With Sir Leonard in tow, the party returned to the dilapidated Griffinshart estate. Within, Sir Leonard began to explain, “You know, I have had those notices up for months, and this is the first time anyone has responded.
Odd. James felt a momentary – presagement. Not the superstitious type, but powers beyond mortal were real, and sometimes acted in odd ways. Months of no responses, and suddenly a party of eight, each arriving in their own separate ways.
James could hear old Pirate Pete and Elsbeth mucking about in the kitchen, trying to make tea, attempting and failing to get a spark out of his tinderbox. He briefly absented himself to light the stove with a cantrip.
Back in the main room, Sir Leonard was working his way through the group, taking the measure of each, asking “So, why did you want to become a hero?” Some cited a thirst for justice, or gold, or fame. James’ answer was simply that his orders were to be here, and he desired to honour his family and The Emperor. All true enough.
His mind wandered back to the tedious but necessary lessons in military history. Sir Griffinshart and the battle of Salty Mire. The orc armies were bringing their mammoths down the behemoth migration route. Sir Griffinshart had broken their formation with a daring flank attack, circling around to the rear. In class they had studied maps, logistical charts. Three knights won their spurs that day as part of his sortie. Hard to believe, now, looking at this drunk and the dump he lived in.
Then James saw it. The medal case. Stars, scrolls, winged dragons – brass, silver and gold. Some few set with gems. Most of them empire decorations and familiar to him from tediously memorising orders of precedence, proof of a long, distinguished career. And some not so familiar. That one, with the strange flowing inscription, could that be the very one that Sir Leonard had won from the Elf Queen herself for liberating Whitevalley Grove? That iron one – with the dwarf runes: could that be one of the medals that the Dwarf King struck for the heroes of the doomwar? A nasty war for a human to be part of, fought in the lightless underground. They say that the King only struck fifty medals, from the iron of one of the coffins of the Lich King, and broke the die. All but four were awarded to dwarves, most posthumously.
Sir Leonard was rambling, now about his son. No details, but there was something there. A resolve began to form in James. “We will redeem this man. Somehow.”
- Our group and Sir Griffinshart returned to the Griffinshart estate. Sir Griffinsheart inqured of each of us as to how we had come to respond to his advertisement, and after the motives of each of us.
- At the conclusion of the meeting, most of us chose to return to town and seek logdings, ans the estate is very dilapidated. Misthanar and Elspeth chose to remain.
- We approached the bridge at last light. I heard goblins and alerted our group.
- The group of goblins appeared to comprise two archers, and five common warriors. More warriors were concealed under the bridge.
- The archers appeared to be somewhat better dressed than the common warrors. I surmise they were higher status. They remained well out of the melee.
- Our group killed the common warriors, and one of the archers. We sustained minor injuries. The combat was done in less than a minute.
- Notes on the performance of the members of our group in combat.
- Tarry seems to prefer to conceal himself and strike from the flank or the rear. He has considerable talent at concealment, and I think will become our group’s principal scout as well as engaging individual high-value targets.
- Basic Toasten was clearly performing magic, or attempting to. The magic was completely unfamiliar to me. There were some odd effects which at this stage I am unable to characterise, and which I cannot gauge the effectiveness of. I will need to observe him further to usefully evaluate him.
- C.F. Lashley performed bardic magic. He also killed one of the archers with what was clearly an Acid Arrow.
- Olivia is a warrior-preistess. She performed a blessing of some kind and joined the melee.
- Mal Shieldglider was most impressive, killing three of the goblins in a space of a few seconds in a series of blows.
- I myself did not contribute materially to the action.
- Our group has too much magical support and not enough warriors. We lack an effective ranged combatant. If Misthanar – as I surmised – is a fighting monk, then he, Shieldglider, and Olivia are our front line. Olivia as our healer cannot be carelessly risked, although I doubt that she will see it that way. It remains to be seen if C.F. Lashley can step up with the rapier. Although I am not well-suited to the front line, I will probably need to step up and at least take a few hits. My lack of any useful action in this incident is somewhat embarrassing.
- That being said, our group is more than capable of taking on a group of ten or so goblins. The issue was not at any point in doubt.
- It is plain that goblins are ambushing travellers on the roads around Chancer’s Hope. This is probably something that should be dealt with.