Come morning, we move back into the common room just outside the chieftain’s room. To our left is another hallway that turns a corner. We continue forward and just as we reach another intersection, we are sprayed with a barrage of arrows, both from the hall ahead as well as the one off to the side. As per the norm, Deathadder charges forward and immediately slays one of the unseen foes. A heroic move, only to be overshadowed by Rauli’s forward rush. He misses his footing, trips and his blade goes deep into Deathadder. Death falls, his wound near fatal. Albright sees this mishap and runs in to heal Deathadder. Meanwhile, Rusty heads down the corridor to the left. I have this brilliant idea to cast light on a copper coin and toss it down that corridor so we can see what we’re up against. Sabine moves to Rusty’s side while Darlah moves toward into a position to be able to support either group. Now healed, Deathadder kills another goblin. Rauli misses, but thankfully, doesn’t accidentally try to kill Deathadder again. Off to the side, Rusty kills one of the goblins. Sabine kills one and cleaves another to death as well, then one of the goblins trips and ends up fatally stabbing one of his own. Albright then manages to take him down. We notice a goblin running away from us down another hall. Rusty picks up the lighted coin and returns it to me and we follow after the critter and end up in a large room. The room is filled with boxes stacked from floor to ceiling but the goblin is nowhere to be seen. As we step into the room, we start getting bombarded with oil flasks and fire being tossed from the top of a set of boxes. As the room begins to fill with smoke, Aramil, Rusty and Death start trying to shake the stack of boxes. Eventually the culprit falls to the ground along with the toppled crates. Deathadder steps over and kills him, but is himself overcome by the growing smoke. Aramil begins to succumb as well. Rusty and Sabine each grab Death and Aramil and drag them from the room.
Seeing nowhere to go from here, we decide to return to the cave entrance and head down the opposite corridor. On the other side of the cave entrance, is another corridor that angles into a y-intersection. The hall opens into a small room with a couple of goblins in it. This one follows the same path as many of the other battles we’ve had here in the caves, we fight, we kill, we loot, we move on. Our group is really starting to find a routine with these battles and it seems redundant to continue describing them. I only hope we are not becoming overly confident with all these kills; it could end up being our downfall here at the caves. In all our exploration, we have yet to find the elusive plate or the fate of the previous initiates. I’m starting to wonder if the plate even exists. As far as the men and women of the previous group, well, I don’t really wonder about their fate, not really. On the other side of this small room is a set of stairs carved into the stone floor that lead up to a landing, then turn to our left and continue up another set of stairs. At the top is another door. Rauli searched, but didn’t find any traps, so we open the door and enter a room filled with a great many hobgoblins. Again the fight ensues and we are victorious. There is another door on the other side of the room and beyond that a hall. After following the hall for a bit, we come to another intersection. We can continue forward and around the corner, or we can turn left. We move forward and around the corner. Ahead is another crossroads. We can go left, up another set of stairs, move forward or go right. The path to the right is unusually lit and we move in that direction to investigate. As we get to the source of the light, we realize that it is another cave entrance, this one being on the middle elevation of the valley. We now know that many of these caves are intertwined. We return to the first intersection we had come to before the crossroads path and follow the path to the right. It turns a few times, and eventually leads us to another room. Unlike the other rooms we’ve encountered, this one is very clearly a torture chamber.
As we enter the room, the first thing we notice is two huge cauldrons sitting in the center. Standing next to them are two large hobgoblins. Chained to the walls around the room are several prisoners. It’s difficult to tell from our vantage point who they are, but I have an idea. I’m sure I’m not the only one. The fight begins and it doesn’t take much before we’ve slain the two hobgoblins. We are about to move to investigate the prisoners when two more cauldrons further in the room are suddenly overturned, red hot coals spilling onto the floor . Behind them are two more hobgoblins. As we move in to confront them, two iron maidens in the back of the room open up and two more hobgoblins come out and stand next to the others. We now have 4 hobgoblins and are in a disadvantaging position in which to engage them. The ensuing battle is a difficult one, but we still manage to come out ahead. Once we are sure the threat is over, we start to check out the prisoners. Around the room, hanging from the walls are four humans, and orc and a gnoll. Two of the humans, a male and a female, are husband and wife and are both members of the merchants’ guild. They were captured while on their way to Forestwatch. The other two humans are all that is left from the previous initiate group. They claim the others were, apparently, eaten. The orc doesn’t appear to have been affiliated with any specific group, but at the same time, he does not give off an aura of evil. In addition, he speaks Common, so we take a chance and let him down off the wall. The last prisoner is a gnoll. The vibe we get from this guy is complete and utter evil, with a great deal of underlying personal agendas. It’s decided that it would be best if we didn’t release this guy. This angers him and he threatens that when he gets out of here, he would hunt us down and kill us. Deathadder doesn’t take too kindly to this threat and to my chagrin, slays the gnoll as he hangs from the wall. I have that feeling again, that one that questions the direction our choices are leading us. I let it pass because we have important matters to worry about. The people we have rescued are in no condition to make it to Forestwatch on their own and we can’t very well drag them along with us. It’s decided that we will see them safely to Forestwatch. We head to the cave entrance we had happened upon and exit the caves, heading back down the path toward Forestwatch.