The Seven Snakes beat up our heroes pretty good, so they took some time to rest, besides, it was still dark out. They were about to head out to look into the caves when a war band of Orcs came crashing out of the Ardeep Forest.
The group wasn’t particularly well prepared to deal with an assault of orcs, but quickly took the bandits’ crossbows and took up positions around town. The orcs split up, about half went east around town, half went west.
After a brief battle of arrows and thrown javelins near the town gates, the western orcs eventually found their way to the breach in the wall, and the party went to meet them. This turned out to be problem: while the orcs were a stout foe at range, in melee, they’re truly nasty.
Kanut had positioned one of the bandits’ horses at the main gate, and was at the breach quite quickly. The horse acquitted itself well in the fight, as well— perhaps better than the humanoids did.
Fortunately for the party, they orcs were pursued out of the forest by a band of elves. The group and the remaining Nightstone guards delayed the flight of the orcs enough that the elves caught up, and from there, the slaughter began. The hatred between the orcs and the elves is legendary, and it was on full display here.
The leader of the elves, Rond Arrowhome, worried for the fate of the agreement with the town that kept the people of the town from entering the forest, as the Nandars that signed it were dead. Kessa helped smooth things over, and the party negotiated a document that would allow them passage through the forest if need be.
This further delayed their trip to the caves to search out the town’s inhabitants.
Hedge left the group to head out to warn the Emerald Enclave of the possibility of further giant incursions and the bold play the Zhentarim had made in sending the Seven Snakes to Nightstone. The rest of the group headed north toward the caves.
While the group licked their wounds, a warrior who had learned that Lady Nandar had put a bounty on some goblins approached Nightstone. She could tell the town was mostly deserted and smashed by boulders, and when she approached, she saw the footprints of the townspeople heading north.
Interested in helping those who cannot help themselves, Tijala followed those tracks north. The tracks led to a cave on the south face of a rocky hill topped by pine trees.
She took two steps into the cave and then froze in her tracks. There was just enough light to see the shadowy outline of the upper part of an ogre in a mud bath. The ogre called out something in a booming voice, and she thought she’d been noticed until a response came back— a shrill voice, just as booming. Even not knowing ogre, she was pretty sure she recognized a nagging voice. As the argument broke out, she backed out of the cave.
As she were looking in the pines to find makings for a decent torch, a small group of goblin scouts left the cave. They were no match for Tijala and her greatsword.. One, who died a little more slowly than the rest, thought she was interrogating him “Lock for hark!” were his last words, though she was not sure what was lost in translation since his Common was miserable.
She were just about to set fire to a stout branch covered in pine tar when she heard voices coming up the path from the town. She found a quick place to hide, surprisingly able to do so even wearing shiny, heavy armor. The party found the same thing Tijala did, and were about to charge in behind some stones with light cast on them when Tijala greeted them.
In the cave, the ogres presented small challenge to the band. The goblins weren’t done dying yet when the group found Morak Ur’gray, the dwarven inkeep from the town, who’d assumed the role of spokesman for the refugees, most of which were still alive. On the other side of the cave, Hark, the goblin boss, led a new charge into battle. His spearhead met with Kanut, who found the boss quite slippery and tough to take down as long as he had some of his underlings to hide behind.
Once the goblins were mostly beaten. the group found one of Lady Nandar’s handmaidens who was about to become Hark’s feast, and saved her from becoming dinner like one other townsperson had.
They found Boss Hark’s treasure chest, and when Gilraen attempted to open it, the lock on it just fell off; it was completely rusted out.