The Adventurers – Book One: The Sacred Shrine and The Valley of Caves
Gluguk walked behind Tenneth and Jilgrath walked behind Lettia, as the party approached the bugbear cave. The cave entrance was wider than the others, at 15′ and the ceiling height was around 12′. Right at the entrance of the cave was a sign that was written in 3 different languages. One of them was orc and one was goblin.
Jilgrath: I think this one is in kobold. The orc sign says ‘Safety & security for all humanoids who enter. Welcome. Come in and report to the first guard on the left for a hot meal and bed assignment’.
Lightmane: A hot meal and bed assignment. Is this bugbear sarcasm?
Nightwind, smiling now: Apparently. I kind of like it. Especially the part about a hot meal. I bet that’s quite tempting for an orc, goblin or kobold. This one is in goblin and it says the same thing. Maybe we can ask Kurt later if this one is in kobold.
Gluguk: Why would Raysha allow this? They could’ve captured some of us and taken prisoners, or even killed some. I do not understand.
Jilgrath: I doubt any of the clerics have seen this sign. Have you ever seen any clerics outside?
Gluguk: No, but I rarely come out here either.
Lightmane: Wait, bugbears speak kobold, goblin and orc?
With Lightmane’s question, everyone now wasn’t sure what to make of the odd signs, so they continued in and came to a t-intersection. The right passage went 20′ and came to another t-intersection, while the left passage went 30′ and both turned right and continued into a larger opening.
Lightmane: So the sign says guards are to the left. So… left or right?
Nightwind: I think we should go kill the guards.
Lightmane looked back at everyone else, but no one objected, so they went left. The passage to the right went up some stairs, but the opening to the left opened into a 30’x30′ room. Inside were 3 bugbears who heard the party approaching, so they got up and moved to attack them as they entered the room.
Seeing the bugbears, Lightmane and Nightwind immediately ran into the room, so that others could move up and enter as well, and hopefully surround the bugbears, instead of everyone else getting stuck in the corridor behind them. The room opened up to their left, so Gluguk ran in and engaged a bugbear with Jilgrath right behind him, while Tenneth stayed back and cast protection from evil on Lightmane. Tenneth decided to go with less healing spells, since the party still had plenty of potions now, and he was hoping that protection from evil on Lightmane would help keep the elf alive against these huge monsters. Lettia fired her bow over Nightwind’s head and hit the bugbear that was now in melee with the dwarf. Jack assumed that his sleep spell would take out 1 bugbear, so he cast it, targeting the one on Lightmane. Everyone else that was behind them checked up the stairs, as well as behind them, but saw nothing down either passage.
All 3 bugbears swung their heavy flails, but Nightwind, Lightmane and Gluguk all successfully blocked their attack. Nightwind’s hammer hit the bugbear in its side, damaging it pretty good. Jack’s sleep spell caused the one on Lightmane to collapse, so the elf attacked the one on Nightwind and his sword cut into it pretty good, wounding it badly. Gluguk’s sword cut into the bugbear on him and Jilgrath’s sword also found its victims flesh, causing both bugbears to cry out in pain. Tenneth’s protection from evil spell went off. Lettia didn’t want to fire arrows anymore, not wanting to risk hitting anyone, so she pulled her sword and moved to help Jilgrath. Shinfia also moved up with her staff in hand now, while the henchmen set the wheelbarrow down and readied their sword and shield. Belfin and Filius continued to watch for any other bugbears.
The 2 bugbears, seeing that they were in serious trouble, turned and ran towards the southwestern section of the room, and that’s when the party saw that there was a large gong in the corner.
Lightmane: Kill them before they strike that gong.
The dwarf and elf ran after the bugbear and swung their weapons and luckily managed to slay it, just before it got to the gong. Jilgrath and Gluguk ran at the other bugbear and swung their swords. Both cut into the the bugbear, killing it, but just before it died, its flail smashed into the gong, and just like that, panic and desperation set in.
Lettia: Oh no. What are we going to do now? We have to get out of here.
But as Lettia said that, they could all hear the cries of creatures from further down the east passage. Everyone started to panic.
Lettia: Lets run. We can get to the cave entrance before they get here.
Lightmane: And do what? Run away?
Lightmane: Run where?
Lettia: I don’t know, but we’ve got to get out of here.
Belfin, watching up the stairs north: Nothing’s coming down the stairs yet.
Filius, running into the room with everybody else: I heard creatures coming up the stairs. There’s no time. We have no choice but to fight them here.
Lettia: We can’t possibly survive. The entire place is going to be on us.
Tenneth started casting curse, while everyone was trying to figure out where they should stand for combat, when all of a sudden Jack remembered a scroll that they had found a while back.
Jack: Everyone stand back by the gong and stay behind me, but be ready to fight or cast magic. I’m going to try something, but wait for my spell to go off before taking any action.
Jack cast his read magic spell and then pulled out a scroll from his large belt pouch. They could now hear creatures coming down the eastern passage. Jack then stood in front of everyone and started casting the spell that was on the scroll.
Shinfia, sounding quite scared: What spell are you casting?
Lightmane: He can’t talk while he’s casting the spell, so we just have to trust him and be ready to attack.
Tenneth’s curse spell went off and then he moved behind Jack with the others, but Gluguk was still in front of Jack.
Gluguk: I will not cower in the corner like a coward. I will stand in front of you and protect you from the bugbears. Cast your spell, wizard.
Jilgrath, along with everyone else, had no idea what spell Jack was casting, but he knew he had to get Gluguk behind him, and he had to do it fast.
Jilgrath, grabbing Gluguk and pulling him back: No one is cowering in fear, Gluguk. Jack said to get behind him. Therefore we are all getting behind him. You can stand just behind him, close to his side, and be ready to run up to protect him, but we must all wait for Jack’s spell to go off first.
Gluguk looked angered, clearly angry with Jilgrath grabbing him like that, but chose to stand behind Jack, rather than fight with Jilgrath.
Lettia, in her desperation, cried out silently to Shyla, begging her to intervene and save them, while also trying as hard as she could to contact Lettia the Great White Puma with her mind: Shyla, please save us. I’m begging you. Please. Help us. Lettia, we are in trouble again. Please come save us. We are desperate.
Jack chose to center the target of the spell just outside of the room, which was still in his line of sight, right where the passage ran north up the stairs as well as east. He could only hope that the spell would go off when some of the bugbears were in the area that the spell would effect. The party heard what sounded like 10, or maybe 20 bugbears coming towards them, or maybe it was just 5. There was no way to know for sure, so all they could do was watch Jack and hope.
Maybe it was pure luck, or maybe Jack made amazing calculations, in determining when the bugbears would arrive, based on how close they sounded, along with how long the spell would take to cast, but he was casting it off a scroll and he had never cast this spell before, and wasn’t even sure if he could, since it was a higher level spell that he was not able to learn yet, but he knew it was possible to cast it directly from the scroll, and he knew that he had to just go for it, even though he knew that casting it would destroy the scroll. Amazingly, somehow, someway, the spell went off just as bugbears came running into the room.
A large fireball burst forth from the center point of the spell. The blast of the fire came within 5′ of Jack, but then a narrow stream of fire shot forth from the fireball and hit Jack, causing him to cry out in pain. The fire also burned Gluguk, but just barely, as a bugbear came through the fire, barely alive, and tried to attack Jack, but Gluguk immediately moved in front of him and struck the bugbear, killing it.
Jack fell to his knees and tried to fight through the pain, as he reached into his belt pouch and tried to grab his potion of healing, but he felt like he was going to pass out at any moment. Nightwind dropped his hammer, grabbed his waterskin and poured the water onto Jack’s body. Jack was barely conscious, but the water helped, so others poured their waterskins on him as well. On the floor laid 5 dead bugbears, completely burned by the fireball explosion, plus the 3 that they killed in this room. The party heard no sounds of monsters coming towards them, so Lettia bound Jack’s wounds while Tenneth helped him drink his potion of healing, which instantly healed most of his wounds.
Gluguk then heard something and moved to the eastern passage, as did Jilgrath. Just as they got there, a giant bugbear, who stood 7 and a half feet tall, came down the stairs and attacked Gluguk. The bugbear was badly burned, but he somehow managed to swing his flail and it smashed into Gluguk, knocking him down. Jilgrath attacked back, but the giant bugbear blocked his attack. Nightwind and Lightmane came running up and attacked it too, but the bugbear was somehow able to block both of their attacks. Gluguk got back up and now all 4 of them surrounded him. He was horribly wounded from the fire, but it became quite clear to everyone that this was the bugbear chieftain. He swung his flail again and this time it smashed into Nightwind, knocking him down, but then Gluguk’s sword cut into its flesh and it fell dead.
Gluguk, standing over the bugbear: I have slain the bugbear chieftain.
The party took no issue with Gluguk taking credit. He did cause the killing blow, so they let him have his moment of glory. They bound their wounds and then Gluguk walked over to Jack.
Gluguk: I had no idea you were so powerful. Had I known, I would’ve moved behind you right away.
Jack: Well thanks to Jilgrath, you didn’t get hit by the fireball spell.
Gluguk: Yes. You are right. Thank you, Jilgrath.
Jilgrath: You’re welcome, my friend.
Lightmane: I had completely forgotten that we found that scroll. Glad you remembered. That was incredible, Jack. No clue how you timed it so perfectly, let alone succeeded at casting it under such pressure. Not sure I would’ve succeeded at it, under these circumstances.
Jack: Wow! That’s one high compliment, coming from an elven wizard. Thank you Lightmane. I don’t know what else to say, except that I got lucky, I guess.
Lightmane: No, you didn’t get lucky. That was amazing skill. Well… except for that minor backlash of magic. Other than that though…
Lightmane just smiled and Jack smiled back.
Jack, slowly standing up now: When I saw the fire shoot out at me, I thought I was dead for sure. The spell seemed to indicate that I could hesitate a little with when to have it go off, so that’s what I was trying to do. Maybe that’s why part of the fire shot out at me.
Shinfia: Jack, that was incredible. You just saved all of us.
Shinfia went over to him and hugged him and kissed him, and then so did Lettia. Everyone was quite shocked and obviously quite happy too, but there was no time for celebration. They assumed that the fireball didn’t kill every bugbear, so the wounded drank healing potions and they searched the room and the dead bugbears bodies before checking both passages. In the room was a smoking brazier that was up against the west wall. It had skewers of meat roasting over coals, which were now quite burnt from the fireball. There was a table along the south wall that wasn’t hit by the fireball. On it was a barrel and 3 crude mugs, along with some bread, cheese and a dried herb, which was catnip.
Tenneth: Catnip? So do bugbears have cats as pets, or do they just like catnip?
Lettia: I’m going to guess that they like catnip, but if anyone sees any cats hanging out, let me know (she said, sarcastically).
All of the food & drink seemed to be of good quality, fit for human consumption. On the stairs laid a dead female bugbear and down the eastern passage were 4 more dead males. Somehow Jack had not only timed the spell perfectly, but had also placed the point of impact perfectly so that it shot up the stairs too. Everyone couldn’t get over what had just happened. The 12 males had a total of 95 copper and 57 silver coins. The female had 10 copper and 9 silver, but the chieftain had 30 gold coins, a key, and 3 small green gems in his pouch and a very nice looking hand axe, so once again they split up all the coins and Jack took the gems and Nightwind took the hand axe. Their plan was to either sell the gems to Marcus, or to a jeweler, if they found one at the Keep. The armor on the bugbear chieftain, like the gnoll chieftain, was huge and contained pieces of scalemail, where the Gnolls armor had pieces of platemail, but they were far too big for anyone to wear, and since they weren’t plate armor, like Gragnok’s was, or banded or chain or similar, they didn’t bother with it, assuming it wasn’t very valuable, which it wasn’t.
They also knew that Gluguk didn’t fully understand the difference in value with copper coins verses silver or gold, so they gave him a lot of copper and some silver for his share of the gold coins, which he happily traded.
Jack: 30 gold coins, wow. I can’t wait to see what other treasures he has.
Lightmane: Gluguk, we all want you to know that these gold coins are worth more than the silver and copper coins, but they’re only worth more for us, since we use these coins to buy things. That’s why we are giving you more copper and silver coins for your share of the gold coins.
Gluguk: I understand, but I would like 2 gold coins though, so how about we trade back.
The party figured that Gluguk saw the gold coins as a status thing, but then Jilgrath walked over to him and handed him 2 gold coins and gave the party the other one, as everyone but the henchmen got 3 gold coins each. The party was quite surprised that he did that.
Jilgrath: I also do not need coins, so you keep them. Besides, I’m greatly in your debt.
When Gluguk heard Jilgrath say that, he looked quite surprised, but said nothing. The party decided to go up the stairs, hoping to find treasure in the chieftains room. At the top of the stairs the passage continued north, but also turned left and 10′ further north it turned right. Both passages went 10′ and ended at a door. The door down the west passage was open, but the door down the east passage was locked. The key that was on the bugbear chief opened it. Inside was a 20’x20′ storage room, containing 8 crates, a stack of 20 leather hides, 11 barrels and 1 small keg. There was also a small shield that sat upside down on a table. It was being used as a tray to hold a heap of dried herbs, but when Tenneth and Lettia inspected them they turned out to be catnip too.
Tenneth: More catnip. Yeah, I guess bugbears like catnip.
Lettia decided to take some, just to see if they might be useful in some manner. She put a bunch of the catnip in one of her large belt pouches.
The 8 crates had dried and salted foodstuffs. The barrels had ale and wine and the keg had oil. All appeared to be of good quality, but the wheelbarrow was destroyed in the fireball, so Jack marked on his map all that was here, to be picked up when they got another wheelbarrow, and they went down the western passage to the open door.
The room beyond was quite large, 20’x30′. The furnishings were battered and crude. There was a shelf on the south wall that contained only clothing and junk. A table in the northeast corner had mugs and a small opened cask of ale that was half full. There was a bed in the southwest corner with heaps of cloth & hides on it. At first they found no treasure, but as they searched the room, Filius found 6 pieces of silk that was mixed up in the bedding, which looked to be valuable, and Lightmane saw a gray chest stuck up on a ledge near the ceiling in the northwest corner. The gray made it hard to see as it blended in with the walls. Belfin and Filius checked the gray chest for traps and found none. The chest was unlocked. Inside were almost 1500 copper coins, 2 potions and a most interesting item; a 30lb statue of a dragon that was made of alabaster and ivory. They divvied out all the copper coins, while Jack took the potions and Nightwind was able to put the statue in a small sack and carry it.
They then went back down the stairs and headed down the eastern passage to the t-intersection. The passage to the north sloped up and the passage to the south went down some stairs. Nightwind chose to go down the stairs. At the bottom was a large room, 20’x30′, with passages going both east and west, that both ended at a door. There were bedrolls in the southeast corner, with 2 benches and a long table in the middle of the room. By the bench was a water pail with sacks of foodstuffs scattered here and there. On the table was a barrel of ale that was half full, along with 6 crude looking mugs. 2 sets of keys were on the south wall, opposite the stairs. Laying on the ground down both corridors were sacks and small crates and barrels. Each passage had 5 sacks containing bread and cheese, 4 crates, containing salted meat and vegetables and 3 barrels. 1 had water, 1 had wine, and oddly enough, 1 contained honey mead. All of the stuff though had been opened and used, so they knew they couldn’t sell any of it, but they tried some of the food and drink and it was quite good, but the wine was somewhat vinegary, so Belfin and Nightwind immediately re-filled their wineskin with some honey mead, as did several others. They all took a little food with them too, to eat later with their rations.
They then went to the door down the west passage. The door was made of iron and was secured by a bar, chain and heavy padlock. The keys on the wall opened the door. Inside were 9 prisoners who were all quite shocked to see a party of adventurers, let alone a party with a huge orc and a half-orc. The prisoners were a kobold, 2 orcs, 1 goblin, 2 humans, 2 elves and 1 dwarf. No one was able to communicate with the kobold, but the orcs and goblin said they were from the caves and had been captured by the bugbears, when they came to get a hot meal. The elves and humans were traveling to the Keep with a caravan, hoping to join an adventuring party, when they were attacked and taken prisoner, 2-3 weeks ago. The dwarf was traveling east with a caravan that had just left the Keep. He too has been here for weeks. They all thought for sure that they were going to die, but luckily the bugbears fed them fairly well and kept them alive. They weren’t sure why, but they guessed that the bugbears were hoping for a ransom maybe. That’s all they could come up with.
Lightmane: Well we’re glad that we were able to rescue you all. I’m sure you’re all shocked to see us with a half-orc, let alone an orc. This is Gluguk. He’s the orc king. He’s helping us, in exchange for sparing his life and the lives of his fellow orcs. This is Jilgrath. He’s working with the orcs (Lightmane hesitated, not wanting to say anymore about that) and now he’s helping us. They have both proven themselves to be trustworthy; especially Jilgrath here. We all consider him our friend now. It’s only because of Jilgrath that Gluguk agreed to help us fight the bugbears. We don’t know if we’ve killed them all, but we killed a bunch of them and are now just searching the place. There’s plenty of food and drink here and we have some healers who can mend your wounds somewhat.
Elf: Do you have any weapons or armor that we can use?
Lightmane: We have a few and the bugbears had flails and large shields, but we haven’t seen any armor in here yet.
The party gave them a few weapons that they could spare and then tied the goblin and kobolds legs, allowing them to walk, but to keep them from running away. They explained to the goblin that once they were outside that he’d be free to go. The goblin seemed somewhat surprised that they didn’t just kill him. The kobold just looked scared, as well as confused. The 2 orcs were completely subservient to Gluguk and Jilgrath, so they weren’t worried about them running off. While the prisoners all ate and had their wounds tended to, the rest of the party checked out the other door, which was also made of iron and secured like the other one. Inside, the party was shocked to see a bugbear prisoner, along with 3 hobgoblins, 2 gnolls, and 1 very tall human, who stood 6’5″ tall. Nightwind was able to communicate with the hobgoblins, as hobgoblin and goblin was basically the same language, but no one could communicate with the gnolls, but they appeared grateful for being rescued and seemed like they wanted to help the party. The hobgoblins swore loyalty and begged the party to not tie them up and let them prove their loyalty through service and then the goblin said the same.
Nightwind, speaking to all the monsters: Ok all of you monsters, listen up. Unless any of my friends here object, I’m going to untie all of you and trust you, but if any of you betray us in any way, we will kill you. We have already killed over a dozen bugbears, so killing you all will be quite easy, so do as we say and show us that we can trust you, and everything will be fine.
Nightwind then turned to everyone: How does that sound to all of you?
The party kind of liked what he said, so they untied them all, to which all the monsters seemed quite grateful, let alone scared to death that this party had killed all the bugbears.
At this point the large man spoke up: Thank you for rescuing us. My name is Bartho. I am a powerful warrior who was out adventuring alone when I was attacked and taken prisoners by a group of bugbears at night.
Nightwind: You were adventuring alone? Are you insane?
Bartho: Foolish, I know, but what happened was I somehow fell under a curse, which caused me to go out adventuring by myself. I’m just glad they took me prisoner instead of killing me. I owe you all my life. I offer you my services. I just need a sword and some armor, but believe it or not, this bugbear here speaks our language. He’s quite intelligent, but I’ll let him tell you his story.
Bugbear: You’ve killed a dozen or so bugbears? That’s incredible. Thank you for rescuing us. My name is Nog. I am a renegade bugbear, so our chief had me locked up, until I came to my senses, as he was certain that I had lost my mind, but I have not. I now seek other bugbears who will listen to me and turn from their evil ways. I seek for all of us to learn how to get along with each other. I offer you my loyalty and service. I hope you will allow me to travel with you and prove to you that I can be trusted. I’m glad to see that you are traveling with an orc, as well as a half-orc. Perhaps there’s hope for us all, but right now we would be very grateful for some food and drink. Did you kill any females and children, or just the males?
Nightwind: 1 female is dead. She was on the stairs with your chieftain, who we also killed.
At this, Nog looked shocked, but actually appeared to be pleased, which shocked Nightwind, let alone everyone else.
Nog: I do not know how you could have possibly killed Narlath. That was his name. He was the most powerful bugbear I ever saw and probably the most powerful monster in this valley, but I’ve heard there are others in the valley who are even more powerful than him.
Nightwind: Yes there were, but we killed them too. There was a Minotaur and an Owlbear, but now they’re both dead.
Nog, looking even more shocked now: Then you all are clearly very powerful adventurers. I hope you will let me serve you and give me the opportunity to earn your trust over time.
Gluguk, speaking to Nog: I am the Orc King. If we allow you to live, will you serve under me?
Nog, hesitating at Gluguk’s words: If that is required of me to live, then I will, but I prefer to be free to go and do as I please, once I have earned your trust, of course.
Gluguk: In time, I am willing to discuss this with you further.
Jilgrath: Gluguk, right now we are helping this party of adventurers to destroy all the monsters here that threaten to attack the roads. All of these monsters will now be given the opportunity to prove that they are no threat to travelers on the roads. Once that has been determined, then we can all sit down and communicate with each other, as to what we all should do here in this great valley of caves.
Gluguk: This is acceptable to me. You may travel with us, Nog, and we shall see if you can be trusted.
Lightmane, knowing that he really needed to speak up now: Gluguk, thank you for all of that, but we all must discuss this as a group. You are the orc king, but you are not our king. We all greatly appreciate though that you have chosen to help us defeat these bugbears, but we now must determine what we will do with everyone here. Once we are finished here, then you and Jilgrath and maybe others, can all discuss what you all want to do with everyone. Does that sound good?
Gluguk, not perfectly following the elf: Yes. That is all acceptable. Talk with the others and let me know when you are all ready to go.
Lightmane, trying not to sound annoyed: Thank you, Gluguk. So Nog, you say that you are no longer evil? So would I be correct then in saying that you’re now a good bugbear?
Nog: Yes. I didn’t fully follow all that you said, but I think I understood what you meant. I am no longer evil. I want to do good and help others. You said you killed only 1 female, so I’m guessing the others are up the northern slope. There is only 1 room left that you haven’t been to, unless you didn’t go to Narlath’s lair.
Lightmane: No, we’ve been there. Take us to this room then. Perhaps you can try to speak to any bugbears who might be there. Oh, how did you bugbears make that sign at the entrance that’s in 3 languages?
Nog: I speak orc. Narlath spoke kobold and someone else spoke goblin. That’s how.
Lightmane: Oh. Well that explains it.
Nog led the party up the northern slope, which angled off to the right and ended at a door. Behind Nog walked Lightmane and Nightwind, Gluguk and Jilgrath, and then Tenneth and Lettia. Behind them walked a kobold, 2 orcs, 1 goblin, 3 hobgoblins and 2 gnolls, followed by the other rescued prisoners; 2 humans, 2 elves, 1 dwarf and Bartho, with Jack, Belfin, Filius, the 2 henchmen and Shinfia bringing up the rear.
Lettia: Remember when Lightmane described the scene when it was us with 14 goblins and how we all laughed at how crazy that was. Well look at us now (she said, laughing quietly, to which others started quietly laughing as well).
Nog: I was going to tell them that I’m with all of you and that you killed everyone, but that none of them will be harmed, as long as they don’t attack anyone, which I’m sure they won’t.
Lightmane: That sounds fine. Go ahead.
Nog called out to them and told them what had happened and what was going on. He then opened the door. Inside was another large room, 20’x30′. Inside were 8 female bugbears with 6 young bugbears of various sizes, from around 3′ to 5′ tall. They all had swords, but put them away after hearing Nog. The room contained the usual crude furnishings and stuff, with nothing of any value, but the females had some some copper and a few silver coins, which they gave to the party.
Lightmane: Ok Nog, we’re all in agreement here. They all can stay here, in exchange for agreeing to never attack anyone on the road, ever again. There’s only 1 cave in this valley that we haven’t explored yet and apparently there’s a temple inside it. Do you know anything about that?
Nog: I do not, but everyone here is grateful that you are sparing their lives and they know that if it wasn’t for me, they might all be dead now.
Lightmane: Will you come with us into the last cave, to help us destroy whatever is there?
Nog: If what is there is evil, then yes; I will fight by your side, to help you destroy it.
Gluguk: I will not. I will be in my cave. If you succeed, come to me and then we will talk. If you fail, well… then you’ll be dead, so it won’t matter (he said, smiling).
Jilgrath: If we can find a goblin or hobgoblin, along with a gnoll, that speaks the human tongue, we just might be able to make this work.
Lettia: Make what work? Communication with everyone?
Jilgrath: That and more. I desire to get all these creatures to learn how to get along with each other, and now that Nog is here and wants to do the same thing, this just might work.
Lettia: I think we might be getting a little ahead of ourselves here. We still have a temple to deal with.
Jilgrath: Agreed. We can discuss this after I have helped you finish what you started.
The party made their way out of the bugbear cave, and while they wanted to just go right to the last cave, they felt that they should first take the treasure they had back to the Keep and sell it and then buy another wheelbarrow, as well as bring the rescued prisoners to the Keep, but as they exited the cave, they saw 5 bugbears approaching. With them was a human who looked to be unconscious.
They looked like they were moving to attack, but Nog called out to them: Do not attack, my brothers. These have killed Narlath and all of your brothers, who attacked them, but they have spared me and all of our females and children. Surrender and they will let you live. Fight and you will die. The choice is yours.
Nog, speaking to the party: I told them you killed all the males and Narlath, and to surrender.
Bugbear, speaking to Nog: We surrender. Tell them we surrender, but why are you alive, Nog?
Nog: Because when they saw that I was a prisoner and they heard what I said, they trusted me. Now all you have to do is stop attacking people on the road and they’ll leave you alone.
Bugbear: We have no choice and you know that. We must attack people on the road. In exchange for that, we get to live here. You know this, so why don’t you tell them that?
Nog: I have, basically. They know why we attack the road, but now we won’t, in exchange for our lives. Now they have changed the rules and I am helping them, but now I see that I must stay here with you 5, for you cannot be trusted, but I cannot do this by myself. I should’ve known that they hadn’t killed all of you.
Nog told the party everything that was said.
Lettia: Tenneth and I need to tend to that man. Tell them to lay him down gently and back away.
This the bugbears did and Tenneth and Lettia healed him. Fortunately he was still somewhat conscious when they approached him, so after healing him with their herbs and salves and binding his wounds, they helped him drink a potion of healing.
Man: Thank you. My name is Mitch. You’ve saved my life. I was traveling with a small caravan to the Keep, when they attacked us. I tried to distract them, while everyone else fled. I thought I was quick enough to avoid them, but they caught me. Fortunately everyone else got away.
Lettia: Then you’re a hero, for you saved all of their lives. We will bring you to the Keep, and let everyone know what you did (she said, smiling).
Mitch: Thank you, but I’m just glad no one else was captured or killed.
Nog: I don’t know what to do now. They can’t be trusted, so I can’t leave them alone, but by myself I can’t do anything. They might even kill me, as they all despise me for rebelling.
Lightmane: Nog, translate for me. (Lightmane spoke to the bugbears) We are now going to enter the cave in the back and kill whatever is there. Will you be attacking people on the road again, or will you go in your cave and stay there with your females and children, who’s lives we spared, but we only spared all of their lives because of Nog here. It is because of him that they are all still alive. Therefore, you are in his debt. If anyone attacks anyone on the roads again, we will kill them. The choice is yours. You can live here and be free from those who command that you attack people, or you can keep serving them. If you continue to serve them, then you are our enemy and we will have no choice but to destroy you, just as we destroyed all the other males of your kind, including your chief, Narlath.
Jilgrath, speaking to Gluguk, quietly: I know you want to speak up now and tell them that you are the orc king and that they all must serve you now, but I’m asking you Gluguk to hold your tongue for now. We need these bugbears to submit to the party now. They will serve you later.
Gluguk accepted Jilgrath’s words: Very well. I will say nothing for now.
Bugbear: We will not attack anyone on the road again, unless we are ordered to, but only Narlath gave us orders, so if no one else does, we will only come out to hunt in the woods. No one on the roads will be attacked.
Jilgrath: Lightmane, may I speak to them?
Lightmane: Sure. Go ahead.
Jilgrath, with Nog translating: I am Jilgrath. I am a half-orc barbarian/necromancer. These people are now going to travel to a place that is a short distance from here. Then they will return, either later today or tomorrow. While they are gone, I will be in the orc cave with Gluguk here. He is the orc king. The other monsters here will all be going to their caves and you will leave them all alone. No one is allowed to fight with anyone anymore. Any who do will answer to me… and the orc king. As long as you do not attack anyone here, I and Gluguk will not attack you.
Bugbear: We understand. We will leave everyone alone. Thank you for not killing our females and children.
Jilgrath: You are welcome. Now go. We will speak to you again, when they have all returned.
The party then tried to tell the monsters, as best as they could, to go to their caves, but to not attack anyone on the roads ever again.
Nightwind: There’s kobolds in their cave, but there’s no goblins or hobgoblins or gnolls left, as far as we know, but maybe some fled and maybe they’ll all find each other. I guess we can’t worry about them now. It’s not like they’re in a position to attack anyone on the road right now anyway. Lets just go to the Keep and try to get back here in the morning.
All the monsters went to their caves and the party started heading back to the Keep…
Lettia: I cannot believe that we just left the bugbear cave and none of us were even knocked unconscious, let alone killed. We barely even took any damage. I’m just shocked.
Shinfia: Well, thanks to Jack, but yeah, I’m shocked regardless. How about that cool looking dragon statue. I wonder what it’s worth?
Jack: Well lets just all be grateful that we found a scroll with a fireball spell on it. Imagine being able to cast that every time I went to memorize my spells. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be that powerful. Well, I guess I just did kind of feel what it’s like, didn’t I (he said, laughing), but yeah, I wonder what that dragon statue is worth too.
Belfin: Hopefully a lot, but how about the fact that we now have a bugbear ally. So we have a kobold, an orc, a half-orc and now a bugbear who all want to be friends with us. It’s crazy. Then there’s those goblins. I forget her name. Kish?
Lettia: Yes, Kish. I swear, if they were around now, we could take them to the valley maybe. Then again, maybe they’re better where they are, wherever that is. Oh no, not this again. Why do I care again if they’re alive or not?
Nightwind: This will sound even stranger coming from me, but I hope they’re alive. I can’t believe I just said that, but I hope they are, because Kish actually cared about you. At least it seemed like she did.
Lettia: Well hearing you say it, Nightwind, makes me feel a little bit better about myself. It just feels so weird caring about a goblin and now a half-orc, an orc and now a bugbear? Yeah, this all sounds quite crazy.
Bartho: You all thought I was crazy to go adventuring by myself, but you all are the crazy ones, trying to work with all of these monsters. You’re nuts… all of you.
Lightmane: Perhaps. You might be right. Time will tell though. I think it’s at least worth a try to see if we can get them to all work together. That appears to be what Jilgrath wants to do. If it doesn’t work though, then yeah, we’re all just nuts.
The other rescued prisoners mostly agreed with Bartho, but Nog, Gluguk and Jilgrath made them consider the possibility… that they just might be wrong…