We split up once we were back in town. D.W. and I headed straight for the local bath house. Dealing with carrion crawlers is a messy business and rifling through the carcasses in that cavern leaves a foul smell on you and your clothes. So our first choice of business was to get clean. From there, we headed to the bowyer to replenish our arrow supply.
In the meantime, Kael and Samhein headed straight to the Cast Iron Kettle tavern for dinner as it was late in the afternoon by the time we reached town. They found Lucien sitting at the bar nursing a clay cup of liquid. He glared at them as they questioned his whereabouts earlier in the day. Lucien told them he had been finding our group work, then asked why he had been unable to find them. As they moved closer and he caught wind of them, he urged them to take a bath before speaking with him again.
When at last, all of us were together in the tavern, Lucien told us how he had overheard a merchant talking about troubles at the local warehouse. The owner of said warehouse was trying to find people to protect the building from a group who had already attempted a couple times to break in. Each time, they had been interrupted. The owner feared they would succeed next time and he would lose all his merchandise.
Certain the owner would pay well to protect his goods, the rogue went in search of the owner. The merchant was relieved to find an adventurer to help him out and was receptive to negotiations for a “fair” fee. He made it clear he would pay well to have the “problem” disappear without questions. Lucien agreed to his terms and went back to the tavern to await the return of our group. He was a bit miffed to find we had gone off for a short adventure of our own without him.
Lucien gave each of us a pointed look as he finished his story, as if to chastise us for our misdeed. I swear he would have made a wonderful schoolmarm, the way he is scolds us for things!
Since we had several hours left before we had to head to the warehouse for guard duty, D.W. and Samhein headed to the inn for a nap. Kael chose to wait at the tavern as he wanted to listen to the locals chat and see if he could pick up anything of interest. Lucien and I went to the inn for a “nap” of our own, though we did not get any sleep.
Once we were all feeling refreshed and back together again, we headed over to the warehouse and set up a makeshift camp. We quickly set up the watch assignments, being careful to make sure our spellcasters would get enough sleep to regain their spells in the morning. Our first night passed without incident.
The next night passed quietly until the sun was just beginning to rise. Kael was on watch duty at the time when he heard something riling up the horses in the local stables. He slowly crept toward the sound, hoping to catch whatever it was off guard. As he approached, an arrow struck him in the side from the farther side of the structure. A hobgoblin dressed in chainmail stood there, a nasty look on his face as he reached for another arrow.
Kael let out a shout to wake the rest of us up. Before we could get to our feet, he had cast a spell and created a wall of black smoke between himself and the goblinoid being. It did not take too long before the rest of the hobgolbin’s friends joined him.
D.W. began firing and Samhein began lobbing magic missiles at them while Kael decided to fight them face-to-face. Lucien chose to sneak around the creatures as best he could for a tactical advantage. I tried to fire my bow at the enemy, but apparently still need a lot more practice. Instead, I dropped my weapon and grabbed my flute to play some inspiring music for my companions.
Four of the hobgoblins were easy to take down, but two seemed much tougher. Those two nearly felled Kael with their attacks. When I saw he was in serious trouble, I made my way over to him to cast a healing spell on the druid. With the boost to his health, he was able to jump back into the fray and help finish them off.
I looked over to see D.W. deal a coup-de-grace to the goblinoid nearest him, then Lucien deal the same to the one next to him. As Kael stepped forward to deal the killing blow to the one by me, I found myself blocking him, telling him to leave that one alone.
When all the others had been dispatched, I quickly explained my reasoning for not killing the one. He was obviously not a simple soldier, judging from the garments he wore, and might just be able to give us some information. My thought was that this was the third time I had either seen or heard of a warehouse being “attacked” by hobgoblins. Rather than continuing to run into them, we needed to find out what was going on.
Kael found some ropes and bound the hobgoblin, then I cast a healing spell, enough to bring him back to consciousness. Lucien stood behind him, placing his swords in a crisscross against the enemy’s throat. They began questioning him, coaxing him to answer through torture.
With horror, I realized I had just talked my comrades into torturing another being. I found myself running to a lumber pile to rid the contents of my stomach in a violent rush. D.W. made his way over to check on me as I spewed my last meal all over the ground.
In the meantime, Lucien and Kael were too focused on their interrogation to notice anything was wrong with me. They asked several pointed questions, but were only met with hostility from the enemy. When they told him they knew many methods of torture that would be extremely painful and could make his death very slow, he laughed at them and called them pathetic fools. Then he threw himself forward onto Lucien’s blades before the rogue could react.
When I returned and found the goblinoid had killed himself rather than reveal anything, I found myself again bent over and getting sick. More than anything, it was embarrassing to show how weak I was in front of my fellow adventurers like that.
Just then, Kael dropped to one knee as he suddenly felt ill himself. He found himself suddenly weak and his hands felt shaky. We looked over the weapons of the enemy, but saw no evidence of poisons. I used my healing skills on him with no effect.
After putting our heads together, the only thing we could come up with is that we had fought some undead creatures several days back. It was possible he had contracted a disease called filth fever from them as it was known to happen.
Lucien cut the left ears off each of the hobgoblins before we left, proof for the merchant who had employed us to resolve the matter with his warehouse. The rogue headed straight to the merchant to collect the money owed to us. Samhein headed to town to run a personal errand, a regular habit of his. D.W. and Kael headed to the church to see if they could figure out his illness and possibly cure it. Me? I went to see about exchanging my rapier for a better weapon as I was dissatisfied with how it was more of a skewer than a sword.