Malcolmsfort #10 – Roast Bugbear

Huddling in cool, rancid crypt, they were woken by shouts approaching the cemetery. Novak dismissed the cowardly hobgoblins suddenly screwing up the courage to assault the former ghoul homes. He cracked the door and spotted three familiar forms jogging between the stones, calling “Novak! Domestaet!” It was the three companions they left as they fled the hobgoblins hours before.

Between hard breaths, the little elf and the half-elf tried to explain their escape from a hobgoblin prison inside the monastery. They’d woken in a small room, barely recovered from their wounds. Nearby, Irving screamed under the whip of a torturing goblin. Various implements of torture, an iron maiden, boiling oil, were seen through bars. Shandor began an annoying series of questions, prompting the goblins to accelerate the schedule of torture.

Unfortunately for the goblins, the moment they opened the cell, the little elf threw his voice, spinning the goblins who then experienced a ferocious attack from behind. Presently, they were overcome. The elves freed the human and made their way out via a staircase.

Together again, the group rested until dawn when they agreed to immediately return to the hobgoblin base in the name of vengeance and surprise. Irving they left at the crypt, his wounds requiring more healing. The rest made their way back through the hole in the wall and into the side door and to the magic fountain.

The barracks where they’d battled hobgoblins previously was empty, but Novak spotted a hobgoblin in the hallway nearby. “Who goes there?” barked the hobgoblin. Drawing on his diminutive intellect, Novak threw back an intimidating, “your momma!” The enemy called out an alarm and attempted an escape. Novak skewered him from behind with his trident.

Suddenly, an ogre burst through the door, jabbed a massive spear and tumbled onto his belly. Novak stabbed downward, deeply cutting the ogre. The next moment, he stepped back into the corridor beside his hired man, Bolcox. Another ogre emerged and the two stepped up to trade blows with the two fighter.

The poor beasts felt the fall of many blows as the elf thief and the cleric flanked them from the south. The ranger fumbled with his borrowed shortbow, spilling arrows over the stone floor. Regardless, the ogres were quickly cut down by overwhelming force.

They dragged the hulking bodies into the adjoining room and pulled a ring of keys plus a few coins from the corpses. Novak scooped a pile of coins from the table into a sack. The keys opened a padlock that released a bar over a door. Inside were impossible beastmen of mixed body parts, dim of wit but admiring of their rescuer, Novak. They lavished praise on the stout trident bearer with whom they felt some kind of bond. They gave thanks and made an escape.

Down another corridor, they found a grotesque, black statue sitting before a ashen pit. Novak lit a blaze of oil to possible call forth demonic powers. The statue’s empty eye sockets stared with empty death, but a ring glowed red amongst the ashes. Novak snatched it up, noticed its cool temperature and slipped it on his finger. A ring of fire resistance, he thought.

Next, they descended stairs to find the jail that previously held their comrades. At first, they found an empty cell and then a room with three bugbears. Though woken when Novak burst into their room, the bugbears as suddenly fell back to sleep under the spell of the elf. Into each temple, Novak plunged a dagger.

From the next room they opened, they liberated a adventuring rogue to which they restored gear found in a trunk moments before. This thief called himself Cullen, and he agreed to join in the fun of killing all evil hobgoblins.

Heat and smoke from a forge rolled around a corner. Cullen stepped silently and stabbed a hobgoblin from behind. Novak rushed at a bugbear who matched his own height and girth. Around the bugbear’s lousy torso, Novak wrapped his arms, stepped a few feet and tumbled the monster directly into the forge. Finger of fire danced around the prone monster, singing fur.

Arrows flew and swords clanged together. The bugbear rolled around on hot coals, burning. A hobgoblin swung an Novak who promptly grabbed ahold of his breastplate and tossed him into the fire to join the bugbear. Bolcox waded into the fight but a cruel blow from a hobgoblin nearly severed his leg at the thigh, producing a loud crack.

A dwarven armor master chained to the floor broke the back of a hobgoblin with a hammer. Novak pushed another hobgoblin in the fire as the bugbear burned to death. Before long, all enemies were dead. The ones not killed by fire were soon set on the hot coals as well.

Now free, the dwarf agreed to join in their path of revenge on the vile monster of this dungeon. Due to the sorry state of Bolcox, they returned to the cell that held Cullen the thief. There they placed the unconscious henchman and left the little elf to nurse him and guard over him. The cell door being intact, they locked it in hope of no discovery with plans to return in hours or at most days. Food and drink they found in a storeroom above supplied the two hidden team members.

The day of terror had only begun, and they vowed to press on.

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