The party spent the rest of the day in town, shopping a little (Loki sold his skins for twice their value on the black market, and Rain convinced the magic school to teach him a couple rituals that looked like fun, Magic Mouth and Unseen Servant). In the morning, they were woken up by guards and taken to meet a member of the elven council, Councillor Tamora, who had an extra-special *super* secret mission. One that would even pay gold! Plus, they'd get to borrow some powerful elven weapons because the elves actually wanted them to succeed.
Their mission was to rescue the holy ornament of Melora, goddess of the hunt, in time for the big celebration that was happening that night. Yes, it was a rush job. A bunch of bandits had ambushed the convoy escorting it, and the elves knew where it was, but their soldiers were busy elsewhere providing other security for the ceremony -- and the party was just waiting around waiting for the amulet analysis anyway.
They let Rain borrow a +2 longsword (slightly better on balance than his +1 bastard sword) and Gennal a +3 longbow (much better than his +1 greatbow), but everyone else used such weird weapons that they didn't have anything useful to lend them.
Then it was off to the dungeon where the elves had tracked the thieves. There was a front entrance they could walk down, but they scouted around and found a pit leading deeper in -- so they decided to use the back way, hoping for surprise. Loki and Gennal were sent in, as the two sneakiest. Unfortuantely, the pit was used as a skylight for the enemies' main hall, so stealth was irrelevant, and instead the party had just managed to ambush themselves, isolating their two ranged folks at the bottom of a difficult climb with seven angry goblins.
Loki, in front, got brutally gang-raped by goblin brutes. Calrea and Malik rapelled quickly down the rope to join the fight, but Calrea lost her grip and plummeted the last dozen feet or so, hurting herself and landing prone. That left her still in the area effect after Malik and Gennal plastered themselves against the back wall to let Loki unleash his evil black tentacles. He missed her, at least, and hit most of the goblins.
It still looked pretty bad -- the brutes had lots of hit point, huge damage, and went into a rage when bloodied. So Rain fumbled his climb check and landed in the middle of the room, prone, and unleashed his Beacon of Hope, which healed everyone a little, weakened the enemies, and supercharged his healing for the rest of the encounter. He needed it! Loki and Malik were fighting each other over who got bloodied the most.
But the enemies noticed that Rain was the healer, and focused all their (remaining) fire on him. They managed to bloody him for like the first time EVER so that he could shift, at least...
Oh, and Loki got sick off being beaten on, and hid in a closet halfway through the fight. Calrea and Gennal were Not Amused.
But meanwhile, Gennal with his borrowed +3 bow was shredding the goblins like cole slaw. All the rest of the party had to do was stand between him and the enemies and keep their attention -- he got 5 kills out of 7 enemies, most of them from half health or more in one round. Pretty soon, they ran out of targets.
They searched around, and one of the little side rooms was an armory, with some magic weapons hidden among a whole bunch of junk. Then they tried door number 3, and found... a small bedroom! With the leader and his cohort, high-level hobgoblins. They tried to lure the hobgoblins out of their room, but they wouldn't bite. Instead, they tried to hold the ornament hostage, but the party wasn't going for that. They decided (actually, Loki suggested but Rain thought it sounded reasonable) to burn the hobgoblins out.
It didn't work out very well. There were two sets of doors between the rooms, and the hobgoblins managed to seal and bar their door to keep the party and smoke out, while the party took lots of damage from smoke inhalation trying to moe the fire closer to the inner door. Eventually, Rain summoned an unseen servant, but it couldn't open the door and the smoke was too thick to see what he was doing when he wanted it ot pick things up to move the fire farther down the hall.
Then they sealed their door to keep the smoke from killing them, and waited an hour for the hobgoblins to hopefully suffocate. After the hour, the door was still barricaded. But before they broke it down to confront the leader and/or his corpse, Loki decided to scout down the fourth door, using darkvision.
Darkvision helps you stealth some, because you don't need a light source. Unfortuantely, when you open the door to the room that has light, all the enemies inside WILL see you. This time, the massive gang-raping actually took Loki down. Luckily for him, Calrea and Gennal heard him getting attacked, and ran to see what was going on. Which turned out to be 'the party trapped in a narrow passage getting pelted with deadly arrows and axes'. Loki was brought back up, taken down again, and then brough back up in a place where they thought maybe he couldn't get into trouble quite so fast. Gennal did utterly slaughter their leader in two turns, at least.
Calrea was getting annoyed at never being hurt, and drew some AoOs on purpse to let Malik attack some enemies he'd marked, then started tossig her AoEs. It was a less powerful bunch than in the 'skylight' room, so aside from Loki, no one was really badly hurt.
Afterwards, they headed back to see if the leader had actually been hurt, or if he'd smashed the ornament like he'd said he was going to. Neither was the case! But there was a short battle where they finally did lure him and his soldier out of their hiding place, separated the two with their bazillion push enemy powers (not on the first try!), and then killed the soldier, making most of the leader's powers useless. Eventually, they took him down too.
The ornament was fine, so they gathered everything up to head back to the councillor.
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