Mirtul 22, 1480 DR
On the third morning since their departure from Neverwinter, the company of adventurers veered off of The High Road and onto the Triboar Trail. The day was sunny and fairly warm, which helped dry the roads which were characteristically muddy this time of the year. All was well until the foursome approached the dead bodies of two horses, riddled with black plumed arrows.
With the oxen and cart halted, the curious but unwary druid, Kuruk, approached the carcasses only to be ambushed by a small volley of arrows, one of which found it’s mark. The halfling, Bree, rushed to the druid’s aid and dispatched one of the goblins hiding in the thickets. The two spellcasters, Sammael and Phillian blasted the other hidden archer away with their powerful magic. Two other goblins emerged with scimitars and rushed the group. One of the melee goblins was quickly slain, and the other took flight. With the combined efforts of Sammael’s chill touch spell and Bree’s archery skills, the last survivor of the goblin ambush was brought down, shy of retreat.
Examining the scene further, the party found an empty map case, one which looked shockingly similar to one that was carried by their employer, Gundren Rockseeker. The four looted the bodies of the goblins, finding only some extra arrows to be of use. They took note of the only distinguishing trait of all four goblins, their teeth being filed down to points.
Next, the group took a brief rest to recover from the minor damages done by the goblins. It was during this time, that the meandering druid took note of a distinct trail which the goblins had presumably been using. On a hunch, the party hid their cart and oxen and followed the goblin trail, with the brave (or mentally unstable) wizard, Sammael leading the way. They were all focusing on being as stealthy as possible during their time on this hidden trail, so much so that the wizard unwittingly triggered a snare trap. As he hung silent but frustrated, his companions did little to assist him. Quickly, Sammael lifted himself up and cut the rope, while holding above the cut. He tried to join some of his own rope to the bit he hung from, but his arm strength gave out and he suffered a nasty ten foot fall which felt none too pleasant. Although angered, Sammael took the remainder of the rope and began checking the area to see if there was any indication of who had set the trap. He found a stray black plumed arrow nearby the trail, which he kept as a tool of retribution. Now mindful of traps, Kuruk assumed the lead, and was able to spot a pitfall trap about 15 minutes further down the trail. Sammael triggered the trap with a spectral hand pushing on the collapsible surface, rendering the trap spent and fruitless.
It wasn’t much longer before the foursome came upon a clearing with a cave entrance that birthed a small stream. Thinking this must be the location which housed the goblin menaces, Bree took the opportunity to scout the area. Doing her best to sneak closer to the cave entrance, she began to hear careless goblin voices coming from behind a thick blind of briars on the opposite side of the stream. Before she could inform her companions, she sensed that they must have heard her, as their careless dialogue stopped. The group took a moment to contemplate their next move, and Sammael devised an arson plot.
Before a true plan could be born, the goblin sentries moved to the edge of their blind and fired a shot at the halfling, which held a flaming arrow, ready to be nocked. The goblin missed its shot, but so did Bree, as a second goblin retreated into the cave. The lone goblin archer stood no chance against the group which pressed forward, and it soon met its demise. Now the group faced a dilemma on how to proceed, as they assumed their enemies would know of their approach. As they attempted to strategize, they could hear obnoxiously loud cackling coming from the cave, even over the babbling stream.
Finally, the group submitted that their options were limited, and they must simply brave a blatant entry. Once in the cave, they lit a torch to navigate the darkness, and noted that the cave slanted uphill and rang of the babbling stream. Just a few feet inside the cave an entryway to the right became visible, and the rogue took point in entering it. Immediately after rounding the corner, Bree became aware that there were wolves in the chamber and as she held up her lantern she saw a grinning goblin working to release the beasts. With her uncanny reaction Bree managed to put an arrow in the goblin’s throat before he could succeed. Sammael stepped forward and fatally silenced the two beasts at a distance with his magic before anyone could object.
The group moved through the chamber to a dangerously steep rubble incline. Philian braved this risky climb to slip through a tight crevasse into another chamber. From behind a pillar he spied a glow, and as he rounded the corner, he saw its source to be a campfire surrounded by a bugbear, a goblin, and another wolf. The three were glaring at them, as they had heard some of the shuffling rubble over the echoing cave stream, and were aware of his presence.
The bugbear bellowed, “Who dares defy Klarg?!” In doing so, he identified himself as the leader. An uncertain Philian struggled to come up with an answer that he thought would please the bugbear chief, which now shouted “Enough stammering! Ripper will feast on your corpse!” At that the wolf charged forward and took a considerable bite into the Halfling’s forearm. Panicking, Philian recoiled and rushed back down the rubble slope. He slipped and thought for sure he would fall to his death, but at the last moment some of his gear got hung up on a rock just long enough for him to regain his footing for the safe climb down. Thanking Larue and his own lucky stars, Philian told his companions of Klarg and his wolf pet, Ripper.
Rationalizing that there may be a better way to face the foe, the group backtracked into the main hall of the cave, where the stream flowed outward. Following the path, the group saw another fairly steep slope on the opposing side of the stream. The group hung back as Sammael moved ahead to cross and climb. With his attention so fixed on the task, he did not see distant eyes identifying him through the darkness. He made his ascent quite easily and stood safely at the top of the cave passage. He peered ahead to a fork in the chamber and could hear several goblin voices echoing from the left of the fork. He was counting the voices and heard six separate goblins, but just then something drown out their voices.
It was a loud whooshing sound, which the rest of the group heard back in the passage, as a large surge of water barreled towards them through the cave. They attempted to duck into a passage or outcropping but were too slow, and could not hold on through the water’s force. Kuruk, Philian, and Bree all were swept the entire way out the cave entrance, sustaining a fair amount of impacts from rocks and cave walls alike. They took a moment to assess the damage, healing each other as needed, and proceeded back into the cave. Sammael had waited silently and patiently for them to rejoin him, and he tossed down a rope to ease their ascent.
Sammael quietly told his companions what lie ahead down the hallway to the left, and the group agreed that keeping stealth would be the best course. With Bree leading the way, the snuck down the hall and into what appeared to be a dimly lit goblin living quarters chamber. Bree saw a perfect sneak shot and fired an arrow with flawless precision that headshot not one, but two goblins in one round, then before anyone could react, she loosed yet another deadly arrow into a third goblin. Samael and Philian burst in to unleash their magic upon the goblins, but found their aim to be lacking. Before Kuruk could Shilleallie (sp) his opponent, a goblin from the upper section of the chamber demanded they stop firing and drop their weapons, or he would kill the human captive, he gambled that they might be trying to rescue. The gamble paid off, by complete chance.
The goblin held a dagger to the throat of Sildar Hallwinter, who had been beaten within mere inches of his life. The group was forced to comply and the last pair of goblins joined their leader with his human ransom. This leader explained that he wished to treat with the intruders, and would release their fellow adventurer to them, if they would kill the bugbear leader Klarg. The goblins meant to find new leadership and needed the egotistical tyrant dealt with. The group agreed to the terms, but asked that they be ushered to Klarg under the ruse of capture, so that they may set up a surprise attack against Klarg. After some futile attempts at logic, the goblins agreed, and one of them took the role of escort.
The adventurers were led across and overpass guarded by one goblin, and into a chamber that contained two large reservoirs fed by a waterfall. The first reservoir was devoid of water, due to the flood they had encountered before, but the second remained full, for another flush if the need arose. This chamber was guarded by three additional goblins that confronted the party’s escort. An argument began to unfold, and Samael saw an opportunity present itself. With the four goblins clustered together, he uttered some obscure words and made a deliberate motion with his hands. A cone of flames shot from his hands engulfing the four goblins and killing them in a very painful and agonizing manner. Meanwhile the others snuck back and gave the guard on the overpass a volley of ranged attacks, which meant his demise.
Now free of their escort, the party trudged on, and toward the chamber where the leader Klarg sat waiting, with his beast, Ripper, at his side and a goblin nearby. The group had a momentary upper-hand and sought to give themselves an advantage. Kuruk stepped forward and used his druidic magic to entangle Klarg and his beast in vines to divide their enemies. The brutish bugbear proved too strong for the vines and only his beast was tangled, which he quickly freed from the obstacle. The goblin let loose a shot wounding one of the heroes, but was quickly blasted to his own demise. The wolf charged ahead and was met with a similar fate. Klarg, however proved resilient and persistent, as he pressed on through ranged attacks declaring, “Klarg does not yield!” The weakened members of the group fell back, trying to pepper the brutish bugbear, and only Kuruk stood firm to engage in combat with the foe. Barely dodging the beasts deadly swings, the druid had little success in doing more than distracting the egotistical leader, as his own magically charged blows continually missed their mark. The continuous ranged attacks wore down the enemy leader until one of Philian’s Eldritch Blasts tore the life away from Klarg, mid battle cry. With the leader fallen, the group searched the chamber, finding a treasured jade frog statuette with gems, gold, and supply crates which Bree identified to be from the Lion Shield Coster in Phandalin. Stashing all the treasure but the supply crates, the group lopped off Klarg’s head as proof of their deed for the wicked goblin usurper.
When returning to the goblin usurper, he quickly unveiled that the price of the deal had steepened, much to the dismay of the heroes. Acting quickly, the dispatched the wicked double-dealing snake and his lone companion, before he could harm another hair on Sildar’s head. Freeing Sildar Hallwinter, he was quick to thank them for their deeds, but also to share important information. He clued them in on the background of their quest to reclaim the Rockseekers’ ancestral claim to Wave Echo Cave. Sildar explained that Gundren’s brothers had already been scouting the cave, and that he and Gundren were returning to join them. However, the plan was set astray when they were ambushed. He explained that Gundren was taken to a place called Cragmaw Castle, and that his map to Wave Echo Cave had been sent along with him.
Lastly, Sildar highlighted on his own mission in Phandalin, which was to investigate the disappearance of a contact associated with his guild, a wizard named Iarno Albrek. Sildar emphasized the importance of this personal goal by offering 50 gp for the group to escort him safely the rest of the way to Phandalin. Agreeing, the group left the cave after doubling back to grab the crates for the Lionshield Coster, which they carried back to their wagons. By this time, the sun had already set, and the group thought it wise to find a place to camp for the night. Fortune provided a small outcropping just off the Triboar Trail, which the group deemed secure for camp. So it was, that the group broke for camp, and rested for the remainder of the day.