Following a few days rest back in Sandpoint, Sherriff Hemlock approached our erstwhile adventurers with exciting news: They had managed to determine through magical interrogation that the current base for the goblin raiders being led by Nualia was at the abandoned Cliffside fortress known as Thistletop. Knowing that his own deputies did not possess the necessary skill or luck to act as a strike team, Belor approached Szarali and her compatriots to take the fight to Nualia and end her siege of the town. Always eager for adventure and violence, the rest of the team quickly followed suit and made for the road!
But simply getting to Thistletop would be a challenge in and of itself! The forest area preceding the fortress lived up to its namesake by being covered in thick clusters of sharp brambles that could easily savage one’s flesh. Fortunately, when a ranger is on hand, the woods are not such a perilous place! Zirul was able to locate a path that the goblins had fashioned to go underneath the rampant thorny growth and with a bit of squeezing, the adventurers had cleared their first hurdle. Navigating through the woods was a surprisingly dry affair for the most part. The group faced some mild confusion over an echoing sound that appeared to be coming from a nearby cavern, but with no simple way to enter, they decided to investigate again later. Szarali amused herself in the meanwhile when the adventurers happened across a camp swarming with goblins!! She directed the ranger to lay out some false floors over the roof to the underground cavern and led the goblins screaming and howling pell mel straight to their hilarious doom!! Much laughter ensued.
Moving through the rest of the forest after investigating the camp, the group happened across a strange looking cat, that appeared to be a leopard with orange flame like designs in its fur. Zirul tried to coax the beast to them, but it simply retreated to find its master, the goblin druid Gogmurt!! A short skirmish followed, which soon left the goblin at the mercy of his captors. He promptly spilled his guts, saying that this group of goblins was a splinter of the original tribe, who’s chief, Ripnugget, had sided with Nualia in her quest for vengeance against Sandpoint. The druid believed it was an infatuation on the chief’s end that was driving his dealings with the humans and not the good of his tribe. He offered to forge a truce with Sandpoint if the heroes could promise no further harm to his folk and find a way to end Ripnugget’s hold over the rest of them. To aid them, the druid provided his medallion to Szarali, bidding her to show it to the goblins in the fortress to show their peaceful intent and to convince them to come back. The druid couldn’t possibly be expected to keep up his end, but the team took pity on the sad little creature and promised to do their best.
Heading out from Gogmurt’s hovel, the adventurers at last reached the rope bridge that would take them to the fortress! In their excitement and haste, they were almost dumped unceremoniously into a watery grave by a collapsing trap the goblins had constructed, but quick reflexes saved the day! Szarali was the lady of the hour here, using her natural acrobatic prowess to cross over the now sideways bridge and using strong rope to secure it on the other side. At last able to cross over to the island, the Sandpoint Four now looked on to their next objective as the Thistletop fortress loomed in front of them!