The Outcasts

Calico's Journal #7

Thistletop assault, or how no plan survives for long.

The boys and I thought up a plan to lure some of those narky green bastards out of the keep, and over to our side of the bridge. We would light a small fire, using a broken up spear haft and a pint of oil, and pile on a bunch of wet brush to get a good smolder going. Our hope was that the smoke would draw out the curious goblins, and we could pick them off under the concealment of the briar tunnels. Before we did that, though, we had to make sure we had cleared the rest of the thicket.

Exploring around we found the druid’s lair, complete with a piss smelling area for his kitty. Down another tunnel we came across four goblin dogs, tethered to posts. Patrick and Chaff quickly took to dispatching the mangy beasts, but no sooner than the last dog had fallen then a whole gang of gobbos appeared. There was a choke point between the room we were in and the room the goblins were coming from. Cohl, Chaff and I took position there, while Patrick hung back and started shooting arrows into the gobbos. We easily halved their numbers, and then moved into the room to finish off the rest. The boyos took a few cuts, but no one was seriously hurt.

After checking the rest of the thicket, and finding no other threats, I set about making the fire. Soon a goodly amount of smoke was billowing up through the briars, and we took up our positions for the ambush. A few minutes later the green little idiots took the bait. Two goblins and two of their overgrown rat dogs crossed the bridge to investigate. We quickly took care of the scouts before the really even had a chance to react. These tight tunnels are perfect for the kind of close-in knife work I am good at. Another few minutes after that another goblin and his pet came across. This one was a wee bit smarter, though. He was calling out for his gobbo buddies. None of us speak goblin, so I was forced to fake some moans and grunts. I was hoping he’d think I was one of his fellow gobbos, injured and in need of help. Of course goblins don’t think much about helping each other, so all he did was send his dog ahead. That’s when things started to go sideways.

The dog spotted us and started growling and yapping. Instead of coming to see what his dog was making a fuss about, the green bastard just hightailed it back across the bridge. While Chaff and I dealt with the dog, Patrick and Cohl went after the goblin. Patrick managed to drop him with an arrow, mid-bridge. Now the goblins in the fort knew we were there. Lady’s Veils, this was gonna get ugly, quickly. We spotted a few gobbos in the watch tower, so Patrick sent a few arrows their way. He dropped one goblin, and the rest ducked down. Seeing that as our chance to get across the bridge, we set off as a group. I mention “as a group” because that was our next mistake. I only realized later, but the little shits had rigged the bridge to break if anything heavier than a few gobbos came over it. We were half way across when the ropes holding one corner of each side snapped. The bridge tipped and we all started to slide off. Patrick, Chaff and I all managed to catch ourselves, but mighty Cohl was not so fast. Into the drink he plummeted.

Each in our own panic, those of us clinging to the ropes started to climb across in different directions. I headed towards the fort, and realized once I was across that the others had gone back to the thicket side. Sivanah spare me, this had gone to the abyss. Running to the edge, I spied Cohl swimming toward the island. I started shouting at the others to tie a rope to the end of the bridge, and then cut its last mooring. They got my meaning and did just that. Together, the rope and the bridge were long enough to reach Cohl in the water. He grabbed ahold and started to climb. While he was making his way up, I was a sitting duck for the gobbo archers in the guard towers. I muttered a small prayer and started dancing, twisting and twirling so the gobbos couldn’t get aim on me. Sivanah must have heard my prayer, or maybe I’m just that good, but not a single arrow struck home.

Once Cohl was topside, we tied more rope to an arrow and I fired it over the gap, into the thicket. With the gobbos lobbing arrows the whole time, Patrick and Chaff climbed the rope across. They looked like novice cat burglars on their first job, but they made it over, finally. So there we were. The big, dumb heroes had made it to Thistletop.

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