Hide poor bastards, we’re coming to get you!
Sorry about that, roleplaying a female drow cleric brings out the worst in me. Which means ‘sausage’ in Dutch. Right, better shut my mouth and continue the story…
Having servants is actually quite useful at times like these: two bugbears start cleaning and repairing their armor. The Xaniqos siblings make their way to the chapel, where the weaponmaster and – hurrah – Quarra are waiting. The name Quarra has been chosen wisely, ’cause the first daughter likes quarreling. A lot. As she is about to belittle the group again, Thandysha appears from behind the back of the altar, wearing ceremonial robes. And she is smiling! Seems Lolth had blessed the House of Xaniqos. As a reward the four will receive an emblem empowered with the might of the house, a brooch that will aid them. Quarra seems not pleased with this at all.
The Matron Mother grants them another day for finishing this quest and allows them to return to their rooms, but then Phaedra speaks up.
We don’t need the extra day Mother Thandysha, we want to prove worthy of the gifts you have given us.
Lilith, knowing that they are all hurt and could need a bit of rest after the vermin debacle, almost chokes with indignation. How dares she without consulting her first?! When she turns on her sister, Thandysha corrects them, telling her daughters they will not mouth, feel or show disagreement in her house. Then the Matron Mother grudgingly agrees with the scout’s proposition. Lilith orders the other three to be at the armory at midnight exactly.
After a couple of hours in their rooms, they meet again. Lilith pulls her sister aside and tells her to never pull a stunt like that again. Ever! If she has an idea, she first has to bring it to the cleric’s attention. No further discussion.
Meanwhile Alvra has gone to the temple in the city. He intimidates the bugbear guards who demand a tribute to the temple, until the guards move out of the way.
I only pay tribute to Lolth!
In the middle of the temple is a statue of a spider, and an altar with priests chanting. The drow fighter starts praying too. One of the priests nears and asks what his wishes are. He grants Alvra his request for healing.
In the armory, a couple of surprises await them. Apart from the magic brooch, there is a new shimmering piwafwi with a crossbow bolt on a black emblem on the back, another healing potion for each and a pouch with hundred gold pieces. There is also a map with markings where the two goblin tribes will be.
At midnight they head out into the Underdark again and leave the city behind. There is no illumination and it gets real quiet. After a two and a half hours walk, they reach one of the goblin settlements as shown on the map. The soon-to-be-slaves abide in openings in a big cave wall. They follow the route to the entrance of the huge cave, that is guarded by two goblins, who sit next to a campfire.
Let’s get this over with as soon as possible, so we can take this riffraff back to the mansion. Tell them to get their leader!
Alvra obeys Lilith without question and walks towards the guards. He comes within fifteen feet before they see him.
Call out your leader, my mistress wants to speak with him.
The goblins look up and see a drow warrior standing there. To emphasis his ‘request’, Alvra moves forward, intimidating the goblins. Both guards are shaken, but backup is coming: five more creatures are nearing. One of the guards attacks Alvra, but suddenly loses faith as the cleric impatiently comes closer. He drops his weapon and runs back. Meanwhile more heads are popping out of the cave openings. The remaining goblin finally runs to get their leader. The four drow are waiting.
Soon Snarl, who is bigger than the rest, walks towards the drow, safe in the middle of the other goblins of the Bonegnasher Tribe. The drow fighter tells them all to surrender, lay down their weapons and come quietly towards the big city. Snarls answers that there is going to be doom upon their heads if they insist. He has a pact with all drow of the big city! Yet he orders his tribesmen to bring the weapons forward, which quickly are wrapped up in a blanket. The smirk on his face is very suspicious but when pressed, he just sticks to his story: they can not take them because of some pact. Finally Alvra shrugs and orders the goblins into a line: the thirty goblin warriors in the front and the females and young in the back.
The group makes its way to the city, while the goblins keep looking back, waiting and listening. Suddenly the drow hear the howling of wargs… and they are getting closer. ‘Doggies!’, the leader says, and the smirk becomes more apparent.
Wargs are often used by goblins as mounts. They are highly intelligent and evil and can hide like the best. The wolves can communicate with the goblins, and some even speak Undercommon.
The group is still hours away from the city. The cleric, who does not speak Goblin, tells Alvra to give Snarl the command to send the wargs away or finish them off when they come closer, but the leader refuses, even when they threaten AND kill a female goblin. The only thing they can do is hurry onward. They march for hours. Howling is all around them now.
Suddenly there is screaming among the females: two wargs have stealthily entered the group. When Phaedra spots the monsters, Jharrath casts a wall of smoke. The two beasts appear on the other side of the smoke, nauseated and sick. In a combined attack and aided by a conjured elemental, the drow manage to kill them. Snarl suddenly looks less sure of himself. After the fight, Lilith and Alvra go back to the head of the line, while Jharrath and Phaedra stay near the back.
Then they step out of the tunnels and see Erelhei-Cinlu in the far distance. The howling intensifies as they enter the big cavern, several shapes closing in from behind. The wizard casts dancing lights to form the message:
Priestess demands assistance!
after which they force-march forward again. Five of the beasts are catching up. The fighter and wizard both cast darkness behind the group, as they run for the city. In response to the scout’s message, a group of drow races towards them from Erelhei-Cinlu. Two wargs attack the flanks and the three drow stop, make a lightning attack and then run on, while Alvra herds the group of goblins at maximum speed. The wizard, feeling the hot breath of a warg on his heels, grabs a goblin and throws it behind him. With a scream the creature disappears underneath the frenzied wolf. The city group is closing in fast, but not fast enough.
The warg attacks Jharrath again and manages to trip the drow. When Lilith sees this, she casts a spell of doom at the beast, which makes it back off, so the wizard can get up and speed on. All the wargs are attacking now and Alvra keeps prodding the goblins to make them run faster and keep them together. With crossbow bolts, spells of darkness and faerie fire they try to keep the wargs off their backs. The wizard again is attacked by the evil canine beast and this time Jharrath goes down, heavily wounded and unconscious. Luckily the city drow are very close now, and they start firing bolts at the wargs. What was a chase, now changes into a full retreat. They have made it!
The rescuing party is led by Solaufein, who tells them that the Matron Mother summons them home. The cleric heals Jharrath so he will survive and then the large procession continues to the city: they have managed to bring in eighty to ninety new goblins slaves, the former leader resigned to his fate. Thandysha is waiting for them at the chapel. She clearly is pleased and the siblings get the feeling that the whole thing has just been a test and both them and the goblins unwilling dupes of the scheming Matron Mother. Because they have passed this test of loyalty, the second quest is on hold for now. But more difficult tasks will be waiting for them in the immediate future. The siblings each receive 750 gold pieces, free to spend as they like, and are dismissed for the next couple of days…