Goblins. I continue to hate goblins. So remember everything I told you last night about there existing nice goblins? We’re going to ignore all that for right now…
So we arrived at Guilfort and headed over to the Windrider residence (they live outside town so we don’t have to worry as much about the PoIdiots) and found Red there helping with the wounded. Florence and I went to see if we could assist while Linea’s mom yelled at her about the package she asked her to pick up a week ago (which she totally did (I was there!) and had even dropped it off. I think I see where she got her distractability). BRLM (Big Red Lizard Man) said the Path was all over town giving aid to the sick, and being all around nice people (no, I don’t buy it either. I mean, it’s certainly possible these Pathys are nice enough, but still). It reminds me of the forest after The Fire.
So after a while Nan shows up with an injured girl. It looked like she was one of those Corinna sisters (You don’t know about them? they’re cool. Pacifists to a fault, but they’ll help anyone, even in a warzone. You don’t mess with them, or everyone else, even your friends, will take you out.). She was beaten badly, and I was surprised she was coherent enough to tell us about what happened. She started saying they were attacked by goblins outside town (stupid green skinned jerkfaces) and that her sisters were taken away somewhere. Nan asked who was in the group, and apparently heard the name of someone he knows (I learned later it was his childhood friend Tulia). He suddenly just got up, grabbed a horse (which I’ve never seen him ride before) and bolted off towards where the sister said things happened.
Now, I don’t like going into things blind. I also didn’t like the idea of leaving the artifact somewhere I couldn’t protect it, especially this close to Path peeps. But I’ve seen Nan “fight”. He just squints his eyes at things and mumbles a bit. Sometimes strange things happen and he’s OK, but I don’t trust him to not die while on his own. So I checked with Linea’s mom if she could have her sons look after the artifact (they’re all monks, and the kind who can beat you senseless before you know they’ve moved), then grabbed the Ls (Lizard and Linea) and ran after Nan.
He was obviously in a reckless hurry, as he nearly trampled some guy on the bridge. I tried to apologize for him as we ran past, but I think the guy was too dumbfounded at what he saw to notice (you’re used to it, but to most people and books a red lizard and silvery-blue humanish guy are weird on their own, even more so when in the same place, and possibly terrifying when running full-tilt after a crazy dude on a horse. You should see BR run, it’s hilarious and terrifying at the same time). Nan slowed when he got to the location of the goblin attack, and I could see him doing something with a rock before heading off into the woods. He must have been a better tracker than I thought, or done some magic to tell where to go, as when we got there we could see he was following the trail the goblins had left. Linea had cut off into the woods at some point behind us (I think she was following her birds), and the guy from the bridge seemed to be following her (though not maliciously so I wasn’t worried. And I figured he’d get a surprise tree plus falcon in the face if he tried anything against her anyway). I thought maybe he really wanted an apology from Nan or something.
We followed Nan through the woods for a couple hours before coming to a hill. We could hear evil goblin noises (the ones I’ve met don’t make any other kind, and it’s very distinctive). I figured Nan had to be exhausted by now (he’d diched the horse a while ago), but as soon as he hit the top of the hill he dashed down the other side at full speed. Whatever he did was quick, as by the time the rest of us reached the top of the hill and could see he was in the middle of a gaggle of goblins with some kind of magic shell protecting him and one of the sisters (found out later it was Tulia, partially explaining his super-recklessness).
There were other sisters tied to trees, and Tulia was untying a sword from her hand (yes, untying. The sisters vow to never commit violence, so she shouldn’t have ever been holding one. The goblins seemed to be trying to goad/force her into attacking one of them. I told you they were jerks, but this seemed over the line even for them). There were two big goblins and a whole bunch (maybe 20) smaller ones down the hill.
So yea, 20+ goblins against 4 of us? Totally screwed, right? Well actually there were 5, since that guy from the bridge followed us (but he didn’t do much other than stab some goblin’s hat). I figured they couldn’t possibly be worse than those velocibiteyclaw guys, and Red didn’t seem worried either. Linea was…probably thinking about trees and didn’t even notice them or something.
The goblins must have noticed us right as we hit the top of the hill, as suddenly rocks rained down on us. One got me in the head but not too hard, and I swear a couple broke hitting RL’s tattoos. We focused on the two big guys (well, other than Mr “I hate hats” who followed us) figuring we could intimidate the smaller ones if we took them out. I pinned one to a tree with an awesome show from my bow, and Torg (hey, I gotta use his actual name every once in a while or you’ll forget it!) sorta-kinda stuck his spear COMPLETELY through the other one. Linea sent her falcons down to fight them as well.
While we were finishing those two off the rest of the goblins just suddenly went crazy. Not the “I’m going to kill you for that!” kind of crazy. No, this was the “Oh God I’m covered in bees and they’re on fire and I think my sword turned into a shark that’s trying to EAT ME!” kind of crazy. I looked over at Nan to make sure he was OK and noticed a very angry and rather distrurbing look on his face (seriously, those were eyes you never wanted to see looking anywhere near you). After a moment he stopped and seemed to suddenly remember Tulia leaning against him and he went back to helping her.
We finished off the insane goblins (it actually seemed a mercy – even the sisters seemed to think it was the right thing to do) and tended to the sisters who were tied to the trees. Red found a pouch of gold on one of the leader goblins, along with an iron bar, a memento of the Path of Iron. This makes me think the Path paid the goblins to do this. I can only assume they didn’t want any competition in “saving” Guilfort from the red cough.
I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I’m running out of doubt about the Path. There seems to be at least a subset of them who’ve become (or maybe started?) murdering evil jerks. If this keeps up I’ll probably start liking them even less than I like goblins. And I frelling hate goblins.
(frelling? Some foreign curse I heard Alec yell at one point during the fight. Oh, right, the guy who followed us is named Alec. He seems a bit shifty, and did cower away from the fight and was generally not helpful until after the goblins were dispatched, but he taught me a new word so I’ll give him a chance).
Oh, and I need to figure out what that song Nan keeps humming is. And when he started humming.