As the group awoke, the sun was going down. The hold seemed to grow darker and danker, torches provided the only light and shadows flickered and danced along the walls. Moving out of the dungeon into the crossbow room, Tryn sneaked towards the remaining door and slowly opened it. Inside, a small troop of goblins were busy eating their evening meal. Andraste stood just behind the halfling, trying to get a clear enough view of the goblins to start a fight amongst them, but before she could act upon her resolve the goblins began brawling by themselves! The group stood dumbstruck as plates rattled and clanged and the goblin leaders inside shouted orders in gobbledygook at their underlings. Suddenly the group realized that the order must have been to go outside, the goblins were headed for the door they were hidden behind! The group took a moment to prepare themselves as the door swung open and 15 goblin troops stood face to face with the heroes.
As the goblins tried to get ready for the battle they had stumbled across, Styx dispatched the first goblin. Tryn fired a flaming bolt from her crossbow and it burst upon the ground, consuming 7 more of the goblins in flames. As they screamed in agony, Bristlethurn brought his bear to bear (ha!) on another. The remaining troop tried to take down Tordek in vain while the leadership lobbed crossbow bolts and javelins at Styx. Once the minions were dispatched, Styx lunged towards the nearest goblin, narrowly missing his shoulder. The goblins retaliated, and blood oozed from the bolts sticking out of Styx’s chest. While the group dispatched one goblin, Tordek gave his best effort to easing Styx’s escape, but could not get the half elf out of danger. As the next goblin died, the remaining goblin, realizing he was suddenly alone, dropped his crossbow and ran away. Andraste, Styx, and Bristlethurn gave chase, finding that he had run into a closed off kitchen. Looking around, Styx realized he could hear breathing coming from under a nearby table.
Picking up the goblin by the collar, Styx held his spear up to the goblin’s throat. “I’m gonna stab him,” Styx said angrily.
“Hold on a moment,” Andraste said as she put a hand up.
“But he shot me!” Styx replied angrily.
Andraste went up to the shaking goblin, “what’s you name?”
“Grak! Grak! Please don’t kill Grak, please!” the frightened goblin exclaimed.
“Then you’d better answer all of my questions, or I’ll let him finish you!”
“Yes! Yes! Anything!”
Andraste questioned the goblin very carefully about the remaining rooms and traps remaining in the hold. He said that Gyss was protected by two young, white dragons, and he was most likely on his throne. He told them that there was a ‘whirly thing of death’ in a nearby room upstairs, and that there was a bottleneck leading up to the ‘Big Boss’ which could cause a ‘big boom.’ Given parchment and paper, Grak tried to provide the party with maps of the two rooms, but his depictions were simplistic at best.
“Okay, Grak, you work for us now, do you understand?” Andraste looked at the goblin intently.
“Yes, you big boss now! You no kill Grak,” Grak looked hopefully at the party.
“I don’t want you betraying us to Gyss when you see those dragons.”
Grak shifted his gaze from side to side, “But dragons are scary.”
“Well, Grak, I’m an even bigger dragon in disguise,” Andraste bluffed, “and I will be most displeased if you betray us!”
Grak’s look became pale, “No! Never betray!”
The party gave Grak his crossbow back and sent him up the stairs. Hoping for a quick resolution, they told him to tell the ‘Keepers of the Whirly Death’ that there was a fight outside, and that they needed to come down. Instead, they kicked Grak out and locked the door behind him. Tryn deftly picked the lock, then Styx and Tordek stood behind the door. They took a breath to prepare for the unkown as they kicked it in.
The two goblin keepers chattered excitedly at the group from two alcoves well above the ground as one flipped a lever on the wall. In the center of the room a four foot tall top with blades mounted all around it stood. As the lever was flipped the top began to spin, and finally it moved towards the group! Tordek, Styx, Andraste, and Bristlethurn felt the blades as they spun around, hitting all of them simultaneously. Styx and Tordek each took swings at the terrible device, then went into the room to get away from the deadly spinning. While the top spun, the goblin keepers lobbed spells upon the party. Tordek was stricken blind by one while the other placed bands of necrotic energy around him. He shook them off as he stumbled blindly off, the demonic dreidel following at his heels. It’s blades bit into his back and he cursed as he felt the blood coursing down his legs. The party split apart to give the spinning abomination fewer targets and began taking down the keepers, but the keepers responded in kind by cloaking most of the room in an inky cloud, preventing most of the party from seeing them. With a roar, Styx ran through and scrambled up the slick side of one platform. He brought his axe down upon one goblin, who managed to duck out of the way. The goblin smirked as he placed necrotic bands around the half elf barbarian. His smile faded as Bristlethurn’s bear bit him in the leg, and Styx smirked slyly back as he planted his axe in the goblin’s chest. Meanwhile, Tryn engaged in a deadly duel with the demonic dervish of a dreidel. Each time she fired a bolt into the spinning top it came towards her, threatening her with it’s metal blades, but every time Tryn managed to cheat it of it’s desire; ducking and diving away from the blades only to fire another bolt at it. As Andraste and Grak attacked the keeper from range, Styx struck at him with a halberd. When finally the goblin was no more the party turned back to see Tryn standing triumphantly over a broken mass of wood and steel, “This is how I disarm traps!”
Only one door now prevented the team from their goal, but as they approached it, they realized that a complicated series of locks kept the door sealed! Tryn began to pick the locks one at a time. She succeeded on one, then the second, but as she picked the third her lock picks slipped just slightly. A golden light shot out of the lock, causing great pain in her hands and arms. She continued and it finally clicked open, but her loss of concentration carried through, light shooting out of the fourth lock and hurting her again. Andraste came forward and took a look, realizing that it must be a divine variation of an arcane lock. She used her knowledge of the arcane to suppress part of the trap and Tryn managed to get the locks open. The group peered inside, they could see Gyss on his throne and the two dragons sitting on either side of the entrance. Using the element of surprise, Styx and Tordek rushed forward while Andraste tried using the draconic phrases she had learned in the temple of Bahamut. The final battle had begun!
As Tordek and Styx rushed Gyss head on, Bristlethurn summoned his bear into the throne room while Andraste, Grak, and Tryn attacked from range. Gyss touched something under his shirt and a purple glow emanated. The party continued their onslaught, but soon the dragons were upon them! One dragon faced Bristlethurn, Tryn, and Grak in the hallway while Andraste ducked into a nearby staircase; the other faced Tordek and Styx in the throne room. Both dragons breathed a terrible blast of icy breath upon them, then let out a terrible roar stunning some of the heroes. Gyss pulled out his spear and used the newly created advantage to drive it into Tordek. The party fought on, but another blast of icy breath came from the dragon in the hallway while the other used his ferocious claws to dig into Tordek. Gyss raised his spear with a smile, he meant to end Tordek’s life then and there. “Thissss is your end,” the hobgoblin hissed. At the last second, Tordek ducked out of the way of the spear and it landed in the face of the dragon behind him! With a mighty roar Styx heaved his axe into Gyss while Tryn shot an arrow deep in his chest. “It seems it is your end,” Tordek retorted at the bleeding warlord as he sliced his axe across Gyss’ neck. The leader of the goblins fell back onto the throne and blood poured down the arms as he breathed his last. A purple light shot out from the eyes of the dragons and Andraste shouted out the draconic phrases she had learned at them. At last freed from the imprinting, the dragons looked at the heroes, considering the draconic words carefully. Finally they muttered a phrase in draconic as they pushed open a secret door that led outside and flew away into the night sky.
In the aftermath of the battle, Styx noticed a small sun carved on the corner of the throne’s pedestal. He brought Andraste to look at it while everyone else surveyed the room. She noticed a series of slight indents around the sun that roughly matched the placement of the locks on the door. With a thought she pressed the indents in the same order that the locks had been picked. The sun glowed and a false panel in the wall nearest the sun slid up. Inside there was a large axe and a bar of precious metal. Andraste gazed at the axe, it had an image of the sun carved along the blade and it seemed to crackle and surge with energy. This must be Orland’s missing axe! Taking the bar of precious metal in her pack, she passed the axe to Styx. Meanwhile Tryn found another false panel in the room proper, behind it she found all the gold that the goblin raiders had hoarded away! As the group filled their packs with the booty, Tordek heard the noise of marching coming from outside. Going to the secret door the dragons had opened, he found a balcony that led to the walls of the hold. He could see the returning goblin army marching towards the keep, almost upon the patch of pitch. He called the group out, and Tryn prepared a crossbow bolt. Andraste poured alchemical fire on it and Tryn let the bolt fly the moment the goblins were centered on the pitch. It flew slowly, seeming to take an eternity to reach its destination. Finally a great fireball exploded upon the ground and the night air was filled with 500 goblins screaming as they died in the trap they had so carefully set!
The party picked up Udrin and headed back to Fallcrest. As they neared the town, Andraste gave Grak 10 gold and told him to take up residence at Kobold Hall.
“Remember Grak, you only kill kobolds now, not people.”
“Grak no kill people,” Grak said glumly.
“And you only use that money to buy food,” Andraste raised an eyebrow at him.
“Grak only buy food,” Grak’s lower lip pouted out.
Grak scrambled off on his way to Kobold Hall and the group hit the outskirts of town. As they came to the edges of the village, they saw a strange sight. It seemed that little kids from all over the village were running behind them, screaming and giggling excitedly. As they got closer, some adults started to follow them. By the time they neared the Temple of Bahamut, it had turned into a procession, and it seemed that the whole town was following them, cheering and yelling. Slowly the yelling started to coalesce into one voice as the people yelled in chorus, “HURRAY FOR THE HEROES OF FALLCREST!!!! HURRAY!!!!!”