They quickly cut off the ears of the dead hobgoblins and gather their weapons and give them to Walt to carry out (it is all he is able to do in his condition).
Once outside the cave mouth they quietly close the door and keep dragging the bodies till they reach the first thicket of trees. They briefly discuss camping for the night to regather their strength but quickly decide that it would be too dangerous to camp so close to the caves and besides the hobgoblins were likely to mount a reprisal attack.
So Ibba, Hunulf and Goar begin again to drag out their unconscious party members. Over the next 6 hours they slowly make their way towards the keep. As they get closer Ibba runs forward to the village and gets some help. Robb and Jun, two local farmers, come out with a small cart and help to bring back the party.
Hunulf thanks them warmly and pays them 4 gold pieces, 1 gold pieces for each member that they bring back.
They seek and receive a room at the Salty Tusk where the rotund Eldred Hester is only too glad to see that the party has made it back. As they take their companions through the common room to access their private room upstairs they see Mallory and Ada, nursing their wounds by the fire and drowning their sorrows in ale.
Once upstairs, Goar, Hunulf and Ibba make their unconscious companions as comfortable as they can and try to tend to their wounds whilst Walt slumps in a chair, barely able to keep awake.
Ibba is the only party member not wounded but there are more than 6 party members wounded so Hunulf will work with him to attempt a heal check (ie DC of 15 -2 for an assist = 13) with the following results after a full 24 hours rest:
- Azazel, -4hp, 20 on heal check, 4pts back so now conscious on 0hp
- Goar, 1hp, 9 on heal check, 2pts back so now on 3hp
- Frideric, -9hp, 13 on heal check, 4pts back so now on -5hp
- Walt, 0hp, 5 on heal check, 2pts back so now on 2hp
- Harti, -11hp, 9 on heal check, 2pts back so now on -9hp
- Renard, -9hp, 19 on heal check, 4pts back so now on -5hp
The room is going to cost them 8 gold pieces a night (ie 1gp each for a private room and board). After discussing it with Ibba, Hunulf seeks out the Captain Garin of the Guard to collect the bounty for the dead hobgoblins.
He finds Garin drilling two of his men in swordsmanship.
Hunulf tells Garin that they went to the Caves yesterday and they had managed to kill 8 hobgoblins although they had lost one of their own. Garin is rocked back on his heals to hear that they had done so well.
A helpful and honest man he dutifully produces the 80 gold piece bounty and enquires, “Where you be stay’n lad? At The Salty Tusk? Is Eldred taking good care of ya?”
“Yes there are 8 of us all up. We’re pretty banged up though. Still half of us are unconscious”.
“We cannot be having that” replies Garin and with that he turns to the two men at arms and orders “Go to the Tusk and guard the door for these fellows till tomorrow morning. I want nothing ill to happen to them whilst they are under your care, do you hear”.
“Yes Captain” the two men reply as the walk off.
“Now Hunulf, you said that you also have some arms that you want to sell, go and see Fenton the blacksmith at The Iron Shoe, he’s a rude man but honest. He’ll take your goods from you.”
And indeed Fenton was found to be a very rude man and not open at all to any negotiations for higher prices. Hunulf sells him the four longswords and short bows that they had taken from the hobgoblins for ½ price and walks back to the Salty Tusk with 190 gold pieces total in his coin pouch.
The next day Azazel organises a ceremony to celebrate Odoin, who had fallen in pursuing the faith. The party erects a large bonfire and Frideric, the Chief Curate and Keeper of the Faith told the cannon of Frideric and how he had actively engaged 3 Hobgoblin monsters, placing the importance of the faith over his own self and how he would be remembered. A local stone mason, Nefen, is commissioned to build a small monument, 12 foot tall, twice as tall as the man but only ½ as tall as his piety and devotion, to mark the passing of Odoin.
It takes another 4 days of rest for the party to be fully healed up with a combination of members resting and Azazel healing them. During that time, they rest and reflect on the combat with the Hobgoblins. They also learn from the locals that there is a mad hermit in the north, that there is an eater of men that chases down the lost, there is more than one tribe of orcs in the caves and that there are lizardmen in the marches.
During this time Azazel reflects on his plans. The Hobgoblins are known to be fierce but disciplined warriors. Organised and coordinated. He wonders, just a little, if they are more allies than foes. Wild orcs. If he is to take this land he cannot have any chaotic orcs in it. Their lack of any type of organization and ability to abide by law was a complete anathema and they MUST be eradicated. He would seek them out as a priority and either completely subjugate them or destroy them. Over the past few days he had noted that Renard and Harti were organised and obeyed orders whilst Walt was simply too free spirited. It was a pity because Walt had proved to be good in combat but he needed followers who would get into line. Harti in particular seemed attuned to the faith. Azazel speaks to Harti more about Asmodeus, the need for order and why the faith is important. On the fourth day Harti converts and a private ceremony is held to commemorate the event. Harti is ordained into the order and is made the Master of Arms, taking that position from Odoin, who had fallen. Azazel also speaks more to Renard but Renard shows a lack of enthusiasm to become a true follower of Asmodeus and he does not convert.
House Rule #3: Conversion. To convert someone to your religion is a Diplomacy check with a modifier of +20. Modifiers of +5 for each axis of alignment away from the core religions alignment.
Initially travelling to the Caves on the first it was now the 6th day of the month. Azazel pays for the private room lodgings to Eldred Hester and the mercenaries their fees.
The next morning on the 7th Azazel rises and takes Hunulf with him to visit Fenton again. The rest of the party begin to pack their equipment, readying themselves to go to the Caves again.
They need to upgrade their equipment. With Harti now with them they had a bonefide trained warrior in their flock. They will honour his commitment to them with a commitment back to him. He would be their physical champion and a campion needs proper equipment. They procure a set of Scale Male armour from Fenton for Harti and they replace their four sets of Leather armour with Studded Leather.
Azazel wants to seek out the orcs. He discusses possible plans with the Faithful. They feel that they should go back to the caves and set up a defensive perimeter and then go from there, Hunulf should go and try to scout out where the orcs may be. Hunulf agrees. He is the lightest equipped and armed with javelins he is best able to scout.
So the party sets out:
1. Azazel their leader, Human Cleric Lvl 1, HP 10, AC 17 (Heavy Mace, Hide Armour, Large Wooden Shield)
2. Goar the Castellan, Human Lvl 1, HP 8, AC 15 (Short Spear, Studded Leather Armour, Large Wooden Shield)
3. Frideric the Curate and Keeper of the Faith, Human Lvl 1, Hp 8, AC 15 (Short Spear, Studded Leather Armour, Large Wooden Shield)
4. Ibba the Magistrate and Keeper of the Law, Human Lvl 1, Hp 8, AC 13 (Long Spear, 3 Javelins, Studded Leather Armour)
5. Hunulf the Treasurer and Keeper of the Coin, Human Lvl 1, Hp 8, AC 13 (Long Spear, 3 Javelins, Studded Leather Armour)
6. Harti the Master of Arms and Keeper of Discipline, Human Mercenary, Lvl 1, Hp 11, AC 17 (Short Spear, Scale Male Armour, Large Wooden Shield)
7. Renard, Mercenary, Human Mercenary Lvl 1, HP11, AC 14 (Short Spear, Leather Armour, Large Wooden Shield).
What could go wrong?