Orren and Eldon were currently hiding in the thick brush of the woods trying to ensure that they were not noticed by the group of kobolds patrolling ahead. A short time ago Orla had informed them of the presence of the kobold lair and of the group of 6 kobolds guarding the entrance. To Orren’s credit, he didn’t immediately run ahead and get himself into trouble. Instead the three of them decided on a course of action that would hopefully avoid any unnecessary risk.
While Orren and Eldon kept their distance, Orla had gone up ahead to prepare traps to help catch some of the kobolds in. She had always enjoyed tinkering, she took after her father in that regard, and she was able to fashion a few traps from the material she had brought and what she was able to scavenge. Once the traps were set, the plan was to have Orren behave much as he had the day before; however, he would let the kobolds run to him instead of rushing in. While Orla had devised the plan, Orren seemed to like the idea of standing in front of a group of kobolds and yelling at them. Eldon would have been more worried that some of them would withdraw and bring reinforcements. In general, kobolds were fairly intelligent and could use battle tactics efficiently.
However, in his travels, Eldon had seen that even if someone was actively engaged with a kobold, the kobold would immediately lose interest in anything other than trying to kill Eldon. The first time this happened, the ferocity of it caught him off guard and he ran away trying to get his companions to help. They instead watched and laughed as the kobold chased him, until finally Nissa had put a crossbow bolt in the kobold. After this, he would commonly use the fact that kobolds so vehemently hated gnomes to place them in compromising positions. As such, he knew that at the sight of his son, the kobolds would lose use of there logical faculties and rush headlong into whatever awaited them.
Orla suddenly appeared next to the other two and said “Alright, the traps are set, I’ll wait in the brush over there,” Orla pointed ahead, “so that I can attack the ones that get caught in the trap. There are six of them, and only four traps, so you may have to hold off a few Orren.” Orren nodded at this, seeming pleased by the prospect. “Give me two minutes to get set, then go make a bunch of noise.”
“If you can, leave one of the trapped ones alive. It may not bear fruit, but I would like to question one if I can.” Eldon said to Orla. She looked weary of the prospect of leaving one alive, but nodded and made her way off ahead. As she disappeared in the brush ahead, Eldon turned to Orren and said, “You’re up.”
At this Orren moved up to the predetermined location so that he was fully visible to the gaurds. “Hey! You short little ugly filthy things, I was looking for a dragon, or at least something that actually has dragon blood. Have you seen anyone?” The response was immediate, and the kobolds came rushing toward him intent on tearing the gnome to pieces. All except one. Eldon watched as one kobold stood in place a moment and began to make toward entrance of the lair. However, the temptation to kill a gnome overtook him, and he joined the others as they rushed toward Orren.
As they rushed in, there was suddenly a woosh as a dagger attached to the end of a branch swung forward and hit a kobold in the face causing him to fall over dead. This was shortly followed by a crunch and one of the kobolds fell forward. It was clear his leg had gotten caught in a bear trap. After this the other kobolds stammered just a bit, but quickly went back to their charge. Then, a blast of flame came out of the ground burning a kobold. He stumbled but still lived, as he began to move forward, he suddenly fell over lifeless.
“That’s where that scroll of burning hands went off to,” Eldon thought as he recalled that he couldn’t find it the last time he was trying to work on scrolls with a student.
The first of the remaining kobolds had reached Orren, but Orren had been acutely ready and drove both his shortswords through the chest of the kobold. He then kicked the body back off the swords as the next approached him. This kobold lunged at Orren, claws outstretched as he attempted to maul Orren’s face. Orren swung at the kobold, leaving the claws barely attached to the kobold. Despite the injury, the kobold then attempted to bite Orren. While Orren was able to finish this kobold off, this had allowed the last kobold to flank him and hit him in the side with a dagger.
While the full plate blunted the blow, the blade found a joint at the hip and was able to dig into flesh. Orren spun to face his attacker, but all he saw was his sister smiling at him with a bloody dagger in her hand. He looked down and saw the dead body of his attacker, he looked back toward the last living kobold to make sure he was still trapped. As he did so, he heard, “Yeah I would’ve been here in time to stop the one that stabbed you, but that one tried to cut his own leg off so he could keep coming at you. Dad had asked for him alive, so I stuck a dagger in his other knee to keep him from getting far.”
At this, Orren, noticed the last kobold. He was indeed trying to pull himself toward the two gnomes in order to get another chance at attacking them. Orren and Orla made their way over and each stepped on one of the hands of the kobold finally immobilizing him. Eldon finally walked out of the brush and up to the three. He whispered in Orla’s ear, and she proceeded to talk to the kobold.
“Here’s the deal, we’re looking for a book that was stolen from a student. Do you happen to know what I’m talking about,” Orla said.
“HISS, I’ll kill you, you wretched gnome,”
“That’s not very helpful.” Orla bent over a little and said, “Shape your in, you’ve got no chance. If you don’t know where the book is, we’ll just kill you and go home. On the other hand, if you tell us where its at, we’ll have to go find it. We will therefore run into the rest of your pack who will all then have the opportunity to kill us. So choice is yours, tell us so your brethren get a chance to kill us, or keep hissing at me and I’ll go home.”
At this, the kobold stopped trying to free himself and seemed to contemplate the proposition. He then said, “If you let me live, I can show you the way to the book.”
She looked at him, “How can I be sure you know where the book is and that you just aren’t leading us to your friends with no prospect of getting what we want? Can you tell me the name of the book, or describe it someway?”
The kobold looked a bit flustered, but said, “I don’t know the specific book you are looking for, but Master has had us collecting all types of books. There is a whole collection of these books near his room in the lair. I’m sure it will be here.”
Eldon then spoke up, “Who is this Master?” To which the kobold only said, “He is the master.” He then said, “Do we have a deal?” To this, Eldon rammed his quarstaff into the kobolds face and crushed his skull in.
“He was our prisoner! You can’t just kill him!” Orren said to his father. While his words were stern and strong, he had kept his voice down so that he wouldn’t alert anyone else to their presence.
“He had told us everything of value he had. Anything else would have been meant to lead us astray. I also had no intention of taking him along to try to stab us in the back the whole time, while slowing us down due to his inability to walk.” Orren still looked shocked from the site he had witnessed, but Orla behaved as if she had expected nothing else. The hardness in Orla’s eyes actually surprised Eldon, he hadn’t expected much of a reaction, but it wasn’t often someone seemed so comfortable with what had been done without having spent a significant amount of time adventuring.
“Come along, there will likely be side passages that will lead to less confrontation, but this Master worries me and I’d like to make some haste toward finding these texts the kobold mentioned.” The three walked forward into the kobolds’ lair. Up to this point, Eldon had been sure his children could handle whatever they ran into. However, the thought that someone was leading the kobolds and instructing them to take arcane texts made him worry that this adventure may not be as easy as he thought it would be.
This is the fifth installment of this series. You can read the previous installments; First day of training, Nissa and the magic lute, Experiential Learning-A special battle assignment., and Kobold Scouts. Furthermore, you can also view pictures of the miniature representations of the Woschren Family.