Thus, when a woman come running past, calling for help and heading into a tavern, I do not simply walk onward. Never! I enter the tavern to see what the problem may be. And so I did.
Well, the woman had run into the tavern to find a group of travelers – adventurers, unless I missed my guess. Such roving bands can be a plague on the landscape, but they do keep the monsters down. My doubts were eased with the mutters around the room: “Heroes of Sandpoint” and among them – wonder of wonders – a dwarf! Oddly dressed, more like an elf than anything: leather togs, bow. Probably has spent years away from the mountains. Him and a brace of human females (found out later they are sisters).
Well, it seems Sandpoint has been having goblin trouble, and the woman actually had one in her house, her closet. A child, too, so naturally we all of us went straight there. We found the damn thing, but were too late to save her husband. A sad outcome, but there was nothing we could have done to prevent it.
These Heroes of Sandpoint were pleased to invite me to be part of their group, and I were pleased to be numbered among them as quite frankly they were a bit light on the “Hitting things with a weapon” aspect of the adventuring life. There was a fourth – a human bladesman, but he was temporarily on other business. The four of us went to see the local ranger, to get the lie of the land.
It seems there are five goblin tribes in the area, each with a home range and a leader. Normally they keep each other in check but recently they have been organised, which is unusual for goblins and very, very bad news indeed. NOt just that they are fighting in bands, but that there is something out there mean enough to make these sadistic but flighty little buggers do it. They are not empire-builders, ye ken. Left to themselves, goblins will amuse themselves pulling wings off flies and never bother decently prepared civilised folk.
Back at the tavern, a terrible scene – a family squabble. Right out in public, no less, and ending with a father disowning his daughter! A shocking, terrible thing. I shouldn’t judge, but humans can be a callous folk. The father seemed to feel there was some matter of honour, but what dishonour could be worse than airing this kind of business in public?
Next morning, more bad news. The daughter had gone missing. We investigated and found a note left by her brother, asking her to go to the famous Sandpoint glassworks. HAd there been more family trouble? Or worse? We went there without delay.
The front door was closed. A bad sign – the shop should have been open. The side door closed too. We forced the door, and as soon as we were inside heard goblins! We charged in immediately – the furnace room had over a half-dozen of the things and the brother, plainly in league with them. We fought, managing to kill the evil little bastards and knock the brother unconscious, although matters might have gone worse if Zoran had not shown up at the critical moment. One of the girls is a healer, and damned lucky we are for that, and the other a summoner. Again a stroke of providence, as she summons dogs – a goblin’s mortal enemy.
We tied up the brother, and searched the place. His father he had … had … By Torag’s hammer! He had encased his own father in glass! A patricide! If the humans will not administer justice for this act, then I swear I shall. Even if not by his hand, he had permitted it to be done. Had the father brought it on himself by his treatment of his own daughter, his flesh and blood? It matters not. Such things – such acts must not be unanswered.
His sister we found below, in the basement. And a tunnel into the wall, leading into the sandstone. It seems this glassworks was to be the portal for a goblin attack on the town.
Our – my – priority was to bring the son to justice. I would not simply send the two of them off to see the sheriff, her word against his. The tunnel could wait – it had clearly been there for months, and if goblins were about to boil out of it there’s precious little we five could do about it. We saw the girl to safety, the young man into the hands of justice, and set to exploring the tunnels.
Well, I would like to have shown my no doubt distant cousin some stonework, him spending so long away from the mountains, but it was all sandstone. Rubbish! A mere rub with the thumb and it flakes away. Ah well. He seemed impressed nonetheless. How he must miss the halls of home!
The tunnels ran all the way under town, connecting with a few of the cellars. Then we found a better-worked area. Not dwarven standard of course, and sandstone, but to give the humans their due – they had done some nice work with it. But to bad purpose.
There was a statue of a human woman or perhaps goddess, her face contorted in rage, and all over the chamber writings some odd untranslatable script. None of us had a clue as to who she might be.
Further in, a font of unholy water (which, I joked, needed to be purified by the urine of a righteous dwarf). And beyond that a chapel. What to say? We fought a little demon – a quasit, while out of a magic pool came a succession undead things (oh, there were other ones elsewhere in the tunnels) of a kind that my training did not mention. One of the touched me and my mind was afflicted with visions of … wrongdoing.
But in the end, the pool lost its power to bring more undead out, and the quasit finally took an arrow to the wing – once down, it was easily finished.
We explored the rest of the complex, but there was little to find. We transcribed the writings, and tomorrow we shall ask the sage what he makes of them. We shall also collapse the tunnels, I think – I’m sure Bahlek and I will be able to work out something between us.