I walked through the quiet of the mountains and into the peaceful forest below. In the blue morning light, with song birds chirping the last of their summer songs, I regretted the circumstances of this jaunt. If I were not on the hunt for murderers, it would have been the most beautiful day I had seen in weeks. Unfortunately, beautiful leaves are only beautiful when they are not covered in blood.
I heard the noise of battle in the late morning. I ran to find it, but when the scene was before me, I found that the fight had ended. A group of travelers had been attacked by kobolds. How I hate those lowly dragon kin! Their ambushes vex every traveler, but these folks were heartier than most that venture through the woods. Heavily armed and well armored, the group was more than well prepared for an encounter with the primatives.
A tall, burly Bugbear was holding an unfortunate kobold by its ankles, bashing its head against the ground in a manner I would hesitate to call playful. A dragonborn was questioning his tiny quarry when I arrived. I did my best to be peaceful; they were doing good by ridding the road of the kobolds, and this interrogation promised to reveal the hideout of the cowardly beasts. As it happened, the interrogation turned up more than a lair.
The kobold confessed that a goblin called Iron Tooth had influenced his kin, pushing them to worship the “Horned God”, which one of the party recognized as the death god Orcus. My blood boiled and seethed; this goblin was pushing his religion on kobolds. Their race was normally malevolent, but to what peaks could they rise if organized under a god? And an evil god at that… The dragonborn, a warrior called Suldren, ordered the bugbear to release the kobold under its oath to do no further harm. I admired Suldren’s just attitude, but found it naive.
My hands tightened on my maul as I readied to strike. I hesitated, not wanting to make enemies of this group. I prepared my swing, but then the bugbear, called Kun-We, dashed the pitiful creature against the rocks. I smiled heartily; at least two of us were of the same mindset. I joined up with the group, who were more than willing to have an extra set of hands for their upcoming raid against the goblin called Iron Tooth. We hiked a half-mile to the North, and found a waterfall. Hidden amongst the rocks and brush was a small army of kobolds.
Vuden ran into the bushes; he was a rogue, and depended on his stealth to see him through. He killed some of the kobolds, but they quickly swarmed him like a furious cloud of teeth, blades, and claws. Reduced to a bleeding heap, I thought that he was dead. We battled intensely with the kobolds, who proved to be tough opponents. It took nearly every ounce of effort to squelch their fighting spirit. Unfortunately, one of them got away, retreating so that he could find the goblin called Iron Tooth.
Against Suldren’s recommendations, we pressed our advantage. We were unwilling to rest, unwilling to yield any advantage to the kobolds and their savage leader. The battle in the kobold’s lair was frantic and fraught with danger. I found myself surrounded by their spears and knives; when I thought I had room to move, there would always be another. Kun-We proved himself a vital member of our group, allowing me a chance to seek healing while he handled the front line.
Pressed by overwhelming numbers, our tired bodies just couldn’t stand against the relentless tide of steel. When the spectre of ill-luck hovered over us, the battle was nearly lost. Suldren fell, (Drew’s Character) fell, and so did I. The battle raged as the wizard and warlock fighting to keep our cause alive. In the end, we won the day through the assistance of the rogue that had been employing the group.
The embarrassment of my failure was compounded when Vuden, who I thought was dead, arrived at the cave’s mouth. The rest of the group picked up the gold and loot around the cave. Searching bodies, I couldn’t escape the feeling that we were as vile as the beasts we had destroyed. Then, I considered the virtue of justice. We protected any that would pass this way, and by smashing part of the cult, we assured the survival of many, many innocents. I decided to remain amongst the fellowship; they were trying to find the roots of the cult, an action I can steadfastly stand aside. In the gloaming, we made our way into Winterhaven.
As we walked, I kept reviewing the battle in my mind. Suldren brought some order to the battle, while Kun-We and I held the kobolds back. Cassius, a warlock, befuddled me. He kept appearing, attacking, and retreating. I found myself wondering… if we were in more dire circumstances, what would keep him from preserving his own hide? Nod, our wizard, proved helpful until his spells began to miss their mark. Perhaps it was the frenzy of battle? I imagine we would have had a much different outcome if he managed to send some of those magic bolts where they belonged.
I realized I was being too critical; we did poorly, but we are newly assembled. With time, we will learn eachother’s strengths and weaknesses. I just hope that Moradin shields us until then. Perhaps, when I get some gold, I will make some heavier armor. Thinking of my new armor, I found my way into a blacksmith shop. Eagerly, I struck up a conversation about enamels and alloys. With a grin, I anticipated a night long chat about the finer points of crafting helmets.