We rose before dawn, and marched to beard a group of goblins in their den. Why precisely we were doing this was beyond me. But, our little group seemed to feel that it was proper repayment for our night's hospitality. Who was I to argue, as I had no coin to offer otherwise?
I can tell that I was no soldier. This sort of rapid hiking through the woods is quite uncomfortable. I do wonder if I know how to ride a horse. It would simplify things considerably. As soon as I can afford a horse, of course.
We came over a rise to look down into a hollow. There was a cave down there, with two goblins standing sentry. Our plan was beautiful in its simplicity. Two archers ran forward to eliminate the sentries before they could raise an alarm. The rest of us charged down the hill after them.
The beginning of the fight went extremely well. Waves of goblins scrambled out of the cave. We cut them down just as fast. Then they started calling for Rotgut. We didn't know what that was, but it didn't sound good.
An orc soldier with surprisingly good equipment came out of the shadows. At that point, the tables were definitely turning against us. Our initial rush had stalled, and the minor hurts the goblins had been able to inflict were wearing on us. This new soldier began pressing us, causing some of our better fighters to fall back. Old Dell's wolf fell under the onslaught.
Those of us who had been holding back moved forward. Cong revealed some magical talent, primarily for confusing and incapacitating our foes. I found myself to be far more capable with the bow than I expected.
Then, just as we were starting to rally, Rotgut appeared. This was a large and fearsome ogre. As he waded into combat, our fighters began falling rapidly. But, we had two surprises yet, that were even surprises to us. Duran Wolfhunger, as we had learned the cleric's name to be, strode forward to engage the ogre toe to toe. I know little of The Red Knight, but if this courage is typical of her followers, I am impressed.
The other surprise was Hung Lo. He ran into the fray with no weapon at all. After a terrible fight, in which I was sure we were all going to die, this strange man from a strange land saved us. With a peculiar, blood-curdling yell, he leapt into the air, and kicked the ogre in the back. In defiance of all logic, he snapped the ogre's spine. He may or may not be crazy, but he is certainly not a man to be trifled with.
Victorious, we collapsed. Duran laid his healing hands on the most grievously injured among us. Knowing that we would need resources in the future, we went through the noisome task of stripping the dead of their accoutrements. Most was of relatively little value, but I was able to see a dweomer on both the armor and the cloak worn by the champion. That certainly helps to explain why he was such a formidable foe. It is also entirely out of character for the rest of this tribe. I have a sense that he is an envoy from a larger, better organized, and better funded group. Is the nearby city of Cauldron under threat from something more serious than bandits?
Once our business was done, we limped back to Old Dell's cabin. How is it that we moved half as fast, but the journey seemed twice as hard? I'm sure that I was made for gentler pursuits than this.
Upon our arrival, we met Dell's woman, who fussed over his injuries. She prepared a remarkable, if crude, stew. My companions have fallen into a well-deserved slumber, while I record these thoughts and prepare for my own meditation.