5. Chamber of Eyes continued – 10th April 2015
The battle continued, Orag stepping into Titan’s position, surrounding himself with hobgoblins. It didn’t initially start well, for when trying to intimidate one of them he instead caught sight of himself in the reflection of his axe. The sight of such a fearsome visage seems to have overwhelmed him, and instead of affecting the hobgoblin, he did indeed intimidate himself. One can only wonder at such an action. Indeed, your scribe was astounded that such a thing was even possible.
Despite this initial setback, the battle did indeed improve. Ayanna managed to regain enough health to continue to fight, while the slavers started to run away. The group seemed to take heart from the fleeing opponents and seemed set on continuing to deny them exit. Corvar’s dire wolf ran after the hobgoblins and in a swift motion, directed by Corvar’s shout, blocked the exit. However, despite the fact that they now had nowhere to run, they continued to flee further into the building, all cohesion amongst them seeming to have dissipated.
I watched with interest as both groups split up, one side chasing down the hobgoblins, while the hobgoblins themselves merely continued to attempt to flee until they were attacked. In the past, such situations would have brought our group low, for their strength has always been in their aiding each other, however now it seemed they each were holding their own independently.
One goblin did attempt to free the captives, however so unconvincing he was that neither of them would even let the goblin close to their chains. In frustration shortly thereafter, the goblin attempted to hit Corvar, and instead of wounding or killing the Kenku, the arrow ricochets off one of the nearby chains and doubled back on itself, lodging itself in the goblin’s eye socket, killing him outright. If the captives had had any lingering hope for freedom outwith the directions of the group, I expect it was wiped out with the unhappy corpse of the goblin at their feet.
As Orag continued to chase down the hobgoblins, I was reminded of his athletic feats in the goblin caves on the way to the temple of Pelor where he had nimbly vaulted over traps and to a tiny ledge not once, but twice. Here again, with such skill as to be almost breathtaking, the goliath who had only recently managed to intimidate himself to a standstill, now leaped from wall to wall in the corridor, up and over a hobgoblin who had a higher and better position, and landed a fine blow. Such a thing of grace it was, that the hobgoblins seemed astounded and fell quickly to his axe while another fled into the blades of Ayanna who, despite her bloodied state managed to fell the opponent that must have been at least double her size.
The Chamber of Eyes now silent but for the uneasy shifting of the two captives, the group went about systematically looting the corpses and searching the place for any additional treasure as well as any lingering evidence of where the slaves might have been taken. The main treasure chest was locked quite well, as Corvar found out when he had tried numerous times to open it out of sight from the others, but eventually everything was collected. There was a letter alone that spoke of the slaves, showing an order sheet but no record of where they had been delivered to.
So it was that the group turned its attention to the captives, who by this point were in terrible fear for their lives. It was an unpleasant conversation, though the group did not touch the two, both ended up sobbing in abject fear for their lives. It seems that the slaves were picked up by some Duregar, as they tended to do but once a month. Neither of the would-be slavers knew who was ordering them nor where they had been taken, and nothing more could be got from them. In a gesture far more befitting heroes than had been previously done to surrendered captives, the group let the two go. One was so thankful for the retention of his life that he gave up the location of a stash of goods half way back to the Seven-Pillared Hall.
Alone once more, Ayanna went to the calming room with the water to rest up, with Orag standing guard. Meanwhile Corvar went about the grizzly business of dealing with his wolf who was, by all accounts, in great need for food.
Living with the slavers had not been good to the dire wolf, and its body was a mess of old and new scars, as well as vastly undernourished. It was with brutal efficiency that the kenku helped divest some of the fallen hobgoblins of their armour, and twenty minutes later they were ready to set off, the Chamber of Eyes holding far fewer full fleshed corpses than before.
They did stop off at the small treasure cache, and found it to have been surrounded by a pack of hyenas. However the sight of the well armoured group along with the dire wolf proved to be too much of a gamble for them, and they fled before a shot was even fired.
Thus fortified with more treasure after a successful clearing of the Chamber of Eyes, the group returned to the Seven-Pillared Hall.
Returning to the Seven-Pillared Hall
The Hall seemed busier than when they left it, with far more people clustered around the rituals at the base of the minotaur statue. It was with a greater amount of wariness that the residents viewed our group upon their return, due mostly to the fact that a huge dire wolf traveled with them. The people here knew well the reputation of such animals and were rightfully worried.
Upon seeing the looks, Corvar seemed to grasp the difficulty in living in such a town, for while the dire wolf was indeed extremely useful when out hunting, it did not make for easy relationships with those in an area of greater civilization. Worried that trying to talk to people, or indeed even listen unheeded in a taven was going to be made far more difficult with the dire wolf around, he went to speak to Rendil about leaving the dire wolf in their room. Unfortunately the halfling was just as wary of his newest pet than everyone else was, something that showed in the fact that he would only allow him to have the dire wolf in the tavern when they were in their room for sleep, nowhere else. He worried, and rightfully so, that the presence of such a beast would only make the customers uneasy, and indeed perhaps even unwilling to enter their establishment. He does intimate that perhaps Bersk the Wainwright might have a place in his stables for such a creature, where he might be left safely.
So it was that Corvar met up with the group headed up to the northwestern corner of the Hall to speak with a rather large and muscular man whose job it was to build and repair wagons. It seemed to that the man, although skilled in the art of wagons, was not what you might call sharp of eye, for when Corvar opened discussions on the stabling of his pet, the Wainwright seemed to think it a rather large and hairy horse. After some negotiation, Bersk agreed to stable and feed the dire wolf when it was needed for the duration of time he was stationed in the Seven-Pillared Hall, and for only 10 gold pieces. Corvar thought this a great deal, and agreed, borrowing 5 gold from Ayanna to pay the difference until they sold the loot and the coin was distributed.
Thus with the diplomatic problem dealt with, the group headed back to Rendil at the Halfmoon Inn to ask more about possible locations for Duregar places of operation in the Labyrinth. They had, after all, remembered him mentioning the trading post that the Duregar kept in the Hall and figured he might know more if asked. Rendil was most glad to see Ayanna, whom he had had a close bond with from his rescue from the Bloodreavers, but it was with shock and sadness that he learned of her memory loss during their last outing. He spoke with her consolingly, comforting her in her befuddlement and it was clear that although she didn’t remember him, she was none-the-less comforted by his words. Clearly worried for her safety, he spent some time with her outside, showing her some tricks to aid in her future survival in the labyrinth and she seemed in much better spirits afterwards.
Upon their return to the Inn, Corvar inquired if Rendil might have more information on where the local Duregar might have taken or kept slaves, after they had found their involvement in the Bloodreaver’s lair as buyers. Unfortunately Rendil didn’t have much more information on them than he had already offered, though did mention that the trading post was very well guarded. He did think they had a stronghold somewhere in the Labyrinth, but didn’t know where it might be, although did give the group a map of the Labyrinth that would likely help them navigate it on their search.
Upon seeing the sleeping form of an ogre across the room, Corvar asked about this presence. Apparently the great giant of a man was one of the enforcers of the Mages of Saruun and Rendil thought it best to leave the ogre well alone. The group had no other chance to ask questions, for when speaking of the mages, Rendil had spat on the floor in what might be a show of contempt or disgust, however his mother was not taken with such an action and her shrill voice called the group’s halfling friend away to more fully reprimand him.
Corvar stayed in the inn a while longer with the group, doing what it seems was the norm for him; listening. There were mutters of discontent about obligatory donations or tithes they had to give to the Temple of Hidden Light, comments on the poor state of Ulthand who had appeared not to have eaten since the disappearance of his boar, and general fear over the mages of Saruun, likely helped by the presence of the sleeping enforcer, but nothing more of note.
The Deepgem Company
Concerned that the potential income-generating quest to find the boar might be for nothing if Ulthand died prematurely from lack of sustenance, the group went to the Deepgem company within the Seven-Pillared Hall, where Ulthand was said to work.
When they saw the man, he was indeed looking worse for wear, but despite seeming entirely uninterested in things around him when they entered, even discontent at being disturbed, he quickly became engaged with the conversation when the group told him they might be looking into finding his pet boar (whom they found out was named The Mighty Bobby) since they were going to be hunting in the Labyrinth anyway.
Unfortunately there was little that he could tell them about the possible location of the Duregar, though he did mention that he thought that it might be gnolls that currently held the boar, rather than Duregar, although he didn’t know where such a place might be.
Still concerned for the state of the man, Ayanna tried to entice him to take better care of himself while they were seeking the boar, however he didn’t take it well and promptly threw them out. The dwarf in the store front gave them a long-suffering shrug at the behaviour, though did mention that as a cleric of Moradin Ulfhand would not die of hunger, merely lose some of his health.
Information in hand, and reassured that Ulfhand wasn’t about to die on them, they made their way to the last port-of-call for information, the one who would undoubtedly have it, and yet there might be a price to be paid. Gendar.
Gendar’s Curios and Relics
Gendar was much as he had been the last time they had encountered him, very much a savvy businessman. Despite their worry over what he might charge for the information, it turned out that he was happy to tell them that the Duregar hired gnolls, and told the group that the strongold was along the Road of Shadows in The Horned Hold, marking the location on their map. It seemed that the Duregar held court there.The group were indeed surprised, much as I was, that this information had been given freely and without price, until Gendar mentioned the fact that while he usually sold such information, it was in his own best interests to direct the group there, since the item he was wishing them to find for him was located there anyway.
He did mention other information he might sell to them, however they decided that, for the moment, they would forgo that for now. After haggling with Corvar over some potatoes he had picked up in the Chamber of Eyes, the group left, heading back to the Halfmoon in to sleep and rest before whatever the next day would bring.