This is part of the ongoing narrative of our D&D campaign, which is graciously being run by Proud Lion, a fantastic comic shop in Cheltenham. Their RPG Encounters nights are a lot of fun, and give me some entertaining material to work with.
[Before reading, please be aware that there may be spoilers ahead for the D&D campaign books. Equally, our stories are fluid, so things may not follow the books too directly]
The door to the tower flew open, the death of the hobgoblin accompanied by the release of the shaman’s magical hold. Behind the door were the puffed-out faces of Enna, Levan and Luna, who had caught up to the group after leading some goblins on a merry chase around the citadel.
“What in Eldath’s name has happened here?!” Enna called, seeing the dwarf druid bleeding on the floor. She stopped herself from running to his aid though, at the sight of three spear-armed hobgoblins turning to confront the newcomers.
They looked over to the throne of the room, where a diminutive goblin with a staff was ineffectually pulling a huge hobgoblin body off a large stone throne. In the centre of the room was the deep, vine-covered well, and the rest of their group were rousing themselves from the side of the room.
Jester was the first to move forward, and to everyone’s surprise the shaman welcomed his help in pulling the hobgoblin’s body off the throne. In the process, he pocketed the gleaming Hucrele ring from the corpse’s hand, avoiding detection by the goblin.
“Hey Drenk, do you want this sword?” the half-elf rogue called to the burly half-orc over to the side.
“You ain’t taking that with you!” the goblin shrieked, “I killed him, however much your friend helped, I killed him! This throne is mine, and all his stuff is mine!”
“Alright, alright,” said Kalashnikov, impressed by the goblin’s selfish nature, “We get it, but now we want to know what’s gonna happen. To us, ah mean, ah don’t care about mah useless brother.”
“Hmmm. You killed a lot of our tribe, buuuut you also got rid of the bad boss, and I’m back in my rightful place… I suppose you can go. Unless you’re gonna deal with Belak for me?”
“Oh? And what do you want us to do with Belak?” Drenk asked, “I assume you’ll reward us?”
“Reward? REWARD? I’ll let you live! And I’ll let you go down, down to the Grove. Or, you can leave.” the shaman spluttered.
“Why do you want Belak dead?” Levan wondered, “We were told you sold his fruits?”
“He was here before us, but he’s got too strong! I want him gone from my home,” said the shaman, looking with pride at the dishevelled ruin she called a home.
“And what about them apples? Ah’m taking one of those.” Kalashnikov asked, focusing in on the most important question to his mind.
“No, no, no, NO! When he’s dead, I get to control the tree!” the goblin screeched.
While this had been happening, Enna took a few steps towards Burian’s body. Seeing that she wasn’t going to be stopped, she hurried over to the dwarf, and cast spare the dying over his great wound.
“Did I…win?” he rumbled, before falling into a state between unconsciousness and a deep sleep.
“What about this for a deal?” Luna said, narrowing her eyes shrewdly as she watched the shaman, “We will kill Belak for you, but we need to rest up beforehand. You give us a safe night’s rest, and we will head down to this Grove in the morn.”
The goblin seemed to ponder this for a few minutes, then agreed slowly. “You can do this. But remember, this is goblin territory, not kobold territory and certainly not hobgoblin territory anymore. You don’t want to fight us anymore.”
“Ok, ok,” Drenk replied, calming the situation, “what about your warriors? Surely if you want Belak dead, you could spare these three to help us?”
“Nah, there are more than enough of you, and you travel with the undead!” She pointed at Logan, “they are my bodyguards, I need them to protect me, not go off with you. In fact, I’ve had enough of you. Guards, take them to the hammock room, now!”
One of the hobgoblins walked over to Burian, grabbed his leg and started pulling, while the other two cajoled the group of adventurers out of the door. He didn’t make much progress, so another headed back to assist, and the group thought they heard a weak “what about the stone chest…?”
“Shut up, dead Burian.” Kalashnikov muttered, as they left the tower.
Burian’s head knocked on lumps on the floor as the hobgoblins dragged his body along, while Enna looked on a little worried about the possible consequences. Kalashnikov just laughed, neglecting to tell the cleric that dwarven children spent half their time headbutting each other, so this wasn’t likely to do any further damage.
The party reached the room that Kalashnikov had stripped of hammock hides a little earlier, where the hobgoblins took up position, two at the north door, one at the south. Enna and Levan helped Burian to a corner, where the cleric stayed to help him recover.
The rest of the group grabbed a hide from Logan’s dispenser, and settled down to sleep and recover, after patching any wounds they had. Kalashnikov spent his time a little less wisely, trying unsuccessfully to inspire revolt in the hobgoblin guards.
Hours later, the adventurers started gathering their things, and the breathing of Burian and the gnome had returned to normal. Enna slowly shook the shoulder of the druid, but had to duck backwards quickly as he woke up flailing.
“Aha! I thought I’d won!”