3rd Day of Meloramensis – Part II

Hogar’s Journal (Translated from Giant)

Year 781 of the founding of the City

3rd Day of Meloramensis – Part II

Thunderspire Mountain

As we progressed down the tunnel hoarse laughter and guttural voices drifted to us from further along.  Soon a faint halo of light became visible in the distance outlining a wooden double door leading off from the main tunnel. 
Vicrael waved the party to a stop and nodded to me.  Stringing my bow I dropped to a crouch and crept up to the door.  The shouts and the laughter grew louder as I edged closer but muffled by the thick wooden doors I could not make out what was being said.  I notched an arrow and drew back slightly, feeling the satisfying tension of the bowsting on my fingertips.  Gently I pushed the door open a crack with the point of the arrow.  The old hinges creaked but the noise was easily masked by the racket coming from inside the room.
A hobgoblin soldier had been posted behind the door to detect the approach of someone such as me but he was too interested in a conversation taking place at the back of the room to notice my appearance.  The door led into a narrow room with barrels stacked up against the right hand wall.  The sentry was leaning back against these barrels looking back over his right shoulder to a desk perhaps fifty feet away from the door.  Here a crowd of four more hobgoblins, three in chain armour armed with maces of bows, one a warcaster in red robes, were gathered around a halfling.  They were taking it in turns to cuff him around the back of the head and laughing viciously.
Hobgoblins are never up to anything that’s good so I took the decision that the halfling had to be freed.  I released an arrow from the doorway that struck the sentry in the chest before he realised what was going on.  I quickly ran into the room and saw an unoccupied bench against the left hand wall.  I leapt atop it and loosed another arrow at the sentry but missed.  My sudden assault took the hobgoblins by surprise and they did little more than turn uncomprehending stares at me.  There was one exception however.  A heavily armoured soldier with a long pike came running in from a side room shouting curses at his unwary sentry and headed straight for me.
Before he was able to get anywhere near me Vic, Dief, Minron and Glen came charging into the room.  The former pair attacked the sentry, the latter the pikeman.  Recovering from their initial surprise the hobgoblin soldiers formed a line centred on the pikeman.  Glen, Minron and Eligos stood toe to toe with them; two shieldwalls face to face, spanning the full width of the room.  For a while there was stalemate as neither side conced an inch of ground to the other.  No force of goblins however can allow myself, Rodney and Vicrael to engage in combat on our own terms without suffering painful consequences.  Before long our assaults began to take their toll on the pikeman.  He was finally dispatched as Vic and Glen combined to separate his head from his shoulders.
The hobgoblins mainstay removed from the fray, Minron and Eligos redoubled their efforts against the remaining soldiers and drove them back towards the so far ineffectual warcaster at the back of the room.  One by one the warriors fell under a barrage of spells and arrows and a flurry of blades until only the caster remained standing.  Finding himself alone the mage lashed out with everything he had.  A massive burst of force-energy causing Minron, Eligos and Vicreal to go crashing to the ground.  For his trouble I pin-cushioned the caster with a couple of arrows, buying the warriors the time they needed to regain their feet without the hobgoblin doing further damage.  A flurry of swinging weapons followed as my furious companions re-engaged with our foe, most of them wide of the mark.  Despite the profligacy of our attacks the death of the warcaster was now inevitable.  The final blow came from the direction of Rodney who finished him off with a magical bolt of energy.
The hobgoblins dispatched we surrounded the desk at which the Halfling had been suffering interrogation.  He was now cowering beneath the table.  After Vic convinced him that we meant him no harm he crawled out and introduced himself to us as Rendil Half-moon.  He claimed that the hobgoblins were slavers who had been stalking his family and took him hostage when he attempted to track them to their lair.  Three and a half feet tall and dressed in sturdy but unadorned brown doublet and breeches, Rendil was no warrior and would have been powerless to resist once the hobgoblins discovered him.  It seems that outside of a place called the Seven Pillared Hall, which is protected by a group of mages, lawlessness is a problem in this mountain.  He offered to take us to a tavern in this hall owned by his family and buy us a drink.  Glen had him marching out the door leading the way before any of the rest of us had the chance to respond.  I just hope he doesn't get Vicrael a full pint; I can't go through that again.
  + � a > �T� �� not surprising behaviour for a dwarf of this region when confronted with someone of orcish extraction.
Amongst their missing companions are a Cleric and a Paladin.  Vicreal is certain that they will be able to provide us with more details of the Cult of Orcus’ activities in the keep.  If the members of the group still in Winterhaven are anything to go by I find this incredibly optimistic.  Surely we would be better off travelling to the keep ourselves to search for clues?  Still, it’s his decision and Old Vic has decided that we will aid these three in the search for their missing companions.  Wherever my intrepid and fearless leader goes I will of course follow.

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