Hasty exploration revealed the wolves to be in the next chamber, tethered to a petrified tree trunk. The group loosed arrows at the bound creatures, wounding one badly. Unfortunately, the enraged wargs burst their fetters and charged the group and a vicious melee ensued. Roger’s faithful hound was slain by two of the wolves in the process. After slaying several of the creatures, goblins popped out of a semi-concealed passage and fired arrows at the party. Pavel froze several in their tracks with a Hold Person spell and Martin, his spells almost exhausted, created the illusion of a berserk giant to instill terror in their foes. The last few wolves broke and ran for the bridge, but not before Fyodor felled one as it ran from him. Gregor had a few tense moments trying to calm the horses as the wargs ran past into the forest, but they were looking for escape, not a meal.
The party decided to move the horses into the compound. This proved easier said than done, as the bridge was uneven and slippery. One horse fell into the river and was wounded by the piranha, but managed to clamber out on the far shore (But not before Fyodor put a premature “mercy killing” arrow into its flank!). Another of the mounts fell and broke its neck. It was quickly consumed by the fish. The rest of the steeds (and the pack mule) made it across without incident. Fyodor barred the doorway the goblins had come from and Roger rigged a trip-line alarm with scraps of metal from the dead goblins’ gear. The group decided the ramshackle shelter of the goblins’ warren was preferable to trying to rest outside in the howling storm. Pavel and Martin tried to sleep while the others kept a watch.
It was less than hour later that Roger’s alarm was triggered and several goblins rushed into the room. Fyodor, Roger, and Cromartie fended them off and Pavel, despite having removed his plate armor to rest, charged in to help. One of the goblins managed to fall back past the doorway and slam it shut, but Fyodor’s blood was up and he kicked it open and charge in.
Beyond was an oblong chamber with two other doors. The fleeing goblin was just opening one when Fyodor caught up with him and cut him down. The party regrouped and decided that trying to rest with the remainder of the compound uncleared was a losing proposition. Fyodor shoved open the door as Cromartie and Roger readied their bows.
Inside was a long chamber lit by coal braziers. Furs hung on the walls and several goblins stood facing them. A larger goblin in scraps of metal armor sat on a makeshift throne at the far end and screeched an order at his subjects to attack.
The party’s arrows felled two goblins almost instantly, but the rest pressed in and blocked the doorway. Fyodor and Pavel had their hands full pressing through to the throne room. Martin, lacking any spells, did his best with his darts, even felling one of the creatures. Cromartie was forced to switch to blade work, using the late Allele’s enchanted great sword. Pavel charged into the room after the goblin on the throne, but the leader could see the fight was going against his minions. He ducked behind the throne as Pavel attempted to fire sling stones at him. Then the goblin ran for one wall and ducked behind a hanging pelt. Roger literally leapt over his diminutive foes and won into the room. He managed to hit the fleeing goblin leader with an arrow through the furs, but the goblin pulled loose. Pavel gave chase, seeing that the furs hid a door on the wall; the cleric grabbed a brazier by its stand as a light source.
Beyond the furs was an empty room with two other doors. The goblin had stopped partway between them, as if undecided as to which way to go. A moment later, Roger came through the door to Pavel’s aid. He charged the goblin with a flying tackle, knocking him to the ground.
Meanwhile, Cromartie had finished off his foes, with some help from Martin, and moved into the throne room. Fyodor was fighting three goblins at once when –as he struck one down– he left himself open to a vicious counter by the remaining two. Badly wounded, he called for aid. Pavel rushed to the Fyodor’s side, giving him the last of his healing potion. This left Roger alone with the goblin leader. The two battled furiously, exchanging blows and wounds. Cromartie came into the room behind the furs and picked up Roger’s bow, trying to get a shot off, but Roger finally connected a solid hit and the leader fell.
The battle over, at least temporarily, Martin searched the goblins and the throne. He found a small sack hidden under the chair containing a vial, a broken coronet with a single ruby mounted on it, and a goodly bit of gold coin. Roger inspected the chair itself, and found that its back was actually a round metal shield of good quality. They removed the shield from the backing and Martin promised he would use a Detect Magic spell on everything they’d found once he’d rested. Roger also inspected the pelts on the wall and found three bearskins and three wolf pelts of possible value among them.
Back in the room where the leader was killed, Roger listened at and inspected the two doors. Neither seemed locked. One led to cylindrical “tunnel” that ended in another door. It seemed to be the inside of a petrified log. The nimble thief edged along the walls of it, off the floor, to the far side. He tossed a rope back to Fyodor. The warrior had Roger tie a heavy sack onto his end then Fyodor dragged it to him across the floor. A section gave way under the weight and the sound of running water could be heard below. The group decided to leave what lay beyond the tunnel for later.
Beyond the other door was a smallish room with one corner closed off. There was a barred gate blocking the corner and a huddled figure could be seen inside. Approaching, they saw it was an old Traladaran woman. She was immensely relieved to see humans coming to her rescue. Roger quickly picked the crude lock and released her.
Her name, she explained, was Babushka. She had been taken by the goblins when they’d destroyed Cherkass (another farmstead like Sukiskyn). She had been prisoner here for several days at least. Recently, other prisoners had arrived, including one that fit the PCs’ description of Stephan, but they had been moved within the last day or two. She had heard the captors saying they were wanted for questioning at “the old ruins at Xitaqa” by someone the goblins called “Skinny Legs.”
By now the party was nearly done in and decided to secure a bolt hole to get some much-needed rest.