In part 7, the party encounters kobolds...
One of the trails from the old ogre's lair leads out of the trees and heads straight for a cave opening that lies just within the canopy of trees along the ravines northern face.
Many small tracks are evident in the dirt outside of the cave mouth and many tall trees overshadow the mouth of the cave.
"Well, this one looks interesting. It appears something or someone has been here recently. I say we begin here. Let's go," said Gwynth, taking a deep breath.
Pedrov and Ghordon enter the cave first, Ghordon's lantern shining off the slightly moist walls. They peer into the darkness of the cave and then emerge to give their report.
"Looks to go in about thirty feet before ending at a 'T' intersection," relates Ghordon. "It is as he said," concurs Pedrov.
The party slowly enters the cave, Ghordon and Pedrov in the lead. The light from Ghordon's lantern flickers off the moist walls, stone with a bead of sweat, and the damp sandy floor.
"I suggest we go left," says Gwynth upon reaching a T intersection 20' into the cave when suddenly a loud grating sound is heard and Ghordon and Pedrov vanish quickly followed by Cirdan and Jimbob.
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A short time later
Suddenly the party is reunited in a short corridor. Ghordon Pedrov, Jimbob and Cirdan had just finished looting the bodies of some 11 slain kobolds when Gwynth, Salinor, Finster, Bodewin and Bollas rounded a corner. Sadly, Sarlox was not with them and they were showing the sings of a difficult battle upon them and with two kobolds in tow.
Gwynth gives a surprised look and says, "Where the hell have you guys been? We've been worried. So, which way do we go now?"
"Jimbob, Cirdan! Is it really you? What happened? We couldn't open the hatch, and the kobolds kept us rather busy. Are you alright?" Bodewin pauses to take a breath, obviously exhilarated by this unexpected reunion.
Jimbob is obviously happy to be 9 again. "Ahhhhh! Finally! We thought we would die in that trap and called for your help... actually, we could hear you in the battle. Then, Ghordon had the bad idea to touch one of the spikes on the walls, and these walls started to move toward us. But his bad idea was, after all, a good idea, since this allowed us to climb over the wall to end in a strange tunnel. We opened a trap, encountered some kobolds, killed a big, fat one, and here we are. By the way, we didn't decide yet who would carry the gold. I am volunteering to carry part of it."
Finster just starred in disbelief "welcome back fellas", he said as he acknowledged, his fellow teammates, whom he thought were trapped in a pit.
Salinor greets the returning party members. "Gold, you say? Did you encounter more of the kobolds and discover a treasury?" He then adds, "If nothing can be found the way you came, perhaps we should go back to where we encountered the kobold emissary."
"Now things are looking up!" says Bollas in a clearly happy voice. "And to think I thought the worst had happened. Well Gwynth, lead the way!"
"Well," Jimbob says," I wouldn't go that far to say a treasure, but they sure had money on them. Okay, we are wasting our time. I said I was going to carry half of it, who is going to take the rest?"
"Moreover, I suggest we move. I don't know who are the rogues here, but I was stupid enough to fall in a trap earlier because we forgot to ask them to use their very special ability. Could you please start inspecting the hallway so we don't find in anymore trap. Then, we can make our way deeper in the cave, inspecting the floor regularly for any traps or hidden doors. How does that sound? I don't want to activate any new traps!"
Salinor offers to carry the remainder of the treasure. He then motions to the captured kobolds. "We needn't worry about pit traps for the time being. We have decided to use these captives as a walking shield leading our way. Now Gwynth, shall we venture back to the corridor from which the emissary appeared?"
After hearing about an emissary lots of times Cirdan asks, "Who is this emissary you speak about?"
Salinor replies to the query. "He was a representative kobold who asked for our surrender. Of course we declined his offer, and he left to consult with his "superior", rounded the corner back at the end of the other hallway, and we've not seen him since."
Gwynth clears her throat and says, "Yes, we had a kobold here a while back demanding a tribute from us. I told him we pay tribute to no person or creature. He tried to sound quite threatening, and then he took off. Yes, let's head off in the direction from which he came."
"That sounds good...let's kill this emissary and all of these filthy kobolds," says Ghordon.
Jimbob speaks," I suggest we do as you guys planned before: let's go in the direction where the emissary left. If we don't know where it is, I suggest we go ahead and choose... let's say... the left side of the T. Of course, the prisoner will walk in front of us, and someone should make sure he is not avoiding any special stone or tile we would step on." "I also suggest we do it now, so they don't attack us by surprise."
"I say we go past the trap door, which might be meant to guard something, and proceed to the right," Bodewin says promptly. "Every kobold inside this complex will know we're coming, so we'll have to be very careful. And they might block our way back, once we go on. There are already kobolds on the outside."
"I agree," says Salinor. "If we are in agreement, let us be on our way."
"Excuse me Bodewin, but we are already in the passage to the right of the trap door. I suggest we proceed forward and try the passage to the right," states Gwynth.
"Oh... sorry. Doesn't matter, any direction is as good as the others. We should keep moving, however." Bodewin is relieved that someone else will have to take care of the prisoners, now that they are up front.
Finster looks up from beneath the shadow of his drawn over hood, "what ever way the majority of you decides is fine by me, I am your shadow and will follow you, all", he says.
"I agree with Gwynth," states Bollas.
"That's it, "Jimbob says, "enough chit-chatting. I say we elect a leader who > will have the last word on the direction we take, but who can consult the > party if he wants. To make it faster, I propose myself, but I am ready to > support anyone else."
Gwynth looks over at Jimbob and says, "I feel that I have been a good leader and advisor. I think I should continue that job. I have experience in these caves, but I also look to my companions for input. I have been pretty much leading the group while you were in the pit."
"Very good, Gwynth, I am ready to follow you and I hope it's the same for the other ones. Let's then go on with our exploration, according to the direction you chose. Is that a problem with anyone else? If not, I suggest we go before they surprise us," replies Jimbob.
With Ghordon and Pedrov back in the lead Pedrov takes the leash holding the kobold captives.
Passing into the T intersection the light from Ghordon's lantern clearly shows a door 10' to your left and a long corridor to the right.
Upon the door rests a large iron lock. Ghordon signals for Bollas to examine the lock. The thief silently moves towards the door when the sounds of bowstrings echo from down the corridor.
Several arrows hit the door and one lodges into Bollas. Turning quickly to see who is firing the party sees only darkness.
Bollas clenches his teeth together hard and groans out â€˜I'm hit' in a decidedly angered tone. He reflexively grabs for the arrow protruding from him while at the same time moves for cover.... Wherever that may be.
Gwynth swears softly under her breath and starts to cast a spell of sleep in the direction of the arrows.
Jimbob takes cover behind a wall and yells, "Cover that light: I will be able to shoot them in the darkness."
Salinor slides up against the wall, with his shield in front of him. "We need to get down there to find out where these arrows are coming from. Who will go with me while our experts work on that lock?" The elf waits for a reply from the group.
"Those who have shields use them and follow me" Cirdan says He holds his shield in front of him and starts to run towards where the arrows come from ready with his sword to slay some kobolds.
Gwynth thinks to herself that perhaps everyone should stay put, since she is sending a sleep spell down the corridor. She flashes briefly on this thought and goes back to her casting.
Bodewin fires an arrow past Cirdan, into the dark, hoping to force the little cowards into taking cover.
Heeding Gwynth's warning, Ghordon stays put.
Finster quickly moves into the safety of the shadows hoping to get a better look at who ever or what ever fired the bows, and also hoping to keep out of sight.
Salinor looks at Gwynth. "Perhaps we should try and determine that there are indeed kobolds, or others, on whom the spell may have an effect. Perhaps we triggered a trap. Let the fighter and I scout ahead with you in the rear. Then, if the foe is there, you can cast your spell." Salinor awaits Gwynth's reply.
Gwynth ignores Salinor's suggestions since she is already too far into the spell to go back. Hoping for the best she lets it fly...
In the distance the sound of several bodies falling onto the cold stone floor echo back to the party.
Gwynth turns towards Salinor and smirks.
"Be careful, there might be more," Bodewin admonishes the front row fighters, superfluously, most likely. Putting a new arrow on his bow, the halfling turns to watch their back trail. What seemed a fine adventure is turning more and more into a dangerous deathtrap, if you ask him. But he is resolved not to be the first to suggest retreat.
From the shelter Bollas believes he has taken... he groans out... â€˜How about a hand here? Anyone skilled in gentle arrow removal?'
"Oh, Bollas, what a nice arrow you have there, let me help you get rid of it!" Jimbob says before tearing the arrow out of Bollas's body.
Ghordon, Cirdan, Gwynth and Pedrov head down the corridor in search of the now slumbering attackers.
Suddenly the light of Ghordon's lantern flashes upon something in the distance. Within in moments the captives begin screaming. The screams do not last long though as Pedrov uses his mace to silence the two creatures.
Salinor quickly follows to catch up with the rest of the group, suggesting the others do the same.
Following Salinor, Bodewin approaches the scene cautiously; not really eager to see throats being slit. "What do you think would make a kobold scream like that?" The halfling asks, casting glances over his shoulder to maintain at least some degree of vigilance.
Jimbob runs down to his companions to join the battle. Finster dashes toward the party staying to the shadows and joins the battle, and the rest soon follow.
All of you stand over the five dead kobolds. The corridor traveled about 80' before opening up into a 20' x 20' chamber that housed these creatures, a barrel of arrows and a door in the left wall.
Gwynth looks down at the kobolds and says, "Hey you guys want to split up these arrows? Then we can take a vote on which way to head next."
"Let us examine this door then," says Salinor. "I am eager to leave this hallway."
Finster, approaches the door taking no interest in the arrows in the barrels, he looks for any traps on or around the door.
"Armored kobolds? What is the world coming to..." Bodewin listens to Gwynth's suggestion and replenishes his supply of arrows. "One can never carry too many arrows," the halfling says, by manner of explanation.
Finster takes a careful minute examining the door and after finding all to his satisfaction he reaches up and begins to nudge it open. After the door begins to open it is suddenly pulled open with great speed from the other side and out rush several kobolds led by an extremely large (for a kobold) one bearing a battle-axe.