That morning we continued on in our quest to find the goblins at Thistletop. We reached a place where briars and thistle grow so thick as to block any view ahead. Waves can be heard breaking on the beach in the near distance. The brambles and thistles grow up and over the top in most places. We found an opening through the barrier by lift the branches at one point. The interior was over grown forming tunnels of briars and thistles with only about four feet of height clearance. This put everyone at a disadvantage except our resident dwarf. Parlay and Erlig took our horses back up to a safe location, while the rest of the party pushed on.
Agrent found tracks of goblins, dogs, and a large cat. That is when a Firepelt (large cat) leaped out to attack Bron. At the same time a ball of fire flew by barely missing Agrent. Rain’s quick reaction sent a blind arrow shot past the corner and scored a hit. The paladin Sampson moved up, but barely missed hitting the cat. An infuriated Bron struck back with a solid hit on the cat. Agrent tried to shoot the cat, but missed with his arrow. The bard Falathar started singing to encourage the party. Our cleric Strabo held position, while Cameo fired off a magic missile dealing serious damage. (Practice makes perfect)
The fight continued with the cat trying to trip and bit Bron. It did manage to claw and bite knocking him down. A second ball of fire laced out hitting Rain, the caster evidently took offense at being hit by her arrow. Bron from a prone position delivered a crunching blow to the Firepelt. Falathar cast ghost sound to create the illusion of a warhorse crashing up through the briars towards the fight! Bron’s prone attack and the sound of a dreaded horse proved too much for the cat the goblins. They ran away with the goblin squealing in terror. Just to make sure Falathar cast a second ghost sound of a charging warhorse in the direction of their retreat.
The party moved back outside the tunnels with discursion being the better choice than foolhardy blundering about. Strabo tended to Bron and Rain. He gave them each a potion to heal their wounds. Bron gave Rain some goodberries and ate some himself. They were back to almost full health. Everyone except Argrent moved back to the horses. He stayed behind to search and track in the briar tunnels. He did hear a rising howl that came from a fixed location the like of which he has never heard before. He also determined that number of goblins have been gathering and building defenses around Thistletop. Agrent heard the chilling howl one last time before returning to report to the party.
Agrent and Rain then joined up to scout the cliff and see if there was another way into the goblin stronghold. They made an extensive search, but found no path possible down to the beach below the cliffs. Their report to the party caused considerable discussion as to whether to continue the search or return to Sandpoint. We finally decided to cross the creek and try the northern cliffs. We left the horses hobbled to graze and moved down river towards the sea.
Agrent and Rain scouted ahead first and found a way down the cliff to the beach. Rain covered Agrent, while he climbed down the face. There he saw Thistletop in the distance. It is a large outcropping of rock forming an island, which resembles a massive head! It is connected to the mainland by a rope and wooden bridge stretching some one-hundred feet across, and about eight feet wide. They returned with the report. Once more, the party argued to climb down or not to climb down. It would be impossible to surprise the goblins guarding the bridge in a direct assault. Finally, Bron recalled that the cliff below was rumored to hold several caves. That was enough to convince the party to try and find a way using the caves.
We followed Bron and Rain back to the cliff and lowered them down. Their search quickly found an opening to a cave with just shallow water across the entrance. The returned and signaled for the party to come down to the beach. Everyone was eager to get down to the beach with the exception of Falathar. He only agreed to be lowered down by have two ropes tied to him. The entire party managed to reach the beach in safety and seemly undetected.
We moved off to explore the cave with Bron leading the way in. It leads to a domed chamber of considerable size with a vent at the top. There is an opening continuing in on the left side. Of far more interest was a ledge along the far wall with an oversized seal lying on it. He was watching us with considerable interest. Bron called the party forward just when the seal gave an unearthly howl. It was the same sound that Agrent had heard from the distance near the briars. It struck terror in our hearts with only Bron, Erlig, Cameo, Parlay, and Agrent managing to control their emotions. The rest of the party ran away like scared rabbits.
The seal then dived into the water to attack Bron dealing him a solid hit. Erlig cast mage armor on Bron, while Agrent moved up to attack the monster over Bron’s head. Parlay launched an arrow into the beast. Cameo cast mage armor on Agrent. The seal then tries to attack Bron a second time, but missed with its bite. Erlig tried to shoot it with a crossbow, but did not manage a hit. Agrent and Bron each dealt successful attacks against the beast. Parlay missed with his sword, but hit with his klar. Cameo hit it with a Magic Missile. Agrent hit it again, this time dropping it. He immediately began to skin it.
Meanwhile for the next half minute Rain followed by Falathar, Sampson, and Strabo ran away in sheer terror. Each seemed to have been affected to different degrees. The paladin Sampson was the first to recover his wits. His recovery was quickly followed by Rain and Strabo. Falathar continued his run in terror for another couple of rounds before finally coming to his senses.