We rested there in the secret passageway of the fallen castle’s basements there alongside Ech. The goblins that had holed there way inside this fortress were quite well-equipped and had proven more a match for us than we had ever anticipated, especially given the job description that Mr. Lodestone had given us. Nevertheless, as we rested from our injuries and nursed the headaches we’d gotten from the battles before, we conversed with Ech in order to clear up some of the fuzzier details of the story. We learned, much to our surprise, that we were currently stationed about a two- or three-day’s walk north of Sarra; I wasn’t all that overjoyed about that news, however; that placed us square within the Raglands, pretty much a black spot for all travelers in this day and age.
We discussed everything from Segozn to the Dark Wizard all the way to the man captured by the goblins and supposedly these “guard dragons” that enforced the continued digging within the Dig Room. Dragons? Feh. If all the rumors were true, it would be impossible to fit a true dragon within these narrow corridors. Then again, it was hard to know what was really true with dragons…
The Dig Room was sounding to be the likeliest place to begin our investigation, but before we did so, I insisted on taking a quick peek within Segozn‘s chamber to see if there might be anything of interest there within. Little did we suspect, given Ech’s description, that Segozn’s chamber and the barracks were actually one room! A simple, albeit thick (thankfully!) curtain separated the two, but still the call was much too close for our liking, and we decided to abandon that route for the time being. With that, we entered the Dig Room.
The Dig Room consisted of a series of platforms, which I assume to be all that is left of the rooms original floor, with ten foot trenches dug between them. Narrow wooden planks served as precarious bridges from one platform to another with a few ladders descending into the trenches.
Our entry into the room had as much stealth as a Wolfen hunting his prey at high noon. The goblins were alerted almost instantly; as much respect as I have for Jak, I suppose that’s what you would expect traveling with an eight-foot minotaur. We quickly discovered that these “green dragons” that bossed the goblins around weren’t dragons as I surmised but instead drakes, or at least that’s what I could gather from their foul tongue. Of course, they had their share of firebombs — the reason why we came there, after all — at their disposal, nailing us quickly with those. I valiantly stood my ground against the goblins while my friends took on the drakes, although I was consistently offbeat the entire time; I think being underground for all this time has gotten to me. Nevertheless, we made a cursory search and found quite a lot of nice rewards. Eight firebombs, a bit of gold, and a necklace with Bahamut’s image on it. I took it because I felt Avandra sending me a clear message. I pray that she does similarly for the rest of our merry guild soon.
With that taken care of, we distributed the firebombs and made way for the prison. Crow set about taking a peek into the room using his “Magic Hand” thing he talks about, but as we were preparing to storm their room directly, they heard the creeping noise of the eyeslit closing. Crow seemed to panic and remained in front of the door in order to attack, which put us on the early defensive as we tried valiantly to bash our way into the room where the hobogoblin jailer and his cronies had been playing cards moments before. The fight actually turned out to be mostly successful, and we ended up working well as a team. Our first few fights against these guys had been tough — MUCH tougher than any of our brawls at The Chicken had ever been; then again, those had always been against plastered fools. Yet we had finally learned how to take advantage of our relative strengths as well as how to leverage cover and tactics. Ultimately, we more or less handily won the fight.
After finding again more gold — all in the hands of the hobgoblin, who appeared to be winning — we came across the old man who had once been so foolish — as Ech said — to wander into this castle without any other allies. His name proved to be Harner Goss, and we decided to let him go, but also being cautious just in case he was more of a wildcard than we could expect. (Sometimes, I really wonder how paranoid my colleagues can be though; at first, one of them — Crow was it? — thought he’d run straight into the goblin barracks and rat us out!)
Nevertheless, after giving him some of our rations and water, we decided to take another rest, just in case the barracks turned out to be much worse than we feared. Well, that and the fact that we needed to get Harner out of there, partially for his own good, partially since he practically was refusing to answer any of our questions until we managed to escape the dungeon’s hold.
Deciding that it would continue to remain in Ech’s good graces, I deposited Harner with the others while I ran back to tell Ech of our victory over his hobgoblin nemesis. Of course, he had once again fallen back to sleep, clutched around that bottle. (Really? What IS so important about that? Perhaps one of our next mysteries to solve? After the barracks? I think I’m going to be convinced soon to pry.) Nevertheless, I left some gold for him and returned topside, only to see a poignant awkwardness within our camp. Crow, using his “Secret Whisper” spell (or whatever nonsense he calls it) filled me in of an all-but-failed diplomacy on Jak’s part to threaten Harner. I look at the three of my colleagues with a slight shake of my head before wordlessly going to sleep.
I figure that tomorrow is always another day.
Maybe we’ll be able to finish off quest before we spend too much more time here. Ultimately, we still have to return and give our report to the League of the Western Fall, and I’m hoping that Harner isn’t too good of friends with them; this red armband is kind of growing on me.