Chapter 4: New Gate, Old Problems
Despite the battle, the party was ready to forge ahead into the cavern in front of them. Before they did, however, a human male carrying a large rifle suddenly appeared. He introduced himself as Sergeant Greyson Oakes and asked for the location of Sir Eogan. Unable to locate Eogan, Greyson resolved to stick with the party since they had been travelling with him in the hopes that they would eventually locate him. Greyson explained that he was the other surviving member of the company that Eogan was a part of although he had not come away with the same “damage” as Eogan had. Happy to have someone seemingly more sane with them, the party moved into the dark cave ahead.
Entering the cave, the party came across a group of sleeping hobgoblins and goblins, presumably guards of some sort. After quickly dispatching the woefully unprepared guards, the party noticed some ropes inside and determined that they may have been used to tie prisoners up. Looking up at the ceiling, Kerry noticed some strange red runes which had been placed in a circular pattern. The runes then were connected by red lines spidering across the ceiling to another set of runs, and so on. Able to puzzle out that the runes were magical in nature but unable to determine the nature of them or how they would be activated, the party moved further into the cavern. Moving among the snaking paths that would abruptly cease at dead ends, the party heard the sounds of goblins ahead and prepared their weapons.
Turning the corner, they spotted a small group of goblins and were able to get the jump on them. However, several more were around the bend and came charging in. The group was ready for them, however, and was able to eliminate the goblins quickly without incident. Moving further through the winding tunnels, the group ran into a junction. Hearing voices from both directions, they moved around to intercept whatever creatures were present and ran into a group of some of the larger hobgoblin captains and several goblins. The battle was rough with heavy injuries sustained by the party but they were ultimately victorious. However, given their injured state, it was decided that they would better serve any captives by retreating to the inn to rest up and then returning to the cave refreshed and ready to dispense justice.
The party headed back to The Thirsty Pig to rest where they found Captain Position seated at a table with Bianca. Hearing from the villagers that had been rescued she praised the party for their heroics, admitting that perhaps they weren’t as bad as she had heard adventurers could be. Seeing the two of them, Sergeant Oaks saluted Captain Position, and announced himself. Finding the interaction strange, the captain told Oaks that his behavior seemed exhausting and that he wasn’t that kind of captain. Satisfied, the party then spoke with the Delrak Brothers, Arvin and Garin. The dwarves expressed their gratitude and offered a small discount on their available goods. Having seen nothing of particular value, the party moved on. Before heading up to their room, however, Kerry noticed that Samuel had been sitting at one of the booths, and was drinking again.
Undeterred by his previous attempt, Kerry tried getting Samuel to cheer up and talk. Won over by Kerry’s unfailing positivity, Samuel confessed that he felt extremely guilty for what he and his associates had done and that he had left them behind. The rest of the party had gathered around the booth at this point and pressed Samuel for more information. Samuel went on to admit that he worked under a woman, Mishka, and that they took a variety of jobs for gold, often of the shadier sort. One of the jobs they had received was to set fire to the nearby village. The job was to specifically come in the night and set fire to buildings but to allow people to escape. The pay was considerable and the idea was to avoid injury and death so they went along with it. Of course, it didn’t go as cleanly as expected and a few people lost their lives but now all of these people seeking refuge were getting captured by goblins. Samuel had taken his share and crawled into a bottle. He then seemed hopeful and asked the party if they would find Mishka and bring her to justice. He seemed about to say to kill her but couldn’t and left her fate up to the party.
Fired up by the opportunity to deal directly with the issue, the party got the location of Mishka’s camp from Samuel and headed there after resting. When they arrived at the location in the forest, Kerry cast a spell to ensure that the party would be able to more easily sneak up on a the bandits without being discovered a or tracked. They then managed to creep up to the edge of the camp where they found a bandit passed out, drunk. With a clever twinkle in his eye, Greyson decided to hang back at the entrance while the rest of the party moved around the edge of the camp to get behind Mishka. Getting just behind her, Frazious cast a spell to cause a burst of light above the camp in an attempt to intimidate the group. Successfully surprising Mishka, but perhaps not as much as he would have expected, Frazious and the others stepped out from the bushes and asked her to surrender for what she’d done. Mishka scoffed at the suggestion and asked where they got their info from – according to her, they had nothing to do with the burning of the village.
Kerry told her that Samuel had informed them what she had done and had asked to bring her to justice. Mishka seemed a bit insulted that Samuel would sell her out but admitted that he didn’t have the spine for that kind of work. She asked if perhaps there was something that could be worked out. Immediately declining, the party asked Mishka to come with them but it seemed that she wouldn’t go without a fight. Starting the fight off with a bang, Frazious hurled a fireball at the center of camp, immediately incinerating most of the bandits present. Keeping up the assault, Kerry and Harambe moved to attack Mishka and the other bandits. In the middle of the fighting, one of the bandits came around the entrance and fired at one of the other bandits. Mishka seemed stunned by the act and yelled at the rogue bandit who was secretly Sergeant Oaks under an illusion spell he had cast. The confusion awarded the party a moment to eliminate all but one of the remaining bandits and Mishka. Mishka then surrendered, asking the party what they wanted with her. Stepping up to her, Oaks (now having removed his illusion) told her to come quietly. Mishka answered the request by spitting on Oaks and smiling.
Bringing Mishka back to The Thirsty Pig, Samuel immediately got up from his booth and walked up to Mishka. She greeted him with her cocky smile and, with tears in his eyes, Samuel slapped her across her face and quickly headed upstairs. Unsure what, exactly, to do with the bandit leader, the party presented her to Bernard . He explained that in Planks, they didn’t really have any formal justice system so she would simply hang for her crimes. Agreeing and not at all sad to see Mishka go, the party allowed Bernard to take her upstairs.