The gripping adventures in real estate will have to wait until another time, as our three heroes have elected to return to Breakharrow and investigate further what lies beneath...
"Should we close it?" Qova asked as the comrades stood in the small room and pondered the three doors. The right door still stood open after it was opened by Qova a couple of days ago. The left door leading to the goblin den was spiked shut by Hern before they had left, and the central door had no visible means of entrance.
"We can always open it again," Arbiddance replied, "so best to close it now while we go back in here."
Hern stepped forward and pulled the door shut; an odd click echoed.
"Okay," he said. "Let's search out the rest of those rooms."
They entered the goblin den and were greeted by the stench of the dead creatures piled in the corner. Qova pointed and said "that will have to go before I live in here."
"We can throw them in the room with the collapsed floor," Hern replied. "Which reminds me: we'll have to seal that door due to the well in there. Don't know where it leads, but anything could come up that way."
The room in which they stood had six doors: the entrance, the door leading to the hall of gargoyles, two doors on the left which Hern had investigated before with no results (one was empty and the other served as a trash room/latrine for the goblins), and two to the right. The opted for the left of those remaining two.
Hern checked that his friends were ready and pushed open the door.
A large L-shaped room was beyond. Goblin tracks cut through the dust. Hern stepped forward and looked around the bend. "Nothing," he said with a slight disappointed tone. "No doors, so nice and secure."
"No doors that you see," Arbiddance countered. "All of these rooms will have to be thoroughly searched for secret doors. We need to know about things like that."
They retired to try the other door. Beyond was a small, oddly shaped room... empty except for goblin tracks in the dust which seemed to lead to the opposite wall and stopped. The three looked at each other in amusement and examined the wall.
After a few minutes, Arbiddance exclaimed "Oh my goodness! There's a secret door here! Who would have ever imagined one of those in here!" He pressed a small loose stone, and a section of the wall hinged back on itself to reveal a room beyond.
Qova went to the door and shined her light inside. "Never underestimate the stupidity of a goblin," she smirked, and was quickly attacked.
The large creature struck from the darkness and easily bowled over the slight woman. Qova screamed and struggled to keep large jaws from reaching her throat, but it was obvious she wouldn't last long.
Hern, momentarily stunned, brought his sword down on the spine of the creature with little effect. The wolflike beast paid little attention as it tried to bite Qova's face off. It's bloody foul breath made her gag as she tried to squirm out from under her attacker.
Hern repositioned himself for a thrust into the side of the beast when he saw another emerge from the shadows. He followed through on his thrust and was satisfied with the creature's howl of pain. The wounded beast crawled off of Qova and staggered toward the fighter.
Arbiddance also saw the second beast emerge through the doorway. He drew his wand and began to point it toward the new target as the creature bolted forward. The wizard had just enough time to step aside and miss the attack. The second creature quickly turned to try again.
Qova rolled onto her knees, chanted a few words and pointed toward the beast. A brilliant sphere of light appeared over its face, and the beast staggered as it tried to adjust.
Hern warded off his opponent at swordpoint; he slowly backed up, hoping the creature would give him a good opening. It shivered and stalked toward the fighter, and Hern could see the life slowly draining out of its eyes.
Suddenly, it lunged foward in one final attack, its jaws sinking into Hern's abdomen despite the man's attempt at a parry. He held each end of his sword and brought it down on the creature's neck in one hard chop. A satisfying snap echoed as the beast's neck broke, and it fell limp to the floor.
The second creature thrashed its head from side to side, trying to free itself from the light that now blinded it. It also attempted to sniff out its prety, but was thwarted as Qova and Arbiddance spread out from their opponent at oblique angles. Arbiddance pointed his wand, mumbled "Gezzlethin" and watched the cone of ice leap out and envelope the beast. It writhed in the extreme cold unleashed on its hide, and as it stumbled, Qova snapped its neck with a strong blow from her mace.
Both turned to look at Hern, who was seated next to the wall and propped on his sword with one hand clutching his torn-open stomach. The fighter looked up at them, and quietly laughed.
Arbiddance eased into the secret room with light amulet in one hand and wand in the other. As he scanned the room and its contents, he grinned and moved further in to take stock.
Either the goblins had an extended range for their raids, or someone hasn't reported a lot of stuff stolen, he thought to himself. He looked around and counted no less than ten large boxes, perhaps half a dozen chests, a score of bolts of fine fabrics, and a small chest with a padlock on it. He felt Qova quietly come in behind him.
"That's... a lot of stuff," she said quietly.
"Yes it is."
"Do you have any more healing potions?" she whispered. "I used my last one on Hern, plus all the healing magic I have, and he's still not well. That worg came within a hair of killing him."
Arbiddance turned to face her. "Yeah, one more." He pulled it out of his side pouch and handed it over. "A lot of blood?"
"Right now, until he gets a little better, we don't dare move him too far... not even out on the road. One good sword thrust could take him out and... well, with patrols out..." she didn't finish the thought.
"Okay," the wizard replied. "The outside room here is defensible. Let's bring him in and let's just camp out here until things look up a little."
They assisted the fighter in moving into the interior room and put him on a comfortable bed made from the cloth found in the secret chamber. Hern joked that it was the finest bed he had ever slept on, and promptly went to sleep. Qova counted the hours until her morning prayers and closed the door on the dead worgs.