I’m not sure if I love or hate my life.
When hobgoblins attack a random town, that’s fishy. When that town houses a scholar who just ‘happens’ to have ancient gems, that’s very fishy. When the tavern owner starts bolting the building full of innocents from the OUTSIDE, that’s an aquarium full of fish.
Sorry, I’ll back up again.
To defend ourselves and the town from the hobgoblin, goblin, and rat threat, we had the idea to secure the people together in a couple easily-defendable buildings and wait to ambush the attackers. We guessed it would take an hour for them to arrive. Three hours passed.
If there was anything we’d learned from our previous encounters with this group, it was that they were being led by either a madman or a genius- possibly both. So when the train was also a couple hours late, we started to get worried. However, just as we were planning what to do to find our enemy, our dear local bar owner was seen bolting the doors to the innocent-filled tavern. From the outside. With chains. Just at that time, the train was heard arriving in town.
It was just too much a coincidence. “Armed to the Teeth” took a squadron to investigate the train, while I stopped the bartender. Turns out he was also a demon cultist (Why was I not surprised?) and as soon as he realized he’d been caught, the tavern spontaneously caught on fire, the hobgoblins charged out of the forest, and the train exploded.
And now my bartender training prohibits me from telling you the rest of what happened in anything except the most epic of ways possible.
“Everything will happen as it was intended,” the bartender said, just as the bar behind him erupted into flame.
From the forest came the unmistakable sound of running feet and goblin war cries. Somewhere in the back of town there came an explosion that rocked the ground underfoot. The confusion was palpable.
Well no one could complain that we weren’t earning our money’s worth.
What troops there were charged the advancing army. As I hurriedly unlocked the chains on the tavern door, I heard the unmistakable war cry of Big charging the enemy, accompanied by the squishing sound of a goblin being crushed under his enormous foot. If we made it out of here alive, I would buy that man a drink.
The locks fell off and the doors burst open, as frightened people rushed from the burning building. That crisis averted, I turned to the army and unslung my bow. goblin blades clashed on the weapons and armor of my compatriots, each group trying its best to push the other back. I knew I wasn’t much of a melee fighter, and there was no way I’d risk shooting one of my own as they engaged with the enemy. There had to be something else. Something important I could target…
At the back of the advancing army, a figure caught my eye. Human, or at least human-ish, riding what could only be described as a giant skunk. The man hung at the back, surveying he charging army like a general would his troops.
“Aim for the Skunk!” I shouted to what of our archers were still on the tavern roof. I found a gap in the battle and moved as fast as I could, firing arrows where I could to aid my friends. A goblin leaped at the Monk only to be brought down by two of my arrows, but I didn’t have time to check if it was dead. Finally, clearing the battlefield, I had a clear shot at the man riding the skunk.
I loosed an arrow that sailed just over his head. The man turned lazily to star at me, his eyes glowing in an inhuman fashion. As I hurriedly reached for my next arrow, the man reached behind him to unsling a greatsword, the blade radiating a magical aura. He heeled his mount and charged.
There wasn’t time to fire again, so I simply lunged to the side as the mounted warrior galloped down on me. He swung his sword, missing my head by inches. I spun around, ready to fire an arrow in his direction, but stopped.
The swing of his sword had carried him off-balance. Normally the saddle straps would have held his weight and allowed him to right himself, except this time the saddle was coming with him. Perhaps a strap had broken, or maybe in the excitement of the expected battle he hadn’t tied them correctly. Either way, the man with glowing eyes let out a yelp of surprise as he tumbled from his mount, the skunk not stopping for him as it sped along back into the wood.
I fought back a smile. Rushing forward, I dropped my bow and grapped the man’s glowing sword, lifting it off the ground and slashing the fallen man in his side in one motion. Even unarmed, however, the man’s eyes glowed evilly as he started working his way to his feet, his confidence unbroken at the loss of his sword.
I had seen E’s horse before, of course. The beast had made several appearances that fight, appearing to attack and disappearing when killed, over and over again where E saw the need to send it, but I hadn’t expected it to appear right in front of me. It turned around, looked at me, and promptly sat down on the man with the glowing eyes.
“Aaa!” The man screamed, trying desperately to escape the enormous beast sitting on top of him. I couldn’t help it. I laughed. Right in the middle of the battlefield, I put the glowing sword in my belt and laughed at the enemy general.
“I don’t think this evening went as you’d intended,” I said when I’d recovered, reaching into my bag and removing a thick coil of rope.
So that’s what happened. We won the fight, and later learned that the gems we’d been paid for helping our esoteric scholar a few days ago are direct links to contact-and eventually summon- a demon lord into our plane. We discovered this when A-to-the-T activated them and contacted the Demon Lord in person, who started trying to make him deals in exchange for power. Turns out the enemy was trying to slaughter enough people to activate the summoning gem. We’re now seeking help to disenchant the gems so they can’t be used.
I haven’t been a Delver for more than a month, and already we’ve met a Dragon, a Demon Lord, and a Dryad. It sounds like a bad “Walked in a bar” joke.