No sooner had we shut the door than there came a scratching upon it. And growls. So initially we decided to just move some of the rubble in front of the massive double doors with the thought being that it should hold until morning at least. And it appeared to. Nothing attempted to force entry into the outside.
There were some noises though from deeper into what we suspected was a tomb. So, you know, cool. I sent one of the birds to check for a source to the noise deeper inside, but there was no light so they couldn’t find anything of note, other than a tunnel that was collapsed, so there wasn’t a whole lot of investigating that could be done deep inside this place which was fine because we didn’t have much time for any sort of a respite before there came a series of three sharp raps on the doors to the outside. Initially we ignored it and nothing came of it.
The darker recesses of the room we were in, upon further inspection were littered with remains. Bodies of various sizes and in various states of decay. Mostly humanoid, but some, the fresher ones had arms that appeared to end in blades.
The knocking on the door again. This time accompanied by a muffled voice none of us could make out. Gnoman moved closer to the door to try and get a better vantage should the voice speak again.
Then came the howling as if from a pack of wolves. Again though, muffled by the doors.
Eventually though, our waiting was rewarded. The voice called out again. It worked out that Gnoman was at the door, he was the only one who could translate what was said.
Apparently a goblin warchief called Bloodtusk was informing us that we were in his territory and our choices were to pay a usage fee for travelling in this part of his domain, or face his wrath.
Being not in the mood for a fight, Jenny and I agreed that we should try and find a nonviolent solution. So negotiations ensued. I heard both Gnoman and a chorus of voices on the outside erupt into laughter at one point so I assumed that everything was going well. When asked what was so funny, Gnoman said it didn’t translate well into the common tongue from Goblin and proceeded to say something about the blood of the innocent and bathing in a puddle of piss. Yeah, I didn’t get it.
When it was all said and done, Gnoman had gotten us mounts for the next fortnight as well as assurances that we would be left unaccosted for the duration of our time in the warchief’s domain.
Completion of the deal did require opening the door though, and this… war band… was a sight to behold.
There were a dozen or so goblins of various sizes and it was clear who the leader was. The goblin in front with the bloody tusk emblazoned upon his leather armor. He stood fully a head shorter than any of the others in his group. Respect for the small.
It turned out that mount was a somewhat loose term and that we would be riding on Worgs. Jenny had a slight frame and I’m not big so we got fairly standard looking ones. Gnoman’s though, was a thing of nightmares, and thing is an accurate descriptor for the trundling and massive beast that seemed to peel itself away from the darkness. It growled from somewhere deep inside it’s chest, and spoke because apparently Worgs can speak.
“Sleep, food. We leave at first light.” The other two laughed at this.
Blood tusk and his group stayed for the remainder of the night and they weren’t so bad once you got to talking with them. Jenny loved his group’s cooking, but it looked like people stew so I politely declined. They did give us a few days worth of food when they finally departed though.
And in the morning we set out south once more, but not until after what felt like hours of watching Gnoman slowly sweep his arms though the air collecting the ambient moisture into canteens for us all, mounts included. He said he’d do this as needed on our journey, for which I was thankful. We’d never bothered to stock up for any kind of actual duration on this journey through the desert. Crap.