3 Illumination 508
The party has taken the southeast tower of the fortress, having snuck in invisibly through the courtyard and fighting their way to the top of the tower. Now they debate what to do next as they lay low on the crenelated roof of the tower. Most of the party want to go back below, while Rhain wants to take a go at the Hobgoblins on the southwest tower.
The party apparently takes too much time debating as a hob from the southwest tower starts coming over, having spotted something amiss on their tower. He comes ambling down the catwalk toward the southeast tower while the party quietly tries to take up hiding positions behind the crenellations. As the hobgoblin guard comes up onto the tower’s roof, he’s ambushed by the party—they make short work of the beast.
Meanwhile, the ruckus has alerted the other hobgoblin who was with him on the southwest tower. That hob starts heading down the stairs into the tower. Rhain bolts down the catwalk to catch up while Regna follows more slowly. Tag and Lenoria check out the body of the fallen hobgoblin guard.
Rhain manages to catch up with the guard down in the south wing of the fortress. He attacks as Regna catches up. Soon, they take out the guard, who is considerably tougher than his companion. The rest of the party catch up soon after and they gather in the south wing.
From there, the party decides to try and take out more of the tower guards before moving on to the dungeon area indicated on their map. They don’t want the tower guards to get alerted and be waiting for them when they come out. They decided to sneak across the open atrium toward the northeast tower. They then opt to sneak across the open courtyard to the tower itself. Tag goes first.
When he gets inside the tower, he finds that there is not a way into the north wing from the tower, like there were in the southern towers in regard to the south wing. He also manages to alert a guard up in the tower, who calls down in the guttural tongue of the goblins at Tag. Tag manages to grunt convincingly and placates the guard up above, apparently satisfying the hobgoblin’s curiosity.
Meanwhile, the others sneak across the courtyard to the northeast tower to join the halfling. As Lenoria makes her way across, the guard from the tower shouts down at Tag—apparently thinking he’s going to do something about what he saw. Rhain sprints up the stairs and meets the hobgoblin up top, tripping him so that he can get into a flanking position as Regna follows up behind him. The two manage to slay the hobgoblin.
When Lenoria catches up, she uses her goddess-blessed powers to heal Rhain and Tag from their wounds of the previous battles. Regna examines the stones at the bottom of the tower, adjacent to the north wing, and says she thinks they could be loose enough to wiggle out and access that wing without going through the front door. Tag starts wiggling the stones quietly. As he clears out a few of the stones, some light from the tower falls into the wing and sheds light on about twenty-eight sleeping hobgoblins, all lined up on pallets on the floor in the room. Momentarily panicked, Tag starts quickly putting the stones back in the wall, saying “We don’t want to go in there.”
They change their plan. They head back up to the top of the northeast tower and then Rhain runs across the catwalk to the two guards on the northwest tower. The hobgoblins notice the barbarian running toward them and come out to meet him at the entry to the tower. He overruns the hobgoblins and sets Regna up to flank them. Lenoria casts spiritual weapon to attack one of the hobgoblins. After a brief battle, the final guard falls after an attack by Lenoria’s spiritual weapon.
The party loots these bodies, allows Lenoria to cast healing on them, and then decide to walk down the catwalk toward the now-empty southeast tower. They head down and cross the open atrium and Tag goes forward to check what are marked as conference rooms on the map.
He hears two forms snoring in one room, nothing in the middle room, and a single form snoring in the third room. They decide to leave the sleeping hobgoblins be for now and head to the kitchens. There they see the cook and his assistant asleep on the floor. They then check the dining hall, finding it devoid of hobgoblins but filled with dirt, dust, and debris. They head back through the dining room to the kitchens and Tag and Rhain deliver a coup de grace to the cooks, slaying them in their sleep.
Tag checks the library door and hears murmured chanting coming from there. Whoever it is, he’s awake and may be a spellcaster. Lenoria disguises herself with props from the various slain hobs and with magic as a hobgoblin and attempts to throw whoever is in the room off guard while Rhain enters invisibly to attack him with bull strength on. The plan is a success—they make short work of the hobgoblin spellcaster and loot his body.
They return to the conference rooms, allowing Tag to stealthily open the door while Rhain enters and delivers a coup de grace to the sleeping hobgoblin. The ruckus apparently disturbed someone they hadn’t heard in the middle room, because a the door opens. Tag is watching the door for just such an eventuality and throws a flask of alchemical fire into the doorway. A large hobgoblin wielding twin sickles emerges and starts attacking with gusto, despite the flames from the fire. After a short melee, Rhain manages to finish him off. Tag once again stealthily opens the final conference room door and Rhain goes in to coup de grace the two sleeping hobgoblins. They loot all of the bodies and create a stash in the east wing of the fortress.
They then head to the door marked on the map as the dungeon entrance. They open the door to reveal a steel grate that overlooks a set of handholds bolted to the wall of the shaft heading down. Lenoria casts light on Tag’s mace and they open the grate and start climbing down, Tag leading the way, followed by Rhain, then Regna, and finally Lenoria, who shuts the door behind her.
The shaft leads down into a small narrow stone corridor. The walls are damp and the air is musty. There’s only way to go so Tag starts heading down the corridor. There are small sets of stairs taking the corridor down as they go. They also spot a narrow alcove, about the size to house a man-sized person, cut into the wall. They figure that it’s meant to house a guard should the need arise. Tag checks the alcove, but finds nothing amiss.
As the corridor circles around they see that the corridor continues on, that there’s another alcove to the side, and diagonally across from the alcove is a shut door. Tag checks the alcove for any secret doors or compartments, but finds none. Tag then opens the door to find five hobgoblin guards—four seated around a table and one standing.
The guards start running toward the door and are met by a bottleneck from Rhain and Regna. Two of the hobs are dispatched when a third comes forward and slams the door shut. Rhain attempts to open the door, but can feel the hobgoblin pushing it back. Finally, the hobgoblin is overwhelmed by Rhain’s strength and moves back, allowing the door to open. The party rushes in and dispatches the remaining hobgoblins. Rhain mutilates the bodies after their looted and Lenoria applies more mystical healing as the party looks around to assess their new surroundings and to wonder what the guards were doing down here.