It's always nice to start a new chapter of your life with a large explosion. That's what I always say anyway. I really wish it had gone as well as this picture shows, but Ayeena caught me sneaking out of bed and made a noise. As such, when I was jumping off the tower Vincent tried to catch me, having been woken by her. Fortunately Terato managed to push him out of the way of my landing, or we'd have all ended up in an undignified heap. Still, I managed to drop the lamp oil into the stirge nest, and we can just skip over the parts where I set myself on fire, and rained stirge dorppings on everything with a mile. The important thing is that those stirges won't be bothering any more travellers.
And so, with joyful hearts and hearty banter we set off for the village of Hollow, from whence we came. The journey was filled with merriment and laughter. I was happy because Vincent spent much of the time teaching me about warfare, and the use of weapons. Ayeena taught me about the life of a paladin, which mostly seems to involve asking Father Xavier what to do. Terato caught us lunch, Marigold got ill and Argent figured out the secret of making our holy water cure diseases.
When we stopped to make camp, I took a quick wash in the cool tranquility of a nearby lake, since I could still feel the guano in my hair. I've come to expect a monster ambush in these situations, but this time it turned out to just be a lake, so with no further incident, we set in to camp for the night.
Morning came, spreading its rosy fingered dawn over the the meadows and forest between our camp and Hollow. (I always wanted to write that in a story.) And so with joyful hearts and hearty banter we set out again to finish the journey to Hollow. Couldn't they have put the monastery closer to the village? I suppose not, as it was built on the healing spring, but we could at least put a road in, or something. Anyway, I digressing, because I'm avoiding the next part, which was the moment Terato spotted the column of smoke over the hill.
Yeah, the village was on fire. I knew I shouldn't have left it. A crowd of the villagers were looking worried around the well, but they seemed to be well equipped at least, half with buckets, half with various spiky farming implements, I swear we must have a storehouse of spiky farm implements that we only use when we get invaded. The fire seemed to be coming from the large grain barn at the end of the village, which young Brandon told us had been attacked by goblins.
Turns out that they had also killed a few sheep, and were having a barbeque. Ayeena and Vincent dispatched them with ease. I tripped over a fence and covered myself in mud. So much for finally being helpful to the Coterie. Marigold had spent the entire time fixing up Jacob at the forge, Argent had been sniping goblins I hadn't even seen, and Terato had split off from us to find out where they'd come from in the first place, they're all wonderful.
Bucket chain arranged, we were just catching our breath when an arrow plummeted into our midst from the sky, covered with blood. Terato's blood. Vincent can just tell, apparently. Maybe he'll teach me how he does that? I'd love to learn. Anyway, we ran up to the mine, where Terato rejoined us, and informed us that there was a well organised force of goblins holding the entrance to the mine.
At the top of the path, there were four goblin warriors and one shaman. Marigold came up with the brilliant plan of pushing them off the causeway where Jacob and the villagers could dispatch them with ease, and we all followed suit, so the fight was over before I even made it to the front. Now, Vincent tells us from old Nori that there are a group of goblins that have taken over the mine, and the rest of the dwarves are trapped in the storeroom, so I guess once I've caught my breath, we're off to save the day again. Oops! Time to go!