NOTE: The previous defender, a human battlemind named Abel, has been replaced with a female breelan warden by the name of Kesriel.
After leaving their goblin guide, Ras, the party continues eastward to the ruins known to the goblins as hedra-inktu (land’s breath). They arrive in the northwest corner of the ancient city, and begin a deliberate, systematic search. The buildings along the outskirts of the city are nearly completely obliterated, but the buildings further within the ancient civilization are in somewhat better shape. Ther are still a number of standing walls, or at least portions of walls, and a few of the buildings still possess an upper floor which haven’t collapsed with the passage of time. They find nothing of interest or value, however, as this section of the city seemed to have been picked over thoroughly by the goblins.
Each party member makes an appreciable contribution to the effort, whether it be navigating the ruins, avoiding encounters with goblin sentries, or clearing rubble to aid their search. Eventually, however, as they near the center of the ancient city, an area housing the goblin encampment, they draw the notice of a patrol, which sound an alarm before closing in. The members of the party take no offensive action, instead opting to parlay with the diminutive humanoids, and learning that the entirety of the ruins, and anything to be found in them, belongs to Skrignak. Other goblins soon arrive, and the party is encouraged, by word and spear, to march toward the center of the city, to the largest building in sight.
Numerous goblin children shadow the goblin captors as they lead the party to a hobgoblin, who briefly questions the party before ordering them placed in an improvised cell, the cellar of a building with a latticework of saplings secured over the stairwell. There they are told to surrender their armor and weapons, and they are reluctant to do so. Several goblin spellcasters descend the stairs and work their magics, leaving each character feeling a prickly sensation on their skin and a knowledge that if they move from their current locations, they will suffer physical damage. The cell’s only other inhabitant, a hin male, suggests that the characters might do well to comply. Eventually, they do surrender their weapons and armor.
They learn that the hin’s name is Pellin, and that hye was captures in an area of the ruins yet untouched by the goblins. An unfortunate collapse occured when he and his party were exploring an underground area, killing one of his companions and seriously wounding another, which happened to be his cousin. A large goblin patrol came to investigate the disturbance and came upon them when they were tending to the fallen. Apparently influenced by the gasses which emanate from the ground in places, their fighter foolishly rushed the goblins, and was killed in the subsequent battle. Another of his party, a male human, ran away, terrified. Pellin had been a captive for about a week, and had learned nothing of his cousin, who was also taken.
For three days, the characters were held in the cell. On the second, the hobgoblin came to the barred opening, accompanied by an agitated goblin which Pelling identified as a Hand of Maglubiyet, and an old, blind goblin shaman. Pellin spoke little goblin, but was able to infer that the Hand of Maglubiyet was advocating death for the prisoners, while the shaman mentioned his visions, in which an outsider would be key to Skrignak’s ultimate victory. Since it was unknown who the outsider might be, he suggested the release of all of the prisoners. Skrignak, the goblin commander, was away at the goblin enclave of Mah-Luk-Tor, and it seemed the decision fell to the hobgoblin, who must be his lieutenant.
The following morning, the lattice was pulled aside and the prisoners ordered to come up. Their possessions were on the ground, and the hobgoblin told them to gether their things and leave, much to the obvious displeasure of the Hand of Maglubiyet. The bard tried to strike deal which would allow them to search the untouched southern end of the ruins for the goblins, but that idea was rejected, the hobgoblin saying that the Nightling’s sweep of the ruins would continue upon Skrignak’s return. Asking about Pellin’s cousin, they learned that he had died of his injuries and that the corpse had been disposed by the goblins.
Parting ways with Pellin, the adventurers leave the city, heading the way they came, but circle around to the southern section in order to fulfill their duty to Irongate and search what area they could. Half a day was spent searching, with a great deal of effort required to clear the rubble. Unexpectedly, they came across a pair of ankheg who were excavating a new nest, and the party faced it’s toughest challenge to this point. After the battle, it was discovered that the female ankheg was gravid, and Elhara deduced that, given this, and the fact that it was springtime, the female was constructing a burrow in which to lay her eggs.
A search of the lair produced the corpse of a human male, mostly eaten and damaged by acid, whom they guessed was Pellin’s panicked comrade.