Part 2 of the adventures of Immerral, Quelek, and Stor.
The ambush had taken place a few hundred feet off the road--which wound through a forest named The Wall--in a grassy flower filled meadow a couple hours before Immerral awoke. The road eventually led to Farthenwall, the cumulative destination of the three companions.
Immerral's head was pounding, his heart straining, and his dignity waning. He saw Quelek twitching in his blurred vision and Stor lying motionless on the ground not far from him. Looking around he could see everything in their cart had been stolen. It seemed not even dust remained left. My arrow! Immerral screamed in his head. He stood up as fast as his body would allow and hobbled over to the cart frantically searching everything he could.
"No, no, no!" Immerral yelled allowed. He stammered around incoherently for a bit longer until he tripped causing the pain of all his injuries to begin to well up and overtake him.
Stor, who Immerral had tripped over, groaned and sat up. Despite the grievous wounds he had received he found himself miraculously feeling well rested and only slightly light headed. It's a wonder I'm not dead, Stor thought. Come to think of it, he continued, It's a wonder all of us aren't dead. He pondered that for a short moment until he became distracted by Immerral's moans and cries for help.
"My arrow! Where is it? Where did you put it, Stor? Why isn't it here?!" Immerral spoke with a worrisome voice.
"Your arrow? Well, elf, you had fired off a few here and there, but it looks like you've you got quite a few left in your quiver," Stor replied.
"Not those arrows! Are you an idiot?!"
A loud squawk suddenly echoed through the meadow. Quelek, who had been attacked just outside the tree line during the ambush, awoke in aguish. Two arrows still stuck out of him and he squirmed about rather humorously as he tried to remove them. The bird managed to get them free, while also bandaging up the small holes they left behind.
Quelek held up the arrows in triumph and called out to Immerral, "Is this what you are looking for, Lemmerick?"
Immerral turned his head toward the bird, at first with a twinkle of hope in his eye, but once he saw the bloodied and broken arrows the goblins in Quelek's talon's all his hope died and left behind a husk of sorrow and despair.
"No, Bird Person, that is not what I'm looking for. I'm trying to find my silver arrow. It's not an arrow that me or any goblin would use. It's a special arrow. I had it in my pack that was on the cart we were transporting."
"You weren't going to use it? What's the use of having an arrow you won't fire?" Quelek asked.
"It doesn't matter Bird, all that matters is that I need that arrow. We have to go after those goblins," Immerral stood quickly, but he faltered and fell to his knees.
"Elf, I am sorry to say this, but none of us are in any condition to track them down. We need rest, provisions, and to let our wounds heal. We can come back in a week when we are feeling well and are able to give those goblins what for!" Stor said with vigor.
"In a week those goblins could be anywhere. We have to go now, we've already lost enough time. I know they went into the tree line, deeper into the forest. I can track them from there. I need that arrow. I don't care if it kills me."
"Bird Person will go with you. I know how you like to have recon from the sky. I will fly above you and give you aid as you walk lonely on the ground," Quelek stood tall as he spoke and almost seemed majestic, albeit briefly.
Stor sighed and said, "If you both would desire to be so rash, I will go along. But only if you agree to make camp for the night and not set out until the morning. We need to at least rest up until then. It would not be wise to go after them in our condition, we would be walking into certain death."
"You speak wise words, Stor. So be it. We'll rest for the night. As soon as the sun rises we'll set out and follow the path of the goblins and find my arrow," Immerral responded with hope in his voice. He also stood, without faltering, and rose his blade to the sky and held the position.
"What are you doing Lemmerick? What are you pointing at? Do you see something?" Quelek inquired.
"What? No, nothing. I'm not doing anything. Don't worry about it," Immerral quickly sheathed his sword and sat in a fluster. Slightly embarrassed, Immerral could not shake the memories of a lonely childhood and sorrowful undertones.
The company of three had been traversing the dense foliage of the forest for several hours. Quelek had to refrain from flying overhead, as the canopy of the forest blocked any view he would have of what lie beneath. Occasionally he would go up to see that they were still traveling east, away from the road. About two hours after they had entered the thick of the forest it became apparent that Immerral--who had assured his companions he was the greatest of all elf-rangers--really had no idea how to "ranger," as Stor lightly put it.
As the evening approached the forest began to thin, and the canopy broke enough for Quelek to be able to discern more from his ascents above the trees. However, there still was nothing of pertinence he could report back to Immerral and Stor. The trees began to give way to large rocks and as they walked there seemed to be less and less evidence of goblin activity.
"Do you have any idea where we're going? Or even how to get back?" Stor asked Immerral.
"Yes, of course I do. Look here, this branch was broken. These footprints here are small and quick. There's only one set, but they're deep into the dirt. By that we can tell that either something really heavy has small feet, or a group of lighter things with similar sized feet are trying to hide their numbers," Immerral said pointing to a cracked stick and an impressed patch of dirt that vaguely resembled a foot print.
"Lemmerick, I do not think that is a footprint. It looks more to me like a hole in the dirt," Quelek added.
"My name is Immerral, stop calling me Lemmerick! I've spent years honing my tracking skills to earn the title of Ranger. I'm able to tell a footprint from a hole, Bird!" Immerral said angrily.
"Bird Person does not doubt your skills, Lemmerick, but if that is a footprint, why is there only one?"
"What? That's a stupid question Bird Person, that doesn't matter. What matters is that that is a footprint, not just a hole."
"I do no disrespect to your experience as a ranger, Elf," Stor began to speak carefully, "but I don't think we are making headway. I don't recall the goblins carrying any sort of provisions with them. They must not have travelled far. However, we have been on this path for almost the whole day with only this small, rather questionable, piece of evidence to show for it. I say we head back to the road get to town and inquire of the goblins whereabouts there. We can regroup and even find another to help..."
Stor was cut off as an arrow flew from the rocks to their left, barely missing his neck, and stuck into a nearby tree. Two goblins jumped in front of the company and another appeared behind them. Again, they found themselves surrounded and caught off guard.
Quelek took off to the sky in a haste amidst what seemed to him a torrent of arrows, which really was only one or two.
Immerral pulled out his bow and scoured the rocks on either side for the archers. He spotted a speck of putrid green and leapt in its direction, leaving Stor alone to face the three other goblins.
With sword in hand, and his armor polished, Stor readied his fighting stance. You may have gotten the best of me last time. But now I have the advantage, Stor thought. He stood, waiting in silence for the goblins to make the first move. As he waited for what seemed like an eternity a small bolt shot past his sword. Stor darted his eyes to find where it came from. He caught a glimpse of Quelek clumsily trying to reload a crossbow and fly simultaneously.
"Leave them to me, Bird. Do not risk yourself in this fight, fly away if you must. Come back to us later!" Stor yelled out.
"Yes, Bird, fly away!" one goblin sneered.
"Bird Person will not fly away. I will fight with my friends!" Quelek managed to load his crossbow and carefully, but rather precisely aimed toward the goblin that had mocked him. The bolt let loose from it's hold and soared in a blink straight into the back of the goblin's head, blood leaked from the wound and the goblin fell to the ground, dead.
Stor stood stunned and amazed that Quelek was able to pull off such an endeavor, however the astonishment was short lived as every bolt that was let loose after either missed horribly, or almost hit Stor.
The remaining two goblins charged at Stor with their short swords high, ready to strike him down. Stor side-stepped the first goblins strike and thrust his blade deep into the creatures abdomen, blood spilt down Stor's hilt and onto his hands. Letting the sword fall to the ground, still embedded into the dead goblin, Stor pulled out two hand axes from his belt and deflected an oncoming attack from the other goblin. It lunged at Stor, but he was able to grab the goblin and throw it aside, miraculously into the path of one of Quelek's stray bolts. The bolt sunk into the goblins chest, causing it to fall to his knees.
Immerral jumped back into the sight of Stor and Quelek covered in blood and dirt. He had found the archer and had wound up grappling it until he was able to drive a dagger into it's neck. The elf came out with a few small wounds, but otherwise the party had avoided any large injuries.
"There is one left! He is not dead," Quelek excitedly said holding up the head of the goblin he accidently shot.
"I will take care of this," Immerral said walking over to Quelek. He turned the goblin over and ripped the bolt out of its chest and stepped onto his wound screaming, "Where is my arrow?! I know you have it! Where did you take the shipment you stole from us?!"
"There is nothing, there is nothing! We was just sent here to stop intruders. You were intrudin' so we was to stop you," the goblin let out, screaming in pain afterward as Immerral pressed his foot into the bolt wound.
"That's not where my arrow is. Tell me where it is!" Immerral drew his rapier and pressed the point to the goblins throat drawing blood. The goblin writhed in pain.
"There might be a place. I don't know if it's there. It's just where we all go when the nights done. I ain't knowing if we have any arrows. I'll take you and you can see," the goblin let out in a hurried and panicked voice. Immerral relieved the pressure from its chest and lifted it up by it's shirt.
"If my arrow isn't there, we won't be too happy with you, or anyone else in your little place. Stor do you have any rope to tie up this disgusting thing?"
"Yes, I do actually," Stor responded. He pulled rope from his bag and held the goblin down as he tied together it's hands and made a leash of sorts to keep the goblin from running. "Take us there, goblin. Take us there and we'll let you go," Stor said to goblin, almost in an assuring tone.
"Yes, right, I'll take you's there. There isn't much there, just a few of me friends," the goblin replied wincing from pain.
The three companions began walking with the goblin to lead them. They kept his rope short and his mind in fear of them. They were led by the goblin for another two hours when they came up a small clearing with a thick wall of bushes blocking their path. To the left there was an opening and the babbling of running water could be hears, as well as the chatter of several goblin voices. Quelek perched in a tree with a view over the bushes and looked to the other side.
He relayed to Stor and Immerral that there was a large cave with a small river flowing out of it. On the side of the river opposite to them were just two goblins sitting around a fire, talking. As Quelek was speaking their captive goblin inched closer to Stor who held his rope. When the goblin was close enough he elbowed Stor in the groin and ran toward the opening in the bushes. He opened his mouth to scream, but before he could even move two steps or let out a sound an arrow pierced through the back of his neck. Blood filled the goblins mouth and he made a small gurgling sound as he fell to the ground with a small thud. The goblins on the other side of the river made no indication they were aware of the occurrence. Immerral lowered his bow and quietly collected his arrow from the dead goblin.
"You didn't have to kill him, Elf. He did what we wanted him to and kept his end of the deal. You could have honored yours, despite what he did," Stor said.
"No we couldn't keep our end. He's a goblin. They're just smaller Orcs. Untrustworthy and prone to betray at the first opportunity," Immerral responded.
"I don't disagree that he would have made it more difficult for us, but he wasn't even armed and he even had his back turned. There was no honor in that fight. You made him die in shame. How does that make you any different from what you think they are?"
"I'm different because they attacked us first and that's all I'm speaking of on the issue. Let's figure out how to get past these goblins quietly so we can see what's in that cave without causing too much trouble," Immerral scaled a nearby tree to try and get a better look as to what they were up against. After he was satisfied he climbed back down and followed Stor and Quelek as they looked for a place to camp.
Once they found a suitable place, they planned out their assault and replenished themselves after a long day of travel and fighting.