Rhonna: The Offer

Rhonna looks at Lloyd and the mercenary exchange conversation. Judging from their expressions, the two warriors are close and know each other quite well. Looks like Lloyd has made a lot friends in his adventuring days, and Orik is one of them. I just hope the half-elf can convince his friend to help us, Rhonna thought to herself.

She wonders what Lloyd sees in this brutish mercernary. People like Orik are only motivated by gold and treasure, they can quickly switch their allegiances at the drop of a coin.

"Wait!" Rhonna shouts. An idea forming in her head.

The two warriors turn towards her. Orik raising his thick eyebrow and Lloyd slightly blushing from the unexpected reunion.

"You're a mercenary? Working for money?" Rhonna asked. "Well if its money you want, I have money!"

Orik looks at her and back at the half elf. "Who is that girl?"

"She's Rhonna Merrid," Lloyd replies. "Daughter of the late Julius Merrid. Merchant trader of the West."

"Whatever the harpy is paying you, I can double that!" Rhonna declares. "Just help us get rid of this evil."

"By harpy you mean Nualia," Gryffin corrected.

Rhonna rolls her eyes. "Fine, the harpy is Nualia. But I still think she's dead."


Guillaume: The Offer

"i am certain the people will be greatly indebted to you. and i will approach the mayor and personally give you commendation if you decide to help us thwart this evil." although i can see, from the look on orik's face, that this argument fails to appeal to his sentimentality or even his honor.

"sandpoint citizens have never been known to be .. (pause slightly to put emphasis to but also to think of the right word to describe it) "ungenerous" about their gratitude." i quickly reinforced my argument which did seem to spark the interest to turn over to our side.

i played with my symbol made of quarts and other rare blue stones, while making my appeal, which caught some of the little light that lingered in the chamber. it twinkled incessantly, beguiling the young mercenary to review his situation.

[diplomacy roll]

feeling guilty about what appears like underhandedness on my part, i quickly make a mental note of contrition, perhaps later when time allows it. or if i am still alive that is. i do it for the people of sandpoint. victory means a fresh new batch of the faithful for the church. i don't want to think of the alternative of this dreamed reality, what would happen if we lose .. no more negative thoughts. i must purge myself of pessimism.


Lloyd: The Offer

“Not so fast.” Advises Lloyd.

“I… we need to come clean with you. We aren't sell swords. We still serve Sandpoint. We are here to end this threat.”

Orik's face twists into a mask of confusion. His eyes dart back into the room, as if searching out the bastard sword and heavy shield that sit within.

“We don't have a bone with you, Orik. I know you’re just a mercenary. You have no loyalty to anyone. Money is all that is important to you. We have a bone only with Nualia and her cohorts. We have already neutralized the goblin threat. A deal has been made with the goblins. Next, we clean out any resistance here.” Adds the half-elf.

“So you don't want to be making any resistance.” Offers Lloyd sternly. “I’m offering you a route out, here. You can take it, walk free, stay alive, and fight another battle for another master. OR…. .” He shrugs, dramatically. “Hell, you might even be a good fighter, but you got to ask yourself whether that is the sort of group you want to take on. I mean, it's your call, really.”

Orik looks around to the likewise confused faces of the rest of the half-elf’s group.

“That’s it? You’re just letting me go?” he responds. “I mean, you’re just letting me walk? Not even a knife in the back. No retribution?”

Lloyd nods. Orik swallows again, perplexed.


DM: Awkward Introductions

Orik drops his bastard sword and runs towards the man in the other room’s doorway.

“Lloyd Avertin!” The taller man pulls up the startled half-elf into a tight hug.

“Orik Vancaskerin.” The half-elf hugs back and replies, though his tone is much less subdued.

“You guys know each other?” Guy curiously asks which promptly forces the two grown men to break up their hug. Orik, though, kept hold of the half-elf’s shoulder.

“Ummm… we know each other from town.” Lloyd explains. “Orik’s a traveling mercenary and he passed by Sandpoint last year and stayed for a couple of months. He joined the town guards during that time. We… worked together.”

“I knew you’d come here.” Orik interjected. “Your friend Jared arrived a couple of days ago. He's either with Lyrie in the room just up north, in her lab, no doubt doing something weird. Otherwise, he's probably with Naulia down below. She is always down below.

“Man, I hate this place. Hate being cooped up here waiting. You can't go up, because the goblins stink, and their manners are… yeuch! Life here is not glamorous. I was going to give it 24 hours, and if there’s no update on plans by then, I was considering bailing.”

“But that probably will change with you here. Man! I missed you so much!” Orik gives the half-elf another hug.


Lloyd: Goals

Lloyd sees the confused look upon Gryffin’s face as he looks outside the doorway and back towards the room and at the half-elf. Lloyd starts to move towards the door and the eladrin gently pushes him back.

“What is it?” Lloyd asks, whispering his question.

“Umm...” Gryffin stammers, trying to figure out what to say.

Confused, Lloyd himself cautiously moves towards the door and takes a look. He sees his companions facing away from him and towards another person. Recognition finally sets on Lloyd as to whom the new person is.

“Orik?” Lloyd gasps. Unknowingly voicing loudly his question causing everyone to turn towards the equally stunned half-elf.


DM: Goals

“Well that’s too bad, father.” Orik states as he shakes his head. “It seems that we do not actually have the same goal after all.

“I’ve been paid by the lady to protect her and it seems that you and your lot are in conflict with my job.”

The warrior reaches over and lifts his bastard sword before anyone in the party could react.

“So what are we going to do about it?”


From within the room, both Gryffin and Lloyd stop their rummaging when their hear voices at the corridor. Lloyd signals his companion who in turn nods and stealthily moves towards the door. From there, the eladrin sees his three remaining companions talking to a tall human warrior who seems a bit familiar to him...


Guillaume: Orik Vancaskerkin

"Are you more of that woman's minions?! Or maybe you're here to kill her!!" Orik's eyes narrowed in tepid suspicion raising his voice on the last note for dry emphasis. His reproach seemed well intended though as I observed him from behind the dragonborn's broad shoulder.

I am uncertain why but I felt quickly at ease with this one.

I quietly made my approach, halting at a comfortable space between us. "Then my friend, father corellon - lord of arcana that of mystery and spring that of new beginnings, must have guided you to us for we seek the same goal." I smiled devoid of hostility back at the stranger.

"I am Father Guillaume, Priest Of Corellon." I bowed low.

"Our meeting gives us an imperative." I turned around to face my friends and back to Orik. Their faces were painted with uncertainty.

"We must join forces. My Lord must have willed it."

"same goal? and what goal would that be father?"

i remained bowed but was taken aback by Orik's curious response. what?!

"why .. to arrest the menace brought upon the world by the (harpy) woman of course" i start to step backward as it becomes clearer that Orik might not be what I thought he was - the reinforcement I prayed for.


Rhonna: Orik Vancaskerkin

Rhonna watches as the tall warrior walk into the chamber. She notice the man is unarmed, except for a dagger tucked in his belt. Lloyd and the others are caught unaware of the man's arrival. They look at the stranger, as if he was one of the goblin's lackey.

The man pulls down his hood, showing off his stern visage and his crooked nose.

"What is all of this about?" He growls as if he stumbled on a private celebration by accident. “Are you more of that woman's sycophants, or has someone finally decided to end her life?”

Rhonna's hands quickly reach for her bronze dagger. She takes a deep breath, trying to recall an incantation to summon the Lion's flame, just in case the stranger attacks.

Who is this man? She wonders. Is he another agent of darkness? Or a poor soul sent to lure us away from our goal? And what of this woman? Is she the harpy or the one who calls herself Nualia?

She could feel the celestial music of the constellations ringing through her soul, amplified by her own ceremonial dagger.

Rhonna looks at Guy and Arao, hoping that the more experienced warriors would know what to do in a situation like this.


DM: Orik Vancaskerkin

Standing in the doorway or within the room, straight across the hall from the room you are all crowded, stands a man in his late twenties.

He is ruggedly handsome, with a stern visage. His facial bone structure is strong, with a slight hook on his nose, a strong straight mouth, and olive skin. He stands just over six foot tall, and looks athletic of build.

He is wearing banded mail, but is unarmed (although there is a small knife on his belt). Behind him you see another small living quarter, similar in size and layout to the one you are in now. Within the room you can see a large bastard sword, and heavy steel shield, the face of the shield crafted to represent the visage of some stern god or man.

He has a cowled hood over this head that he throws down to reveal more of his face. His hair is long and black, tied and oiled into a tight tail.

“What is all of this about?” he asks.

“Are you more of that woman's sycophants, or has someone finally decided to end her life?” he continues, leaning nonchalantly on the door frame.


DM: Stealth

Gryffin hears the familiar sounds of evil goblin laughter and feels his fingers itch to cast a spell but remembering the promise to Gogmurt calms down.

"I guess we better keep avoiding the goblins...and go through the quiet door … although nothing guarantees that they won’t lynch us when we're found out."

Gryffin muttered the last to no one in particular.

Guy and Rhonna nod their heads in agreement. The three then turn towards Arao and Lloyd for their decision.

“To the other doors then…” The half-elf concludes and leads the party towards the other southern door; away from the source of the laughter.

Gryffin clicks open the simple lock mechanism, and pushes aside the door. Lloyd barges to… nothing.

A short corridor stretches forward for about twenty feet or so, before turning to the west.

Gryffin moves to one side, letting the half-elf back through. The young half-elf edges forward, motioning for his companions to hold back. He pads forward silently, stopping at the bend of the corridor, and leans his back against the wall. Slowly he flicks his head round for a peak, taking only he merest of glances.

He turns to his group, motions them forward. They file in behind him. He whispers to them.

“Five doors; all closed. Gryffin and I are going to go and listen at them. You guys wait here until I call you.”

With that the two are off moving again, silently towards the doors.


Gryffin and Lloyd try out the left most door. The door swings open effortlessly, unlocked. The bedroom within is empty. It has a faint, musty odor. The bed is covered with matted grey and black hair, and bloodstains mar the stone floor. A morbid stack of bird's feet lie heaped on the floor by the side of the bed.

A quick search around the room seems to suggest that this may have been the living quarters of one of the goblins of Thistletop. The room is bereft of comforts or mementos. There are a few additional scraps of stinking clothing, and a couple of sheets of… skin… under the bed. You pull these out and see that they appear to be the stretched, dried parchment of faces, cut from the skulls, and allowed to dry and twist like leather.

Meanwhile, as the two are searching, and remarking amongst themselves on the horrors of the room, the rest of you hear a creaking from the door behind you.

Guy, Rhonna and Arao all turn around...


rhonna: thistle dungeon, level one

As the group ventures into the goblin stronghold, Rhonna could feel her heart pounding with excitement and fear. She's glad that Lloyd and Gryffin are around. The two men are now heroes of Sandpoint. Back when they were younger, Rhonna would steal glances at the two lads. She envied their freedom and their carefree living.

How she wished she had friends like them. The only companions she got were Nualia and her brooding coven sisters. While Lloyd, Jarek and the others were playing pranks and creating havoc around town, Rhonna and her friends created their own mischief.

Rhonna remembered how she got accepted into Nualia's secret sisterhood. Nualia had a way with words. She could easily draw people towards her, like a stunning blossom calling forth bees in the field. They initiated her out in the forest, under the pale moonlight. Nualia made her feel special and appreciated, like no one else did.

Soon, the town began experiencing a series of misfortunes -- droughts, dying livestock, and poor harvest. At first, Rhonna thought all the catastrophes were for a good cause. Nualia said that everyone needed to be purified for past transgressions.

Eventually, somone discovered their little group. The townsfolk began branding them as witches and demon worshippers. They dragged Nualia and her sisters out to be presecuted.

While there was little evidence to prove Nualia as the culprit behind all of the town's misfortune, Rhonna was offered a choice. She could join her sisters and be ostracized by the community, or reveal the truth behind Nualia's cult.

Rhonna thought she was betraying her sisters when she agreed to turn over Nualia to the town elders. But as the years went by, she realized that what she did was the right thing. Nualia had been making deals with demons and devils. She deceived everyone and played everyone against each other, including her own sisters.

"Where do we go?" Lloyd suddenly asks, looking at Arao.

Rhonna thought it would be better to try sneaking around the goblin's lair. They did make a promise to that forest shaman and it would be good to honor it.

But she feels a bit uneasy talking to the holy knight, or the priest of Correllon. Rhonna knew that paladins have the gift to sense people's sins. Aaro must have sensed her dark taint by now. As for Guy, the eladrin was close to Father Zanthus. He must have told the priest everything about Nualia, including her part in the demonic coven.

Why is it so hard to redeem oneself? Rhonna sighs. She knows that this is her chance to come clean and save the town.


DM: Thistletop Dungeon, Level One

The stairs leading down are carved stone, not laid stone. They appear to have been quarried into the island rock. There are rumours, backed up by the time-smoothed shape of the rock itself, that the island was once the head of an enormous statue that towered over the surrounding land.

You take the central set of stairs (you found another in the northern section of the complex) moving down to long flights of stairs that run at the slightest angle. It takes a left hand braced against the wall to make sure and steady progress. As you move down, the light fades, and the air becomes damp and stale.

The stairs open into a large room 20+ feet by 15 feet. A single lantern hangs from a hook on the wall next to where the stairs enter this room from the north. Several rickety doors open into this room, and a few discarded dog pelt rugs lie forgotten in the northeast corner. There is the stench of goblins here.


Lloyd motions at the eastern door. It is as good as any, and the lack of any signs of noise of life from behind any of the other doors means that ultimately you had to pick one. East it is.

Gryffin moves over to the door, eyeing the lock. It is a simple mechanism, and within a few minutes the door is open.

Beyond lies a short corridor that opens out into a rough-hewn room. The ceilings are about 8 foot high, and a hooded lantern sits unlit just inside the corridor. You move quietly inside. It would, as Lloyd suggests, be a good idea for someone to take a light. The half-elf moves forward, lifting the hooded lantern from the hook on the wall. The reservoir of oil sloshes around, almost full. The wick is primed. It takes only a few seconds to light to lantern.

Crates, barrels, and mounds of miscellaneous refus lie heaped against the walls here. To the north, the sound of crashing surf echoes in.

As you are entering the corridor, Arao, bringing up the rear, hears some course laughter and a shrill, playful shriek, echo from behind the leftmost door on the south of the main hall.


DM: Thistletop Stairs

"No, we will not fight the goblin king." Arao shakes his head as he answers the half-elf's question.

"We made a promise to the druid that we won't hurt any more goblins. We just have to find another way in."

The rest of the nods in agreement with their leader's decision.


Rhonna nods in agreement. For some reason the girl feels safe with the paladin protecting and leading the group.


"ah ok..." Gryffin states. "So Gogmurt wants us to bypass the Goblin killing spree...oh okidoki...I'll side with honor then."

The eladrin then proceeds to silently check the other doors. He eventually finds the flight of stairs the druid mentioned just beside the double doors.

Lloyd leads the rest of the party deeper into Thistletop.


Lloyd: Thistletop Hallway

Lloyd stepped back from the door and looked back towards his companions.

“Should we go in?” The half-elf asked.

He wasn’t sure himself if they should. Lloyd knew that the goblins have been a major problem to the town recently and that eliminating their current leader would severely weaken the creatures’ forces.

However, all the facts show that it could possibly be Nualia who is the actual source of all their troubles. The circumstances point towards the fact that she might be the one who has gathered all of the goblins into one force.

The soldier in him is telling him that attacking the leader now would give a big blow, assuming they would succeed, against the goblin legion. But doing so could possibly remove the element of surprise which they have so far.

“What do you think?” Lloyd continued, asking at the rest of the party for a decision on how to proceed.


DM: Thistletop Hallway

"Why don't we search this area while we're at it?" Rhonna suggests as she waits for Lloyd and Arao to finish their discussion.

The young lass walks up towards the double doors and gives one of it a slight push. The door opens easily and swings silently to reveal a short corridor 15 foot long. There are two doors at the end. The muffled noises you heard earlier are a bit clearer now. Voices for sure, coming from just behind the door. The tongue is almost certainly goblin, or something similar. Gutteral, a bit high pitched at times, and a mix of voices. Amidst the chatter and laughter, you can discern a single more powerful voice. It is still goblin-ish, but more commanding, and the others tend to quiet down when it is raised. A leader, perhaps. THE leader of the Thistletop goblins, perhaps?


Rhonna: She's dead! I saw her die!

As the group travels deeper into the goblin stronghold, Rhonna couldn't help but think of what has happened to her in the past couple of days. The goblin attacks are a sign of some ominous thing that's going to happen. Rhonna clutched her bronze ritual dagger even tighter, expecting a horde of blood thirsty goblins would ambush them in an instant.

The stars have spoken to her. Rhonna was grateful that she was blessed with such benevolent patrons. They were willing to accept her as their vessel, despite her tainted infernal dealings.

"So what do we do now?" The eladrin priest announces, hoping to get a consensus on how the group is going to proceed.

"Shall we continue investigating each room or go to the lower levels?"

Lloyd and the paladin look at each other and begin to discuss their opinions. Gryffin took the time to rest and collect his thoughts on the fight that would come.

"So Gryffin tells me you know the harpy woman." Rhonna turns toward Guy, wondering what the priest was talking about.

"What harpy woman?"

"The one the goblin shaman mentioned." Guy adds. "Lloyd told me you used to be friends with her."

"I don't know any harpy," Rhonna shakes her head, looking confused.

"No?" the priest shakes his head. "The one that caused a lot of problems in town, what's the name of the girl? Nualia?"

Rhonna takes a deep breath and frowns.

"How many times must I tell you that Nualia is dead. She died years ago."

Arao and Lloyd suddenly stop talking. Both of them looking at Rhonna with uncertain eyes.

"No one believes me," Rhonna exclaims. "She's dead. I saw her die!"


DM: Entering the Stockade

The pathetic lock on the door proves not even the most rudimentary challenge to the growing skill of Gryffin. Two tumblers, probably salvaged from some ship-wreck or the junk thrown into the rubbish tip by the men of Sandpoint. It clicked once, twice, easily. The door eased open.

The young rogue put his ear up against the slivered gap, listening. There was nothing to hear. He pushed the door a few inches, feeling the tension in those who waited behind him. It swung open, revealing an entrance hall some 25 feet long, and twenty feet wide. A door on the left, one at the end on the left, a double door at the centre of the end wall, and a small passage leading off to the right.

The floor of this room is hard packed soul, as if the builders either ran out of lumber after buildings the walls and roof, or as if they simply never thought about building a floor. A number of poorly preserved horse and dog heads are mounted along the eastern wall, while along the southern wall hangs a pair of large batlike wings tacked to the wall with daggers.

The room smells .. not great. I guess that this is what the inside of a goblin house smells like. A mix of pickle and filth.

The room is empty.

* * *

Lloyd moves forward bravely, entering the heart of the enemy's territory. Somewhere within here that demon woman Nualia is hiding, and with her no doubt are scores of goblins.

Other than the aforementioned trophies, this large entrance hall is empty. There are muffled noises of distant activity within the structure, but heard to pin-point exactly where they are coming from. No goblins are present here, but it is clear that it will not be long before you stumble upon some.

The question now is: where do you want to go next? Gogmurt’s directions points towards the double doors which supposed to lead down the lower levels.


guillaume: the rope bridge

when we have crossed the bridge we found a safe and hidden spot where we can discuss our plans.

"maybe we need to send a scout. have a look around first before going in." i interrupted the dragonborn while absent mindedly polishing my holy symbol with my sleeves. ".. or wait 'til we have cover of darkness?"

"only goblins see well in the darkness priest" he counter-argued with hint of annoyance in his course voice. "why dont everyone keep quiet for now and give me time to think".

with that i left the dragonborn to his thoughts. it must be difficult for him being the leader of the group. i can only give him support at whatever he decides. he is a good man. i realise this. he must be thinking about jarek. where is he?

i continued to wipe clean my symbol and pulled and patted my robes to get rid of the dust and creases here and there. i chuckled to myself realizing the futility of my actions. it will just get dirty and dirtier, all over again.

a few minutes later i noticed lloyd's hand pressed against his other arm. there was blood on it. "how come you didn't tell me you were hurt" i questioned him a bit upset. i crawled towards him and took his arm. lloyd hesitated and quietly groaned in pain.

"let me look at it. it is my job to look after everyone in the group lloyd." i eyed him with suspicion wondering why he kept it hidden this secret. i see that familiar look on his face. that look of pride and aversion from asking for help.

"it doesn't make you any less of a man to ask for help lloyd. we need you to be strong and as agile for the battle that is to come" i lectured without intending to. i remind myself of superiors whom i secretly despised. i didnt like being treated like a child. and here i am now doing the same thing with lloyd. i must have picked it up during the course of my studies and living with them for a long while.

i see lloyd narrowed his eyes from embarassment. "you have strength master lloyd. you will be fine" i quickly uttered as a way of recompense.

we were seated facing each other to form a small circle. i have no idea for how long have we waited for a plan from arao. i busied myself by redoing and placing some more bandages and sang prayers to corellon to heal lloyd of his wounds. but my mind was safely back at the abbey, away from all of this. the wilderness, the goblin stench, the course sands against my skin, the threat of dying, the threat of knives and all sorts of dangers.

i was indeed back at the abbey where it is clean and quiet, and taking a long hot bath ..


DM: The Rope Bridge

Lloyd and Gryffin edges forward towards the edge of the rope bridge. It is long and narrow, about 40+ foot long and appears to have been made with the same attention to craftsmanship as the rest of the crap that the goblins jerry-rig together. The rope itself is thick enough, if a little hairy and worn, but the planks are so mismatched and haphazard as to make a crossing treacherous.

The half-elf puts one hand on the rope at each side and prepares to step onto the bridge. His eyes drift down to the sea. There is a drop of 80 foot into the water. The waves below are breaking hard against the cliff. It does not look like a fun place to visit!

The two creep across. Each step creaks and wobbles, but it holds. It did not, however, feel particularly strong.

Ahead of them is the stockade and the rounded expanse of the small island. The stockade is made of thick wood. The stockade is large, about 90 foot across. The island is only perhaps 110 foot across, so it appears to really eat up most of the space. There are no windows (goblins don't like light over much), but on the left and right side are small watch towers (nothing visible), and straight in front of you, about 20 foot away, is a large wooden double door. The noises are round the left side of the building.

They can see, even from here, that most of the wood appears to have been scavenged from ships. A few nameplates remain affixed to some of the timbers, while others look like they might once have been masts.

The island appears empty, but it does not sound silent. They can hear faint noises from the north west, sort of to one side of the stockade and back a bit. It sounds like goblin voices raised in delight, with the odd yapping of goblin dog thrown in for fun. They are not close enough to the stockade to hear any noises within, but you assume it is probably full of the little buggers.

Somewhere within here your nemesis is to be found.


Trickling across, one by one, the group make it onto Thistletop Island. The crossing isn't fun, and Arao in particular seems to be wary of crossing the rope bridge in full plate mail armor, but he is finally persuaded, and slinks across.

You all gather together on the island, almost within spitting distance of the front entrance of the stockade. You can still hear the noises to the north west of the compound, and the odd noise emanating from within, too muffled or indistinguishable to ascertain what they are.

The rain starts falling again, gently at first, but starting to build a little.
There is little cover here, and you feel exposed, but there has been no reaction to your presence, and the continuation of noises suggests nobody is manning the watch towers (or they are not paying much attention).


The movement around the stockade is simple enough. Although there are sharp, deep bramble bushes scattered around, they never block the path, and indeed there are clear trails where goblin patrols have made their endless routes.

After reaching the edge of the left tower, Rhonna lets out a soft warning. You all stop, pressed up close against the stockade. Guy’s first thoughts are that there is someone above, but Rhonna points a finger around the corner.

Lloyd peeks round the corner, using the cover of the bramble as best he can.
He pulls back beside the rest of you, whispering indications that up ahead, outside the stockade, are four goblins. They appear to be torturing some poor seagull tied to a string, and are distracted, but sufficiently in the open that it is impossible to reach them undiscovered.


Gogmurt: The Proposal

The goblin wonders how the intruders were able to make their way this far without knowing where thistletop is.

"The angry lady and her companions - three of them... no, make that four - are located in the floors below. Angry lady is with big bodyguard, dark skinned magic woman, shifty long ears man and new human with arrows.

"Most of the goblins are located in the first floor. Once you enter the main hall, there are doors that lead straight down towards the lower levels."

Gogmurt then turns towards the forests.

"As to the stupid fey man's question as to where Thistletop is..."

The goblin druid leads the party northwards; the thistle bushes and branches giving way to them as they pass. He stops by a cubby hole, or guard hole, or whatever it is, has been cut clean out of the thick thistle wall with blades. The cuts vary in age, showing that the guard post has been in use and maintained for what appears to be many years. It is impossible to tell when this post was last actively manned, but given its proximity to the bridge and the goblin stronghold that you can see on the little stubby island, it is clearly a core defensive point. However, the muddied and still wet dirt near the bridge shows no recent signs of passing. Sure, there are many prints and churned marks in the soil, but these appear more dry than the top layer of dirt, and it appears that nobody has passed here for a few hours at least.

Hiding as best as you can, watching the bridge and the buildings beyond, and listening to the rhythmic beat of the waves far below, yields nothing. There are no goblins visible, none appearing, and no noises evident over the waves.

"This is as far I takes you." Gogmurt whispers as he passes back once more into the thistle forest behind you.


Guillaume: The Proposal

"This lady you speak off, can you tell us more? Where does she usually stay? How many are her friends. Can you tell us more about them?" I scratched my beardless chin in curiosity. I looked upon my friends and saw that everyone was deep in thought about what course to take except for Rhonna who appears disgusted. From what only she knows.

Unconciously my fingers made their way to my damp silver hair which fell to my shoulders and further down to my arms, during the fight it managed to become entangled this way and that, it was a surprise that it did not hinder my view and the fight.

Carefully, I ran my fingers down unraveling my hair from disentanglement. I took a tiny piece of sash from my traveling bags and collected my hair, tied it neatly in one piece which now runs clean streaming down my back. This way it won't get in the way of the ensuing .. anything. I smiled proudly of my tiny accomplishment.

"How far is thistle top from here?" I offered.


Rhonna: The Proposal

Rhonna looks at Gogmurt, trying hard to hide her fear and disgust. After attacking them with cats and dogs, the goblin man is now trying to strike a deal with her companions. She listens as the druid shares to them about an ugly harpy that has been tormenting his goblin relatives.

This is a sly little vermin, Rhonna mutters to herself. She knows Gogmurt's personality well enough. People like him try to trick and deceive. That's what her coven sisters would say.

"Is he telling the truth?" I whispered to Gryffin. "He could be making it up you know."

The eladrin wizard threw me a stern gaze, as if telling me to keep quiet.

Rhonna bites her lip in frustration. Fine! You guys go talk to him!

She wants to warn her friends about making deals with these sort of monsters. But they seem willing to strike a bargain. Monsters like Gogmurt are sly decietful creatures.

Most of Rhonna's coven sisters made deals with infernal demons, pacts of blood and death. Each pact worse and more gruesome than the last one. The other witches thought they had the upper hand, but the demons had their wild card. In the end, they all sold their lives as servants to these devils.

"I hope you guys know what you're doing," Rhonna replies.


Guillaume: The Proposal

"then we must be compelled to work together" my voice was dry and calm. my hands were raised and closed to form fists joined together in unison. i chased away the violence in my mind and replaced it with the faces of those unfortunate victims including those of the goblins.

"there is no need for further bloodshed." i continued. my voice sincere and steady.

"it is revealed to us" i spoke aloud as if i had an audience before me, even beyond the forest. i spoke slowly and my voice trailed, letting each word sink in. "an infernal evil, beyond any of us could imagine and any of us could defeat alone, is at hand. the goblins (the goblin leader particularly) are being used to the harpies gain. but together, together we will triumph. let us make a pact. let us help each other defeat a common enemy".


Gogmurt: Parley Reply

"So what do you propose lizardman?" Gogmurt asks stepping out from behing the thistle tree.

"I can only let you pass the forest not bothered. No more of my forest friends will bother you. But I cannot accompany you to the fort. The angry lady has banned me from within.

"I can take you as far the the bridge and warn you of its dangers. Tis built do collapse on weight of the tallfolk but only if more than two pass at the same time.

"Do not worry of any guards. The attack on the town has left us few that the bridge is not watched.

"Try not to hurt any more goblins." The druid begs. "Angry lady and her friends are the real troublemakers.

"Get rid of them and I promises that no goblin will ever bother tallfolk town again.

"What say you?"


Arao: Gogmurt, Parley

I listened to the druid's melancholic tale of the harpy -- the evil force manipulating and agitating these goblins to war. Seemed like a common thread suddenly appeared before all of us. I stepped forward unto the clearing and sheathed my axe.

"Druid, hear my parley!" I bellowed out in Common. "This harpy is a bad influence to your chief, is she not? Help us reach her, and we will try to remove her presence for you. The tallfolk do not wish any more bloodshed between your people and theirs."

I crossed my fingers, hoping my diplomacy would reach willing ears...


Gogmurt: Parley

“Stop using our language son of fey .” Gogmurt replied as he continued to pass between the thistle trees. “Your soft tongue is only brings shame to the language of our ancestors.”

“You invade our territory and now ask for parley? The angry woman with weird eyes and a torn up belly might possibly have some sense in what she speaks. You townsfolk are indeed crazy.” The goblin druid laughs as he disappears once more behind the trees.

“I knew tallerfolk were coming. That attack in the village was uncalled for. I told chief that more goblin would be hurt. But he wouldn’t listen. He only listen nows to the taller folk. “Worse than a harpy, that one!” Gogmurt spits. Then quickly clarifies his accusation: “The woman. Not Chief Ripnugget. Don’t tell him I called her a harpy!”

“My poor goblins.” Gogmurt sobs as he stands behind one of the trees near the path.


Guillaume: Parley

"over there!" lloyd pointed the druid out from the thick foliage near us. it was difficult to see without direction but i finally saw it. it was a part of the thistle forest dressed in thistle flower leaves and all manner of earthen debris. one might even be creative and imagine it as an ancient forest spirit protecting its domain.

"o agaan okholkaagaal" [you attack us without provocation .. (pause) and now you are outnumbered] i called out to it hoping that it would listen to reason.

"daan magaan khruun vogaach der o, teger or daan dhuugan" [we have no quarrel with you, spirit of the forest] i paused and waited for its response.


Gryffin: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 04

Summary: Gryffin casts a scorching burst spell at teh remaining enemies and manages to wound the last goblin dog. Gogmurt escapes the blast by staying among the thistle trees.

Scorching Burst at I6 to K8
Attack rolls:
1d20+5 → [17,5] = (22) vs 13, hit
1d20+5 → [8,5] = (13) vs 15, miss
1d6+4 → [5,4] = (9)


Rhonna: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 04

"There! He's hiding by the trees! Just off the left of the one with the sagging branches and above the shrubs!" The young warlord shouts out to his friends.

Rhonna gazes over Lloyd's direction and see a small figure standing in the foliage. This is the first time she ever laid eyes on such a creature. Gods! They look uglier than demons!

The goblin is covered with leaves, dried mud, and tree barks. He looks like a skinny green dwarf, minus the beard and the plump belly.

Coward! He seems to be busy calling forth fire flies and ordering his pet cat to fight his own battle.

The cat! Rhonna curses herself.

She's distracted by the ugly goblin man to notice that the forest feline is still on the assult. Arao continues to swing his axe, but the sly creature is too quick.

The paladin needs my help! Rhonna mutters as she gathers her will and energy, calling forth the power of the stars through her bronze dagger.

"Star of Lions, heed my call!" Rhonna implores. "My foe still stands to mock me. Let your light burn through its skin, let your fury melt its ears and eyes! Crush his body with your mighty roar!"

Rhonna's dagger blazes with the constellation's power. The stars of the Lion responds quickly to their daughter's call, sending forth a bolt of fury and destruction unto her enemy.

The cat screamed as another crimson light shot through its body. Rhonna could feel the power of the Lion coursing through her veins, burning the feline's skin and bodies. She could hear the goblin scream as it watches its pet burn alive by the light of an alien star.


Guillaume: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 04

it was a strange feeling being in the thistle forest. unlike forests of the feywild, the gigantesque sequoias or redwoods that stood mighty and proud, that possess the land it lives on, imbibing it with a grand spirit of majesty, thistle forests on the other hand, seemed more like an unwanted infestation, an painstaking intrusion to the usual beauty of mother nature.

my hair lay damp on my shoulders from perspiration and trickles of sweat flowed across my face, blinding my vision.

i wiped it off but it is replaced easily but a minute or two later. the heat is magnified moving about, inside the enclosed space. i narrowed my eyes concentrating on the remaining dog imagining it falling down. i knew it will take more than my imagination of course but the knowledge does not hurt one from trying.

i called upon corellon to realize my intentions. once again the familiar eladrin knight on a white horse materializes before me. it gallops away, its silver lance hoisted for an attack. this time however, the goblin dog sidesteps seemingly aware of the knight's rapid approach.

the eladrin knight dissipates into thin air.


Lloyd: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 04

So the druid is after me now! Lloyd thinks to himself as he tries to see make sense of what is happening around him. The fireflies have forced him to move towards the last of the goblin dogs but it is the fire spell of the druid that has incapacitated him more. He caught the sudden burst of the fire face first and has blurred his vision. He could barely make out the forms of the dog and of his companions around him. Everything near him seems to be indistinct.

And yet, when he looks up towards the trees he could see them clearly.

Still blinking wildly and trying to set his vision straight, Lloyd notices some movement in the tree line - a form trying to make his way around the party.

The druid!

“There! He’s hiding by the trees! Just off the left of the one with the sagging branches and above the shrubs!” Lloyd shouts out to his companions.


Goblin Dogs: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 04

Lloyd continues to be affected by both the attack of the fire flies as well as the after effect of the druid’s spell. Unbeknownst to the half-elf he is blindly led towards the remaining of the goblin dogs which quickly takes a bite at the helpless warrior.


Gogmurt: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 03

From amongst the foliage, Gogmurt watches as the half-elf brings down two of the goblin dogs. The canines were the pets of the goblin warriors and not his but that did not mean he did not care for them.

The thistle trees once again parted and the goblin shaman stepped out into the clearing. Gogmurt once more summons the fire flies but this time has them converge towards the twin sword wielding warrior.

The sudden appearance of the insects catchs Lloyd unaware and forces the fighter to move closer towards the druid. Once Gogmurt has a clear sight of his target he summons another ball of flame and throws it towards the half-elf.

The ball of flame detonates in a small explosion at the half-elf’s face causing both damage and further confuses the warrior.

Finally successful, the druid laughs and steps back into the thistles.


Tangletooth circles around and takes a swipe with its claw at the dazed half-elf. Lloyd’s armor holds against the feline leaving him unscathed from the attack.


Arao: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 04

m: casts Divine Strength
S: Radiant Smite vs Tangetooth
attack roll
1d20+7;2d10+8 → [9,7] = (16) vs 18, miss


Gryffin: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 03

S: casts eyebite on tangletooth
attack rolls
1d20+4 → [14,4] = (18) vs 15, hit
damage rolls
1d6+3 → [5,3] = (8), invi
M: shifts to G10


Rhonna: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 03

The half-elf's wild, impressive swordsplay had brought down two of the goblin hounds. Rhonna watches in awe as Lloyd, weilding his long blade, rush through the growing foilage. What she heard from the other girls were true. The young warlord slashed through his enemies like a wild hurriane of blades. It was beautiful to watch and equally inspiring.

No wonder half the women in town have a crush on him, Rhonna mused. She remembers how her coven sisters would whisper about the dashing young half-elf. How they adored his peircing eyes and his cute stubble for a beard. Two of them even tried casting love charms on him, invoking a lust demon to help them win over Lloyd's heart.

Before she can think of anything else, Rhonna felt a sudden gush of energy rush back to her. She hear the music of the stars again. Rhonna looked at the wild dogs, the same two creatures whom she had placed her hexing curse. They were dead. Both victims of Lloyd's deadly swordsplay. The powers that she use to curse the two beasts now comes back to empower her even more.

I must help Lloyd defeat our enemies, Rhonna mutters to herself. She wants to prove herself to these seasoned heroes, show them that she can be a useful member of their group. She wants to prove to them that she is not the naive young girl who almost destroyed their town years ago.

The paladin's booming voice echoed through the clearing. Rhonna glance over and saw the dragon-born struggling against the forest cat. She saw scratches on Arao's arms and legs.

Taking a deep breath, Rhonna raises her ceremonial knife to the stars. "Star of the Lion, mighty one, I call upon your spendour and might. Put this wretched beast to its knees. Break its legs and open its heart!"

Despite the thick branches covering the sky, Rhonna could feel the pulsating power of the Lion, the constellation of warriors and fighters. She points her finger over to the goblin's pet, the power of the Lion coursing through her body like a thousand roaring beasts.

A birght crimson light burst through Rhonna's fingertip, crackling the air like lightning. Rhonna could feel the fury of the constellation strike the cat, shattering its bones.


Guillaume: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks!, Round 03

i had just warded off an attack. my breathing was deeper from exhaustion or maybe from being inside the tunnel of thistles too long.

upfront, i glanced at the half elf who spun in a intricate dance wielding the points of his blades with great speed in continues circles and jabs, cutting his target to pieces. it was MAGNIFICENT. i swore joyful praises in corellon's name. i have never seen its equal outside of the royal legions.

"all (good) races are truly capable of art in every form." i was grateful to have witnessed it, fleeting as it was, without permanence as one finds in architecture, sculptures, or paintings. but perhaps its lack of permanence is what makes it more precious. i smiled in self-contentment.

inspired by this display of expertise, i was moved to sing.

créateur de l'univers. je vous implore la victoire sur nos ennemis. détruisez-les mon seigneur .. détruisez-les ..

the noble eladrin knight from earlier, reappears on top of his warhorse. the warhorse leaped, it's silvery mane flowed and moved like water, its front hooves raised prepared to pounce. the knight waves at me with his shield arm before commanding his stead to finally plummet, his silver lance turned towards the remaining beast dog.


Lloyd: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 03

Lloyd suddenly feels the surge of divine energy coursing thru him. He notes that both the cleric and the paladin have gone into prayer and their efforts begin to take hold upon the half-elf's body.

Enboldened by the feeling, Lloyd quickly strikes at the dog near him. His strikes seem to be guided as they easily score a fatal wound on the canine.

Still reeling from the divine surge, the half-elf warrior makes his way towards the other goblin dog and takes another slash. Once again the strike falls true and another of the goblin dogs fall.

He feels the divine surge start to ebb but before it finally dissipates, the half-elf manages to move towards the rest of the party in an effort to shield them from the last of canine attackers.


Goblin Dogs: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 03


The dogs get separated from the pack and attacks its targets individually. Only the dog attacking Lloyd gets lucky as the others seem to be protected from the dragonborn paladin's sacred cirle.


Gogmurt: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 02


Gogmurt sees the spellcaster and notes that the eladrin is a threat. He tries to distract the eladrin with faerie fire but fails to decieve him. He then produces flame and shoots at the eladrin who again dodges the gout of flame.

He retreats back to the forest while ordering Tangeltooth to attack the said mage. Tangletooth however is toying with the paladin. The conflicting order and the urge to attack another target causes the cat to miss.


Arao: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Rouond 02

M: stands up
S: Casts Sacred Circle


Gryffin: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 02


Rhonna: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks, Round 02

"I thought you have given up on this?" Lloyd mutters after witnessing Rhonna's enchantment on the wild beast.

"I'm not dealing with demons," Rhonna answers back. "The stars are now my guide and my patrons."

She wants to say more but Lloyd turns his attention on the nearby goblin hound. The half-elf swings his sword and manages to keep the creature at bay, at least for the moment.

These creatures are relentless in their attacks, Rhonna says to herself. Two of the mongrels continue tearing on Guy's priestly vest, knocking the eladrin to the muddy ground. The dragonborn swings his battle axe helplessly against the forest cat, while tiny fireflies continue buzzing around him.

It would be easier to summon the powers of demonspawns and have them eradicate these pathetic creatures. Rhonna still remembers the rituals calling infernal powers that her coven-sisters used.

"No," she whispers as she tries to banish her fears. I will not surrender to this evil. I will not fall back into the darkness again.

"The damn trees are moving!" Lloyd shouts as the clearing begin to shrink.

Rhonna looks around and realizes that the trees of thistle wood are closing up on them. Small vines and hedge bushes start to crawl across the earth like a thousand hungry vipers. Patches of tall grasses sprout out of the ground, their thick leaves coiling around the young woman's feet and legs.

"This is foul magic!" she exclaimed while raising her bronze dagger up into the sky.

The dagger in her hands tremble from cosmic energies of the constalletions. It begins to glow azure blue, collecting and amplifying the mystical music of the stars.

Rhonna smiles, knowing that the stars are her new source of strength. She does not need to make the same mistakes again. The stars are guiding her on the right path.

A powerful bolt of celestial energy shoots out of the young woman's finger, piercing through the goblin hound's skull. The creature screams as the eldritch magic works its way into its body. Rhonna's hexing curse further aggravates the pain, ripping through muscle and skin.


Guillaume: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks!, Round 02

this is it. a fitting end to a traitor. pessimism takes hold of me.

my back is pressed against the sandy floor. it did cushion my fall, to which i am grateful, as the powerful maw bore through a portion of my thigh. blood exploded. the taste of eladrin blood must have caused it to a deeper frenzy as i felt its teeth bit deeper. there was no pain --- not yet.

for now i am another person, an observer looking down on someone else disattached from reality. i vacantly watched myself and the others. this is likely what the mind does to protect itself.

"watch out!" lloyd catapulted two of the beasts simultaneously a few yards away from him. I then sensed being pulled back to my person and the previous feeling of apathy was replaced with urgency.

"do something!" was that for me? or was it for someone else? everything is happening so fast. it was chaos.

my arms were raised to protect my head from the claws. i couldn't go down with a scar? i chuckled to myself at the thought. it took all my strength to raise my arms. my limbs were covered with the animated vines preventing me from moving much. certain that it was a gift from the shaman.

from inside this transient cocoon, i managed to make sense of things. i could not afford to show weakness. i am a follower of corellon. courage. i must have courage. instinctively, i blinked myself out of the beast's grip. popping out of it and popping in to a relatively safer place -- behind the bloodied dog that is beside rhonna.

i tried to stand up this time, i held up the blessed symbol which clung around my neck. i focused on the beast and i called upon corellon. "corellon. pere de toutes les fées. exaucez ton fort. exaucez votre lance de la foi!"

an orb of pure warm light becomes apparent before me and it took the shape of a noble eladrin knight on horseback. it carried a shield decorated with the tradition symbol of corellon accentuated with fleur de lys at the edges and a silver lance as long as three men. it gave me a respectful nod before galloping forward towards the unsuspecting beast. it growled hungrily at rhonna ready to pounce at the woman.

the lance ripped thru the beast's thigh which quickly flared and dissipates, leaving nothing behind but a deep wound. the beast slowly turned to me. its mouth filled with sharp knives, hatred in its eyes.


Lloyd: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks!, Round 02

Lloyd sees the eladrin cleric go down.

He looked around at his party getting chomped up by their opponents. Their spellcasters were caught in the thicket of vines. Their priests and paladins were knocked down on the ground and they have barely done any hurt on the other side.

"Darn it!" The half elf cursed.

Pulling himself from where he's entangled, he makes his way towards where Guy fell. The goblin dogs were at him now and if he didn't do anything he'll be mauled to death.

"Get up people!" Lloyd shouts out.

The half-elf flicks his short swords wide against the two nearest goblin dog and catches both of them by the jaw. He manages to wound the one near the cleric. Lloyd then flicks his sword swords again causing the dogs to be a bit more wary and moves away from the party.

This gives the warrior enough time to slash on the remaining vines which frees him from his restrains.


Goblin Dogs: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks!, Round 02

With their opponents caught up in the tangle of vines from the goblin druid's spell, the goblin dogs takes advantage of it and attacks as a pack. They circle around their now trapped prey and mostly easily avoiding the half powered attacks against them.

The dogs easily nips at its prey. One manages to take a bite at the half-elf warrior as the latter tries to escape the vines which suddenly has caught his limbs.

Lloyd in turn is able to to swing a short sword and hit a passing goblin dog but that still doesn't detter the canine from attacking it's trey. The dog, takes a bite at Guy who manages to avaoid the attack but only to be set up as another of the dogs circle around him and takes a bite at the eleadrin's leg. The goblin dog then pulls with it's mighty jaw and brings down the cleric towards the ground.

Gryffin and Rhonna tries to ward the dogs off but they are intent on finishing up their chosen prey.


Gogmurt: The Fire Pelt Cat Attacks!, Round 01

"Yes!" The voice echoes amongst the thistle trees. "Follow the lizard man. Compress towards the center. Here. Let me help you."

The small, wiry goblin's sudden appearance from out of the thick wall of thorns catches you all by surprise. He spits a few words at you, as if summoning some magical assistance, while his cat holds back at his side, ready to pounce.

At first a few mote of lights appear upon the dragonborn. Much like small fireflies. Then they increase in number and size causing the paladin to move and swat them away from his body.

It is then that you feel a pulse of energy lance out from his palm, fly past you, seeming into the thistle wall behind you, and then ... momentarily, nothing. Suddenly the prickly sensation redoubles back, this time washing out past you all as if a wave of something magical has just flowed past you.

The thistle wall starts to move, reach out towards you. From the earth at your feet vines suddenly appear, seeking out your legs, your arms. Within a second the entire area is blanketed in thick, grasping vines.

Everyone is caught in the thicket except for the heavily armored dragonborn. The goblin doesn't seem to like that one of its targets escaped its spell and summons his animal companion.

It is then that the fire pelt cat leaps forward towards Arao.Iit is seemingly directed by its master, seeking out the magic user, attempting to neutralise the key threat.

The goblin laughs at the cat's success and thereafter steps back into the thistles.

"Well done my pet. Let this serve as a warning to all that try to invade Thistletop and harm my people."