Cast of Characters:
Rungalor – A rough and tumble Barbarian Minotaur from parts unknown ...
Rollo Rutterkin – A Halfling Thief and long time companion of Rungalor.
Kirok – An Uthgardt Barbarian Shaman on a visionquest, serving as our guide.
Gizig – A Silver Dragonborn Warrior with official connections to Neverwinter's militia.
Hanzo – A Kozokuran Swordsman who journeyed to Neverwinter with Adrix of Highmoon.
Arcandius – A Thayvian Wizard who escaped his homeland with a mysterious tome of power.
Adrix – The Wandering Sage and Chronicler of this tale who brought this ragtag group of misfits together. He has traveled extensively as a Bardic Storyteller throughout The Realms, including The Unapproachable East, and is seeking to know more about The North.
The Storm Caller – A Calishite Gensia, powerful in the ways of Elemental Sorcery.
2nd of Mirtul, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning
We entered the North side of the keep where the ruins made a hole in the fortress wall. Deciding to leave no closed door behind us, we slipped into the door to our left and found ourselves in a dimly lit alcove with another door dead ahead. Rollo listened at this door and heard two voices; a deep, guttural voice speaking a tongue he was not familiar with and a silky, feminine voice speaking the same language. He silently picked the lock and rolled out of the way as Kirok kicked in the door and tumbled inward in a defensive stance.
The older looking Hobgoblin and his Drow bitch companion casually glanced in our direction, as they apparently expected us. The Hobgoblin spoke a command word and his pet Wolf attack Kirok, gnawing and thrashing him as it knocked him backwards. Rungalor the Minotaur slashed wildly at the Hobgoblin, but failed to meet sword to flesh.“Dhaerowathil!” exclaimed Azun as he launched an arrow at the Drow. As the missile struck her, she tersely grinned and drew an ichor dripping dagger from the elaborate sheath at her belt. Hanzo leaped to meet her as she headed for an unconscious dwarf lying across the room. It was Gunden and he was horribly beaten, shaved, and utterly defiled by his Goblinkind hosts.
The Hobgoblin brought down his maul on the raging Minotaur and set him back on his hooves. I drew my own sword and assailed the Hobgoblin King, but my attack was rebuffed, such was the might of this opponent.
Meanwhile, outside the room; Gizig was simply too large to fit through the door quickly and remained in the alcove. Rollo, with his keen roguish instincts, spotted another hobgoblin coming up the hallway from the south. He signaled to the Dragonborn and Gizig readied himself for combat. As Gizig prepared his attack, Rollo moved into position for a sneak attack. Rollo plunged his dagger deep into the back of the attacking Hobgoblin, who only noticed the great Dragonborn warrior. Gizig then bellowed forth a gout of frost which enveloped the assailant and nearly engulfed the tiny halfling as well, were it not for his quick reflexes.
Spell-called lightening and fire filled the air and struck the Hobgoblin King. His smoldering hulk reeled at the arcane discharge. I had ducked under the volley of magic and took aim at the wolf Kirok was having trouble with. Together, we slew the vile beast.
Hanzo had drawn blood on the Drow, but try as she might, her venomous blade failed to sting the skilled Kensai. With another arrow shot from the door by Azun and another deep biting cut from Hanzo's razor sharp sword, the Drow succumbed to the bleeding specter of death. As she fell to the floor, her skin shimmered and churned, revealing a bluish hued flesh with transparent skin. Her silvery locks vanished and what remained was not a Drow at all.
“Doppleganger ...” Arcandius informed us, as the Hobgoblin King struck to his own death.
“Rare to see one in it's natural form,” Arcandius continued. “It's well that it's dead. It could have killed one of our members and taken his place. We'd be murdered in our sleep ...”
There were too many questions and no apparent answers; I hurried over to Gunden in the hope that my Art could revive him. He was in bad shape, and although I could revive him to consciousness, I could not mend his hobbled legs.
“My map ...” Gunden said wearily. “They were discussing my map … where is it?
“Here,” said the sly Halfling, pulling it from it's hidden place on the dead King.
“We … must get to Phandalin … the mine ...” he Dwarf trailed off, too weak to continue his words. I carried the broken Dwarf out of the room as we left. Arcandius had decided that we should clear the Keep of it's Goblikind infestation before leaving, even though we had got what we came for. We needed rest but he could not be swayed. I fear we may not see the morning sky, Lathander bless us, again ...