The Burning Staff

Best Laid Plans

Chapter 22

Sleep did not come for many of The Company that night and breakfast was eaten mostly in silence as they solemnly thought on the task ahead. They knew not how many goblins were here on Torsea only how many had tried to kill them so far.

Wuthraad and Tallis were on the last guard shift of the night shortly before sunrise though none of their companions were still asleep except Alauda, who had taken first shift and studied her spellbook. It was Tallis who first heard barking but most of The Company had weapons already drawn as she turned to alert them. Hanibal did not speak to Alauda as he shook her awake but the look on his face told her all she needed to know, she slowly began to recite some arcane verse as she saw her latest would be killers. Goblins again, this time riding worgs. The battle was hard and fast, Alauda and Hanibal used their best offensive spells to neutralize the worg riders while the blades of their companions made short work of the rest. Wuthraad utilized the protective divine magic of Barukthram as well as his healing spells to perfectly compliment the party in a well executed strategic out matching of the intellectually and physically inferior goblins. The 6 of them made short work of the 8 goblins and 4 worgs and the spirits were high as the sun rose on Torsea.

It was around mid-morning as they followed the goblin tracks north of the ravine when they found something. The ravine had collapsed, or been collapsed somehow and been left covered in rock debris at such an angle to make it climbable without much trouble. Hawk was sure the goblin lair lay ahead of them in the ravine somewhere as the tracks seemed to converge on this spot. The rest of the party stopped to rest some distance back from the ravine in the woods as Hawk ventured further east to investigate. He came one hour or so later with the news they expected him to bring, he had found what looked like the goblin’s lair. He told them of how the ravine continued east not much longer, they were near the edge of the island and in the end of the ravine was a cave. He had seen several goblins outside guarding a large cave entrance, small wood spike walls had been built in spots around on several levels of elevation. He mentioned at least 4 guards he saw when he was there but he could not see inside the cave for any clue to how many goblins were inside.

The course of action was subject of much debate and the party were almost set to begin their return to Garndan Toreif to report their finding and collect their reward but it was Nathron who convinced them to consider otherwise. Why cut the reward short he thought, were they to return now their reward would be less than if they were to kill a few more goblins first. Judging by their previous run-ins he felt goblins no match for them. His confidence and bravado were quick to rub off on Hawk and surprisingly Wuthraad was the next most keen to strike.

A plan was made to ambush the next goblin patrol to climb the broken ravine wall, taking advantage of both higher ground and the element of surprise. The last flasks of oil in their possession were poured out on the rocks with the intention that Hanibal would ignite them at the right moment with his last remaining spell, burning hands. Alauda did not feel good about the plan, she felt without any spells for the day that she would be next to useless, having had used all of her daily castings of magic missile in the fight earlier that day. She would have preferred they rest another night first at least. She decided her spot in the ambush would be in a tree, about ten feet from the edge of the ravine and the fallen rocks, giving her a good vantage point to strike with her sling anyone ascending, Tallis took place in another tree at the other side of the ravines break. Hanibal lay on his belly near the spilled oil ready to ignite it with bis spell, Wuthraad, Hawk and Nathron would wait just back from the edge ready to rush forward at the right moment.

They built a fire, moved some rocks in place as make-shift seats and built their ambush. They moved dead goblins from the last battle and placed them on the rocks, holding them in place with tree branches cut into stakes. Their fake goblin patrol group sitting round a camp fire looked quite convincing from enough distance, and the light of the fire dancing around made it that much harder to make out that the figures sat there in fact sat deadly still.

All they could do now was wait.

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