Episode Five

Goblins, Goblins, Everywhere...

Tuesday, February 16, 1168.

Bethgael enjoyed training at the small Harmondale Training Ground. The smallish, hairy but hardy man by the name of Mikail Hadrian the Instructor took them through their paces, one by one. Bethgael emerged sore but refreshed.

It seemed she wasn't the only one. "You know those goblins infesting the area around the town?" Bard said jovially. "Let's get 'em."

"Ah…. ooookaaaay then," Caber replied, shooting Spider and Bethgael a look. Bethgael arched her eyebrow.

Spider just shook his head. "Druidical violence just doesn't 'fit', somehow," he said. "It's just so…. oxymoronic."

"It's moronic, all right," Caber agreed.

"No, not moronic…. oxy – ah. Never mind," Spider shook his head again.

Bard just laughed.

The trees were bare, reaching up into the dreary sky with their spidery naked limbs. Bethgael shivered as the fog wormed its way into her clothing and seeped into her joints. She shook her shoulders as they walked out through the stone archway that stood at the entrance of Harmondale.

"There they are," Caber said quietly.

Bethgael unlimbered her bow.

It was a rip-roaring fight. Things were going very well, until the party noticed a fort in the middle of the area. There were a few soldiers from the Town Guard fighting the goblins in the area, but most of them were dead. Except one valiant fellow.

Caber squinted. "Hey, I think we know him."

Bethgael took a look. "Yeah…he seems vaguely familiar…"

"It's that Blackmane fellow," Bard said. "I wonder when he got here?"

"He's popping up in the oddest places," Spider commented. He raised his voice. "Hey, Blackmane, what are you doing here?"

"Fighting goblins," was the laconic reply. "Duh."

"You did sort of walk into that one," Caber said, ducking hastily as a goblin cutlass came flying at his head.

They reached the fort, killing the occupants quickly. There were no goblins to be seen, anywhere.

Then Bethgael noticed an interesting-looking little trap-door thingy in the centre of the fort. "Hey, I wonder what this is?"

Caber opened it. "Hmmm… treasure…."

"Uh guys," Bard tapped Bethgael on the shoulder. "We have company…"

Bethgael looked up and saw goblins coming at the fort from all four sides.

"Get to the guns!" Spider yelled.

They ran to the nearest cannon, which fired some lovely fireworks in a very deadly fashion. Goblins fell. Thickly. Bethgael could see them coming from the other side, so they ran to another gun and pressed the button.

Suddenly, everything went dark.


Bethgael moaned as she awoke: her head was splitting. A Healer was muttering incantations over a very still Bard. Her eyes focussed and she saw an anxious Caber hovering over her head.

"What happened?"

"The stupid gun exploded in our faces. It left Bard and Spider Mostly Dead and you unconscious. It was left to me to valiantly drag your carcases back here to get you fixed up. How are you feeling?"

"I could use a beer."

"You don't drink."

"Well, I could still use one. I'd give it to you." Bethgael smiled weakly. "Good job getting us out of there, Caber."
Caber shrugged. "I do my best."

The Healer came over to Bethgael and waved his hands over her head. Or something like that, she couldn't tell. Her head cleared instantly.

"Care to Donate to the Church?" the Healer asked.

"I think we've paid enough for your services right now," Caber muttered.

Bard and Spider joined them.

"You two are looking good for a pair who have been Mostly Dead all morning," Bethgael quipped, surreptitiously handing the Healer a few gold pieces. He bowed and walked away. "Creepy sort of fellow," she commented.

Spider rubbed the back of his neck. "I don't like being blown up much. Death is an – interesting – experience."

Bard shrugged. "I'm sort of getting used to it."

"Well, let's go and finish the job. The day's a-wasting," Caber said cheerfully.

They continued fighting goblins until dusk. Then they fought some more, as the full moon icily reared its head over the horizon. Then, just for fun, they kept killing goblins until they couldn't find any more. Behind a hill, and through a Canyon, past the White Cliff Caves, they saw a cottage.

"What's that?" Bethgael asked as she collected some arrows that had missed their marks.

"It looks like a Cottage," Bard said.

"I know that, Bard. I mean: I wonder who lives there?"

"Let's go knock on the door and find out."

So they did.

An elderly man answered the door dressed in a robe, rubbing his eyes and yawning. "Do you have any idea what time it is?" he asked them acerbically. "It's 1.30 in the morning, that's what it is."

Bard looked shamefaced. "So. I guess it's actually…"

Wednesday, 17 February, 1168

"Oh. We're sorry to bother you, sir," Bethgael said. "We were fighting goblins and lost track of time."

"We're the new Lords of Harmondale, you see," Caber said. "We thought we should introduce ourselves."

"Ah, I see," the old man said scratchily. "I'm Judge Grey. You can come to me at any time for advice, information, whatever. But for now, I really think you need to go and see the Dwarf King at Stone City and get your castle cleaned up. No-one is going to take you seriously if you live in a mess like that. Bye."

He shut the door.

"Thankyou for getting rid of the goblins around my house," Caber muttered. "Sure, no problem. Anytime. We enjoy it. Hmph."

"We'd better go and do what he says, I suppose," Bard said.

"Were those the White Cliff caves we saw on the way here?" Bethgael asked.

"I think so," Spider said.

"Let's go and see what happened to Darren Temper's brother, then, while we're here."

"Do you have any idea what time it is?" Spider asked.

"Yeah, 1.30," she replied. "Or a little later. I'm not that tired, for some reason. Must have been the healing today. Yesterday. whatever."

"C'mon. It'll be fun," Caber added.

"Once again, I am left to question your definition of the word 'fun'," Bard said.

Caber grinned wolfishly.

The caves were dark – probably something to be expected when you considered it was the middle of the night. Spider muttered an incantation and there was light.

"What the –" Bard had enough time to say before two lumbering, hard-shelled things came rushing at them. Unattractive and a sickly green, they unleashed their teeth as they attacked.

"Troglodytes," Bethgael grunted, swinging her axe. It bit, barely. "Tough-skinned suckers. They come in three types – "

"Give us the biology lesson later, will you?" Caber said.

"Sure thing."

They dispatched the troglodytes as they went through the caves, searching for any sign of Temper's brother Elron. Then they heard a sucking sort of squelching sound and saw troglodytes running away from something.

"That can't be good," Bard said.

Then a wet sort of oozy thing came at them. Caber swung his sword, but it just slid right through the – Ooze - without harming it. Bethgael noticed it etched the blade. Spider threw a lightning bolt at it, which made it pause, and they did the only heroic thing – they ran. The ooze couldn't keep up, fortunately. They snuck past a few more Oozes who were in the process of attacking Troglodytes and left them to it.

At the end of a cavern, there was a pile of bones and a deck of cards. Caber bent and picked it up.

"I suppose we need to go and tell Darren Temper his brother is dead," he said.


Back: to Episode Four
Next: to Episode Six - Hi – Ho, Hi – Ho, it's to Stone Town We Go

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