Ygnas approached the burning tree portal and tried to speak with the fiery beings surrounding it. She didn’t say what they talked about, but the creatures seemed to respect the holy symbol of Zuul she presented and when we left the area, the fire was spreading to the northwest. The next day brought rain, and Ygnas seemed disappointed.
We arrived at the caves of chaos and investigated the entrance where other members of the Glorious Blades had previously encountered goblins and ogres. The cave system was almost empty; no ogres, their cave clearly abandoned, and only four goblins. Those four were evasive and sneaky, preferring to attack from just outside the torchlight and then flee. We chased them throughout the complex, in the process exploring more of the place, and found a larder to the west. We killed a goblin there, and shortly afterwards met hairy, red-furred creatures who emerged from a secret door. I’m no beastiary sage, but I would guess bugbears. They seemed amenable to peaceful conversation and offered to pay us for exterminating the goblin vermin. It wasn’t much – 6 gold – but it was something we were doing anyway and getting paid more wasn’t bad.
We found them and killed them, mostly by throwing things, and collected from the bugbears. They told us not to come back.
I kept thinking this empty level would make an excellent place to fortify as stock up so that we can explore without constant trips back to town and paying for rations. We take over the ogre cave, build a door over the entrance, close off the other entrances to this section with a hired stonemason. Bern, u-Heury, and maybe some hired help can hunt for enough food to stockpile and preserve. Then we bring a few hirelings and methodically clean up the first floor, build a door to block off the second floor unless we want to go exploring.
Oh, yes, we found a staircase leading upwards. Didn’t explore that yet.
We haven’t found anything worth going home to sell, so tomorrow we discuss whether to go up or try one of the other caves at the low level.
Feverborne crept back down from the top of the hill and said there was a fiery portal in a tree and fire elementals torching everything in sight. I had to see! I shed my armor and snuck up to the top and peeked over. Well, I would have snuck, except Barbarian Boy followed me and he fell into a bush, making a huge noise. The fire elementals looked at me, saw my holy symbol, and one approached. I stood up and did not back down. The other two elementals kept burning. The lead one motioned to the portal and said something but I couldn’t understand. It was the language of fire. It was so beautiful. I told it that Zuul said I wasn’t ready to go through the portal. It was the same tree that was struck my lightning before that I had the premonition would turn into a portal. And it did. The lead elemental moved in all directions and looked at me questioningly. Eventually I figured out it wanted to know what direction to burn. I thought for a bit and told it to go northwest, in the hopes they would burn out the corruption in the red trees that way. It came up very close to me. I burned, but I stood firm. It tried to tell me something, but I still didn’t understand no matter how hard I tried. I must learn their language as soon as possible. All three elementals started burning towards the northwest. I felt honored, to have been asked for the direction of this demonstration of Zuul’s power.
I grabbed the kid, still on his butt in the bushes, staring wide-eyed at the elementals. I got my armor back on and we started on our way to the caves again. I was singed outside, but the real fire was inside. Once we reached the caves, I showed my companions the rough map from my last visit, and explained what was in the few caves I had been in. They opted to go visit the goblins. The goblin cave was oddly empty. No goblins, no belongings. We searched one entire side until we came to stairs. Stairs in a cave seemed like a novelty we would want to explore, but no, Feverborne wanted to search the rest of the cave on the lower level first. And just past where we fought the goblins last time, we finally found goblins. Nasty things shot at us from outside our torchlight. Cowards. We got one, then went after the other three that fled. In doing so, we found a large room piled with bags and crates and all sorts of food items. We would have happily plundered that, but some big hairy red creatures came through a hidden door. There were four of them, they were big, and they were armed and unfriendly. We made a deal with them to kill the remaining goblins in return for a small bounty of 6 gold. It was a crappy deal, but better then having to fight them right then.
After getting sniped some more by the remaining goblins, we chased them down. One of them tried to climb a wall and hide. Ugh. I hate goblins almost as much as kobolds. We got the last one in the larder room. Well, actually it killed itself by falling off the top of the pile, but we didn’t tell the hairy red things that. Got our gold and retreated out of their territory to decide what to do. Feverborne and the kid are probably going to explore what’s up the stairs next. I think I’m going to head back to town and find some way to learn fire language. I’ll send someone to assist them. I can’t wait. I hear that beautiful language in my dreams. It’s all I think about. I have to go.