After the events of the party's most recent adventure (detailed here (part 1), here (part 2), and here (part 3), the PCs spent some time on personals matters.
Greybear presented the leader of his druid circle with the lost scroll he'd found as well as spent some time training and gaining a new wolf companion before returning to Flotsam and rejoining the others.
Arterion, also continued his training, under Browyn the Red, and researching the darkly-magical claw they had found, with no luck...
With a little time for relaxation on their hands, Greybear, Hunter, and Davyn (Hunter's mentor) spent time in the woods enjoying the natural landscapes of the area, the peace and tranquility from the hectic city, and learning a little about each other. The trip lasted several days, but it was the last day that was most notable!
On that day, just after Hunter was showing off some of his tracking skills by pointing out the old markings of a small group of hobgoblins who had been in the area several weeks ago, and appeared to be heading south, there was a loud rustling in the trees. From out of the brush a hulking minotaur burst forth. After a brief moment's pause, Hunter and Greybear realized the minotaur was clad in holy vestments and did not appear to be looking for a fight.
It turns out Bergin (as the party would learn later) was actually stumbling around looking for his old friend Davyn about a mutual friend of theirs, Catriona.
It seems Bergin and Catriona, were doing some research into something called the Black Scourge, a dire prophesy of a dark time where death would wash over cities and countries in never ending waves.
They split up a few weeks ago to follow up different leads and meet back to report their findings. When Cat didn't show up Bergin began to worry... a week later and he set out looking for Davyn to help retracing her lead... a place called Brightstone Keep, in the nearby area.
Everyone returned to town to enlist the aid of the rest of their friends. Rather than accompany this party, Davyn went to check up on a lead of his own... he made no mention of where he might be going other than to say cryptically Sindri.
Before heading out the following mornign, Bergin took the opportunity to enjoy many of the cities various pleasures... but the next day it was all business for the minotaur and the job of finding his friend.
The party traveled by foot for two days south to the keep. The travel was mostly uneventful, though at one point they did meet a pair of traveling merchant gnomes heading north who show them various wares they invented, from the "lightspot", the "parchment fastener", and the "everfood backpack" (aka a flashlight, a staple--but no stapler--and a bag of rats that are breeding to be the 'everfood', respectively). Not able to make a sale, Blaquee and Dekker (the two gnomes), pack up and continue their travel north.
DM Note: Blaquee and Dekker are a pair of gnomes from my original Dragonlance 2ed edition AD&D game, and always seemed to be in the same places as the PCs. Their contraptions are, like most gnomish devices, a hazard to whomever actually tries to use them. They are purely for comical relief, and I love roleplaying these two crazy little brothers!By the middle of the second day, the party traveled close enough to see the keep high in the nearby mountains. While still several hours away from the keep, they were attacked by a small band of hobgoblin scouts; first by arrow fire and then in melee combat. The hobgoblins were quickly defeated with only minor injury to the party.
Afterward, they continued on to the keep, cautious to stay off the main trail. They set up camp within a few hundred yards of the keep, while Hunter went off on his own to scout the area. He noticed 2 guards atop each of the three towers. He also saw two large buildings in the rear of the keep and walls connecting all the structures; though the walls were in disrepair with major breeches along the structure.
With this information, the group made a plan of attack that would occur during the middle of the night. At the appropriate time, Greybear's wolf companion began howling around one side of the keep as a distraction to try and focus attention away from the other side, where the stealth assault was taking place. Theo positioned himself just at the edge of the cliffs surrounding this part of the keep, while Arti, still hidden in the woods, was close enough to cast ancient magics that caused Theodonis and one of the hobgoblins on the tower wall to swap places.
In an instant the flow of magic washed over the kender and he found himself on the tower wall while the hobgoblin who was there now appeared on the side of the cliffs. With no support and still disoriented from the spell, the guard plummeted to his death.
Sneaking along the wall, Theo made his way to the tower turret. All the guards were busy trying to see the nearby howling wolf, unaware of who was standing behind them. With swift action, Theo was able to eliminate one of the guards, but his death scream alerted the others on the tower.
Quickly Theo backed himself into a corner. With a combination of nimble dexterity and quick blades he defeated the three guards with only minimal injury to himself. While trying baracade the trap door leading down into the tower, two more guards came up to investigate the recent noise.
These hobgoblin guards were a bit more coordinated and agile with their weapons; crook blades. These curved blades are a bit longer than a typical sword and balanced to take fuller advantage of the hobgoblins savage fighting tactics.
Once again the agile kender dodged most of the attacks while connecting with his own thrusts and slices. The two guards also fell to these attacks.
Afterward Theo was able to block the trap door into the other tower floors and earn a bit of a rest... a rest he would desperately need before facing his next foes.