Now that we had established that everyone in our new group was ready to go, Kael led us to where he had last seen the hobgoblins outside of town. D.W. had a really intense look on his face. I get the impression he really hates this particular being, though he is not forthcoming with any explanation.
It was not long before Kael halted our group, saying this was the place he had seen the goblinoid creatures. We were now standing in the woods a ways. As we looked around us, we all spotted at the same time a creature trying to sneak up on us. Very quickly, D.W. let loose with an arrow while Lucien tried to sneak around it.
I was startled when I spotted a second one charging straight at the elf. Poor Lucien didn’t expect to sneak around a tree and come face-to-face with another of the creatures. Nor did he expect it to slice into him so hard with an axe. For a moment, I thought he would go down as it struck him several times. I raced to his side to heal him, but realized it would be better to turn the creature’s attention to me with an attack.
While Lucien and I were fighting the one creature, Kael shifted into the form of a clouded leopard and took on two others with help from the bow wielding halfling. Another of the beings joined it’s partners. Working in two smaller teams, we were able to take them all down.
As I healed Lucien, I looked over to see Kael had switched back to his half-elf form so he could heal himself. D.W. was undamaged and took off immediately to see if he could find more of the creatures. Before the rest of us were ready, he had managed to find more trouble.
Kael began casting a spell as Lucien and I raced over to help D.W. with the two beings that had come after him. A bear appeared next to one of them and attacked it. A glance over at Kael confirmed the bear was conjured by him. With four of us and two of them, we rapidly dispatched the beings.
Lucien examined all of the fallen creatures. Muscular, smelly, sloppiily dressed and with tusks around their mouths, it was easy to identify them as orcs. The rogue glared over at the druid.
“These are orcs, not hobgoblins. Don’t druids know the difference?!”
Kael’s head snapped up. “I know these are orcs, but what I saw earlier were hobgoblins!”
The two squared off for a moment. I was a bit concerned as I saw them posturing toward one another. The halfling walked between them to suggest we look around for tracks to see what happened to them, then led the druid over to where we first entered the area. Kael easily switched back to cat form. In the meantime, Lucien went to work at looting the creatures of whatever he could find.
It only took about ten minutes before they discovered the tracks they were looking for. We followed along for an hour or so before we found ourselves back in Thelamar where the tracks vanished on the main road.
There were several sudden screams as we approached. Kael lifted his furred head to see a woman shrieking in terror, then dropping her load of laundry as she raced in a different direction. It was then he realized most folks probably had never seen a clouded leopard before, especially running loose in town. He shifted back to half-elf form with a quick apology.
Unable to pick up the tracks again, we headed back to the tavern to discuss what we should do next.