As the group approached the entrance to the Vargolg it appeared that the residents of the caves had decided to vacate. A large group was moving out to cross the river, including four prisoners.
Without most of the rest of the party even realizing it, the first to act was Lily who didn’t like the idea of prisoners or slaves. She didn’t immediately launch an attack but moved up 30’ to get to within 20’ of the prisoners. She hid behind a tree and got a closer look. She was ready to free anyone she could reach when things got crazy. She noticed that the prisoner’s hands and feet were not tied – clearly the goblins were more worried about speed than safety and the prisoners couldn’t walk quickly with bound feet and couldn’t carry goods with bound hands. So neither were bound. Two things seemed to keep them prisoner. First, there were goblin guards prodding them along with spears and second, for each of the prisoners those same guards held a rope tied around the prisoner’s neck. It wasn’t the most secure chain gang ever, but in the midst of a crowd of goblins it seemed to be effective enough.
Hornet moved quickly up and found a spot behind a tree from which to first a shot – but he held his shot to see what would happen with Soledad’s spell. Soledad also moved up a bit so that she could cast her hex on the goblins. She looked for a big group together near the front – a little ways into the water were 5 goblins and two gnolls – not the true vanguard, but the fighters leading the way before the prisoners. She was the first to launch an attack as her spell descended on the unsuspecting creatures. All five of the goblins with the gnolls suddenly stumbled and fell into the water. With hardly a sound they started to float/sink downstream. The two gnolls who had been with them looked around in bewilderment. Hornet, seeing all of those goblins go down fired a shot at the goblin that was furthest downstream – one of the leading scouts. The creature fell with an arrow through its throat before it even knew that an attack was underway.
Uthal had also moved up and sent a stone winging from his sling at the goblin holding the first prisoner. It hit the creature in the side of the head (-5hp) but did not take it down. It staggered and almost dropped the rope as it looked around for its attacker.
Perhaps the most eager of all of the party members at the sight of the prisoners was Tharoan who saw the last prisoner and thought it might be an elf. He moved up quickly to see more clearly and find a spot to both get a better view and from which to launch an attack to save the prisoner. He got about 20’ away and could see clearly. The man in front was dressed a bit nicer than the others and seemed angry. His nice clothes were torn, and he seemed to be trying to say something to his guard. The next two were dressed much more simply than the first and looked like peasants – they also looked a lot alike. The last was . . . not an elf. Clearly he had some elf blood, a half-elf perhaps, but not an elf and not the father Thaoran was so desperately looking for.
The dwarves, meanwhile, prepared for battle. Gerdar cast divine favor on his axe and moved forward. Dok also moved up while also faithfully maintaining his self-appointed task of making sure that the group was never attacked by surprise from the rear.
As the attack was launched the monsters didn’t seem to be exactly sure what to make of it. Most saw five goblins suddenly fall into the river and start to move down stream. Was that an attack? The one goblin hit by an arrow was forward and down-stream. One of the gnolls saw the arrow and gave the usual gnoll howl. But the other just looked at the goblins in confusion. The forward two goblins didn’t seem to even realize anything had happened until the gnoll howled. Those with the prisoners all reacted as if the group was under attack but didn’t seem to know where the attack had come from. (They didn’t see the arrow and didn’t see where the sling stone came from – and the falling goblins were unexplained.)
The goblins with the prisoners stopped and looked around bringing the procession to a halt. Meanwhile the two goblins carrying things bumped into them from the rear – unaware that anything had happened. Several others carrying heavy burdens followed who also pushed into those in front. When the gnoll howled they stared around in fear. A yell could be heard coming from the gulley as the marching line stacked up.
*5 sleeping goblins have begun to move downriver. The ford is shallow and so they haven’t moved that far yet – except for two that clearly got swept off of the shallower water of the ford and are moving down stream quickly.
*Currently in the river are two goblins about 60’ out. (They kept moving unaware of the problem.)
*Also in the river 30’ out are two gnolls.
*5 goblins guards surround the prisoners – one without a rope holding a prisoner. One is injured.
*4 goblins carrying goods have bumped up against them.
There is a lot of confusion amongst the goblins as they don’t really seem to know what has happened. But clearly they think they are under attack from somewhere.