine bedroom, now filled with debris from the goblin occupation. He saw a woman crouched in the corner to his right and at the same time heard the gruff voice of a hobgoblin come from the hallway directly in front of him. “Don’t be coy, my little pink morsel,” said the hobgoblin, “I enjoy the chase, because it whets my appetite, but if you make me work too hard, I’ll let you feel the full brunt of my anger”.
Simon shifted just as the hobgoblin looked out the window. “Huh,” grunted the hobgoblin, rushing forward, “Who’s out there?”
Simon scrambled to the roof as he heard the window crash below him and the woman began screaming. Simon did a flip, catching the edge of the roof and used his momentum to drop neatly through the now broken window behind the hobgoblin who was dragging his now captive slave off down the hallway. Simon’s katana butchered the creature quickly, and the slave girl ran down the hallway screaming. Goblins burst into the hallway from adjacent rooms, and Simon’s sashi caught one in the throat as it tried to comprehend what was happening.
Trish heard the screaming start, and then heard the crunch of gravel as the kushna came around the corner. Seeing Trish and Tuck, the kushna reflexively let loose with a blast of fire which Trish avoided, but caught Tuck flatfooted. Tuck dropped to the ground without a sound, unconscious, and horribly burned. Trish rushed the kushna, driving her sword deep into its chest, and then stood abruptly as a hobgoblin came around the corner, driving her second sword through his chin and into his brain. A kushna in the bar began to howl, and the goblins that had been in the beer garden came swarming through the shutters on the windows into the alleyway with Trish and the unconscious Tuck.
A kushna charged Roku, but arrows from the rooftop brought it down before it could harm him. He melted into the shadows and watched as a trio of goblins came out of the bar, and began to scale the walls to the second story of the building. Roku stepped forward out of the shadows and willed the crown to send a gout of fire towards the goblins on the wall. The one nearest to him caught the full brunt of the flames and died with a shriek. The next closest dropped to the ground and began rolling about to put the flames out, but the third reached the roof and disappeared from view.
Trish advanced on the nearest goblin, killing it, and then spun on two more of the hapless creatures that had tried to rush her, cleanly severing their heads from their necks. Arrows arced out of the darkness, lodging in her armor, but doing no damage. A second volley of arrows came from the darkness, this time finding chinks in her armor and wounding her. She killed a kushna as it rounded the corner and cut down another of the nearby goblins. Gilliam cast a shield spell on Trish, as she killed another goblin which overbalanced when he swung his sword at her, then dodged as another kushna breathed fire at her. She clambered through one of the shuttered windows of the beer garden, killing a kushna through the window as she put her back to the wall of the garden to take cover from the arrows.
Simon feinted with his sashi, then ran across the wall and dropped behind it. He killed the goblin, then spun and killed two more goblins in the hallway. He stopped dead in his track at the figures he saw coming up the stair. Lazuri! The lazuri gave the remaining goblins the courage to rush Simon, but he cut them down in short order, narrowly dodging a spear thrust from the lazuri who had set up a shield phalanx at the top of the stairs. The lazuri in the back of the phalanx threw javelins at Simon, one of which caught pierced him in the side. Telpurr cast a shield spell on Simon, who then teleported behind the lazuri and stabbed at them from behind. They appeared to have anticipated this, and he wasn’t able to make contact. Simon dropped down the stairwell, and as he gained his feet, he could see Igmar sitting next to a slaver, flagon in hand, and surrounded by lazuri.
Roku was burned badly by the kushna that had rounded the corner on him. He swung a frenzied attack with his katana, catching the beast a glancing blow with the flat of the blade, then following up with a diagonal slash that severed the dog’s head. The goblin that had been on fire growled like an animal as he stood and rushed Roku. Roku’s katana cut the air, but the goblin parried the blade away just as two feathered arrows burst into his chest, seemingly from nowhere. The goblin dropped to the ground, the light in his eyes dimmed, and Roku looked to the rooftop and nodded at Storm Crow and Gergle. He then moved to the wall, and climbed to the roof, and moved to where he could see Trish. He cast a shadow bolt, killing one of the archers that had been shooting at Trish, then dropped below the crenellation of the roof for cover.
Igmar grinned at Simon, his forked tongue flicking between his teeth disconcertingly. “Ssssimon, fancy meeting you here. Unexpected, but delicioussss…Get him!”
At Igmar’s word, the lazuri in the bar rushed Simon. Simon wounded a red sash that arrived slightly ahead of his fellows, but in no time, he was surrounded, and had been wounded by their weapons thrusting in from all sides. Simon glanced to his right and saw a window. As soon as he saw it, he activated his teleportation ring and teleported to the outside of the building. Quickly reaching in his pouch, he pulled out a dwarven banger, and threw it into the center of Igmar’s table. The banger went off, killing the human slaver, and one red sash, while injuring most of the other people at the table, including an ogre.
As Trish caught her breath with her back to the beer garden wall, she saw an ogre step through the opening from the bar area, holding a large tree trunk as a club. With a deep breath, Trish ran at the creature, slashing at it and wounding it severely. She could see goblins lining up behind the ogre, but they couldn’t get through the doorframe around its huge body. A kushna jumped through one of the windows of the beer garden, but Trish cut it in half before it could land. She wasn’t so lucky with the second one, but she managed to dodge the flame just in time. She spun back to the ogre, and could see that the wounds were beginning to heal over, and her next swipe lopped three of the creature’s fingers off.
Watching Igmar stand up from the ruined table and brush himself off without any apparent damage from the banger, Simon called to him, “What are you doing here, Igmar?”
Igmar grinned again, “I was talking to my alliesss, and the goblin king. I brought slavessss with me to provide for the goblinsss sssport. We will, however, be taking the pitiful Rune Lord Arrin back with ussss to gain the ssssecretsss of the missst”. With that, Igmar motioned to his guards, stepping on the body of the dead slaver on his way out the door.
Roku cast shadow bolts at the goblins that were still firing at Trish, killing one. He then dropped to the ground level behind another goblin, killing it, before taking cover. Simon killed a kushna and a hobgoblin as Telpurr cast enhance combat on him. A second ogre crashed through the window trying to find Simon, who had unleashed a flurry of strikes that killed the first ogre. Goblins swarmed over the ogre’s body into the beer garden, where Simon and Trish made short work of them. Trish then stooped down and severed the ogre’s head to keep it from getting up again any time soon.
Another ogre came over the wall, and Simon wounded it, while Trish caught it a glancing blow with her blade. A few moments later, the beer garden was silent again, the second ogre slain. Trish worked on setting the ogres on fire to permanently kill them, and Mother Taessa worked on Tuck, healing his burns and bringing him back from the brink of death. Horns were blowing in the distance again, and they could hear murmuring voices and shuffling on the second floor of the inn. Tuck and Roku searched for the entrance to the cellar behind the bar, finding it, and as Tuck went to tell the others, Roku snuck into the darkness of the cellar. Meanwhile, Mother Taessa healed Trish’s wounds and Telpurr cured Simon’s wounds.
Roku crept through the cellar, and could hear goblins up ahead. “If the hobgoblins knewed we was down ‘ere…” began one.
The second said with a guttural laugh, “Yeah, but they don’t knows, does they? Have another drink on me!”
Roku rounded the corner, where he saw the backs of the goblins. They never knew what killed them.
Simon took several bottles of spirits from behind the bar, smashed them on the rugs and splashed them on the wall hangings. He then grabbed one of the burning lamps and flung it into the spilled spirits, where it caught almost immediately. “I won’t have these foul beasts using this tavern for their own purposes anymore,” he muttered as he closed the door to the cellar behind him.
The party used the water from the fountain to open the tunnels to the thieves’ guild. As they climbed down the ladder that led to the tunnels, Telpurr floated beside Simon. “You have to be more careful with the lazuri, Simon,” he said, “Especially when they’re all bunched up like that. You know they have mastered the phalanx and they are very dangerous if they can get their shield wall up. I also think that Vargas is going ahead of us and warning our enemies that we’re in the area”.
At the bottom of the ladder, there were two foul smelling, rotting bodies of goblins. Mother Taessa looked them over, then said, “That’s odd; it looks like they drowned”.
Trish moved further down the tunnels, her armor catching and enhancing the light of her Journeyman candle. Ahead of her, she could see what looked like scarecrows hung from the columns of the room. They were covered in bells and fancy clothes. She could hear splashing water rimward, and Simon went past her, deeper into the tunnels. Roku went down a side tunnel, where he saw dummies much like the ones in the room Trish was in, only these were bristling with rusty knives. Trish reached out to one of the pouches hanging from the dummy with her sword and severed the ties holding it to the belt. The pouch hit the floor with a crash, spilling gold and silver coins, and one of the small bells tinkled. From either side of her, Trish saw undines form and a wave pulsed out from each of them. Trish barely managed to keep her feet as the waves washed over her smashing her back into the rocks and crushing her. Roku came back down the hallway just in time to have a wave hit him as Gergle leapt into one of the undines and began stabbing it with his trident. Trish attacked the other undine and Gilliam cast shield over her to help with the damage they were dishing out to her. Roku fired a bolt of darkness that hit the undine stunning it briefly. It shuddered, then flowed into the space where Trish was standing and began to force itself down into Trish’s throat, drowning her. Kabuto threw his hammer at the undine Gergle was fighting, and Mother Taessa cast a banish spell. The undine grew smaller and less powerful with each spell. Trish wounded the undine and Gilliam cast an endure spell on her. Roku cast another shadowbolt, then took cover around the corner and quaffed a potion to regain the strength to continue casting spells.
Simon’s ferret jumped out of his pouch and went running ahead of him into the darkness. He came to an area where there were six columns, and he could see where statues of Ratrona had been cast down and replaced with snake figures. As he looked at the statues, humanoid figures rose out of the pond behind the columns and advanced on him. Their top halves were female, but their bottom halves were snakes! Simon rushed the creatures, decapitating one with his katana, and disemboweling the other with his sashi. He killed two more of the creatures, then picked up his ferret. He heard a hissing sound as the area around the columns filled with gas. Holding his breath, he ran from the area, as the surface of the pond began churning. Arrows came out of the darkness and struck all around Simon…