At the request of Neera, Aegon’s troupe has travelled to Adoy’s Enclave seeking the aged wild mage that lives there. Neera hopes he can help her gain more control over her wild magic. Upon finding the area crawling with goblins, Aegon and his companions fight their way into the chief’s cave.
6 Kythorn 1368
We hear screaming coming from within the cave as we make our way across the bridge. On the other side we find an open chest and a dead body.
Inside the chest we find 600 coins, a jade ring, a Wand of Fear, 3 Potions of Healing, a Potion of Vocalize, and some enchanted leather armour. Garrick takes the Wand – he can inspire fear in our enemies while he inspires us with his music.
Neera takes the Potion of Vocalize.
Aura uses her Multipurpose Goggles to identify the armour. It is a squeaky leather armour, also known as Rugged Leather. Branwen finds she’s more comfortable and flexible when wearing this armour.
It actually increases her AC and her THAC0 with the sling thanks to a reduced Dexterity penalty. It also has less Damage Resistance, however, so getting hit will cause more damage.
The corpse has some light armour and weapons, but nothing really useful to us. We go north, deeper into the cave and find the goblin’s leader is actually a hobgoblin.
We waste no time waiting to launch our assault.
We take one down one, but then Neera is ripped apart by a goblin assassin.
Shit! She’s been gibbed. That’s it for Neera now – she’s permanently dead…
We fall back and take out another goblin.
Rogdok is killed by Cat but Dynaheir is backstabbed by another sneaky goblin.
The remaining goblins die quickly.
This is not good. Branwen says that Dynaheir can be resurrected if we get her to a temple, but Neera has been torn limb from limb. She’s not coming back. I don’t want to accept it, but she’s right. I don’t want to, but I can’t stop looking at what’s left of her.
Neera is gone.
We search through the bodies. The goblins have a lot of arrows and some basic weapons. Rogdok carries an enchanted short bow.
He also had a magical bastard sword on him.
These weapons aren’t useful to us now so we stash them in the Bag of Holding. Neera’s robes are still in good condition, so I put them on. She won’t be needing them anymore…
There is a door at the back of the cave. It can only be opened from this side, so we guess it is a cage. As Branwen reaches out to open it I have visions of death again. We can’t be in here.
I tried my hardest, but the final battle in this area is too hard with only four low-level characters. We’ll have to come back later.
I tell Branwen to stop. We have suffered too much, we need to leave.
Outside the cave, the goblins are unaware that their leader is dead. Warily, we make our way past them.
On our way out I ask Aura to unlock the bear cave. She’s tentative, but does so before running away screaming after the bear charges her.
Aura tries to run away, but keeps freezing in fear. The goblins rush over to help fight the bear.
Aura is hurt badly, saved only by her Magatama. Branwen throws her some Potions of Healing.
But the bear finally catches up to her.
Damn this was annoying. I couldn’t move her away thanks to her “fear of bears” script, so there was no way to distract the bear with another target.
Well that wasn’t the smartest idea. We pick up yet another corpse and move on. We find more wild animals, this time it’s wolves.
I Curse the wolves while Cat takes them on.
Cat is badly wounded. I rush in to heal him.
A few of the wolves die, so the rest run away. We let them go.
We explore a bit more and find a moose and a squirrel that somehow summon an ogre!
Branwen knocks it unconscious for a second while I launch a Magic Missile.
I follow up with a Chromatic Orb.
Branwen gets the kill.
Walking back down the path, we find another wolf pack.
This time they are joined by a dire wolf.
I launch a Chromatic Orb at the lead wolf.
The two remaining wolves run away again.
I summon a pair of gibberlings to help us out.
The gibberlings rip open the dire wolf with their claws.
Now the wolves are gone, Branwen wants to talk.
Aegon: Yes, Branwen?
Branwen: Tell me, have you ever felt… doubts… about your calling in life? Not as a regular occurence, surely. ‘Twould be foolish of me to ask such of you, who obviously have been blessed with great inborn confidence as befits a warrior!
*But* I speak of small, very brief pinpricks of… uncertainty… that come and go as a snowflake in the warm sun’s rays.
Aegon: I am afraid I am all too often plagued by such things. Every waking moment I question my decisions – the ones I have made, the ones I have yet to make. I fear my own autonomy, for it is fuelled by imperfection of mind and heart. There are so many mistakes to be made, so very, very easily.
Branwen: By Tempus, are you truly riddled within and without with holes of self doubt? I had not expected it of you. For one so strong, it is odd that your perceptions be so frayed. I must say, somewhat in shame, that you cheer me by comparison, Aegon!
I shall look on myself as more fortunate in the future, that my own doubts be only pins and not swords. Perhaps if you look to faith as have I, your soul will grow in stature.
Her surprise surprises me. But I guess she isn’t aware how I’m making all of this up as I go. I know I want to find my father’s killer, but am I any closer to him than I was that night when he…?
I don’t know how I can find him. All I can do is keep moving forward, even if my doubts are like daggers flying straight at my heart.
I shake off my thoughts, and signal the others to continue onward. Then I spot another dire wolf.
Branwen takes it out with her sling.
To the north we find a cottage inhabited by a human.
Branwen: Calm yourself, man. Take a deep breath and tell us what you’ve seen.
Magreb: Goblins! They fell out of the sky or leaped up full grown out of the grass. I don’t know! All I know is they killed Rilsa when she tried to talk to them, and I can’t face them by myself.
Branwen: Slow down. You’ve obviously been through a lot, but you are safe now. Tell me what happened.
Magreb: Forgive me. My name is Magreb. Rilsa and I have watched over this area for years, and we never had any trouble with goblins before. Since they killed her, I’ve been half out of my mind with grief.
Branwen: I can understand your pain, Magreb. It’s hard to lose a loved one.
Magreb: Just a few months ago, poof! Goblins as far as the eye can see.
At first they appeared around the house of an old mage, but soon they moved into a set of caves to the northeast, taking him with them. Not long after that, a big hobgoblin arrived and made himself king of the tribe.
Branwen: What do you know of this old mage?
Magreb: The mage’s name was Adoy. He always kept his distance, he said, because he didn’t want to hurt us with his magic. I thought it was some kind of threat, but Rilsa said he was just peculiar.
I suppose he could still be alive, but I haven’t seen Adoy since the goblins carried him into their cave. I just assumed they’d slain him, since they also killed…
Branwen: What else can you tell me about this hobgoblin?
Magreb: The goblins call their new king Rogdok. Apparently he’s set himself up as a high priest to one of their gods. Hm, that’s weird. Rog-dok… god-rock. Maybe the goblins sprang up out of the rocks. Look out, there’s one at your feet!
Branwen: Relax, I’ll deal with these goblins. Where can I find them?
Magreb: They’ve taken over a series of caves to the northeast. Be careful if you go there. They send so many patrols that I’ve been afraid to go near enough to recover Rilsa’s body. Poor Rilsa! She only wanted to talk with them.
Branwen: I took care of the troublemakers among them. You should find the survivors much more open to negotiations.
Magreb: Maybe that’s the best solution. Rilsa would be glad to know you spared those who were open to peaceful coexistence. For both myself and Rilsa, I thank you.
Did you find where those goblins murdered my Rilsa?
Branwen: Not yet, but I’ll get to it soon.
There was a dead woman in the goblin caves. Could that have been Rilsa? Before we can head back, we manage to disturb another bear.
I summon more gibberlings to help us. Unfortunately the bear rips right through them.
Branwen distracts it as the rest of us retreat.
I get a lucky strike with my sling and the bear collapses.
Cat was hurt pretty badly, and we have no more healing spells, so I decide to keep him safe.
Aegon: Come here. I want to pick you up and put you in my pack, where it’s a bit safer.
The familiar eyes my pack for a moment, and then reluctantly crawls inside.
Cat: Very well. It is better that you carry me. Do not bump me around so much this time, however.
Well it turns out there’s a bug here where you can’t bury Rilsa’s body if you kill Rogdok first. I tried going back to the cave and interacting with the body, but nothing happens. Ah well.
We don’t want to risk the caves again. I still have those visions of death vividly in my mind. We decide a visit to a temple would be better. We need to resurrect Dynaheir and Aura. We leave for the Song of the Morning Temple in Beregost.
8 Kythorn 1368
After more than a day’s travel, we arrive at the temple at night. It costs us 600 gold to raise both Dynaheir and Aura. Dynaheir has some compliments for Garrick after she comes around.
Garrick: Ah, Dynaheir, you surely are wrong. There are plenty of happy people around! Life is glorious, have can anyone be unhappy?
Dynaheir: In more ways than thou canst imagine, Garrick.
Garrick: Ah, show me a man unhappy, and I shall fix his mood with a jolly song in a matter of minutes.
Dynaheir: Thou suppose’st?
Garrick: I do not suppose, I know it! Look, Dynaheir, whenever a poetic melancholy grips at my heart, I only have to whistle a couple of verses of ‘A Knight and a Basket of Turnips’ and the dark cloud of sadness is… POOF! Gone for good!
Dynaheir: Mayhap thou canst teach it to me next time I feel a longing for my homeland? Ever it maketh me sad.
Garrick: Uh… Ma’am, maybe not that particular song… I know many others just as jolly.
What song can he teach me to get over Neera’s death, I wonder? She should be here as well. Dammit, what if we were wrong about being able to bring her back?
Dynaheir and Aura will stay here to recover, but there is someone here we can ask to join us.
Aegon: Yes. Good to have you back.
Branwen digs through the Bag of Holding and gives him her old plate mail armour. He looks better for it. Gavin doesn’t take long before showing off his fungus, er, herb collection.
Aegon: Is it supposed to be that… colour?
Gavin: No. The ones I bought before I tried my hand at horticulture were kind of a light greenish-brown and rather crispy. Not these leathery black things. It is my secret shame. Lathander is supposed to favour those that foster plant growth, but I must have escaped his notice. I can do all the heavy garden work there is, right up to the point where the plants sprout. I have never had a way with plants. Brewing them, now, is a different story.
It doesn’t matter, I suppose. I can buy more once we’re in town. But I would consider it personal favour if you promised not to develop any scaly skin afflictions until then.
We leave the temple, while Gavin and I continue to talk.
Aegon: Yes, I do. Why?
Gavin: There’s something I need to tell you.
This isn’t about your past decisions, it’s about mine.
I’ve been concealing something from you.
Aegon: What is it?
Gavin: I have a daughter. She’s five years old, her name is Lanie, and she lives with her mother. I am adventuring to raise money for her education.
Aegon: Thank you for telling me.
Gavin: It was something you needed to know.
Her mother and I do not have an… easy relationship. Before I go any further, I need to know how much of my past you want to hear.
Aegon: You’d better tell me everything.
Gavin: Very well. I’ll try and keep it as short as possible, but it is a long story.
I met Lanie’s mother when I was nineteen, and I’d only been a priest a short time. I was too naive to suspect that a woman was not as honest with me as I was with her, or to doubt that her interest in me was genuine.
All of my trust in her, and most of my respect for her died the day she told me she was with child by me. I knew that the baby was not mine. It was too soon, if you know what I mean.
In any case, I sincerely wanted to be her father, so I was willing to endure the lies in order to become one. And fatherhood had been rewarding. I could not be closer to Lanie if she were my own flesh and blood.
I should have thought it more carefully, though, because the lies did not stop once Lanie was born. Every time I went out of town on temple business, the woman would drop Lanie off at Borland’s, my neighbour’s, and go pursue her own interests, finding a rich man to give her the things a poor priest never could.
After I found her out, I left the house. Now, I only return when Lanie’s mother is gone, so that Lanie could be with her father, not some stranger.
I am the only father Lanie has known. I have never regretted my decision to become a father for a moment, though I wish I had made wiser choices about her mother.
Lanie’s education was the one matter about which both her mother and I agreed. Lanie is a bright girl, and is beginning to show signs of magical ability, even at her young age. It is important that she learns to control her abilities now. This is probably just the bitterness talking, but Lanie’s mother was not willing to make the sacrifices involved in raising money to pay for Lanie’s educatuion. So here I am.
I hope this does not affect your plans to allow me to adventure with you.
Aegon: No, you’ve been open with me, even it you did keep quiet about it until now. I can accept you have other obligations.
Gavin: I thank you for letting me unburden myself. I am glad for the opportunity to be honest with you.
He definitely needed to vent, so I let him. But he’s not the only one adventuring with us for selfish reasons. Branwen wants revenge. Garrick just wants excitement. I want to avenge my father’s death. Neera… Neera wanted to learn to control her magic…
We make out way through Beregost to the Burning Wizard, where we find one more of our new companions.
Aegon: I will. Join me.
Emily: Well and good! I’m ready to set off. Lead on!
Since it is dark, we decide to spend the night before we go to the Thunderhammer Smithy.
At the smithy we catch up to the angry dwarf who will be our final companion for now.
Aegon: Are you busy?
Braegar: I was so busy cleaning up the messes of this amateur, Aegon. I don’t know if I can really leave him by himself.
Taerom Fuiruim: You won’t even finish your work, if you constantly complain!
Aegon: Then you’re no longer interested in accompanying me, right?
Braegar: Oh that is something different. Of course I’ll join you! Let me just quickly grab my things from the Jovial Juggler, then let’s meet outside in front of the smithy.
He leaves to get his things, and we wait for him outside.
Branwen gives him the Ghoul Slayer and a suit of splint mail.
Now we need to figure out where to go. Time to make something up that will make me doubt myself again…