The Lemmings prepared to return to Haitabu. They were able to supplement their supplies with roots and berries thanks to advice from Sir Thiebault, who seemed to be too wounded to do anything much but definitely not wounded enough to stop him barking orders at the rest of them. Fulrad had gone hunting for food but only found some suspicious tracks. Perhaps one of the cultists had survived? Lysanthir had also gone exploring and found 1 congealed strand.
Discussing the tracks with Fulrad and comparing them with notes they had found in the Synod hideout, Lysanthir concluded that the bandits known as the Hooded Men had their hideout near Haitabu. This made sense as they would want to keep an eye on caravans and merchants that could be easy marks. It wasn't like they would wander round in black clothes and badges saying "I am a bandit" after all. Living among those they planned to rob made everything easier for them.
The Lemmings forced the Potion of Valley Mist down Sir Thiebault's throat, packed up and set off for Haitabu. The journey began badly because Sir Thiebault was clearly feeling much better thanks to the potion and insisted on telling them they were going the wrong way and should have turned left at the gibbet, and similar nonsense from the very beginning.
Before they had even got halfway to Haitabu, they were suddenly ambushed by a Goblin war party. Worse yet, the Goblins had a Corrupted Sorcerer with them and they did not look like they wanted to praise the Lemmings for taking down the Synod of Reason. The sorcerer was hanging back on the right flank with a small contingent of Goblins to guard him. Goblin archers had infiltrated the woods to their left, and the ambush was only spoiled by a young Goblin suddenly getting overly enthusiastic and charging straight over the hill towards the Lemmings.
|What's that coming over the hill? Is it a goblin?
The Lemmings muttered and grumbled as they hid Sir Thiebault in a bush and drew their weapons to face the onslaught. The initial rush saw Drogo charge the young Goblin, who turned out to have better armour than expected and held off Drogo while his sergeant joined the fray. Lysanthir cast a fog spell to stop the enemy archers shooting, and the others fired off all their arrows at the approaching Goblins.
It was a frenetic start to the battle that saw two of the Goblins and Drogo wounded. Fortunately, Lysanthir was able to reach Drogo quickly and cast a Heal spell on him. Despite the fierce fighting it proved hard to best the Goblins.
Only after what seemed an age did the Lemmings start to get the upper hand. Wido and Onesipe had run out of arrows, and Onesipe was wounded by a Goblin archer, so he drew his sword and moved to support Lysanthir and Drogo. This was the crucial moment. The extra support resulted in the young Goblin and the sergeant being killed. Wido killed another Goblin who had approached from the right flank and prepared to face the last of them. Fulrad sighted on the wounded Goblin archer and killed him. This was too much for the archer on the right flank, who fled. Soon all the Goblins lay dead on the battlefield and only the sorcerer remained.
Seeing the way things were, the sorcerer muttered, "Bugger this for a game of robbers!" He summoned a skeleton and legged it while the skeleton shambled towards the Lemmings. A lone skeleton was no challenge for the might Thrappled Lemmings, and soon all that remained was to loot the corpses and carry on their way. Unfortunately for the Lemmings, all they found was what looked like a treasure map and some bandages.
They carried on their way and had soon reached Haitabu, where they learned that their investment in Karl the Merchant had netted them 8 Marks. It was not a huge profit, but it was still a profit and the Lemmings (apart from Wido) were very much glass half full sort of people.
Back at Haitabu, over a pint or three of the local brew, they learned that the town rangers had been scouting the area to try to make it safe. Joining what they knew with what the rangers had found out resulted in a few dots being joined and Lysanthir felt more certain than ever that he could pin down the location of the temple he was looking for. The map they had found also pointed to opportunities for treasure north of the Hidden Men's hideout, so they might expect even more rich pickings.
That was an interesting fight. This is the first fight I have had where the dice decided that everyone should pass their armour rolls on the first try, even the Goblins, and the toughness rolls were all low too, so it took two hits to kill every Goblin once I finally got past the armour. It was also the first battle where I have successfully cast a Heal spell. The way things were, I think Drogo would have been carried home alongside Sir Thiebault otherwise, assuming he survived.
I thought the Corrupted Sorcerer would be more of a threat, but the speed with which the Goblins died or fled over the course of two turns meant that the sorcerer only rolled to summon skeletons twice, and he fled immediately after rolling the second time. In my head beforehand, I was expecting to face a neverending stream of skeletons that did not happen.