With the battle over and done with Feldard scoured the room – what he was looking for? – he had no clue. “Maruc you’d best interrogate this lot. I would be apt to kill them outright if they so much as sneer at me.”
Maruc glanced over questioningly at Feldard. “I fear you must question them yourself and hold your ire Master Dwarf. I cannot speak their tongue.” He returned his attention back to Ludo.
Puss seeped from the claw mark but his colour was returning. “You’ll be fine in a few minutes. Miklos and I had a similar experience and Stephan’s place.”
Stephan wearily treaded over to the paralyzed Ludo, sheathing his sword and setting aside his shield as he did. Kneeling, he repositioned the rogue to at least be more comfortable. It was clear the thief yet lived.
“Nasty stuff, those hobs,” he spoke falteringly. He turned to look for Maruc who was already approaching to see what could be done for Ludo.
Hasan approached the hobgoblin ensnared in the web and spit out a few harsh words in the unforgiving tongue his grandfather had taught him long ago. “Your life hangs in the balance. What you say in the next few minutes will decide whether you live or fail. Where did Vlaak go with the prisoners? Where is Xitaqa?”
The hobgoblin, that seemed not quite a hobgoblin, hissed at the elf like a wild animal.
Ludo slowly regained the feeling back in his body, He examined closely the captured Hobgoblins’, these were no ordinary Hobgoblins, of that he was sure. “Seems Vlaak has left the building” he announced, “I wonder if he left any loot or clues as to where he went. Personally I believe we should stay the night here, rest a bit and then move on after him. After battling through an entire Goblin stockade I could do with a bit of a rest”.
Feldard nodded at Ludo’s suggestion. “As much as the stink of goblin and hobgoblin revolts me.. I agree with you.”
Seeing Ludo revive with alacrity, Stephan stumped heavily around the complex, ensuring they would be secure for the night.
Upon seeing the old woman, he spoke gently to her in his Traladaran accent. “I think it best you not leave till morning. We can find a comfortable a place for you to rest.” Proffering some meager rations, “Take this. And here is some spring water.
The woman ate and drank but with a plodding sorrow. Stephan was overcome. The sight of the woman reminded him of his own mother. Perhaps it was the weariness of battle. Perhaps just the sad visage of the woman. Whatever the case, the big fighter now felt tears welling up. He wiped them quickly, looking around to be sure none of his companions noticed.
Maternal compassion took over and the woman patted Stephan’s cheek — giving his arm a comforting squeeze. In a grating voice, “Halav will guide us. He brought me here more a purpose and I suspect you as well. Come, let us rest and shed this sorrow. Tomorrow well deal with practicalities.”
Stephan assisted her with finding a secure and somewhat comfortable place to pass the night. Not requiring as much coddling, he eked out warrior-suitable bedding for himself at a respectful distance but close enough to allow him to protect her if necessary.
Feldard bound each of the held hobgoblins and led them back to the prison area, chaining them up in place of Bushka.
The dwarf then carefully left the compound in search of his tossed aside crossbow and their still trussed up and gagged goblin-guide. As soon as the small warrior saw that he was about to be imprisoned with the hobgoblins, he began to scream.
It was obvious that though the strange hobgoblins were of no use for information, they would make for excellent tools in the interrogation of their smaller cousins. It was not long before they knew all the information that the goblins had to give.
The man in the yellow robes was named Golthar. He was a Master of the Iron Ring. Vlaak was the clanhead of the Bloodhead (Vlaakag) Tribe of hobgoblins who were headquartered in the old ruins of Xitaqa. The rank-and-file goblins were largely in the dark as to its exact location, but the king had a map hidden in his treasure stash located under the stone throne in his room.
Ludo explored the compound, scavenging for equipment including rope, lantern, oil flasks, arrows and anything else that he thought could be of use in the pursuit of Vlaak. Miklos joined him. He was particular in his search for writings, maps and scrolls such as might be out of place in a goblin lair.
The Wolfskull bounty was easily obtained. Along with the map there were 500 crona, a broken coronet with all but one of the gems removed and a very handsomely crafted human-sized shield. In Vlaak’s room, a small compartment was found in the trunk of one of the petrified trees. Ludo was able to disarm the trap, which would have dropped a giant tree branch onto them from above. Inside the locked chest was more crona, double the amount found in the goblins’ quarters, a collection of 5 gemstones and a quiver with 5 arrows.
As the party settled in for the night using Vlaak’s own room, Feldard took first watch. Keeping awake was difficult, but to do any less might mean being caught unawares should any escaped goblins return.