[original from 2002]
Tuber and Thal learned that their “friends” from the Dwarven Mine Adventure were going to seek out a tomb of the Northmen where they hoped to find a magic robe. Tombs promised fighting the undead but Tuber and Thal, mostly Thal, decided that a trip to Redvale was preferable to traveling with Gasper’s cohorts. Travelers between Redvale and Iach Celduin were being attacked. What was attacking them was not known but they were horribly scratched or clawed.
Tuber and Thal traveled slowly for a day heading north but found nothing unusual. They camped for the night on the eastern side of the road opposite the woods. They made a fire, ate their rations, and Thal tranced (Elves trance instead of sleep) for four hours while Tuber kept watch. Thal took second watch while Tuber slept for six hours.
Towards dawn, Thal heard a sound like dry leaves rustling. It did not sound right to him so he woke Tuber up. The noise was getting louder and coming closer. They each grabbed a torch and their weapons.
Tuber’s eyes widened and his axe began to fall on the brush and brambles in front of him. The brambles were stretching out their vines and branches, trying to scratch them. Tuber’s axe did not seem to do any damage. The brambles scratched Thal and left some goop on him that burned and itched. Thal swung his sword and torch, managing to break a few branches and set the thing on fire. It stopped moving. Tuber was also scratched and got some goop on him. The brambles in front of Tuber attacked both of them and Tuber finally hit with his torch and the thing stopped moving.
Thal started grabbing the packs and bedrolls, while Tuber stomped on the fire they had started. “Thal help me put this fire out!” Tuber said. Thal reluctantly helped him, wanting to leave this area quickly. These attacking brambles were not a natural thing.
In the evening they reached Redvale. There was a large house with wares hanging and laying outside. So they chose to enquire within about the strange attacks. They knocked on the door. A woman’s face peeked out of the door. “Who are you?” she asked. “I am Thalimar Xilomar and this is Tuber my friend. We are here to investigate the strange attacks that have been occurring on the road.” She looked at him doubtfully but let them enter. Inside was a warm fire burning and a dinner laid out. A man was sitting at the table.
“Please join us. This is my wife Kerowyn and I am Hucrele.” he said. They ate and drank and talked long into the night. The kind people even invited them to stay in their home. Hucrele made a modest living selling wares. They told Tuber and Thal about people that had gone into the woods and disappeared. Four months ago Kerowyn’s nephews had even gone in the woods with some other young men from the town but disappeared. Ten years ago Goblins had started coming to the town with apples that when eaten had healing properties but some of the apples also brought on sickness. The Goblins told the towns people to plant the seeds. When the seedlings were a certain size they would disappear. The attacks had started at about the same time the Goblins had started coming to town.
The next morning they were brought before a large building to meet the mayor (Thane) of the town. He looked at them very disapprovingly. Geonnyn the Round, after much talk, finally took them to the trail where the goblins came from the woods. It looked very easy to follow. Kerowyn said,”My nephews wear signet rings, you should be able to recognize them.”
Tuber and Thal followed the trail for several miles. They came to an open area with few trees. They found many broken pillars with a serpent motif. There was also a deep ravine running north and south. The ravine was so deep they could not see the bottom, only inky blackness.
Thal went north to see if there was a way down. Thal had left his heavy 50’ rope in Iach Celduin. He found a rope hanging over into the ravine. Tuber climbed down first. When he reached the bottom he called up for Thal to follow. They stood on a ledge about 10’ wide. There were no opening in the cliff face. There was a fire pit and a pile of bones. Tuber went over to it while Thal searched the cliff face for secret doors. “Quick, Rats!” Tuber called. Since Thal was far away he used his bow. Two rats were facing Tuber but Thal had a clear shot at the third rat. It died from the arrow fired. Tuber quickly axed the two in front of him before Thal could get another shot off.
They walked further along the ledge and found a stair leading downward. They carefully descended. There were many switch backs along the way. They finally got to the bottom. They needed a torch because no sun light penetrated this deep and narrow ravine. They stood on a crumbly rock paved area. There were crenelated walls on the western side. They walked north until they saw a tall tower and in it a door.
CRUNCH, “Ahhhh” Tuber fell through the paving stones into a deep hole. Thal looked down. It wasn’t too deep and he could climb out. “Squeak, squeak, squeak,” Thal heard from behind. Thal turned to look. More rats. “Tuber hurry up there are more rats up here,” Thal said. Thal turned and shot an arrow at one killing it. Tuber was now by his side. The rats were upon them now. A rat bit Tuber and one bit Thal. Thal switched to his sword and dagger. Tuber swung and killed a rat. Thal manage to kill two more.
They continued toward the door being more careful. But as Tuber approached the door a gaping hole opened up. Barely managing to avoid falling in, Tuber stood on the edge. “More rats in this hole,” he said. Strangely running up the middle of this hole was a narrow bridge a half a foot wide. They managed to cross it and Thal listened for noise behind the door. Just silence. So they opened the unlocked door. Inside were goblin bodies all dead by violence.
There was a door to the left and one to the right. They chose to go through the door on the right. There were no sounds and the door was not locked. They entered a corridor. Half way down the corridor was a wooden door on the right and a stone door on the left. The locked stone door was decorated with a Sea Serpent and obviously needed a key to enter. This did not deter Tuber because he tried to smash it down with his axe. Luckily he did not break his axe on the door. They peeked in the door on the right but there was nothing but garbage. At the far end of the corridor was another door. They walked up to it and opened it. Inside this room was a cot with something sleeping in it. A cage with a huge hole in it. And Orcish writing on the walls that said,”There be dragons here.”
“Tuber, grab that sleeping guy.” Thal whispered. Tuber grabbed the sleeping form and held him. It was a goblin and he was awake now. They tied the goblin’s claws with strips from the blanket.
“What was in the cage?” Thal asked.
“What happened to it?”
“It was stolen by the Clan of the Red Fist.”
“Who is in charge here?”
“Queen Isdrail, the great goblin.”
“Take us to her.”
The little goblin led them northward up a corridor. It turned east, ahead of them, Thal could see two sets of glowing eyes.
“Meepo what are you doing?”
“I am taking these to the Queen,” he turned to Thal, “Queen be angry if she see Meepo tied.” Thal cut his bonds. Meepo led them into a great pillared hall, stretching to the north and south. He led them north to stand before the Queen on her throne. Adorning the throne was a large carved dragon.
“Queen Isdrail, are you the ones who go to the town every year with apples?” Thal asked bluntly in goblin.
“No we do not, it is the clan of the Redfist, insulant elf!” she replied.
Thal changed his tactics with her, “We have come to defeat the clan of the Redfist. It seems your are their enemy, if they steal from you, especially your prized possession the dragon!” She seemed to look at him in a new light. “This foolish elf can get my dragon or die in the process,” she thought to herself.
“Get my dragon and I will not kill you. Meepo will lead you.” she said.
Thal continued,”We will find the dragon. Can you give us manpower and anything else we may need?” She paused for a time, she did want the dragon back and maybe they could mete out more death upon the Redfist. She pointed at an Uruk Hai, a bowman, and two spearmen. She waved her claw at an attendant, who disappeared behind the thrown and returned with a flask. “This is a cure for diseases. Now go!”
Meepo led them south through the great hall. At the end was door to the west. A hallway leading east was heavily guarded with goblins facing east. “That is the main entrance to the Redfist. They attack often.” Meepo informed us.
Meepo lead them through the west door, the dragon chamber, a door to the south and into a hallway. At the end they finally came to a door leading east. Tuber immediately tried to knock it down. But nothing happened. Meepo grabbed the handle and slowly opened the door without effort. The room they entered was empty, messy, and grimey. Meepo approached the next door and Tuber followed. Tuber tried to smash it down but did not succeed. Meepo again effortlessly opened the door.
The room they entered had a dragon motif. The west wall had a dried up dragon fountain. The east wall had an ornate stone door with a skeletal dragon and Tengwar runes in black speech. This door intrigued Thal. Thal felt a cold evil feeling. Thal tried to open the door, heard a sound and jumped back. A blade had nearly cut him in half.
Meepo pointed to the door south. Tuber went to it and opened it slowly. They followed Tuber into the next passage, which was empty. To the west was a caved in passage. Meepo pointed to the south passage,”Trap set for Redfist.” To the east was another door. Thal asked the Uruk Hai,”How many Redfist are there?” “Thirty,” he replied. They went through the door and entered an empty room. On the floor were tiny rodent bones. There was a door to the south.
Tuber decided caution was in order for once. He listened at the door, heard nothing. He tried to open the door but it was locked. “Meepo, try to open this door,” Thal said. “You look sort.” “Meepo good, honest, but Meepo try.” He pulled some tiny bone like objects from his pocket and started working on the door. He turned to us. “Can not open door.” Tuber smashed it down. There was a sound of metal crashing. They hurriedly followed Tuber through the door. South of them was a half wall with four goblin archers behind it, clothed in red. Caltrops and chunks of metal riddled the floor.
Thal shot an arrow at the enemy but missed. The Redfist shot a flight of arrows into the party’s midst and missed. The Queen’s goblins boldly rushed forward to attack, an arrow shot, pearced the skull and killed a Redfist. The Redfist counter attacked and managed to kill a spearman. Tuber tried to enter the fray but there was not enough room in the hallway. The Queen’s goblins managed to kill three more on the next round.
The party climbed over the half wall into a filthy room with a firepit. There was a door leading north. The door was locked from their side but Tuber kicked the door down anyway.
“Take it easy on the door!” They heard in orcish from down a passageway.
The Uruk Hai picked up a bunch of caltrops and waved to his goblins to change into the Redfist clothes. Thal sneaked up the passageway to see ahead. There was a large room with a goblin playing dice at a table and there were three goblins on the north side of a half wall facing south, away. There was a door with a bar locking it on this side. Thal returned to the party and described the situation. They planned to approach the next set of goblins as if Thal were a prisoner. Thal’s hands are loosely tied and Tuber would have to throw Thal’s sword to him and Thal hid a dagger in his boot. Tuber would have to do all the talking.
The party entered the next room and the goblin at the table looked up,”Who are you what do you want.” The other goblins in front of the half wall turned to look at the group. The Uruk Hai immediately attacked the dice man. Tuber attacked the goblins at the half wall cutting one in half. The Uruk Hai grabbed the dice man by the throat and slammed him against the wall repeatedly. In the mean time, Thal loosened his ties, pulled the dagger and attacked a goblin near Tuber and killing it. Tuber finished off the last goblin. Four more goblins appeared and prepared themselves for battle behind the half wall.
Tuber brandished his throwing axe and let fly. Missed. Thal quickly switched to bow and arrow, let fly and killed a goblin. Tuber and Thal were attacked but the goblins missed. The Uruk Hai finished pulping the dice playing goblin and started directing his goblins to action. The bowman took a shot but missed. Tuber killed a goblin with his great axe and Thal killed another with his dagger. The last goblin ran away through a door leading east yelling “Intruders, Intruders!”
Behind them Meepo had released some of his clan from a holding cell. And abruptly left leading his clansmen back home. The rest of the party investigated the room but found nothing. They heard dwarven cursing from the holding cell. Thal investigated to find an obnoxious dwarf. When he saw the elf he started cursing. “Saved by an Elf?! What more could go wrong!” He was chained to the wall. The Uruk Hai had found keys which Thal used to release the dwarf. He was weak but looked well enough. “Who are you and how did you come to be here?” Thal asked. “I am Urki of Erebor. I was captured by these goblins while I was searching for the Bairnax Dragon Worshipers. I heard they had great treasure.” “You know nothing of the evil magic vines and plants that attack people?” “Yes I have overheard the goblins speaking of a sorcerer Belak that has a Gulthias tree from which apples grow and the seeds can be used to grow evil trees. Belak seems to live on the second level down.”
The party spent some time blocking the eastern door beyond the half wall and left the door to the south unblocked. Tuber gave the dwarf his throwing axe because the dwarf refused to use an orcish blade. The Uruk Hai placed caltrops on the floor in front of the doors. They prepared for battle behind the half wall. After another 15 minutes they heard smashing coming from behind the blocked eastern door. Eventually the door was smashed down.
Goblins poured through the wreckage. Thal shot an arrow killing the second goblin. The Queen’s goblin bowman missed with his shot. The enemy goblins seemed unaffected by the caltrops. Although the fourth one did curse. The party entered melee with the Redfist goblins and Thal managed to kill another using both sword and dagger. The enemy missed them all. Again Thal hit with dagger and killed one. The last one ran away.
The party heard a commotion from behind them. “We will be surrounded if we don’t move now,” Thal commented. They decided to quickly leave the area. Hoping to confuse the enemy. They ran south through a door into a hallway, across the hallway and through another unlocked door. They shut the door and locked it.
“A dead end” Thal said. There were no other doors in this room. Knock Knock Knock. “Hey you guys,” they heard. “Hello,” said Tuber. “Open up you guys.” “Is it Meepo?” Tuber asked. “Yeah.” Tuber opened the door and in rushed Meepo. “Why you guys run away from me,?” “We have to move out of here,” Thal said not answering the question.
They went east down a long corridor and at the end was a door. Thal approached and almost fell into a hole that opened up suddenly on either side. There was a foot wide stone bridge 10 feet long leading up to the door with pits on either side. Thal carefully approached the door. There were scraping noises coming from behind the door. It was locked. “Meepo pick this lock.” “Ok me try,” Meepo opened the door carefully and entered the room. “Dragon,” he whispered. They all entered the room, staring at the chained dragon. “Well, here is your dragon. I guess you will be going now,” Thal said.
The goblins were acting strangely. None of them approached the dragon. The dragon looked at them casually. It lifted the chain and started twirling it around its claw. The end was not attached to the wall. “Run!”
Thal dashed to a door in the north and kept running. The dragon chased them. They entered a huge pillared great hall. Thal ran east for quite a long way. There were goblins and Uruk Hai everywhere. One took a swipe at Thal but missed. They ran to the farthest door in the east wall and barged through. Closing the door behind, they paused. There were worker goblins resting and eating. There were three guards and an Uruk Hai. They were standing in front of a door set into a curved wall. That was the door Thal chose to go through. So the melee began.
Tuber killed the Uruk Hai in one strike. Urki, the dwarf, was hurt. Tuber turned to help Thal kill a goblin. One of the enemy killed a bowman. Tuber and Thal killed one each.
Urki ran into the next room, Thal rushed in after him. It was large and circular. There was huge goblin and a smaller one, a huge chest, and a large circular hole, from which a purple glow emminated. There were vines and fungi around the hole. Urki threw the axe at the huge goblin and missed.
As Tuber entered the room, the giant goblin jumped over the hole. The goblin attacked Thal, injuring him. Urki and Thal took swings at the goblin but missed. Tuber hit the big goblin so hard it staggered backwards and fell into the hole. The small goblin stared dazedly at the heroes. Thal grabbed his bow, shot the little orc, killing it. The Queen’s goblins were not with them. But they could hear orcs screaming from the room of goblin workers.
They quickly took stock of the situation. Tuber glanced into the room of workers and saw carnage. The doors were being watched by the Queen’s goblins and enemy goblins were trying to enter the room. Tuber, Thal and Urki heard noise coming from the door to the southwest of the circular room and guessed more orcs were coming. Urki, retrieved the throwing axe, and investigated the vines, determining them safe to climb down. So they did.