About 20 years ago, there had been an invasion by hundreds of goblins, led by a charismatic leader, Grunkash. When the leaders heard that one of the hobgoblin chiefs had been using that name, they grew more concerned. They didn’t want to weaken the defenses of the Watch yet, so the Watcher and captain asked Gavin to keep them informed of what he might learn from the Caves. If things got worse, the Watcher might have to send his soldiers there. If, since Grunkash was slain, things got better, it would be a cause for celebration and rewards. All were pleased to know that a knight-to-be from Haelyn’s Aegis was on the job. The curate promised to release more healing potions to them, when he could make them.
Meanwhile, Parniel Garnier and Linna Garnier bought dinner for the other members of the group that had rescued their guildmasters. Those two were actually the daughter and son-in-law of Galien Thuried, the guildmaster of the Upper Anuire Traders, and they were still grateful. The lady had already given them a magic dagger, but they now passed along associate-membership in the guild to Kiemer and Merwynden. This means that they would pay discounted prices on some items at guild stores. There was also a gift of a healing potion. Parniel and Linna offered to continue to support them however they could, “After all, a friend of the masters is a friend of ours, and you guys have been good customers.”
Thus fortified and validated. the group opted to take another try at the cavern that held the undead before. Anders Holtson offered his same mock-jeers towards them as they left, but Jadrien seemed more civil than usual. On the way, they found something disturbing. Where the trail led from the road off into the ravine, they passed the spot where they had first met the goblin scout Boren. He was now tied up in a tree, bloody and beaten, and all around were the signs of a battle, but no corpses. Goblins usually leave corpses where they had fallen, and humans would have burned or buried theirs.
“Tribe gone,” he croaked, as they cut him down from the tree. “Tribe tried to leave, but gnolls ran us down. Killed all of tribe, tribe walked away.” He explained that some humans among the gnolls turned the goblin corpses into zombies, and they had shuffled off. With this information, the group opted to take a partial revenge for the late tribe of Gerthak, and attacked into the gnoll tribe at the southwestern corner of the ravine. Boren accompanied them, once he had been given some food and water, and promised a weapon.
A chilling sight met them as they passed by the cave where Boren and Gerthak used to live. A statue of a goblin stood in the entrance, that looked exactly like Gerthak.
Raven stealthily climbed the steep hillside to the cave mouth, and slipped inside. There was no guard nearby, so the others were able to get in, too. A fight quickly broke out in the very next chamber, and the gnoll tribe was alerted. The battle progressed down some stairs into another hall and a third chamber, where the group found itself outnumbered and flanked. Roy, Hawkeye, Reginald, and Maggie were all knocked out, but the gnoll chief was slain, as were most of the males in the battle. When the females withdrew to another room, the party heard Boren’s yelling from the cave entrance. “Many dead! My tribe coming!” The group barely had time to grab the gnoll chief’s head and his silver armbands as they gathered their wounded and ran for the exit. They ran down the ravine and up the highway, pursued for about a hundred yards by a shambling mass of undead goblins and hobgoblins, some rotted away to skeletons.
When they got back to the Watch, Jadrien quickly called Brak-Thinn, who asked them all questions in the guardhouse for an hour. Boren is undecided whether to leave, take service with this group, or find some other way to pay his way in the world.
At dinner that evening, they were introduced to a Rjurik warrior, Eidrik, who was most interested in their tales, and asked to accompany them on their next push.