The Longshank Farm

Just as Slorb said, it proves easy to follow the Soggy River out of the Brinestump Marsh and below a bridge over the Lost Coast Road and on into the farmlands.

Still a good distance from the farm and approaching it at night, Reta says to Chuffy, “Youz, scouts out da perimeter of da farm. I wanna know everyting der is ta know. And stay well clear of da animals… dey can smell you from a good distance. Don’t gets too close.”

She has Slorb and the women stay well enough away hiding in some bushes or trees while the rest of them wait for Chuffy to return.

“Okay Boss,” whispers Chuffy as he scampers towards the farm. After a few minutes, two dogs within the fenced in yard on the far side of the farmhouse begin barking. The humans inside are soon up and lighting lamps.

A minute or two after that, Chuffy’s disembodied voice whispers from the darkness. “Me saw a couple of mangy doggies and hear some men folk in the big house. No doors on this side. All facing away. We can take them before they can get ready,” says Chuffy.

“How many men?” Drubbus growls.

“Wat about da chimney? Can we use that? And we should wait till dey is sleepin again.”

“Where are you? And how many men?” asks Mogmurch. Drooling slightly, he adds “Any children, or (slurp)… babies?”

“No babies, only mens,” says Chuffy. ”Even though me can’t be seen, those dogs smells me. Maybe I try to move quickly and get to chimney and climb.”

“Well, you dummy,” Mogmurch says snidely, “kill the dogs when they sniff too close!”

“Well now,” Drubbus grumbles, “he’d have to get purdy close ta kill dem dogs, won’t he? ‘N deh’d a started barking well afore den, eh?” Drubbus squints his eyes. “Nah. Deyz gonna bark no matters what’n we duz. What we need ta do is make da longshanks tink da dogz is just barkin at da moon or sumptin. If we had some meat, we could toss it ta the critters and dey’d fight over it. Da longshanks’d tink any barkin’ was over da meat. Den maybe we’d be close enough ta do sump’n.”

“Yeah, that’s much better,” agrees Chuffy. ”Make them chase after meat. Then me can climb the chimney.”

“Let’s us go find someone easier to eat” chimes in Mogmurch.

Reta looks hard at Drubbus then shakes her head, giving up the idea of feeding him to the dogs. ‘Too much trouble,’ she thinks.

“We needs a diversion. Slorb will get close enough to make da dogs bark den run away. Da rest of us will climb up to da roof and down da chimney to surprise da hoomans as soon as dey come back inside der house.”

“Ha ha ha! Good idea, Reta! Good idea!” Mogmurch says enthusiastically. Mogmurch loves the idea of Slorb being chased by the dogs.

“Me likes that one too!” cackles Chuffy from the shadows.

“Wait!” says Slob. “I’m needed back in da house to watch ova da bitches. An’ besides, yous need me knowledge. I can also bone da human tongues. An’ if I can check da heavy hidin’ space I can help yous ruk betta just as I did fe da last chief. Let Chuffy get da dogs barkin’. He’s invisible an’ so da dogs iz gonna stench him but da humans won’t be able to check him evun if he’s standin outside da fence.”

Reta snorts disappointment as she really wanted to see Slorb running from the dogs, but he makes a good point. “Ok, Chuffy yer bait. Let da dogs sniff ya so deys starts ta barkin a lots. Den run aways and climbs somewhere safe if dey sets da beasts on ya. Join us soon as ya can. Da rest of us will climb da house and go down da chimney when da dogs are barking at Chuff’s. Got it?”

Mogmurch nods agreement.

“Is der a nudder way in?” Drubbus asks. “Might be good to have two ways in. If not, chimney it is.”

“Not good,” whispers Chuffy.  ”Doors all on far side of buildings,” his voice trailing off as he heads towards the dogs. He heads through the fields to the south of the farmhouse sneaking up towards the shack that is southeast of the dog’s location. He clambers up on that as the dogs begin their ferocious howling once again. Through the shutters of the farmhouse he can see lamplight and the humans soon pour out into the dark yard with weapons and torches raised high. Chuffy crouches down on the far side of the roof of the outhouse, just as the invisibility granted by the potion wears off.

As Chuffy heads off, Reta leads the others to where they can climb up the chimney of the house. She times their arrival to soon after the dogs begin to bark again at Chuffy. Only Reta is able to climb up, while Drubbus, Poog, and Mogmurch are only able to scramble up a little way before slipping and falling on their butts.

Chuffy has his own problems on the other side of the house. From the roof, Reta sees that Chuffy has become visible and is hiding on top of the outhouse. Three human men with torches have come out into the yard and are shouting at the dogs and each other in their language. One of them is in hide armor and has a crossbow, another is in a breastplate and helmet and has an axe, and a third is in padded armor and has a pitchfork. Reta readies her bow in the darkened cover of the roof.

Drubbus continues to scratch the chimney with his fingernails, as does Poog, while Mogmurch finally manages to scramble up to the roof by Reta within the shadows cast by the chimney. Down below, the farmers are putting leashes on the dogs and getting ready to open the wooden gate. They seem to be speaking to people still inside the house, at least one other man.

Mogmurch looks down at the others. He almost taunts them with a laugh for their inability to climb, but then remembers that they need to be quiet for now. Instead, he says nothing but sticks his tongue out at them and grins mockingly.

Poog, disgusted with the entire affair, decides to creep to the front corner and cover the entrance with fire bolts. Drubbus follows.

The farmers open the gate, their respective weapons ready to attack anything that might leap out of the shadows at them.

Chuffy climbs down from the outhouse and runs south across the field, drawing his dog slicer as he goes.

Reta starts shooting at the farmers with her shorbow. Her small arrow embeds itself in the latch as the farmer with the pitchfork was opening it. He jumps back with a yelp but the latch is open and he kicks the gate open. Shouting and pointing, the other two farmers raise their lanterns and point to the roof.

Mogmurch lobs a bomb down on the farmer by the gate, hitting him square on the elbow as the farmer lifts his arm to shield himself. The explosion tears into that farmer and his two fellows as well as the dogs. None are mortally injured, but they the wounds are painful and now they are clearly yelling about goblins (as the goblins recognize the human word for themselves). Mogmurch laughs gleefully as the bomb explodes! The shouts of pain from the longshanks and whimpers from the dogs delight and encourage him as he readies the next bomb.

Poog rushes from the corner of the house to get within range of the farmers. He unleashes a fire bolt that hits the farmer by the gate, eliciting another shriek of pain from the unfortunate.

Drubbus follows after Poog and cast entanglement on the yard, causing all the grass and flowers in the yard to reach out and wrap themselves around the farmers and the dogs. Both dogs, and the farmer by the door, however, are able to keep themselves from getting caught.

The farmer in the pelts runs screaming back into the farmhouse. Though they have to struggle through the grasping grass and flowers, the other two are also able to make it back inside. From just within the door, a horn blares out into the night to alert the surrounding farms. The two dogs bound out of the gate and past the animated plant life and attempt to sink their fangs into Poog, who is the first goblin in reach. Poog is able to scuttle back and twist out of the way, but it is certain that unless stopped the two burned and enraged dogs will tear him into pieces.

Seeing that no dogs or humans are chasing him, Chuffy stops running and begins creeping back towards the farmhouse, ready to stab anyone or anything that comes near him.

Reta looses another arrow and wounds one of the dogs attacking Poog.

Mogmurch looks over roof, trying to decide what will burn best. Then he thinks about the animals and looks to the barn to the west of the farmhouse. “There’s just gotta be easier food ta get than dese guys!” he complains. Already the goblins can hear horns answering in the distance from other farmhouses.

Poog screams, “Da dam dawgs. Help!” Poog launches a firebolt at the closest dog while he tries to back away towards the rear of the house followed closely by Drubbus.

The dogs are right on Poog’s heels, nipping at him, though one gets a fang pulled out when it gets caught in Poog’s chain shirt.

“Letz kill da dawgs, or de’ll track us.” Drubbus suggests. “Den we hightail”

Chuffy heads back to the corner of the farmhouse, following after Poog, Drubbus, and the dogs.

Reta begins to climb down the chimney taking Mogmurch with her.

“Aaiiee!” shouts Mogmurch as he’s pulled down by Reta. He is surprised to be pulled down just before throwing a bomb. He makes sure the bomb won’t go off in his hand and does his best not to fall, but doesn’t try to resist. Getting into it he quips, “Hehe! All da girlies like to pull me down!”

Poog makes for the horse corral and slams the gate behind him. Poog cowers behind the fence whimpering in fear and wets himself.  ”Dawgz, horrible dawgz.”  He turns and looks through the slats at the snarling dogs.

“Bastard!” Drubbus mutters to himself (although that might not mean the same thing in goblin). He squares his stance and swings his scythe at the closest dog but with a swish the scythe passes over its head.

Chuffy shrieks and charges the dogs. He swings his slicer at the nearest one. The dog yelps in pain as a gash is opened in its side.

Reta, giggling, charges. She swings at the same dog wounding it again.

“Horns!” Mogmurch shouts, frightened by what the horns may bring. Ready to run, but not alone, he tugs on Rita. “Let’s go! We can circle around ‘em and steal food from the easier farms!”

“Dat’s what I was thinking too… but we has got to kill da dogs first. Dey will be able to sniff us out!” Reta shouts back.

Poog panting behind the gate, also hears the horns an knows it will bring many long shanks to kill them. He panics and runs across the corral, heading for the woods where the females were left hiding. He screams, “Follow me we are going back to the swamp!”

Reta screeches, “Poog you ingrate! Stay here and help or we will all hunt you down like these dogs!”

Mogmurch sticks with Rita. He saves his bombs and elixirs, but draws a weapon and tries to hit a dog with his club. His strike connects but only seems to anger the dog, which turns on him.

“Da udder farmers iz gonna has more dogz anywayz!” Drubbus gripes though he also charges the dogs but his scythe fails to hit.

The first dog snaps at Mogmurch who succeeds in leaping away from it. The second dog goes for Chuffy, who is also able to dodge away.

With Chuffy and Reta slashing away with their dogslicers and Mogmurch clubbing them, and Drubbus hacking at them with his scythe the goblins finally manage to put the dogs down.

Poog keeps running for the tree line. He gathers the women folks together and says, “Longshanks are coming. We wait here for the others but be prepared to run.”

“Time to flee,” hisses Chuffy as he heads towards to tree line. He looks solemnly towards the dog carcasses saying, “Such a waste of lovely meats.”

Mogmurch was about to suggest they raid the chicken coops before they go, but instead he cuts a hunk of meat off the nearest dog. “Okay. Let’s get outa here before more of these and the longshanks show up!”

Reta also hacks off a chunk of dead guard dog and runs for the tree line.

Drubbus quickly hacks off a leg and follows the others.

Slorb is aghast when they return. “That’s all yous got! Just some hunks hof dog meat!? An’ now da longshanks iz afta us.” The horns and baying of hounds can still be heard in the distance. “Oh woe! I iz afraid dat we iz gonna af to return to da clearin. We might…” He hesitates as waves of grief and trepidation threaten to overwhelm him. “I iz afraid we might af just go to wurk. Aiii, wurk! We iz gonna af rebuild an’ chek fe ourselves until da fresh opportunity arises fe us.”

The Troll Cave

Fortunately for the goblins the boggards were not able to find them during the day, when they all lay sleeping with no guard set as Slorb had simply smoked himself into a stupor and then fallen asleep along with the others. It is frighteningly evident, however, that the boggards of Brinestump Marsh are on the warpath and calling to each other in their search for the goblins that raided their muddy homes. Like giant bullfrongs, the boggard’s croaking and trilling fills the marsh.

Gwa… Gwa… Gwa… Gwa…

Kero kero kero kero

Gwa… Gwa… Gwa…

Slorb whines to the others, “We cannot stay in da swamp! We must hide. We must chek da fresh turf where we can be safe. We should go to da caverns. Not da ones wiv da cursed warriors, but uva caverns. Or else we should leave da swamp an’ check some isolated animal shack. We could take hit ova an’ stay dere fe a time.”

Reta, who is fresh after not smoking any of the leaf and having a good night’s sleep, screeches, “Everyone up now! We move to the caverns and setup home there. We leave in 10 minutes, Lets go!”

Chuffy slowly sits up and rubs his eyes. “Night already?” He blows his nose into his sleeve then makes his way towards Reta.

Poog grabs two of the goblin women and skeedaddles.

Mogmurch gets up slowly and helps his mate up, then follows Reta (glaring at her back and wishing bad things upon her).

Before leaving for the caves along the southern cliff, Poog heals Reta, Drubbus, and Chuffy so they will all have a better chance of surviving whatever fights might await them. He even has to begrudgingly use up a charge from his wand of healing to do this, as Zarongel is stingy in passing on to his devotees the power to heal. Healing magic is for lesser gods, gods of longshanks (humans) and longears (elves).

By midnight they reach the cliffs and find a likely cave. It seems to be empty but a foul stench of rotting fish, pee, crap, and some other unnamable aroma emanates from it to the goblin’s delight. The entrance is fairly narrow, though a veritable grand hall to the goblins, but it seems to open up into a larger cavern.  Mogmurch and Drubbus take a few more sniffs, and then realize that the pungent stench is that of a troll, and one that may still be around.

“Well, dats dat.” Drubbus whispers “Time to get movin.”

Reta grins wide then leads them inside to look for the troll.

Drubbus makes the Druidic sign for blessing the dead and backs away.

Reta looks back sharply at Drubbus and motions for him to follow her.

“Yeah Drubby,” says Poog. “You am Retaz go first.”

Mogmurch watches them go in, but doesn’t walk away himself.  He stands where he was, waiting to hear the chomping sounds from within as Reta and Drubbus get eaten by the troll. As he pictures what’s about to happen, it occurs to him that maybe a big, strong troll could be a good ally. What doesn’t occur to him is how to make that happen without getting eaten.

“Ah… yeah. This is a troll cave,” says Mogmurch. “We ain’t even ready to scrub a troll. Let’s go.”

“Me don’t like this one bit,” whines Chuffy. “Why not look for empty cave?”

Reta stops, turns and gives them all a sharp look. “Any of youz not come with me will be my offering to our new friend. Slorb, wait outside wit da others. Chuffy, Mogmurch, Drubbus, youz come wit me. Now!”

Poog obsequiously says, “Retaz Ima cominz and havez yuz back!”

Chuffy shrugs and follows after Reta. “I wish I still had my ladder and bullhorn,” he mumbles.

“Okay, okay…” replies Mogmurch. “Whatever you yell, Reta. I’m comin’ cuz I don’t wanna be an offering.” And he does come – but he’s careful to let the others go in first.

Howz she gonna feed me ta da troll if shez ded? Drubbus wonders to himself. He follows, but he’s definitely going last and not very closely at that.

Mogmurch pushes the others in front of him. “You hear ‘er! Get going!”

As Slorb and the women slink back to the underbrush, Mogmurch, Drubbus, and Poog all scramble to be last into the cave, each eyeing the others and slowing their pace until at last they are deadlocked into a standstill at the cave entrance. Only Chuffy, dogslicer in hand, is right at Reta’s back as she explores the cave and is relieved to hear nothing and no one. Drubbus sees Chuffy readying his weapon and does likewise, shifting his scythe to a ready position. Wondering why he is being so stupid, he moves ahead of the others while trying to maintain stealth.

Reta continues forward, inspecting the cave carefully. She is calm, for a goblin, and looks around with eyes wide open. She sees that the bigger cave is 30’ by 40’ large. It could accommodate all the goblins, though it might be a little too cozy in the long term – esp. if they had to share it with a troll, assuming they could even convince the troll to let them stay. The troll’s nest is of course a filthy mass of weeds and rotting blankets (stolen of course). Strewn about the cavern are bones and skins of various animals and probably missing travelers. Among this mess can be seen coins of various types, a few potions, a light hammer, and to the goblin’s horror a number of scrolls containing the cursed writings of the longshanks.

To Reta, seeing that the cave is empty causes more fear than if it were filled by the troll. She pauses, thinking what to do next. One thing for certain though, the troll may return at any minute. “Chuffy, Mogmurch… Go guard the entrance. Yell in here if da Troll is coming.” She then begins collecting as much ‘treasure’ as she can quickly (potions, the hammer, coins…). “Da rest of you, help me do this quickly. New plan, we are getting out of here.”

As Chuffy and Mogmurch check outside, they hear the heavy stomping of a large creature as it crashes the underbrush off in the distance. The troll is already on its way! They both make a run for it along with Slorb and the women.

Poog is too scared to grab anything and wants to leave right away. “Weez needz to leavez now!!!” he squeals.

Drubbus takes the time to grab the two closest available potions and then zips out of the cave.

Reta lets them all get out before her, picking up the hammer and a potion on the way out.

All of the goblins make it into hiding among the rocks and underbrush surrounding the cave before the troll comes into sight. The half-ton mossy green monstrosity lurches out of the treeline and seems to be singing something in its deep gravelly voice in the language of the giants. It carries a mangled deer over its left shoulder.

Bland skuggor rider ett odjur.

Som ett svart träd.

Griper hård på en mäktig hammare.

Ut för svaga Iomeden blod.

TROLLHAMMAREN!

TROLLHAMMAREN!

Trollhammaren sveper igen!

Hugga ned, broder igen!

Hör det sista ropet -

Trollhammaren är här!

TROLLHAMMAREN!

Han är inte en människa.

Inte bräcklig och svag som dig.

Du ska vara maktlös.

Inga ögon ser din ätt.

TROLLHAMMAREN!

TROLLHAMMAREN!

Sedan mörkret övertog.

Räds den frostens kalla fingrar.

Som griper tag och får leva

Under kommande vinternatt.

TROLLHAMMAREN!

TROLLHAMMAREN!

TROLLHAMMAREN!

The troll stops at the entrance to his cave for a moment and stops singing. He sniffs the air, looks around, and then charges into his cave. After a few moments a horrendous roar issues from the cave and the troll charges out again howling, presumably, for the blood of the thieves whose scent lingers so strongly in his lair and who took off with his hammer and three of his potions. The goblins, meanwhile, have scrambled away into the darkness and slipped quietly across a nearby stream and so the troll is unable follow their scent. He smashes his fists into the ground in helpless rage and stomps up and down shaking the earth, but after awhile he lets forth a final wail of anguish and returns to his cave, shoulders slumped in defeat.

Once they are safely across the river Reta gathers them around. “Drubbus, yous check these trolly things. Whats they do? The rest of ya listens up. We gonna leave da swamp and find a nice fat hoomun farm wit da animals dens. We is gonna slip in at night all quiets like and kill da hoomuns. Den da farm and animals den is ours. And don’t yoose worry about da horses. I kills dem wit dis!”  She holds up the magical dogslicer, ‘Gorge of Gluttons’, and growls (though it sounds much more like an owl’s screech).

“Well,” Drubbus says, “Dat was stupid, but profitable.” He grins as he eyes his potions. He casts detect magic on them. He finds that the hammer, while very well made and of a size for longshanks and not goblins is not magical. Of the two potions he grabbed, one seems to have the power to heighten one’s senses for a time, while the other makes the imbiber invisible. The potion Reta grabbed enables the consumer to feel as though they were still enjoying a cool shade even while under a hot sun.

“Da hammer’s just a hammer. Nice job, smarty pants. Grabbed a hammer that’s too big for ya ta swing. Has a familiar ring, don’t it?” Drubbus whines. “Your potion is stupid too. If you drink it, it’ll feel like a cool shady day, even in da steamy heat. Whoop de doo. I got da good stuffs! Dis one’ll make me invisible and d’is one will make me all sharp eyed and stuff. Ha ha!”

Poog looks at the invisibility potion slyly and starts to move closer to Drubbus.

Rage boils in Reta’s eyes and she chucks the hammer at Drubbus, with intent to kill him.

Mogmurch, about to try to snatch away the invisibility potion, instead jumps back to stay clear of the flying hammer, letting out an “Eep!” in alarm.

Drubbus tries to pull Poog into the path of the hammer but he easily jumps away. The hammer sails over both their heads.

Reta growls, “Next time I kill you Drubbus. You will not speak to me that way, or you die. Now tell me exactly what you discovered, or you die!”

“I tole you what I found!” Drubbus screams. “I didn’t pull nuttin’. The potion you grabbed is just to keep cool ‘n comfy. Maybe you should drink it now!” Taking a breath he says, “My potions are great. I can turn invisible and I can gets da eyes ‘n ears of a fox! I dunno how long, doh.” He sounds a bit disappointed at that. Glancing over at the hammer, “And I think I said something about that stupid hammer being too big for goblinz.” He smirks.

Reta snarls then sheaths her wicked weapon. Forcing a lopsided smile that causes one eye to twitch she gestures with her finger for Drubbus to approach her. “Come here Drubbus, show me the juice which makes ya disappear.”

Drubbus takes a few steps forward. He takes the invisibility potion out and holds it up. He gives Reeta a hard look. “Here ya goes. Now whenz ya hold it, get a good grip. Really wrap your paw ’round it or it’ll slip away. Don’t bear down to hard though, or yull smash it all to pieces.”

Reta looks at Drubbus quizzically, not fully trusting him, but takes the potion as he suggests. She then carefully hands it to Chuffy saying, “Youz will use dis to gets inside da hooman house and unlocks da door fer us.”

A grin breaks across Chuffy’s face as he takes hold of the potion. He looks off in deep thought for just a moment, then back towards Reta and Drubbus with a nod.

Turning back to Drubbus, Reta hands him the potion she grabbed from the Troll’s treasure without a word and turns away.

Poog pouts a bit having wanted to taste the potion himself.  He obsequiously says, “Yeaz Reta dat is great ideaz!”

Drubbus turns to Chuffy and hands him the potion of perception. “Here, scoutin’s about seein’ n hearin’ too. Hold em til ya really need em. No clue howz long dey lasts.”

Reta asks Slorb, “Where is a farm, far away from da other hoomuns? Tell me!”

Poog giggles wildly, “Yez weez killz dem all!”

Mogmurch licks his lips, thinking of all the tasty animals he’ll eat, and maybe even a tender baby human, too!

“Dunno if I likes this.” Drubbus grumbles. “Soldiers can become farmers… maybe our farmer has a bright sword? Maybe if the farmer don’t show up in town, the guard comes out to checks on himz. This may work out, like burgl’in a troll cave… then agin… it mayn’t.” Drubbus uncurls from his customary slouch, rising to his full height and sets his overbite.

Reta slaps him hard and screeches, “Stops making trouble! We will creep in at night and kill da farmer and eats his children.”  Then looking at Slorb she says, “Show us where da farm is!”

“Yeah!  Hehehe!” laughs Mogmurch evilly.

Drubbus rubs at the slap. Hopes da stoopid hammer’s cursed, stoopid female.

Poog giggles and kicks Drubbus in the rear end. “Yeah Drubbie, shuts the hells up, ya big chicken.”

Drubbus says some ancient words and a 5-gallon glob of water appears over Poog’s head. In the next instant it drops down on him.

Poog splutters and rubs vigorously at his face he then shrieking dives onto Drubbus and starts wrestling with him.

“Get ‘im! Get ‘im!” Mogmurch cheers to neither in particular. He’s happy to watch the fight regardless of who wins.

As Poog and Drubbus roll around in the dirt, Slorb rubs his chin and thinks. “Da longshanks farms iz all ova on da uva side hof da road dat runs along da swamp. all we af do iz keep walkin dat way.” Slorb points east out of the swamp.

Finally Drubbus grabs Poog by the balls and gives them a ferocious twist. Poog grabs his genitals with a wail and rolls around on the ground screaming.  Then gets up and dusts himself off as if nothing happened. “Youz a dirty fighta Drubby but plenty funny!”