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Vlaak Interrogation

Maruc nodded toward the warriors his thanks. “Feldard, perhaps you should interrogate Vlaak. I’m sure Halav will forgive a certain amount of aggressive persuasion if he chooses to be… ah …difficult. We need the whereabouts of the yellow robed man.”

Maruc turned to Stephan, “Come here woodsman, you look in need of a little recuperative blessing.” The priest administered to his duty of maintaining his flock.

“Quite,” agreed the mage following Maruc’s train of thought. “There is of course the possibility that the yellow robed man is nearby. Maybe packing his bags as we speak? We may hope that he is truly arrogant in his trust to Vlaak’s might and has not fled. But he may well be a wily member of the Sons of Night for all we know.”

“Feldard, Vlaak must have knowledge of the his conspiracy and would be useful to confirm our suppositions so far. One, is the yellow robed man the leader of the Dymrak bandits? Two, is he a nobleman or a mage? Three, what was their agreement and why did they join forces. Four, has he heard of the Sons of Night? If so what does he know?”

Feldard looked between the cleric and the mage with a grimace as he used a worn piece of cloth to wipe the blood from his axe. He hated being the go between for these interrogations but the dwarf had to admit – he was persuasive – in painful sort of way.

With a grunt, Feldard headed over towards where Ludo was attempting to get the hobgoblin to talk. But the human seemed reluctant to apply the right sort of motivation. The dwarf had no such reluctance.

Finding a spot that was not web covered, the dwarf gave the helpless hobgoblin a kick. “You will answer our questions or your death will be so painful your young will feel it,” he threatened in Goblin tongue. Then he repeated Miklos’ questions one at a time, in Common. Feldard had no doubts that Vlaak could understand. When there was hesitation or reluctance to speak, Feldard would apply his … persuasion.

Hasan watched the dwarf’s fist crash into the carefully bound hobgoblin warrior’s jaw. One hundred drops of burgundy decorated the floor, accented by the yellow of two surprisingly delicate incisors. But the hobgoblin laughed and bellowed again. Feldard’s patience was a short as the time between punches, but Vlaak clearly was untouched the spectacle.

The elf could stand no more. “Stop, man,” he hissed in Dwarven at Feldard, catching the mailed fist as it prepared to strike again. “He will reveal nothing this way.”

The elf turned to leave. “Come, leave him, with the ghosts of those who he has haunted,” the elf indicated in the common human tongue. “Any pain we give him will be over soon, but the great dogs’ touch will leave him mad if he is lucky, or if not, living dead for the same millennia they have lived.”

The elf then took the hobgoblin’s battered shield and brilliant sword and marched on, out the eastern door.

As the elf left, the stone dogs around the room began to bark, quietly at first, but in great howls as the elf stepped on heedlessly. The prince smiled at the thought of Vlaak’s reaction to his still-in-effect ventriloquism spell.

Ludo stood by and watched without emotion as Feldard barked out his interrogation to Vlaak and got no reply. He figured that Vlaak would be tough to break, and he was right. Time was against them and he could see time would be required before any meaningful information from Vlaak would be forthcoming. He agreed with the Prince’s comments and collected his lightstone and bow and stood by ready to leave.

As the group left the room and went out the eastern door, he made sure he was last to leave, bending over Vlaak, he made sure that Vlaak would not bother them or anyone else again and then followed them out of the door.

From what Stephan could make out of what Vlaak spat out in hobgoblinish, Hasan was right; the big hobgoblin would happily die not giving the dwarf what he wanted.

He turned and followed the others out. Noticing Ludo lingering behind, he paused momentarily before he realized what the rogue was up to then continued to his typical place in line.

Out the door was a wide staircase leading into an old room that appeared to be a library. Spider webs hanging across the decrepit bookshelves seemed to indicate that it was rarely visited.

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Brother Wolf

Hasan saw his companions surge forward. He saw the terrible beast before him, and Feldard grimly rising after being felled by some awful, unseen blow. Unsure of the nature of their opponent, the elf drew one of the magical arrows they had plundered from the goblin lair, and smoothly released it. He watched as the arrowhead bit deeply into the great wolf and blood soiled the pristine white of the animal’s fur.

The dwarf had already begun his advance on the beast when the icy blast struck. The chill near froze the very air in his lungs and he doubled over in an attempt to keep his core from freezing solid. It was more instinct than anything else.

The icy blast ended and Feldard gratefully felt the sharp biting pain of cold on his face and hands. He would have been in trouble if he’d froze numb.

With a grunt, he grabbed up his dropped battle-axe and rose from his crouched position. He could hear the whistle of arrows pasting around him. Engaging in melee would mean he would be just as likely a target but he couldn’t wait for this party to empty their quivers before attacking. He doubted he would fare as well against a second ice blast.

Feldard charged forward, and swung for the Frost Wolf with his axe.

Ludo saw the giant wolf breath a cone of icy air over Feldard and watched as Feldard doubled over. Charging forward he moved past Feldard, and as Feldard struck with his axe, shot his bow point blank into the flank of the wolf. Ludo then tossed his bow to one side, drew his sword and looked for an opening to strike further, whilst trying to avoid the snarling fangs and claws.

Stephan recklessly lunged past the archers and dwarf, eager to fight a real foe after the horror of the cubes.

“Halav shall vanquish you!” he bellowed as he leaped at the giant wolf. An arrow sizzled past him, plunging into the lupine’s side. The arrow seemed only to enrage the beast more and it turned on the fighter as his sword connected with its right shoulder. While the blades did some slicing, it seemed more to glance off what must have been thick, knotted muscle beneath the pristine fur. Nevertheless, a chunk of meat came clean off but the wolf had muscle to spare.

Maruc clanked up the stairs after the others to see what the commotion was all about. The temperature had dropped at the top of the stairs. Frost rimmed the landing and the doorway. His steel booted foot skidded on the glassy stonework.

“Watch your step Miklos.” he called back, “There’s something afoot. I suspect we’re getting a frosty welcome.” he grinned wolfishly and raised his Halav emblazoned shield and strode into the melee loosening his chain flail.

His eyes were drawn to the beast that dominated the room. “What in the name of Halav Incarnate is that?”

Edging around the enraged creature he tired to knock it off balance. If I could just loop the chain around its hind leg here…. he swung low and the chain whipped out snaring the limb. Yes! He yanked at the handle but he lost his footing and stumbled the foot kicked out and jarred against the priests shield. Its attention turned on him. Maruc yanked at the flail desperately trying to release it.

Miklos rolled his eyes at the priest’s remark. He edged to the doorway and glanced in. Hmmm.. Arctic Lupus Gargantium, that explains the nip in the air. “Bryll’s Fantastic Menagerie would suggest one should refrain from upsetting these creatures as they are liable to freeze you on the spot with their mere breath!” he said helpfully.

He was feeling pretty useless back by the doorway so he toyed with the idea of throwing a web over it but soon realized this would be counter productive. He tried a moral boosting comment instead. “Well done you chaps. That’s it! Yes! Another one of those swings should do it Feldard!” He was grimacing and punching the air like a shadow boxer when the spray of blood drenched him. “Nice.” he said flatly.

The wolf’s strong maw and sharp teeth bit deep into the cleric. Though his armor had afforded him some protection, the wound was quite painful. With the wolf’s attention momentarily on the cleric, the dwarf seized the moment and brought his axe down hard into the wolf’s back. It roared with pain as it released the priest from its maw.

From behind the curtain, Vlaak had been waiting patiently for the right moment, when all of the interlopers were fully engaged in battle with one his two prized pets. He held the other firmly by its leash. It was all he could do to restrain it as it watched his brother engaged in battle. Finally, he whipped open the curtain and barked the command for it to attack.

The wolf inhaled deeply and for the second time the room was filled with frosty air as the blast of cold air flew into Stephan.

Vlaak was the largest hobgoblin any of the heroes had ever seen. Armed with a magnificent giant sword, he charged into the battle.

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