2: The Valley of Hobgoblins
Thoram did an inventory of the weapons found. As a gesture of thanks he offered each us what ever we wanted from the inventory. I took two finely made but plain daggers. These were the only weapons he had that I could use. But daggers were always handy, and I wasn't going to insult him by refusing his generous offer.
The next morning, we rode out, being competently led by the hunter.
It took us most of the day to reach Miklaus' valley. When the hunter told us his lodge was in the next valley, Wren did a little scouting.
There were a dozen hobgoblins in the valley, practising archery, possibly there as guards. There was no sign of Miklaus. Thinking he may simply be in the lodge set apart from the humanoids, we decided a direct attack was in the cards.
We set ourselves up. Logan and Garrus were taking point, lances at the ready. I took the right flank with Thoram. Azzarak and Ulf took the left.
We crept as close to the summit as possible, and then charged full speed down the hill.
We took them by surprise. We were halfway down the slope before the creatures opened fire with their bows. I fired back, wounding one and in turn, naturally, being wounded, but only slightly.
When we impacted their line, we swept it. The opening clash left 6 humanoids dead. I had some trouble taking mine out, wounded as he was. Short swords are not very good when fighting mounted.
When I killed mine, I leaped off my horse and ran for the house, concerned that we could be under attack from the dwelling, not knowing how many people were inside, or what weapons they had. I guarded the entry as the rest of the party finished off the hobgoblins.
It didn't take long, and during the rest of that fight, no one came out of the house.
With a short sword in either hand, I covered the locked door to the lodge. And shortly, the rest of the party joined me.
Thoram didn't hesitate and simply walked through it. His sheer strength has always left me in awe, and this occasion was no exception.
The house was empty of anyone save ourselves. We searched it thoroughly, there was little loot. We weren't gentle. I was sure that this man was the local source of many wrongs in the area. It was wren that drew my attention to something.
It the valley to the north, there seemed to be plenty of smoke rising into the air. My first thought was perhaps a forest fire. I asked he to go check it out. She headed up the slope quickly, and it wasn't long before she returned.
"Hobgoblins." She said, out of breath. "Five hundred of them."
I think everyone in the party swore at the same time, to their own Gods. The number was direct threat to the baronies, and perhaps even the county.
We needed to get the Hells out of there.