Shadows Over The Nentir Vale
Goblins in the Hills
It was dark now over the Moon Hills. The sky was black, a bright full moon hung heavily far above. A cool and gentle breeze drifted lazily around Grotbag who was stood perched near a tree atop a large hill. The leaves of the tree rustled gently.
Grotbag stretched and yawned, filling his small lungs with the night air. He began to cough and splutter covering the front of his tatty fur and leather armor with phlegm and spittle. Goblins were renowned for the plethora of disease they often carried. At that moment Grotbag thought that perhaps there was no goblin or other creature as sick as he was. He let out a low groan – a most pitiful sound.
“Hrmm, youse no goods at keeping watch.” came a hushed voice from behind, “everyfinks around here will knows you are up here watching.” It was Dhugs, a goblin sneak and Grotbags superior.
Grotbag stood rigid, frightened – he hadn’t heard Dhugs approach. “Nofing’s ’appening ’ere boss!” he said a little bit too loud.
Dhugs drew back his arm and lashed out towards Grotbag slapping him hard across the side of his face. “Youse wouldn’t know even if there was.” he said coldly, “now shut yer stinkhole.”
Dhugs stepped passed Grotbag who was rubbing his now tender cheek. Scanning the nearby area Dhugs was satisfied there were no immediate dangers that Grotbag had failed to pick out of the dark landscape. He stared ahead further into the distance where the town of Fallcrest sat across the Nentir River. Dhugs could see hundreds of small lights, some winking out whilst others came to life all packed closely so as to give the impression that they were all one big pool of light. The darkness of the wilderness surrounded Fallcrest on all sides, framing it like a pale yellow jewel.
“Why ams youse still here!? Get goned!” cried Dhugs. Grotbag stiffened and set off running down the hill, his bare feet slapped loudly on smooth white stones that glowed faintly in the moon light. He used these stones to guide himself safely back down the hillside.
At the bottom of the hill Grotbag slowed as he skulked cautiously back towards several camp fires surrounded at all sides by small pitched tents made from torn fur and canvas.
The smell of cooked meat wafted about Grotbag causing his mouth to fill with thick saliva – tendrils of drool formed at the corners of his mouth where it ran down across his chin. He approached the first camp fire where four goblins sat hunched over eating what he guessed was venison judging by the deer carcass that laid nearby; eviscerated, all of it’s limbs missing. One of the goblins looked up and hissed as Grotbag approached. Having not heeded the goblins warning it stood up and threw a fist sized stone at Grotbag which glanced off his forehead causing a wide scrape.
Yelping, Grotbag pressed his hand against his stinging forehead as he ran a short distance towards another campfire, this one much less central than the others. Only one other goblin sat here; he did not look up at Grotbag as he approached instead paying full attention to some small hunk of meat he held closely to his mouth as he ate, bony green fingers clasped tightly to the morsel likely for fear that it would be snatched from him.
Looking at the fire Grotbag noticed several large rats skewered and suspended over the fire on spits. He reached out clasping his hands around a skewer, lifting it up and towards him. He slid the rat from the wooden stick before tossing it carelessly back into the camp fire causing motes of fire to rise and whir in the air.
Charred rat. Grotbag bit into the rodent, heat causing his lips to burn and sting as he ate. The top layer of meat was tough and crispy; pieces of it caught awkwardly in his teeth; he picked at them with the end of his tongue. The meat underneath was tender and juicy, Grotbag bit into the hot flesh which came away easily from the bone, as he chewed his mouth filled with thick, hot grease the taste of which was rich and savory. Rota sighed contentedly as he sat close by the fire and finished his meal.
Grotbag woke sometime later, the moon was still high in the night sky, he had unintentionally dozed off by the side of the fire. There was a commotion; shouting came from one of the central camp fires. He rose and stretched awkwardly, bones creaking as he did so. He approached the knot of gathered goblins but was careful not to get too close preferring to stay on the periphery of the group instead.
“Deys is gow’in be passin’ by ’eres soon dey is!” cried a fat goblin of dark green skin. Grotbag recognised him clearly as Gutrot their current leader; one of the older goblins who took charge after their previous leader was found dead; his head missing. “Deys in a big cart dey is! Dwarves’ wiv treasures!”
A loud cry went up as goblins scrambled for their weapons and began to head through a pass in the hills which led out towards the road. Grotbag reached inside his tatty leather jerkin and pulled out a small shank of sharp steel. He was going get some loot even if it killed him.
If a hero spends any amount of time in a tavern or in a public place within Fallcrest that hero will quickly become aware of a badly beaten dwarf that was found barely conscious close to the towns walls. The dwarf claimed to have been a guard with a merchant caravan en route to Fallcrest from Hammerfast – a dwarven town to the east. The dwarf is said to have claimed that a band of goblins attacked his caravan whilst they passed by close to the Moon Hills located south of Fallcrest. At present he is being nursed at the Moonstone Keep Infirmary.