Dramatis Personae: Keth, Sorrel, Tasklar (and Elia)
Source: “DDEX3-10 Quelling the Horde”
Down the Rabbit Hole Again
A few hours later, the adventurers felt rested enough to head back down the miles-long passage into the Underdark. At the T-junction at its end, they found that the narrow tunnels to the left and right had been blocked up by crude wooden barricades. It looked as if the goblins had torn down some of their hovels.
The adventurers split up and assaulted both barricades at once, drawing fire from the goblins hiding behind them. To the left, Elia poured burning oil on the wood and then Keth used his tinderbox to light it on fire. To the right, Tasklar lit up the goblins with faerie fire while Sorrel used brute strength to batter down the barricade. Both of the illuminated goblins died quickly, while the two behind the burning barricade went running off up the tunnel, hollering.
Our protagonists decided to let them go and pressed on down the right-hand tunnel, past the side passage they knew led to the fungal garden in the first main cavern. More than five hundred feet later, they came around to the south side of the cavern in which the goblins had set up their shanty town. Here was another, larger barricade, manned by four goblins. As Tasklar sniped at them with his blasts of eldritch energy, Keth charged the barricade with his shield and actually managed to smash right through it. The goblins on the other side were swiftly cut down.
As they made their way through the maze of hovels towards a large central hall in the middle, no goblins came out to harass them. The hall was shut, but a rope leading into one of the hovels was tied to the doors. They could hear grunting and snorting coming from within, and as they neared the hall, the rope was pulled, yanking open the hall doors and releasing two very angry giant boars! The animals charged the heroes and a fierce melee was joined. A few brave goblins took potshots at the heroes from the relative safety of their hovels at the same time. Ultimately, though, the boars were reduced to little more than large piles of bacon waiting to be cooked.
Rather than go hovel to hovel, our protagonists pressed on to the north, towards a large, ascending tunnel that they surmised led around to the goblin lord’s lair from the other direction from the cliff face. However, as they came out into the clear, a pair of goblins herded several suits of animated dwarven plate armor into their way.
Sorrel’s dwarven spirit was incensed! How dare they! Such sacrilege! He charged, aiming for the goblins. They were sneaky, though, and were able to interpose the suits of armor between themselves and their would-be attackers. Keth moved into the middle of the melee and summoned his guardian spirits, but he was soon hit hard enough that he lost concentration and began fighting defensively in order to defend his friends and stay alive.
A few of the goblins in the hovels fired arrows at Tasklar, who’d remained behind so he could attack the suits of armor at range. This prompted him to move into melee range, which proved to be a worse mistake, as he was quickly pummelled into the ground by the hammers the suits of armor were wielding. Elia managed to kill the goblins and then rushed to tend Tasklar, while the half-orcs attended to the suits of armor.
As the dust cleared, Keth scooped up Tasklar and the group beat a hasty retreat back through the goblin village and out through the tunnels to the surface again. Somewhere along the way, however, they lost Elia. They decided they couldn’t go back and search for her right away, so with heavy hearts they returned to their camp from earlier in the day and took a long and much-needed rest overnight.
The Kiss of Death
In the morning, they descended into the Underdark once more, only to find the caverns deserted! As they explored the place, our protagonists eventually found themselves back at the goblin lord’s blockhouse. Inside, they found a different fiend waiting for them! This one looked fairly human, except he had large, leather bat wings. Elia was with him, wearing very little and engaging in a bit of heavy petting with the fiend.
The creature looked gleeful as he informed the adventurers that they were too late! The goblins had cleared out, taking their prisoners with them! He had remained behind to let them know that his friend, Lord Agrak, sent his greetings. The fiend then pulled Elia close and gave her a big, passionate kiss. Her eyes grew wide and her skin went extremely pale and then she collapsed onto the ground, dead.
As Elia’s friends began to attack the fiend in their fury, he just shrugged and faded away, his laughter ringing in their ears. Keth rushed over to Elia and prayed fervently to Freya to revive his friend and protégé. He offered up some diamonds in payment, and as they vanished in a swirl of magic, Elia sucked in a deep breath and opened her eyes again! Keth had miraculously restored her to life!
Feeling somewhat deflated by their failure to slay Lord Agrak or rescue his hostages, the Arcrus family (who were most likely now doomed to a life of misery as slaves in the Underdark), our protagonists headed back to the Stop, where they reported back to Glenna the dwarven innkeeper. She was disappointed that they’d been unable to permanently stop the goblins’ depredations, but she thanked them for at least driving them out of the area. She was also saddened by the loss of so much innocent life, but still gave them their payment of 500 silver.
In the days that followed, Keth discovered that Elia was not her old self. Just as he and Keluak-cum-Sorrel had experienced, Elia had lost a bit of herself in the process of being brought back from the dead. The most obvious manifestation of this came upon their return to Larchwood, where Elia’s secret crush on Gil quickly blossomed into a serious infatuation. She seemed determined to make him hers no matter what the cost.