Dobby’s dirty little lies that is… But more of that later.
Monday’s D&D session began with our intrepid adventurers making the trip back to Phandalin from Thundertree in a jovial mood. Being in such a mood even saw them consenting to following Dobby’s ‘quick way back’ that he knew about from his misspent time in the Redbrand gang. Rather surprisingly they meandered their way back to Alderleaf Farm without meeting anything to slow them down, at one point Ronan did chase a rabbit to test how sharp his sword had got - but to no avail.
Rugged, rock strewn landscape gave way to more forgiving growing land (although it had taken a few weeks of clearing rocks and spreading dung to make it such) and the midsummer crops were doing well. Suddenly Stewie stopped and whispered, ‘Hark, what is that cacophony that drifts on the wind from yonder?’ Ronan and Dobby cast a quizzing look at each other – K’Gar came to the rescue,
“I think he wants us to listen to that awful freekin’ noise…”
Squabbling goblins are not a quiet event at any time, even when trying to keep it down as much as they can. Not for the first (or last time) Dobby was thrust forward to stealth to yonder spindly copse to, “ ‘ave a butchers lad!”
What he saw made him scurry back quickly to report. It appeared that a group of gobbos (goblins if you insist on being posh) were trying to capture a brown bear, an endeavour which had already left a couple of them in various bits on the ground and the others squabbling and fighting. They appeared to be caught in that space of being shit scared of going back and reporting that they had failed to get said bear and ‘shit a brick scared’ of actually getting the bear… Little did they know that the day was going to get worse (if being torn to bits and eaten by a bear can be Top Trumped on the ‘shit day’ scale).
Our intrepid party did what any brave, intrepid group of adventurers would do – hid in the spinney, waited for the gobbos to get the bear in the cage in the wagon, start arguing and bickering THEN they charged out and slaughtered them. Well, all of them bar one which they knocked out and then coerced back to consciousness to interrogate. Stewie, who can converse in goblin, began to talk ‘at’ the rather confused goblin. A goblin, who it must be said, was even more confused as to why this elf in a ‘dress’ seemed to be channelling his ‘breeding- mates’ very well to do (in goblin terms) very old grandma!
As Stewie seemed to be getting no-where (coupled with the fact the goblin was hog tied and unable to fight back) Dobby took it into his own hands to add the only interrogation technique he knew. Leaping forward the Halfling planted a steel toed boot into the general area of the goblin’s breeding equipment. Seconds later they had, yet again, a very unconscious goblin.
However, to give Dobby his due, the goblin was very eager to ‘spill’ when he came to – so long as the elf in the dress kept the short arsed maniac away from his nether regions… Information on Cragmaw Keep and the drow known as ‘Black Spider’ was gleaned. Meanwhile, Ronan seemed to be making friends with the captured bear, who it seemed was very appreciative of being fed goblin finger food (in a very literal sense). But gobbo meat pales in tastiness to human meat and it wasn’t long before Ronan left his hand a micro-second too long near to the bear’s mouth! Luckily the cleric was able to assist in the damage, after all a dextrous recoil had meant only a slight sever, rather than an amputation.
At this point, as the late afternoon rays of light flickered through the leaves of the nearby orchard, another half Elf joined the ‘party’. His remonstrations and questions as to why the party was on his land causing turmoil were met with general ‘haughtiness’ from Stewie – never the most socially adept person the fact he was demeaning himself to talk to a ‘half-breed’ didn’t do wonders for his mood. Then again the excellently placed stone from the farmer’s sling did nothing for his ongoing state of consciousness and Stewie hit the deck like the proverbial sack!
Dobby then (for reasons only known to himself) took it upon himself to try and shoot the farmer – and seconds later hit the deck also, courtesy of yet another mid forehead placed sling shot! K’Gar possibly sensing how this encounter was going began to parley and mentioned their plot to get rid of the Redbrands – at which point they may have well been long lost relatives and the ex-adventurer took them inside for a feed and ale. Basically – they found there is a back way into the Redbrands hideout which Dobby wasn’t privy too, but the farmer’s Halfling wife’s son had found, got some gossip on the leader and lots of ‘might be able to get support once the RBs are taken down a peg or two,’ from the old adventurer.
Full and satiated, with evening approaching, they retreated back to the Inn for some much needed rest – all apart from Dobby who, being impatient for revenge, went off to scout the ‘Sleeping Giant’ out (which if you remember is the favoured drinking place of the RBs and the place where our group hope to poison the beer – with help from Tam the Barmaid).
Sneaky, sneaky was the plan…BANG, Bang and then looking through a window as the clouds parted to reveal the full moon beaming down on him was the actuality. Dobby nearly soiled the old britches as a hand thumped down on his shoulder,
“Well I never, Dobby me old drinking pal… You’ve got some ogre sized bollocks showing yourself back here. Good on ya mate – coming inside for a beer or two?”
Dobby glanced around to see his old drinking mate ‘Foxy’, in his usual inebriated state, “The boys are going to be happy to see you back, well most of them anyway,” he rambled as he led Dobby by the shoulder towards the tavern door! Well, caught between a rock and a hard place with a red dragon looking down from above about summed Dobby’s predicament up. Fear is a great equaliser, plus it helps when
your opponent is three sheets to the wind! A noisy twenty seconds later and Foxy found himself looking into Death’s eyes, who shrugged his shoulder, mumbled something about it being strange because he’d actually come for the Halfling and tool the soul off. Luckily it seemed the raucous noise from the tavern had drowned the noise of the fight out and Dobby was left with yet another dilemma: the body. A dilemma which was resolved by a quick dragging of the body to the captive bear (left at the farm), a bit of amateur butchermanship and a very happy bear. It would be fair to say that Gary (the name they had given to the captured goblin who was tied up in sight of the feeding frenzy) did not have his opinion of Dobby altered in any way!
Bursting into the sleeping quarters at the Stonehill Inn an incoherent, babbling Dobby needed a gentle pat or two from Ronan before the others could get any sense out of him. Luckily the others had sourced some belladonna from Garaele at the shrine (what exactly Stewie did to get this is not clear, and what happens in the shrine, stays in the shrine) and arranged a meeting with the barmaid from the Sleeping Giant over breakfast – it seemed that their plan would have to move forward a few days.
Breaking the fast came and Tam (the barmaid) was seen skulking in the corner, Stewie called her over, trying not to cause attention to be cast their way… Unfortunately the only interaction he normally has with the ‘staff’ was conducted in a bellow. The whole early morning clientele turned to watch as he shouted,
“Yonder wench, salutations, come hither and while you are coming an extra slice or two of that bacon is required – make it speedy!”
It seemed the RBs were in a frenzy, trying to find someone who had killed and apparently eaten one of their own last night! They were out looking in force. So plans were made for the party to sneak down late afternoon and spike the ale kegs… Tam was too scared to do it but promised to leave the back door to the main bar open. No-one noticed (apart from Stewie who put it down to some human courtship display he didn’t understand) that on the way out she leant down and whispered something to Dobby, something that made the wee bit of colour he did have drain from his face and the four bacon rolls he had consumed make a daring (but in the end, due to a good swallow, unsuccessful) rush back up to freedom.
Late afternoon came and our lads had stayed out the way of the roaming groups of Redbrands looking for what they thought must be an ogre. Dobby was hiding under a blanket in the corner and persuaded the others that it would not be safe for him to go. It was also (due to it being a stealth mission) deemed unsuitable for the armour clad dwarf – although somewhat surprisingly being thought suitable for Stewie and the kill deprived Ronan!
Lucky not to draw attention to themselves when confronted by a couple of Redbrands on the way (although Ronan was a bit happier after the altercation) they stopped at the back door and peered in… All was as the barmaid promised, the kegs lay on the empty bar. So our intrepid duo sneaked through the door… Setting off the net trap! Luckily their reactions were quicker and they leapt out the way, just as three doors opened and Redbrands came rushing out.
There was only one course of action to be considered – RUN and run they did. Ronan heading back to the Inn and Stewie ran towards Gilmore’s Glorious Gifts. Bursting into the shop, wide eyed, cloak billowing behind him, Stewie shouted something and disappeared into the back room… Seconds later the shop door burst open again and a rather puffed out, but being a large group also feeling brave, Redbrand shouted,
“Old man… where’s the elf in the dress, give him to…” Stewie wondered why the gang member had stopped mid shout, maybe it was something to do with that CRACKKKkkkk and blinding flash of light.
K’Gar heard the tavern door open and Ronan shouting, followed by him bursting up the stairs and pointing over his shoulder as he rushed for his bow that was in the corner. A ruckus occurred after which it was debatable if their deposit would cover the damage cost but 6 ruffians had been killed – unfortunately one had escaped (by using a pal as an arrow shield) and was last seen by Stewie (who was running back from Victor’s shop) heading up to the manor.
Following a quick dissection of what had happened and why they had been betrayed by the barmaid who seemed so eager help them Stewie remembered the odd conversation that Tam had had with Dobby. It was at this point (after a little bit of persuasion) that the dirty little lies came out!
What she had said to make Dobby nearly lose his brekky was,
“You really don’t remember me do you, you pig… You promised you’d call on me after you had taken my flower, you promised… And you didn’t.”
Now it had at that second clicked as to why the Redbrands had been trying to kill him, Tam was the Sergeant at Arms (as he liked to be known) daughter. Dobby had the horrible feeling she may be up the duff!
Furious that this information may have had bearing on their plans recriminations were only halted by the fact that a loud horn was heard. It was decided they had better make their way to the Miner’s Exchange where perhaps they could get some support for what appeared to be the upcoming fight. Making a concerted effort to get there quickly they were stopped half way as they were surrounded by 12 Redbrands and the ‘Sergeant at Arms’…
“Arrrr Dobby me little pal… I’ve heard you’ve come to make things good. Well the only thing that will make things ‘good’ is your todger roasting on a stick on the fire…”
Three sets of eyes glared at Dobby, who smiled meekily and shrugged his shoulders…