The trip back to Borston was very somber. Bosco had fallen. Upon our arrival, I had the High Priest cast a speak with dead spell onto Bosco’s corpse. Bosco refused resurrection because he claimed to be very happy in the after life. He liked that his death truly lived up to his title of “the Brave”. And Bosco most certainly did as his sacrifice meant that Maximo would live. A memorial shall be erected in memory of Bosco’s noble selflessness.
Our rest was very short. In order to fully make safe New Hope we had to continue surveying and securing the surrounding areas. Poog and Maximo decided that they would sit this one out. Bosco’s death may have affected them more than I realized. But Poog recommended one of his rangers – a fellow named Enesto. Enesto is very capable with the bow. Poog also introduced a new goblin, who turned out to be an alchemist by trade. Mustafa decided he wanted to join as well. The next day, the four of us set off.
The next few days we encountered a creature called a Hodag in its lair. We made short work of it. We continued westward and were met by a Druid. He wanted to join our excursion and we saw no harm in bringing him along. Further encounters included a herd of elk (it was decided that we would hunt one for food) and a Hill Giant. The Hill Giant was out of place here and sensing that it was evil, I took immediate action to attack. It could be a scout for a larger group of Hill Giants. No sooner had I unsheathed my sword that my allies sprang into action and made quick work of the Hill Giant, Enesto’s arrows striking with deadly accuracy, and the goblin alchemist and the druid lobbing deadly potions and spells from afar.
As we continued exploring the Southeast, Poog came upon us with dire news. Borston had been attacked! Rushing back with full speed, we learned that an owlbear had destroyed the barracks and the tavern. Taking the night to rest and resupply, we made our way back south in search of this owlbear. It must have been a very large owlbear to be able to do such damage to city and with no soldiers able to stop it.
We came upon the owlbear’s lair the next day. As Enesto and I set about laying a trap at the entrance to the owlbear’s cave, Mustafa decided to explore a secret back entrance on his own. This proved to be unwise as Enesto ultimately had to rescue him. Mustafa had been strangled. And he had only been gone for not even a minute! I quickly healed him and we proceeded to finish the trap. It took a good bit to provoke the owlbear out of its lair, but it eventually showed itself. And it was a HUGE owlbear.
We had never seen or heard anything like it. And its bite was far worse than its hoot. It knocked me unconscious and dying in a matter of seconds. Fortunately, I woke, but with very severe injuries. As I came to, I was relieved to see that my companions had defeated this unusually large owlbear. And there was a strange eagle that made crow sounds that kept close to us. I later learned it was the druid in his animal form. I also learned that Mustafa fell in the battle with owlbear and he was beyond coming back, outside of powerful resurrection spells, which we did not have at our current disposal.
Exploring the inside of the cave itself we came across the rest of its dangerous inhabitants. From moving mushroom people to giant spiders to a shambling mound that served host to a swarm of centipedes… We had our work cut out for us in clearing this lair. The spiders were easily defeated by setting fire to their webs. Chasing the spiders as the fled the fire, we came across what was clearly the grim scene of a mother owlbear protecting three of her young from a band of five or six bandits. Of the three owlbear young, only one seemed to have survived. And it was in pretty bad shape.
I healed and fed the owlbear with what I could and carried it along. This proved to be fatal as the shambling mound’s centipede swarm crawled all over me, with the centipedes biting and stinging at me all the while the mound kept hugging me, trying to crush the life out of me. I managed to shake off the venom of the centipedes, but the owlbear young did not.
The cave finally cleared and the owlbear defeated, we made our way back to Borston with our loot and one less party member. But since we had secured the kingdom of New Hope from any further damage from the giant owlbear, our kingdom enjoyed increased prosperity (+ 4 Economy, + 4 Loyalty, + 4 Stability)!
The people shall know that if it is very safe from attacks of any sort as long as I am its ruler. And I could not do it without having surrounded myself with very capable advisors and generals. Things are coming together for New Hope. And we will recover from this attack. We will rebuild that which we’ve lost, and continue to add more.