Feldard grimaced at the feeling of being so vulnerable during the last parts of the battle. He had been weaponless—his crossbow lay at the base of some tree up the hill and his axe was buried in the hide of a wolf. The dwarf wasted no time in moving up to the downed wolf and pulling free his axe. He’d have to remember to retrieve his crossbow later.
Ludo retrieved his sword from the carcass of the dead wolf, and patted Feldard on the shoulder as he trotted past. “Thanks Feldard, you are handy Dwarf to have around.”
The dwarf smirked at the newest party member, recalling the man’s plea for help. “You’re welcome.” The stout warrior then moved into the goblin encampment, heading for the wolf pen and the two sleeping goblins. Maybe they would have a crossbow he could use for the moment.
The remaining penned wolves snarled, and growled as he approached. He looked to the cage door to ensure it was shut tight and latched. What Feldard wouldn’t do right now for a lock or his crossbow and a full quiver of bolts to deal with these last two.
Seeing the dwarf’s consternation, Stephan stepped forward. “Allow me,” he said as he readied his bow.
The penned wolves snarled in rage at the attention Feldard and Stephan gave them. Stephen moved quickly but deliberately, wanting to quickly silence the beasts but not have to put more than one arrow in each. He breathed easy and waited at point blank range. One of the enraged monsters, overcome with hellhate, lunged at Stephan seemingly forgetting that a barrier separated the two. At that moment, Stephan’s arrow flew, sinking deep into the base of the wolf’s neck. The fiend fell dead against the cage, one paw sticking out a few inches.
Turning, Stephan quickly did a similar thing to the second wolf. This time, however, the beast seemed to have it in for Feldard. With putrid slather flying, it strained to get at the dwarf. Stephan used this to his advantage, easily sinking another arrow this time into the rib cage and hopefully through the heart. The wolf quickly fell silent.
“Well, I don’t expect to get those two arrows back. Well used, I expect.” Stephan’s head turned to a noise from within the goblin lair.
Maruc limped into the compound after the others. Scanning the area he saw the entrance amongst the twisted forest limbs. The fading whines of the wolves echoed in his ears. He took his helm off and ran his hands over the grey-oak door. A bizarre shape that filled the gap between to overarching boughs. The floor tracks told of much passage. It must be the main way in. He pressed closer and listened. Goblin squabble. It was impossible to tell if they were alarmed or whether it was normal banter, for them. Maruc lent next to the bough and held his shield up and waited for the others to gather.
Meanwhile, the mage loitered at the bridge. He pulled himself into the shadow of the great split trunk that formed the gatehouse and peered at forest. It brought to mind the image so long ago, of the room in Caldwell’s castle where the claws of deathless skeletons sprouted from the ground. This ghastly scene was oddly fitting. His gaze pierced the gloom hunting for movement. The forest stared back. Waiting.
A noise behind him caught his attention. He turned and saw the party gather around what appeared to be a way further in. Satisfied that they were not being followed, he ducked back into the compound and joined the others.
Ludo took a scouting position at the door on the south wall, and tried to determine any sounds that might give a clue as to what or who is the on the other side. Hasan nodded at Ludo. “Off you go. Let’s go find Vlaak.”. The elf drew his sword and waited to steal through the southern door.
The priest glanced around at his companions, assessing each for wounds. They’d do for now. “Is the door barred Ludo?” he inquired.
The rogue paused to catch his breath, and then gently tried the door handle to see if the door was unlocked. It was. As he took a deep breath and prepared to open it, he heard the sound of another door opening in the room on the other side. The sound of armored goblins speaking to each other in the guttural language of their kind got louder as they quickly approached..