Searching the river crossing revealed that the goblin raiding party, and something else, had crossed to the other shore. The rain of errant arrows soon confirmed that to be the case. The choice to stay was not an option as the goblin war drums were getting louder, so the party began a dangerous crossing. Almost half the party was caught in the torrent, with Redscar Belly and Mace making it out with the help of Valentine but the goblin puppy dog Dober washed down river making it onto a small rock island along with another goblin.
The party, upon reaching the other side, encountered the encamped goblin raiding party around their campfire in the marsh. Before the entire party could get across the goblin war party from the ruins showed up riding war dogs and a noose was set and tightened. The encamped goblins upon hearing the distant drumming of their approaching comrades in the goblin war party had understood to attempt to hold the river bank..
A melee battle of epic proportions occurred with the party deflating the morale of the encamped goblins and taking the far shore, while the approaching goblins were held at bay with the aid of a ‘manaphant’ that lost its life in the fight, but bought time for everyone to make it across the river.
The death wailing of the manaphant attracted the attention of a giant manaphant, possibly its mother, that is out for revenge. The party is faced with a choice, do they run and leave the enraged giant manaphant to guard their rear or do they fight off it and undoubtably another wave of goblin attack in order to search for the missing orphaned puppy Dober….
The pounding of drums were drawing closer every night. Each watch grew longer, each shadow darker, each sound more ominous, as we trekked into the forest; not knowing if we were making our way towards freedom or entrapping ourselves between two colliding war parties. We slept little. Our healer did what he could while we travelled, and slowly, our wounds became well again.
It was almost enough to make one miss the dungeons. Having solid walls to one’s back is preferable to all this shifting darkness.
We happened upon the river Narwin today. It was good fortune to find a landmark of some sort before dusk. All of us set toward foraging for supplies to get us through the night – Lenwe began picking through the rubble, Gilda harvested some herbs…I searched the crevasses in what I assume to be the cliff Narwin (because why the hell not) and found a mysterious vial of what seems to be invisibility potion.
Suddenly – thwack! An arrow, flung into the cliff Narwin! The party scrambled for cover, frantically scanning the hillside (all except for Lenwe. Thanks, Lenwe.) for potential threats as arrows pelted the cliff. The drums drew further closer behind us and I feel that somehow, somewhere, the roll of a die had screwed all of us over majestically.
My suspicions were confirmed when the party began to cross the river. I stayed behind, scrabbling under a patch of greenery to spot for threats. To the south, a goblin camp revealed itself to the wading adventurers. To the north; an approaching ‘manaphant’, returning to the cliff Narwin and unaware of our presence.
To the east…the goblin war party, riding hard with only the sole intention to destroy us all.
Archers from our side covered their crossing comrades as the procession raced to get to the other side of the river. Gilda and Mace were the first to make it across, and they quickly began to tear into the opposing camp to open the way for the rest of the party. Garik and Aerun made their way across next, the former screaming for Valentine and Dober to cross all the while. I lowered myself into the river, tethering myself to a fallen tree with a fragment of rope. Arrows pierced the water, narrowly missing my legs and glancing off my armor…and then the rope was severed. There was a moment of weightlessness, and then I was tumbling head over heels in the raging, dark waters. Somewhere far away I could hear the bleat of the returning manaphant.
My fingers brushed against a tusk and I gave a mighty tug, swinging up onto the manaphant’s back! I quickly found a hold on the thick hide and unclasped the longbow from my cloak. The goblins were charging down the hill; streaming along the crevasses, drawing their crude weapons. I screamed a bloody war cry and rode my mount right into the thick of the chaos. Arrows flew, dogs fell, blood stained the dirt. A tusk speared the belly of a goblin giant whilst my arrow pierced its’ head. I was meeting force with force, for the moment existing only to eat mutton and kick ass.
And I was all out of mutton.
Giant after giant pelted us with attacks, their large fists and unforgiving hammers swinging as the goblin mutts tore at the manaphant’s flesh. Panicked, I jumped for the river and missed. My knees buckled against hard clay, legs scrabbling down the pockmarked cliff as I struggled to escape the clutches of a goblin giant. Jaws locked around my arm – it was a giant version of that accursed mutt, tearing at my arm! Arrows flew from the other side in an unforgiving barrage. I could hear my friends screaming for me to get away, to jump – I grit my teeth and kicked the mutt away. My vision filled with sparks, blood burning with the will to survive, and I launched an arrow straight into the hound’s skull. Next to me, a giant’s hammer pummeled the dirt…like hell I was staying any longer. I jumped into the river, quick as a snake, and quickly swum over to safety.
Blood lapped at the waters of the far shore, staining clothes and fauna alike. Wounds wept all around the fire as I lay, wet and exhausted, in the dirt. Gilda sat at the far end, applying a healing balm to some fresh sword cuts. The sword Narwin lay near the fire, feeding the flames with its’ own furious anger. Tiny red beads seemed to glitter from the metal, as if rubies too small and fine for the human eye to see had suddenly made their home in the ancient elements. An angry whisper shot through my mind and I averted my eyes. Lenwe passed from person to person, whispering a blessing over each and watching as their wounds knitted under minute tendrils of light. He devoted extra time to Junior this time, as the paladin had been cut nearly to shreds by the multitude of goblin arrows.
As the cleric took a moment to kneel at my bedroll, I took another cursory glance at the party sitting around the fire. There was no mutt, forever barking and begging for scraps. And for that matter…there was no Garik, either.
I turned to Lenwe. “Where’s Garik?!”
A manaphant roar rocked the trees, stronger and more powerful than before; loud enough to send creatures running and flying and scampering from the underbrush.
Holy. Fucking. Aruundi’il.