Passage Through the Cave
With everyone so tired and wounded from the scuffles of the night before no one was against having a fine rest. Aramil and Arianna volunteered to take the first watch, something Celdor was immensely grateful for but just as Celdor sat down, preparing to meditate, the gods decided against respite and unleashed a torrent of rain. “Joy of joys” thought Celdor.
With great effort the Drow pulled himself off the ground and used what little energy he had left to scour the forest for supplies enough to build a small shelter. Slowly, he found some small leaves and branches that would be of use but as worn down as he was, he knew he would struggle.
Almost as if he read his mind, Olaf approached Celdor and spoke of an old prayer his kin would recite when crafting, some sort of tutelage to his gods. He closed his eyes and took Celdor's hand. Celdor had no faith in the prayer but once he heard the rough murmurs of dwarf speak, he figured it wouldn't hurt to close his eyes too.
Tired and still bleeding, Celdor's attempts at building shelter seemed fruitless but just when he was to give up, his hands moved of their own accord, as if guided by an unseen entity and in no time the shelter was done. Amazed, Celdor looked to Olaf who said nothing but looked rather pleased as he climbed out of the rain.
Arianna and Aramil's watch went by without a hitch. Arianna paced slowly around the camp, watching for signs of Goblin while Aramil studied his books, hoping to learn more of his enemy. After a while, as the two watchful elves begin to tire, Aramil wakes Celdor up with a soft prayer of his own. It eases Celdor out of his meditative state and he awakens feeling fresh and ready for his watch so he relieves the elves and takes his spot.
After a quick head count he notices the Gnome has disappeared and checks with the slumbering Dragonborn but through snores and some kind of acidic gargle, she says she hasn't seen him since they stopped to rest but mutters something about Biscuits the Squirrel seeing him a short distance away. “Blasted Gnome, I best check on him” thought Celdor as he picked up his bow and made off in the direction Lejanda had pointed in.
After almost no time at all Celdor spots a small mound of earth with a very angry looking badger outside, growling in the direction of the dirt. Then as if from inside the mound itself, he hears something like the gnome growling and he watches as the badger scurries off. Celdor leaves the gnome to it and spends the rest of his watch moving between the camp and the badger burrow.
Sometime later Celdor began to wake the others as the Gnome, looking rather pleased with himself trundles over and burps. Looking up at Celdor, he smiles and hands him a mushroom. As the others came to, Celdor scours the area looking for food but the rain had muddied most of what was on offer. Still, he was able to rustle up enough to give some sustenance. The pampered dwarf complained at the lack of cured meats and fresh loafs but ate nonetheless. Celdor promised that one day soon he'd cook up a feast worthy of the dwarf when they had more time.
Now all fed and rested they move cautiously back through the forest towards the cave. Sticking to their previous formation, Celdor moved ahead. He watched for any sign of ambush but nothing came and as they reached the cave he noticed the Goblins previously on watch were no longer there.
The party began to take ambush positions around the edge of the forest, hoping to draw some of the goblins out. Well, everyone except for Lejandra. Lejandra thought perhaps the goblins were just being territorial and thought gifts of flowers and nuts might persuade them to be more friendly.. Celdor thought best not to argue with someone almost twice his size, who spits acid and talks to animals so instead, decided to keep an arrow ready for when her peace offering was inevitably met with murder.
Once everyone was in place, Celdor withdrew a small glowing worm from his pouch and crushed it in his right hand and slowly waved his fingers in a circular motion. Then, out of no where a small cluster of bright glowing orbs appeared at the entrance of the cave, where they hovered momentarily before gliding outward and into the tree line. Almost as if on command, two goblins came running out and chased the dancing lights into the forest.
Elated with the joy of a well sprung trap, Celdor smiled a wry smile as he readied his bow to take out the goblins without so much as a cry in their direction. Alas, this was no to be the case as at the sight of the goblins Lejandra sprang forward with her pot of gifts and yelling in greetings at them but of course the two goblin just screamed and withdrew their bows. Damn.
Olaf was the quickest to react, he dropped to one knee and from a pocket withdrew a small pot of holy water and threw at over himself and both Arianna and Celdor too. Arianna, mere seconds behind him, draws her massive longsword and with two hands grasped around the hilt charges forward, fearless and ready for a fight. Celdor, reacting to Lejandra's attempt at friendship drops to one knee and fires at the once closest to the Dragonborn but the goblin was quick to dodge.
Aramil had a completely different look on his wise elven face this time. It was a look of resolve and determination. He leaped forward, yelling an incantation in deep, ancient Elvish and with a swirl of his ornate robes an icy blast of frost came blasting forth but again the goblins were quick to react and dove behind a tree. Lejandra stood there looking perplexed, perhaps they didn't hear her or maybe thought she was being aggressive but as she was about to attempt another olive branch an arrow came whizzing past her head followed by a hoarse and throaty cackle. She bellowed with rage, put the pot on her head and ran forward in a mad frenzy.
As an arrow flies past Celdor, Arianna, almost close enough to swing her great sword was hit by an arrow, close to her shoulder but unphased she charges forward and with a great leap swings her sword through the air and comes crashing down on the goblin. The goblin, now struggling for breath tries to grasp at her but she pulls out the arrow that pierced her stabs it into the neck of the dying Goblin.
For a brief second, Celdor sees fear on the face of the remaining goblin as it realises how many brave warriors are charging towards it. In that instant Celdor fired his bow upwards and as the arrow plummeted down it found it's target and pierced the centre of the goblins skull. It falls dead next to it's brother.
After checking the bodies for anything regarding the cave ahead or perhaps some new weapons to use, the party secure their items and prepare to venture forth in into the dank, dark cave.
Moving in a much closer formation, with the Armoured Paladin and stout dwarf leading forward in case of attack, the party make their way through the cave. Enveloped in darkness, even the Drow struggles to keep his eye focused but onward they march.
Not more than ten paces in both Celdor and Aramil spot a strange stone formation on the ground ahead. They suspect a trap but with all the darkness and dust, they can't be sure. Olaf however, being an expert in stonework and masonry knows it to be a trap in an instant and helps to guide the party around the surface safely.
The wind comes calling in from behind them, whispers in the dark. Celdor, trying to discern the outside noise from the inside, almost walks into a Goblin sentry but Aramil spots the beast and using some strange an ancient magic communicates with Celdor so that only he may hear him and tells him to hold.
Too late. Another sentry, unseen by the party fires an arrow in the darkness and as if from nowhere it catches Celdor in the shoulder. Overwhelmed with the blow he falls to his knees and fumbles and an arrow. Olaf, without thinking of his own safety, grabs the wounded elf and pulls him back behind. Arianna, moving faster than one should under all that armour steps in front of Celdor and draws her own bow but still unsure of where the shot came from, her arrow flies past the assailant and clangs against the wall. Celdor scoffs the goodberries given to him by Lejandra and immediately feels his wound closing and his heart slowing. With one swift movement, he stands, draws and arrow and aims but he too misses.
It seems the cave is doing it's best to hold the explorers back as blast of ice and lash of thorny whips crash against the walls in the dark. As the party fight they kick up more dust and soot making it harder still for any attacks to find their targets. This, lucky enough for our heroes, works both ways though as two arrows, aimed at Celdor find nothing but wall.
Then a melodic whooshing through bamboo reverberates through the whole cave as the gnome bellows into his panpipes and before the goblins can react to this new target, they're enveloped in a shimmering golden light and the gnome smiles callously.
As more arrows and the cackles of goblins bounce of the wet cave walls and the darkness seems somehow yet thicker, Olaf strides forward and with a great crash brings his hammer slamming down on the ground in front of him and as he does so a sheen that can be seen even in the darkness of the caves spreads across his armour and he too grimaces. Arianna, draws her sword, leaps over the dwarf and charges headlong into the nearest goblin. Swinging her massive sword above her head she dodges an arrow and brings the sword down on the creature. Unslain but wounded, it struggles just to stand. Celdor, hindered by the enclosed space and lack of clean shots shoots and once again misses, he curses.
In all the chaos of combat the gnome ducks between combatants legs and slides next to Arianna. Grinning broadly and playing his pipes. Difficult to hear over the clash of steel and stone, Arianna's armour begins to clink and clack as if bits of metal are hitting off it. Manny just beams at her and disappears around the legs of the warriors.
The adventurers and the goblins, all leaping and dodging are trying with all their might to win the combat but shots are missed and attacks dodged it seems as though it will never end. Everyone was in close now and even the high Wizard had drawn his sword and charged in swinging but it seemed none could be hit until a bone shattering blow hit Arianna hard and the sound of combat is pierced by the unnaturally loud sound of crashing on steel but she shrugs this off. Olaf, however sees only the blow and assuming the worst is sent into a battle rage and smashes the skull of the goblin responsible with a downward stroke and as if in one movement he swings his massive hammer back around and knocks the head of the other goblin too.
Out of breath and all a little shaken, they steel themselves and share a moment of respite before pushing forward, continuing on the path to darkness until they eventually reach a split in the cave. Each unsure of what path to take they hold for a moment until Arianna talks of a sweet scent coming from the left almost like varnish. As they round the bend they come across more goblins, 3 of them this time. They draw their weapons and prepare for combat.