The rain continued. As everyone was catching their breath from the fight at the guardhouse, the goblins in the watchtower shouted the alarm, “Humies!” Everyone positioned themselves, made sure they had their preferred weapon, and waited for the fallout from the alarm.
Six round shapes, all mouths and legs, burst out of the barn on the other end of the farmyard. These odd creatures leaped in random directions, dragging goblins bound to their legs by leashes. The goblins uncertainly herded the squibs in the general direction of the gatehouse. None of the party gave up their entrenched positions near the gatehouse.
Behind the squibs, 30 more goblins poured out of the barn. They tentatively followed the squibs across the yard, trying to see where they were going and trying to shield their eyes from the “brightness” of day. They did not hurry across the yard. Nim fired and arrow and missed a jumping squig. Zarkon shot another with his new Shooting Star spell. The rest of the party still did not move.
The first of the squigs hit the party line, three hopping into the livestock pens. Melee ensued. Rolf stepped out of his hiding nook for a surprise attack. Nim kept shooting arrows. In the pens, Kraft faced a squig alone. Cows and sheep were making all kinds of horrible noises. The goblins advanced. Hektor decided to let the livestock loose to create chaos with the timid goblins.
As the goblin mob reached the corner of the stables, a ravenous roar belched from the far end of the farmhouse. The troll had heard the sounds of frightened, screaming, dying livestock, and it couldn’t contain itself any longer. The goblins stopped advancing and turned around. Zarkon dropped a fireball in the middle of the front line. Nim shot the troll in the face with an arrow. Caius and Rolf continued fighting squibs.
The troll hopped out of the house, grabbed a fleeing goblin, and started eating. Zarkon blew up a fireball in the troll’s face. The troll got extremely angry and charged the wizard. Caius finished off the squibs in front of him. Goblins crawled the palisade walls to escape farmyard. Rolfe attacked some of the fleeing goblins. Kraft held off a squib in the livestock pen.
Yet another goblin threw open the shutters to an upstairs farmhouse window. One shutter bounced off the house and back into its face. It shoved the shutter back open, yelling “No, no, NO!” Then it started casting a spell. Whatever the creature was standing on moved unsteady under its feet.
Caius was in between the troll and the wizard. He attacked with Lothar’s magical sword. The sword opened a grisly wound in the troll’s leg, stopping it in its tracks. Nim shot another arrow into the angry troll’s face. Rolf turned from cutting down a goblin to charge the troll from its flank. Zarkon cast a spell just before the goblin shaman finished, blasting a fireball into the room just behind the shaman.
Rolf scored a devastating hit the cut the troll neatly in half. Acid sprayed from where he cut the in the side, through the front and out the other side. It was only by the hand of fate that he kept from getting covered in acid himself.
Caius was also, miraculously, able to dodge the acid spray from the troll’s gut.
The goblin shaman flew out of the window, landing charred and unmoving in a pile of dung in the yard. Its blue, pointy hat landed in the pile a few seconds after the body. There was an odd quiet in the yard as livestock slowly stopped running around in distress. Kraft pulled her axe out of the last squib’s body. Hektor, after having let all the livestock out of the 3 pens, kicked the ladder down from the watchtower, effectively trapping the last known goblins.
It was time to search the farm.
Rolf started in the smithy. It was a small, single-storey stone building with a slate roof and chimney. The forge was cold. Badly burned goblin corpses lied among the ashes. Beside the forge was a bellows and a woodpile. Blacksmith’s tools hung from the walls. A half-made horseshoe rested on the anvil, and a hefty blood-spattered hammer on the floor.
A door at the side of the smithy led to a small room with a narrow bed. There was a lamp on the bedside table and a large chest upturned on the floor with breeches and shirts scattered everywhere. Rolf looked under the bed to see a set of brilliant blue human eyes looking back at him. It was a six-year-old girl, very thin, disheveled golden braids, with a green dress caked in mud. When he got her to talk, he found that she went by the name Flea, and she was the only family member left alive from the farm.
Zarkon headed into the farmhouse. The living room was a large room with a dining room table and chairs, an oak dresser, and a fireplace. Above the fireplace hung a sword inscribed with a single word on its pommel…in a language he didn’t read. He left the sword alone.
Upstairs, Zarkon found a bedroom with children’s clothes and food scraps scattered about. A large toy bear sat in a corner, surrounded by rag dolls. There was an empty birdcage near the open window on the south wall. The stink of burnt goblin filled the room, and there were two charred goblin bodies on the floor. Leaning against the wall under the window was a piece of the mapstone, glowing blue under his magical sight.
Hektor found two drunk goblins in the basement. They were taken care of decisively.
The party sized up the farm, and thought about using it as a base of operations. Then they packed up their stuff and headed back to the Ackerland farm. On the way out, Zarkon grabbed the goblin shaman’s pointy had, and the headband with the small glowy stone the creature had been wearing around its forehead. The larger stone was transported via cart they had found outside the smithy.
At the Ackerland farm, the party was greeted as heroes. Kraft led some of the farmhands back to the farm in the mountains to retrieve lost livestock. Flea started calling the party uncles and aunty.
Back in Stormdorf the party was again greeted as heroes. Before they could bask in their status, Nim recommended getting rid of the stone.
The burgomeister looked much more dignified than when they last saw him. He was clean-shaven, hair neat, and attire pristine. He held himself with pride, and had an authoritative gleam in his eye. His office had been dusted and cleaned, the papers on his desk stacked in organized piles.
Adler shook each party member’s hand and paid them the remainder of their wages. “You have performed a great service to this town. It has been my honor to meet you. I will certainly mention your names to my patron, Lord von Jungfreud.”
Zarkon, meanwhile, had taken the stone to Niklas Schulmann’s room at the Lord Dorian Inn. Schulmann’s bed was unmade, his spare clothes crumpled in an open traveling chest, and sheets of parchment scrawled with esoteric symbols littered the floor and every surface of the wall. The stones the group had previously found were lying on the floor in the center of the room, placed together to form a semicircle. Schulman slotted the new stones in place, but cried out in frustration when he saw there was still another quarter of the circle missing. He flew into a rage, kicking the stones, thumping the walls, spitting and cursing. He looked over at Zarkon, embarrassed when he remembered he had company.
“Ahem, I’m sorry, it’s just that this work is…very important to me. Oh, and to the College of Magic in Altdorf, too, of course. Now, deep breath…yes, that’s better. Well, it seems that, er, we seem to have come to a dead end. Without the last piece, I have no idea what this text means. Something, about something…Sigmar’s eyes, none of it makes sense yet!”
He looked back to Zarkon, a manic gleam in his eyes.
“We’re so close, curse it all! Look, I’ll give you everything if you can find this final piece. I’ll talk to my superiors – they’ll grant you an emperor’s ransom. Gold, knowledge, magical whatnots, anything you desire. After all, erm, the future of the Empire hangs on a thread, and this riddle holds the key. Yes! Now, leave me. I need to study this new stone in peace.”
Zarkon left, to tell the rest of the group that Schulmann had gone mad. He stated he didn’t quite trust him anymore, and they needed someone else to help them figure out where the last stone was. Rolf had also taken the sword from above the farm’s fireplace and needed it translated. The party decided to visit Professor Kopfchen, who they had previously saved from the animated skeleton.
At the professor’s townhouse, the curtains were drawn. They were left staring at his gargoyle knocker. When they knocked, they heard, “Go away! Nobody in!” Until they identified themselves, at which point they were warmly welcomed.
The professor identified the sword, stating the word “Acitus” was written on the pommel in Tilean. The bearer should get a distinct feeling of how the sword should be used when they come across the sort of creature “keen-bladed” was specifically made to fight.
When told about the stones, he grabbed a huge book off his desk. “A little gazetteer I am compiling concerning this quaint little town’s interesting history. These stones of yours remind me of the old seer-stone which used to stand where the temple of Sigmar is now situated. A fascinating tale…
“Of course, there is no sign of the stone now. It would be fascinating to organize an archaeological expedition in the crypts of the temple to discover this ancient relic of our ancestor’s glorious past, but I fear that the firebrand priest Gottschalk will have none of it.”
The party finished the night determined to get back into the temple basement however possible.