Dear Mother Augite,
Before I resume my tale of our journey back up the river, please let me thank you for the kind package. I had not thought to include a tea-making set in my supplies, and the next time Myrie wishes to brew a plant potion, I’m sure it will come in useful. Also, I have managed to find some lavender among the plants along the wayside, and will enjoy a refreshing brew from time to time. Thank you also for the kind wishes from Novice Griesen. Has she really passed her Postulancy already? I am pleased that she has found that her way is the way of the Monk, for she was unsure for a very long time.
But I have left you hanging in the tale of our journey up the river. As I had mentioned before, we were headed upstream, against the current, and the two noble donkeys in the boat worked hard to keep us going. I have tried to draw a picture of them, but I have not the skills of Sister Ochre whose illuminations have so graced our Temple’s records.
And it was during the journey that I looked at the damage caused by those rabid bats, and realised that it did not match that which we were to investigate. So our foe had not yet been vanquished.
By nightfall, we had reached the location which was obviously the preferred stopping point. The nighttime camp site is well used, with shelter, cesspit, and fireplace, but we realised that as this was the regular location, it would be so terribly easy for anyone else to plan to raid the boat right here.
With the sun dropping down, we set the campfire, and there was storytelling and food. And, while checking for good watch-keeping spots, Myrie worked out that the place used to be a bit of the old civilisation. There were broken walls, fitted stones, and it was tucked nicely in the elbow of a river – it might well have been a trading post or the home of some landowner. Vall also determined the layout of the walls, and between him and Myrie, they worked out some hiding spaces.
The anti-nasty-bat-stuff was ready to drink, and luckily I didn’t need to. Apparently, it tasted worse than it smelled. The others made assorted gagging noises, and Myrie couldn’t keep it down, regurgitating the mix within moments. Luckily, she was able to swallow the second dose. From the complaints around me, I can only assume that being bitten by bats is really low on the “To Do” list.
The other guys curled up to sleep at about moonrise, and we worked out some watches.
“We could get Myrie to fire a shot at Faye to wake her up.”
“If she’s really good, she’ll nail her through the ear.”
“Hey – if she hits the ear just right, she can end up with a pointy ear like an elf!”
While all was silent during the earlier watches, it’s a good thing both Myrie and Vall were alert, so when there was an odd noise at the grey end of the night just before dawn, they heard it. From the barge. There was something moving on the end of the barge away from Faye. Something scratching, and sneaking, and nasty.
Both the elves got onto the barge, and saw…. three things that weren’t part of the crew. That smelled. And that were goblin-like. So much so that they were indeed goblins.
Myrie loaded up her bow, and Vall got a couple of nice fat sling rocks ready as well. Myrie has a thing against goblins, so her arrow flew with extra vigour and hatred, and hit well. Vall hit another with his slingshot, hard enough to vapourise its head and hit the side of the boat on the other side. The scream of the third one, upon being drenched in the blood of its companions, was enough to wake Nura and Faye, although tucked over in the side of the boat, I slept on.
And now they started with the “Hairy Chrishna” jokes. Thanks. Guys.
That goblin took one look at Myrie, and started to run, but Myrie prayed to Our Lady of the Longbow to hit him, and her prayer was answered! Vall ran up to the one Myrie first hit, and skewered him. In her sleep-confused state, Faye leapt to her feet and started flailing with her sword at the darkness, whereas the calm-thinking Nura came over and started shaking me from my dream of the homeground. I fear we shall have to work out a better way to wake me in the future – not only do I not want to leave my companions to fight without help, but to require a special wake-up call will take one of them from more important matters.
Like killing goblins.
Myrie dragged the injured goblin back, preparatory to questioning it with impunity. We also noticed that the goblins’ feet – and only their feet – were wet. Thus, they had travelled in the water, but not deep enough to swim.
The blighter wouldn’t wake up, so I gave him a heal spell and brought him back from the brink. Bleary-eyed, I bandaged the little blighter with its own rags, but none of our party speaks Goblin, which made things difficult. Nura wouldn’t let Faye waterboard the goblin either. However, we had worked out that the claws on the goblins matched the clawmarks on the barge’s boxes. And then Myrie noticed that there was a hole in the bank that we hadn’t seen before, one that’s rather small and goblin sized, and probably where they came from.
But we still couldn’t talk to him, as even in his slightly healed state, he spoke nothing we could understand. And this led, Mother, to my first deliberate killing of a being who was not already sick, or dying, or in such pain that there was no cure. The goblin could not be allowed to give warning to any others, so the party decided that he must be silenced. Permanently. Mother, I sent him back to the darkness whence he came. I do not yet know how I feel about this – on the one hand, I deliberately cut short the life of a creature who was at that moment not harming me, and whom I had just healed. On the other hand, had we left him even tied on the boat, there is a good chance he would have alerted his companions in some way. I realise that life is fleeting and death is certain, but I do not yet know if my role is to hasten it along. I would appreciate your thoughts on this dilemma.
Then Vall and Myrie noticed a noise coming from the stones that lay past where the boat crew slept. We quickly plugged the hole where we think the goblins came out from with those materials we had at hand – loose rocks, mud, and dead goblins.
Vall: “Oh my god, Nura – Look at (Myrie’s) butt”
There was a thing with red eyes in the bushes past the crew, and a smell. A deeply horrid gangrenous smell, blended with a load of meat outside. I cast a “Bless” on everyone, and Faye yelled at everyone to pull back as this was DANGEROUS!
This woke five of the crew (the others were still asleep), but some of them took fright at the view of Vall running past with a rapier, and covered in goblin blood. One guy ended up flailing into the fire, and caught alight, but Faye tackled him to the ground and rolled him to stop the flames. This also set her on fire. And the creature, which was some sort of goblinish dog, leapt at Vall and bit him, hard – and then clamped its jaws.
Vall swung his rapier at the ugly thing, hit it, but wasn’t able to loosen it. Nura used her powers of protection, and Faye rolled herself out. The dog bit harder, drool leaking out the sides of its mouth.
I stayed back, watching the whole thing, and making sure nothing nasty was coming near us. The crewmen were running towards me, but something else was coming in from whence the dog had appeared. Vall disemboweled the dog, and had to pry open its dead jaws to remove it. The wounds were nasty, but there was no time to complain as three more goblins came from the bushes and started firing at us.
Or more particularly, at Vall. Who had somewhat attracted their attention by gutting their dog. Both goblins were useless, though, and one destroyed his bow in the process. One fired at Myrie, causing a nasty scratch down her cheek and she shot back, barely missing the beast. Even I tried a slingshot, thought they were quite some distance and my aim was impaired. Once more, I failed to hit at all. I shall have to practice more often.
Vall swung hard at one of the little bastards. and reduced it to a nasty sludgy pile of bleeding, while Nura came back to me, keeping an eye on that hole for fear they would reinforce themselves from behind the main fight. The goblin furthest away from Vall pulled his little sword and went for the big elf, but bounced off the armour. Faye was so pissed by this, she screamed, swung her falchion above her head, and despite the clumsiness of the swing she cleft the goblin in twain. Myrie loosed an arrow at the remaining goblin, where her hatred of the creature inspired a greater effort. He was spiked through the middle, and dropped.
I cast a couple of Positive Energy Surges, and healed the crew and Vall, especially that crew member who had burned most dreadfully. Then we investigated the tunned from whence the goblins had scurried as they attempted to rob the barge.
There, inside, it was not a tunnel so much as the basement of an old building. It smelled of goblin, and their dog, and there were lots of bits of stuff everywhere. The area I could see led onto a larger one, and I could feel a slight breeze blowing towards me. Sure enough, at the end was an opening that led out to some rocks just out of the campsite area. This was where they had come from, and how they had ambushed us. Vall and I ferreted through the junk, and found some gems, coins and knick knacks. They matched the sorts of goods that had been going missing from the barge, and although Nura searched for magic, there was nothing too special. We gathered it up, brought it out to the group, and as we emerged we caught the end of Faye’s lecture on fire safety. None of the crew were even listening, and Myrie chucked an acorn at her.
Morning finally dawned, and we searched the bodies and checked around to make sure there were no other nasty friends around. Vall and Faye started a poetry slam on how to kill goblins, which the rest tried to ignore as we scarfed down our breakfast. Luckily Vall avoided the embarrassing rash from the goblin dog, which is lucky as there was no way I was going to touch that sort of rash. Not there, anyway.
We showed our finds to the crewmen, who were able to identify some of it as definitely missing from previous boatloads. Those items they could not identify, we kept.
Vall: The rest of your stuff has obviously been fenced.
Myrie: Who calls it “fencing”?
Vall: People with rapiers!
The trip back was quiet, but some of us realised that the crew was somewhat intimidated by us now. It’s quite possible that my carving one of the goblin’s thigh bones into an amulet at the front of the boat didn’t help.
But Galath explained that they had not been expecting goblins. Goblins are fairy stories. And such things make them … uneasy. Luckily Vall was able to calm their fears. His skills at diverting their attention were almost patronising in their simplicity.
And finally we slid into the home port.
Mother, I am starting to realise the complexities of this world. The people seemed glad when we were Called, yet they’re afraid of what this means. And yet, even if we weren’t here, the creatures would still arrive and make like difficult. They are glad of our skills, yet fearful when we use them.
And this is such a position of responsibility. This is the first time I have killed a living thing like that. I feel sure it will not be the last. Thank Pharasma that I know the meaning of life, of death, and of the Journey we must all take.
My love to all at the old Temple, and I shall try to visit when I can.
Your loving apprentice,
Treasure: 100go each
This adventure – 400 xp
To date: 700xp