Still a little out of breath from combat, the ‘Stoppers quickly gather their strength near the waterfall entrance to the Kobold Lair before facing its inhabitants. By now the kobolds must have heard the fighting stop and prepared themselves for an unfavorable outcome.
The group decides that stealth is best and Carff, the specialist in all things sneaky, moves forward to scout. The other four ready their weapons and anxiously await the rogue’s report. Stepping up to the edge of the waterfall, Carff slowly peeks his head in through the crashing water. Through untimely buffoonery or sheer carelessness, the elf’s surprise question echos in the chamber behind the fall: “Hello? Is anyone there?”
A chorus of “Yaaaahhhhhhhh!!!” is the reply as kobolds charge his floating head with spears at the ready! Carff has only a moment to survey the room before seeing to his defense. Two Skirmishers direct a half-dozen minions from the rear of the chamber, but more kobolds are emerging from the adjoining caves. Their arrival was clearly expected.
Aeric’s keen insight clues him to the outcome of the blunder sooner than the rest and he moves forward through the waterfall with quick, graceful strides. Gathering his energy in preparation for a powerful arcane spell, he begins the somatic gestures and arcane phrases necessary for the spell the moment he appears on the inside of the waterfall. His confidence falters, however, when he sees the immediacy of the situation at hand. Not waiting for the melee ‘Stoppers to enter first, Aeric is faced head-on by the jabs of the kobold minions’ and skirmishers’ spears. Suddenly under duress he stumbles over the verbal component of his spell and the energy fizzles in his hands. Vulnerable and flanked in two feet of cave water, Aeric is stabbed repeatedly, his loose robes allowing him the agility to slightly lessen the depth of the wounds but doing little to prevent them. Gravely wounded, only sheer luck prevents his collapse on the battlefield when a few of the minions miss wildly on their attacks.
Not far behind Aeric, Likot rushes in to assist the vulnerable wizard. He shouts dwarven morale cheers that inspire Aeric to persevere for moments more, just long enough for his allies to come to his aid. Skitlezzz the Barbarian and Arjuhn the Paladin, along with the Warlord Likot, take up positions to deflect attacks while Artemis and Carff attack the enemy flanks. Now properly protected and able to concentrate on his spell, Aeric conjures a perfectly round orb of pure energy around the implement in his hands. He hurls it at a minion near the rear of the enemy line and it shatters on impact, killing the minion and sending shards of force in every direction.
Properly positioned, the ‘Stoppers are a formidable force, taking down kobold after kobold as the battle rages on. The weak minions fall first to the quick blows dealt by Carff and Artemis and the skirmishers are pummeled by the heavy weapons of Arjuhn, Likot, and Skitlezzz. Initially overwhelmed, the battle now begins to turn in their favor.
A harsh, bleating horn suddenly reverberates loudly from one of the nearby caverns, instantly turning the adventurers’ confidence to concern. Emerging behind the scurrying kobolds, a large, unusually burly goblin steps into the light. Battle scars nearly hide the great tattoo of a skeletal ram’s head, earlier identified by the group as the symbol of the demon prince Orcus. A ragged but sizeable wolf fur cloak covers his chain shirt and he wields a deadly looking battleaxe with both hands. “Irontooth!” a kobold shouts, simultaneously glad for his aid and afraid of his wrath. Irontooth smiles a goblinesque smile, the single tusk protruding from his lower lip giving it a sneering slant. Seing newfound fear in the adventurers’ eyes, he lets out a gruff scoff and rushes forward!
Two Dragonshields and a spellcasting Wyrmpriest march forward from the adjoining room as Irontooth begins his assault. Aeric, not intent on repeating his earlier mistake, stays behind the melee fighters and prepares an immobilizing spell to slow the kobolds enough for the group to deal with Irontooth. Irontooth is a formidable threat, attacking twice for every strike by his enemies. His vicious swings mercilessly cut through Likot’s armor and Skitlezzz’s griffon hide, gravely wounding them and anyone else who ventures close.
A battle of primal rage erupts between Irontooth and Skitlezzz as the encounter nears its end, both sides heavily injured and fading. While half the ‘Stoppers lay dying and the remaining kobolds begin to flee for their lives, the human barbarian and the burly goblin exchange blows and bellows, each seemingly numb to the incredible pain inflicted by the other. Blood crazed, Irontooth is caught unawares by devastating surprise attacks from the darkness. Carff melts from the shadows and stabs deftly into the fray, severing key arteries and tendons to slowly cripple the dangerous foe. Aeric also takes advantage of the flank and lands the final blow on Irontooth, stopping him mid-swing and sending him to his knees. He cries out “Kalarel and Lord Orcus, prepare my way!”, coughs blood, then falls to the ground, dead.
All enemies neutralized, the group opens the goblin’s chest of loot and collects their just reward for a difficult fight: a suit of dwarven chain mail and hundreds of gold pieces. The struggle saw most in the party wounded and all in the party exhausted. They’ll not soon forget this battle and its lessons, lest it be to their peril in future scenarios.
They reflect on their experience gained for just a moment, then press on.