I would rather forget all about yesterday; the farmhouse, and the poor souls who resided there. I did not sleep well last night, I meditated on why kobolds would attack a settlement like Northbridge. They are capricious creatures, this is true, but their attack on the farmhouse was unlike any other kobold attack I have read or heard of before. Firstly, they killed the whole family, that is, they did not take a single prisoner from what we could tell. I know kobolds are apt to perform blood sacrifices, but why dump the bodies down a well? Furthermore, kobolds are devious, preferring to trap their prey, but the attack on the farmhouse was brazen. And the kobolds who remained there attacked us although we were clearly stronger and more numerous than they. It did not make any sense to me, but today has revealed new insights on their actions.
It started out with my companions and I heading east, towards an old ruin atop a hill. Arriving there, we were attacked by more kobolds. Rukh charged into battle, he can be quite fearsome indeed. Although there were more of them here than at the farmhouse, they proved not terribly difficult to defeat. One escaped to a large central structure within the keep, and Rukh stormed in after him. I cannot say exactly what happened next, it seemed as though a larger expanse of time passed than actually had, but before I knew it my companions were inside the central tower, battling fiercer foes than we had encountered outside. I dashed forward to assist my fellow adventurers, and as I entered the room, I saw a young gnomish boy tied to a spinning wheel. He looked as though he had been used as target practice. Although it pained me to do so, I had to continue on, asking Eisenheim to care for the child while I helped my companions currently engaged in battle. Rukh was upstairs, fighting off three hobgoblins. He had taken severe injury, and I healed him immediately. The others followed me; first Gaervesk, then Al’Der’eth. Al’Der’eth ventured too far and suffered gravely, alas I had no spiritual energy with which to heal him. He did, however, succeed in blasting one of the hobgoblins out of a crumbled section of wall. My companions fought the remaining hobgoblins, and I did my best to lend aid. I heard a commotion downstairs, and suddenly the hobgoblin that had been thrown out the tower had come back inside, and was now quite furious and staring me in the face! He looked very bloody, near death really. He swung his great axe at me twice, missing both times. I am fortunate to be small and agile enough to be difficult to hit. One of my companions dispatched him for me, and the battle was soon over.
The hobgoblin on the stairs that swung at me did not seem quite dead, and as per my faith, I stabilized his condition. He was tied up as I untied the gnome boy still bound to the wheel. I held him as he cried, and some questions were asked of him and the captured hobgoblin. The boy pointed out a secret entrance to a cave under the floor, but we were all in need of a short rest. My companions set the hobgoblin up on the wheel the gnome boy had been bound to, and spat and swore at us. Although I was unaware of it at the time, Eisenheim had apparently killed the hobgoblin, while he was our prisoner and defenseless! I was most angry with him, the hobgoblin was no threat to us; he was in no condition to fight and was securely tied up, and thus could not run away or summon reinforcements. It was murder, albeit of a savage warrior who wouldn’t hesitate to do the same to us, but murder nonetheless. Are we no better than our enemies?
Once rested and healed, we climbed down a ladder into the caves. We found a small group of gnome women and children there. The mother of the child I was holding rushed forward and ripped the child from me. I understood her distress, and I offered any aid I could give. Having been freed, they headed back to Northbridge. I prayed for their safe journey. We ventured further inside the caves. We came to a narrow passageway, wide enough for pass single file. Rukh took up the lead of course, and at the mouth of a larger room, we were ambushed. A gong sounded, and kobolds poured in from many directions. Rukh held fast, taking the brunt of the damage, and I ensured his wounds were quickly mended. I fired my bow at the distant javelin-throwing kobolds, knocking two unconscious with my blunted arrows. The second of the two had already been set ablaze by one of his clumsier comrades, and the fire had killed him as he lay. I felt at least partially responsible for his death, and at the conclusion of the battle, I said a prayer for him and asked forgiveness, hoping my arrow had alleviated his suffering faster than the fire would have. My companions proved again to be worthy fighters indeed.
Finishing the encounter, there were a few paths to choose from. We choose the one a single kobold had escape to during the battle. We crept along until we came to a fork in the caves. I sensed a nearby fire, and we went to investigate. We found another group of women and children, but of the kobold race. They looked terrified of us. Gaervesk was able to speak their language, and questioned them. When they were not being cooperative, he threw a spell at the wall near them. I grabbed his arm and chastised him, how could he terrify defenseless women and children? One of the braver women came forward, and offered to bring us to their ‘king’. A small kobold child tagged along behind her. We were brought to the ‘throne room’, past a large obsidian statue of a dragon, surrounded by priests and warriors. Gaervesk talked to and translated the ‘king’s’ words to us. Perhaps feeling impatient, Eisenheim grabbed the kobold child, to which his mother attacked him, scratching him twice. Things were becoming quite bad for us, but I had enough of the violence.
I was furious, and rushed over between the two before the situation escalated. I slapped Eisenheim across the face and pushed him away. I then turned to the mother who was only defending her child, and I knelt and begged forgiveness for my foolish companion. I said we did not wish to fight with them, I asked Gaervesk to translate for me. Everyone stood on edge for what seemed like an eternity. Eisenheim readied a spell should he be attacked again, but he wisely held back using it. I turned to the king and pleaded that we may resume talks, and he nervously agreed. I was quite relieved that there would be no further bloodshed. It turned out the kobolds were being controlled by the hobgoblins, who had captured their dragon god. If we agreed to defeat the hobgoblins, the kobolds promised to stop the raids. It was getting late, and rather than retrace our steps, the kobold king showed us a secret passage out of the caves, saying the hobgoblins did not know about it. I brought Eisenheim aside and apologized for striking him. I said his personality was brash as best and foolish at worst, and that I hoped he would not be so quick to start a fight in the future. I then tended to his minor wounds.
I do not know what to think or feel regarding today’s events, it’s all a bit overwhelming. My companions are a varied lot. At one end of the scale you have Rukh, who seems just, if impassioned. At the other is Eisenheim, who is overly self-confident and seemingly acts for the moment alone. In the middle you have Al’Der’eth, who is well-meaning enough, if a bit clumsy in his interactions with others. And finally Gaervesk, who is quite a mystery. He seems very reserved one moment, and very aggressive the next. I do not know if I can yet call any of them my friends, although I feel closest with Rukh. He has saved all our lives more than once, throwing himself head-first into the fray without a second thought. I must not fail them, any of them, for I know at their heart lies a person who wishes to do good. They just need a teacher who can show them that the path of least resistance is often the best way. Pelor knows if I am up to the task.
All I know is this fighting and killing makes me wish for the peaceful country life of Cedar Hollow. I hope Father will respond soon with a letter of encouragement and advice. I need to hear his words right now.