After escorting the caravan of merchants through the Shade Moor to the Pass of Kas’Jorai, the adventurers turn back to complete their true goal. They headed deep into the Shade Moor with nothing more than some vague coordinates of where the lost temple might rest. They taveled deep into the marshy region, slashing and hacking through the brush until it began to get dark and the weather began to turn sour. They hunted for a nice dry patch to set up camp and start a fire to keep themselves warm. After assigning a watch schedule to everyone, Aramis took the first watch, and Cade Masters, who had the second watch, slipped up into a tree, out of sight, to sleep. When it came time for Cade Masters’ watch, the others were unable to locate him. Aramis generously took a second watch, but when morning came round, there was a heated discussion between the party and Cade Masters.
“You miss next watch…for you, no food rations.” exclaimed Edrich.
_"If you miss your watch, it will come out of your share of the gold." declaired Aramis.
After much more discussion, they broke camp and took one more look at their map. Edrich spotted a much quicker path to the coordinates they had now that he had a good rest. Within an hour they had reached the location.
As they approached a clearing in the marsh, they could hear several creatures arguing in a foreign language. The two halflings decided to sneak up on the flank, but the ever upfront Aramis strode towards the talking creatures on his horse clad in armor. As they approached the speaking went silent. Cade Masters and Tucher poked their heads from the brush to look around. “THERE THEY ARE, GET ’EM” yelled one of the creatures and four large javelins flew into the brush next to the halflings, one striking Cade Masters.
Seeing his companions in trouble, Aramis charged forward on his horse, driving a lance deep into the brush just inches in front of a bugbear that dodged out of the way. Edrich got a running start to throw a javelin with surprising accuracy. The javelin pierced the brush soaring through the air and planting itself into side of a bugbear. Not seeing the foe who had lobbed the javelin, the bugbear was not detoured from its quarry. Cade Masters, thirsty for revenge upon the bugbear who struck him, ripped the javelin from his shoulder, bust from the brush and hurled the weapon deep into the chest of its original owner. The beast was obviously staggered by this hit as it yelped in pain.
Tucher decided to run across the clearing to help Aramis fight, but fearing more javelins, dove into the brush and was unable to immediately get into the fight. The bugbear with a javelin protruding from its chest began to limp away as fast as it’s wounded body could take it. Seeing this the bugbear Edrich had struck charged forward towards Cade Masters with a great roar and with his morning star wailing above his head. Another bugbear leaped from his hiding space in the brush near Cade Masters and struck him in the kidneys with a morning star. the two other bugbears chose to target Aramis, but with differing techniques. The first struck at his horse, but Aramis was able to maneuver the armor clad animal out of the path of the strike. Unfortunately, that concentration left him open to the swing from the other bugbear which struck him in the head, leaving him rattled, if only for a second.
Winston was running as fast as his tiny legs could carry him to catch up with the others. “Wait up, you guys!” He flung a magic missile, striking the bugbear that swung at Aramis’s horse. Bursting from the brush with a flash of speed, Edrich rushed to the aid of Cade Masters. He struck the beast that had ambushed Cade Masters, drawing its attention away from the halfling. Aramis, unable to free his lance in such close proximity to foes, he dropped his lance, drawing his trident and striking at one of the bugbears. As his trident found its target, his horse reared up and trampled the creature, who twitched for a second before giving in to death. Cade Masters leaped backwards hurling a dagger at the bugbear that charged him, missing. “STAY BACK, I HAVE ANOTHER ONE!” he yelled as he drew out another dagger. Tucher managed to get next to the bugbear still fighting Aramis and missed with her rapier.
The badly wounded bugbear continued to flee, attempting to get help for the fight. The bugbear in combat with Aramis tried to ignore the halfling that was attacking him, but missed with his attack due to the distraction. Edrich dodged an attack from one beast, but the charging bugbear caught up with Cade Masters and struck him with a morning star. In a quick repose, Edrich swept the leg of the bugbear that swung at him, and several quick strikes later, the skull of the beast had been cracked. Aramis attempted to trample the remaining foe he was facing, but for fear of the little one at his horses feet, his caution caused him to miss. Winston, finally making it to the clearing, saw the fleeing bugbear and struck him down with a powerful blast from a magic missile.
Now greatly outnumbering and surrounding their foes, the party was able to quickly bring down the last few bugbears. After searching the beast, they come across several items which look out of place. A small token with a feather and some finely crafted bracers. They searched the small camp which had been set up next to a strange, slanted cone shaped structure. They found evidence of the bugbears recent meal of horse meat, and found a wagon which looked far too fancy to be crafted by bugbears. As they peered into the slanted cone, they realised it was the top of a structure which went underground. They also found a crate full of excavating materials, including pickaxes, shovels and sifting pans. Aramis realised that they might be underground for some time. He took a moment to tend the wounds of his companions, then made sure his horse was comfortable, removing its saddle, tieing it up near plenty of grass and cutting open a bag of oats for it. He even used the bugbears tent to create a shelter for the animal.
Fully prepared, the group lifted the trap door and readied themselves for what ever dangers might lie below the surface…