Brash Young Fools
Another day, another perilous situation.
After a few days of what passes for rest in this part of the Empire (it passes for tedium pretty much everywhere else – how I long for somewhere with a reasonable social scene!) I found myself once again in the office of Adler. This time he wanted us to investigate some sheep rustling at the behest of some farmer. After negotiating our usual fee I agreed that my companions and I would resolve the matter immediately. Adler seems concerned about the amount of silver he has been paying us. Aside from the fact that our daily rate is barely enough to cover expenses, he seems to have overlooked the fact that it is the fault of his administration that we are stuck in this frontier town in the first place. If he would be see that the bridge is restored I would be only too happy to return to Ubersreik.
Anyway, after an uneventful journey south during which the farmer conversed with Boris in a baffling accent, I reached the farm in question. The only brief moment of interest came from the farmer’s tall tales regarding a ruin we passed along the way. The farmer has many children including one young daughter and a wife. Boris has been instructed to behave around them both lest the eldest son – a monobrowed brute of a man – take offence.
After a passable supper, I established a plan of action setting Victor on watch in the tower while Karl established communication with foot patrols. It seems that the patrols have been ambushed somehow on previous nights, so Karl suggested that they call out at intervals to confirm that all was well. In the event that a report was missed Karl could sound the alarm. I took Boris on mounted patrol further out. His pistol is as good as a bell at alerting listeners to a disturbance, and moreover he cannot be trusted alone.
Clearly my reputation preceded me. While I was attending to a call of nature in a convenient bush, the vile scum struck, seeking to cut off the head and leave the common body defenceless. The goblins (for such they are) threw a bundle of noxious herbs at me, seeking to render me unconscious. Only my iron constitution left me awake, although still fogged by the fumes.
By the time my head had cleared, we were in pursuit of the fleeing goblins. I pointed out that we were tasked by Adler with bringing the end to the band and not just stopping a single raid – we should follow at a distance and track these diminutive bandits to their lair rather than simply riding them down. Their lair, it turns out, is an isolated farmstead, well defended with high stone walls and watchtower. Their leader appears to be using the power of yet another of the lightning stones (what are the chances!) to dominate this tribe of greenskins.
Knowing that goblins are nocturnal, I planned our attack for the following morning. While Victor took care of the guard in the tower (two with a single arrow!) I instructed Karl to plot a stealthy path to the outer wall. After narrowly avoiding a patrol when Karl’s path proved beset with loose rocks, we sent Boris over the wall near the locked gatehouse. Boris apparently saw fit to slay all the goblins within before opening the door, robbing me of some much desired revenge.
Alerted to movement in the smithy, we investigated to discover a small girl, apparently the last surviving member of the family who lived here previously. We instructed her to stay silent while we took care of the leader of the ‘monsters’.
Inside the house I discovered an ornate sword in the Tilean style. Such a weapon is not fit for a commoner like Karl however much he might pretend to the nobility, so I took it for myself. With my new weapon, I led my companions up the stairs (avoiding a creaking step in the process – perhaps I should lead Karl in matters of stealth in future!) and charged the trio of goblins we found on the landing.
Two of the beasts went down in an instant, one to my new blade. Karl smothered the last in his coat in an attempt to silence any shout of alarm, but depsite our best efforts the occupants of the room beyond were alerted to our attack before I could silence the goblin permanently. Boris tried and failed to smash the door and the sounds of preparation increased.
I recalled an occasion at university when an acquaintance had locked himself in his room with a bottle of the best brandy and, after much raucus singing, had fallen strangely silent. At that time I was obliged to put my shoulder to the door and break it open in order to rescue the brandy. Much like a dog responding to its master’s command, Boris mimicked my technique and finished the job. It seems he can be taught!
We face now the leader of the goblins together with his elite guard. Will we prevail? Probably. Will the fight alert the remaining goblins and bring them down upon us? Most likely. And will I ever reveal the secret techniques I use to write extensive journal updates in brief moments of uttermost peril? Absolutely not!