After Elzeny and I spied upon the imposing armored Goblin, I knew that it would come to battle between us before our quest was finished. And sure enough, once the castle’s wights were deposed by us, the battle was joined.
The fool may have had token assistance, and his might was certainly great, but he was no match for our tactics. After dragging him into the frigid poles kept here, I saw to it (with the help of our wildling) that the goblin was divested of his pride and his healing potion. No such base trickery from him! I decided that the battle had gone on long enough and ended the encounter by smashing my shadowed hand into his face with the rage I felt from being unable to save the witless citizens we’d sworn to protect. I felt no kinship to these humans, but I swore once upon a time that I’d never let any victims of abduction suffer such a fate and my inability to satisfy that infuriates me. Somehow, I was able to restrain my fury and keep from killing the goblin captain, but only in the hopes of attaining answers. I retrieved the gauntlets for the Hall of Valor and took the chain for myself. The arts are my calling, but I cannot deny a certain fondness for the more personal approach to dealing damage.
I did my level best to keep the goblin alive for questioning, even calling upon the powers of my helmet to aid in my healing abilities, but to no avail. It was not lost on me that my dear friend Mialee refused to assist me, but I can profess no true regret that he was not saved. I take pride in his defeat, and our mission was soon completed in any event. My oath-brother Dak found a note on the corpse, suggesting that this foe was sent as an advance agent of the Ruby Ravens. All tell of this organization from our prior exploits in the town suggest that they may be quite dangerous, but who knows for sure how long their shadow may yet be? We should tread carefully.
Sadly, the last remaining villager was found dead. Her end was a sad one: lingering and alone. I swear that no such failure will befall us again. After gathering the others, we departed for town. Upon our return, I decided that the so-called witch knew more than she was letting on, but there was a certain steel in her and she would not budge. It may very well be that there is much she doesn’t know, but I will return alone and raze her house to the ground should the truth prove otherwise.
While waiting for our audience with the councilman, Dak and I sought suitable gifts for the would-be young warrior we rescued among the former hostages. During our return to the small town, I gifted the youngster with some gold, and Dak instilled in him the value of a polearm. Seeking to make good on this, we made our way to the markets to find the youngster a halberd of his own. I did my best to haggle with the shopkeepers, but some unseen… something interfered with my ability to convince them. Foul play, perhaps? It matters not, for though we couldn’t secure the discount, the halberd was purchased. It felt good to help the youngster. It reminded me of the long-ago days back home. The village at large would be his home, the denizens of the place his new, expanded family. In safe hands, we left him with more hope in our hearts.
After a less-than-productive meeting with the councilman (where I tried to convince him that a band of adventurers at his beck and call would be worth more treasure,) we responded to El Eloron’s sending that told of danger back at the headquarters of the Shield. The Deva’s dalliance must have proved rather fruitful, because his paramour managed to secure us three free horses somehow. That one is strange, but his methods outside of the battlefield often prove to be quite heroic.
We rode back at all speed to find the place in shambles, a huge unidentified artifact casting a magical field of some sort that we were unable to penetrate. El Eloron informed us that an artifact we recovered from our first mission into the woods was more than they first realized, and its effects on the various agents of the Shield was a rather controlling one. As such, we were among the only remaining untainted agents and entrusted with more information on various quests the Shield had been investigating. I am sure that there was much information imparted to us by El Eloron, but all connection to the world was lost in a white-hot rage to me when he spoke of the White Dragon kidnappings. By the barest effort was I able to restrain myself from attacking the old elf for holding this information back, but so too did I very nearly break ranks to seek and settle this old score alone. This wound cuts very deeply and the attempts of the others to reason with me fell on deaf ears. My oath-brother swore an oath twin to the one I swore him to stand alongside me in this thing. The others offered their assent and help, but the blood oath… blood oaths matter to my people. With this, I may not live to see many days beyond the fulfillment of these promises, but I will see our vengeance exacted. May all others pale in fear at my unbridled impatience until these deeds are done!