“Well, our mysterious Vlaak continues to elude us, but it is good to have a name for Golthar — though Skinny Legs had a ring to it,” laughed Hasan as he discussed the day’s events over some trailbread and tea he borrowed from Miklos the next morning. “Should we now pursue the remaining goblins of the Dymrak? I would free this forest of its horrors. But there is no telling what has happened the prisoners who were taken. Our first duty is to them, and so onward to Xitaqa, I think.”
The elf stretched his legs, at ease despite yesterday’s gore. He idly fingered the five fine arrows they captured yesterday, then handed a pair to Stephen and one to Ludo. “I have made some arrows, but none such as these. Guard them well, and use them carefully. These are elvencraft, if my eyes do not deceive, and will fly long and true.”
After munching down his breakfast, Ludo thought to himself that after yesterdays events he was surprised that he felt as good as he did. A few scratches but overall he felt good, fresh and keen to get back on the trail. He couldn’t believe that they had broken the back of this Goblin tribe. He felt elated and even though Vlaak and skinny legs (he liked the name) had eluded the group, they had a good lead as to where they were heading. Time to make up some ground.
Nodding to Hasan, “Thanks, I think I will save this for Vlaak” as he took the arrow. Glancing at Stephen, “what are we going to do with the old women, a pursuit of Vlaak and his cronies is no place for her”?
Ludo idly wondered what Feldard would do with the prisoners, thinking what was likely to happen, he packed his kit and goes outside to the main gate and awaits the others.
Stephan helped Miklos translate the map they had found. “Ah, it’s just as Bushka said. The moors are those hill-like markings on the map. See, Sukiskyn is here, on the other side of the Volaga. She said from here to travel ‘with the moss’ which would be northerly. You can see it is practically due east of where the river splits.”
The mage used the native Dymrakian’s knowledge of the area to help navigate the goblin’s crudely drawn map. It seemed as though the goblin king had been gathering intelligence on the whereabouts of his rival goblin and hobgoblin clans and had added their locations to the map. Miklos added the relevant coordinates to his own map that he had been keeping of the Duchy.
Stephan asked, “We will be traveling fast. Do you think you can make the journey with us back to the civilized lands?”
The Traladaran nodded confidently. She was old, but of sturdy stock.
“Thank you, Hasan, for the arrows.” Stephan marveled at the craftsmanship. “I’ll save these for special use.”
He eyed the shield, glancing back to his own tattered one leaning against the wall. It was clear he desired it, but did not want to make a claim when it was equally won by all. He took a few glances also at the ornate, ceremonial shield carried by Maruc. Then back at the new shield. His hand flexed. He could almost “feel” it on his arm. His left arm instinctively raised as if warding off an attack. All this, while just looking at the beautiful shield. He shook off the covetous feelings and got to work readying for another journey.
The dwarf woke from his sleep unwillingly. His muscles ached and his wounds, though cleaned now, were still quite sore. If he had an honest choice, Feldard would rather have slept the day away than prepare himself to trek onward. The there was no choice.. not really.
Equally, there was no choice in what do to with the prisoners. One by one, while the others did their morning preparations, Feldard dealt with the hobgoblin and goblin prisoners. There was no pleasure taken in killing them, bound as they were helpless. What the dwarf did was necessary for the party’s safety as they journey onward toward Xitaqa.
Splitting up the booty that morning was rather easily decided – at least according to the dwarf. He had no bow, therefore would not need any of the elven arrows that Hasan handed out. Though he would make a point of trying to salvage any of his bolts used yesterday on their way out of the stockade, it had been too dark to see them last night when he retrieved his crossbow. And the shield – well that was obviously meant for human warriors, not to mention his axe required both hands. “Stephan, you might as well take the shield. Maruc, I suspect is content with his and our new rogue—he can make do with your old old if he feels the need for a shield.” Perhaps some might think, it unfair. But the dwarf still held some reservations about the convenient appearance of the human just outside the goblin encampment.
As for the cronas, those were divided evenly—yes even with the new rogue. The gems however Feldard was adamant that Maruc carry until they could be assessed and sold to a jeweler.
Afterward, Feldard ate some jerked meat while peering at the map Miklos that was studying. “So which way is it to Xitaqa?”
Ludo trooped back inside the compound, “it’s as quiet as a graveyard and the sun is well up. We should get moving before any goblins return to reclaim their home” he said to Marac. “I think we should travel with speed, before Vlaak and Golthar knows what has happened here, we have some surprise on our side and we should use it”. He grinned, “Feldard did you catch any fish yesterday”?
“Yes, let us go,” agreed Hasan. “We can follow the same trail we took here to leave the forest. We’ll then head east, away from the gnomish mines. Let us hope our journey passes swiftly.”
Though he worried no further about the Wolfskull, the elf would set an aggressive pace in the brooding forest. He was sure danger still lurked in the Dymrak. Still, he was glad to leave that petrified wood behind. Even this unhappy ground, as it emerged from winter, allowed the occasional shoot of crocus. Hasan fingered the jade ring of Elyas as he walked and wondered what evil had wrought the changes they were rapidly leaving behind. He had much to learn about the land beyond the Radlebb.