By David Pontier
When Goblins Attack is the property of the author, David Pontier and is used with permission by Candlekeep. Email David with any comments and feedback on When Goblins Attack and visit his website at: http://www.geocities.com/piqsid/stories.html.
Chapter 7: The Reunion
"Wake up. Come on, wake up."
Entreri slowly opened his eyes. His memory was foggy and he could not readily figure out where he was. He was sitting down with his hand behind him. The floor was hard and cold. The cave! He was in the cave. How did he get here?
He slowly reached out with his hands and felt something. It was soft and round, yet slightly firm . . .
"If my hands were not shackled, I would slap you for that."
That voice. He had heard that voice before. It was spoken in a whisper, but he knew it, and not just from before when it had told him to wake up.
"In other words stop."
Entreri quickly pulled his hand back as far as he could but they hit something hard. It was the same thing he was leaning against. It was a stalagmite. He was in a cave, shackled to a stalagmite with . . .
"So are you awake now, or do you grope people in their sleep?"
Elliorn. He was tied to a stalagmite with Elliorn. "I'm awake," he whispered back, disguising his voice a little. "And I'm sorry about that."
"Don't worry about it. What are the goblins doing?"
Goblins? Entreri picked his head up and looked around the room. He was facing the main part of the cavern while Elliorn was facing the wall. On the opposite side of the cavern, fifty feet away were two goblins supposedly keeping watch over the prisoners. They were playing a game of bones. Entreri chuckled. The idea that two goblins could watch over him, or Elliorn for that matter, was ridiculous.
"They are playing a game," Entreri responded to the almost forgotten question. "They are not looking at us."
"Good," she replied. "My name is Elliorn. I am a ranger. If you help me, we can get out of here. What's your name?"
"Regis," he whispered back, "I am a-" Entreri choked on his words as a charge of electricity leaped out of the floor in front of him. He was not ready for it and nearly bit his tongue off as his muscles convulsed. It lasted only briefly, but Entreri was panting heavily afterwards, suddenly weak.
"Regis, is it?" Elliorn said slyly, and Entreri knew she knew what had happened. Now that his eyes were adjusting better, he could see the ward on the floor. He recognized it and understood Elliorn had probably been interrogated in front of it. This spoke of someone a lot more powerful than a stone giant calling the shots. This also explained what had knocked he and John out when they had entered the cave. He had avoided one trap to walk into another one.
"What is your real name?" she asked.
"I'd rather not say," Entreri replied after a moment of thought.
Elliorn waited a while after the comment. "I'll assume your telling me the truth. What are you doing here? Did you try to escape?"
"I came back with John," he replied.
Entreri quickly explained how John had returned and how the two of them had killed the two stone giants before walking into the cave. "You killed two of them?" Elliorn sounded impressed. Whatever this man's name, she guessed he was the same man John had originally asked to come along. She would have expected John, with his mentality, to come back with an army. If this man had changed his mind and orchestrated the death of two stone giants, for she did not think John had enough knowledge to do so, he was formidable.
"There are at least four stone giants left," she said, "and one frost giant named Kron."
"You know what a frost giant is?" she sounded surprised. Entreri had also correctly identified the giants as stone giants, something a simple fighter in these parts should not know.
"I've read about them," Entreri replied. The ward stayed quiet. "What bothers me is that the stone giants were waiting for us. They knew we were coming."
"I imagine Kron has this entire mountain range covered with wards to alert him when someone draws near." She quickly filled Entreri in on the rest concerning the slaves and about how many goblins she guessed there to be. "We need to get the attention of the goblins," Elliorn said when she was done with her dissertation.
"Why," he replied. "They are ignoring us. We have a better chance without gaining their attention."
"They have the keys to our shackles. Unless you beat those giants because of your supreme strength and can break free, I suggest getting the keys."
"I did not beat them with strength," Entreri replied, dragging his chin across his chest several times until he caught the chain he wore around his neck. "I beat them with cunning."
Pasha Basadoni had locked him up far better than this many times. It was not because the young thief had been disobedient, at least not usually, but because he wanted to teach his prodigy escape skills. Entreri was very good. So good, that when the pasha needed to punish him for real, it became very difficult.
The chain he wore around his neck held a collection of lock picks. He slowly worked the chain off his chin and into his mouth. He then used his tongue and teeth to work the necklace around until he came to the clasp. Undoing the clasp with his teeth was the hardest part, but he had practiced it many times. It had been quite a while since Entreri had found the skill necessary. He managed on the second try. Holding the end of the chain in his teeth with the length hanging in front of him, he shook his head so it swung over his shoulder. In the process, the chain smacked quietly against the stalagmite.
"What are you doing?" Elliorn asked. She had listened intently to the strange noises this man was making and felt the chain sweep against her hair.
"I'm getting out of here," he said as dropped the chain and caught it with his waiting hand. After that it was only a matter of seconds before his hands were free. He leaned forward and undid his leg shackles as well.
Elliorn felt his pressence disappear from the stalagmite. "How?" she asked a bit too loudly. She had been locked up for almost a day. It had taken this man a minute to free himself.
"Shhhh," Entreri scolded. "We don't want to get the attention of the goblins, remember." He had already felt that he still had his daggers. Besides the magical one, he wore two others. They had taken Cicle and his normal dirk, but goblins were not known for their thoroughness.
Neither of the goblins was looking at him, and Entreri crept away from the stalagmite. He had the broadside of a back to aim for, but the other goblin was turned to its side. He buried the first dagger in the goblin's back from forty feet. The other one turned to face him, and Entreri put his second dagger in its chest. They were both dead without making a sound.
Elliorn's sharp ears guessed what had happened, and she spoke up. "Now get me out of here and we can escape."
Entreri ran over to the goblins with his jeweled dagger out, hoping one of them would still be partially alive so he could regain some strength. Neither of them was. "Damn my aim," he said under his breath. He took the keys and his daggers and raced back over to Elliorn. When he got there he paused. He had the keys in one hand and his jeweled dagger in the other. He had a choice.
He had fought side-by-side with Drizzt on numerous occasions, but they had always parted ways afterwards. Entreri had a hunch Elliorn would not be so inclined. She probably would not even let him get out of this cavern. Or at least she would try to keep him here. He could not risk it. Besides, he was weak from the electricity bolt. He knelt behind her with the dagger more prominently held.
"Well hurry up," she hissed, "we have not got all day."
If John found the body, Entreri could blame it on goblins. But John was smart. In fact, he had wielded Entreri's dagger already. He would be able to tell the wound in her back was not from a goblin weapon. There were not too many weapons in this whole cave complex that would make a similar wound to the one his dagger would leave. Plus John knew about Entreri's relationship with the ranger. He would just have to make the wound look messy.
"Wait," Elliorn said a moment before Entreri was going to thrust his dagger forward, "someone is coming."
Entreri prided himself in his hearing, and strained to listen to these phantom sounds. He was about willing to admit the ranger had better hearing than he did, but he glanced down at her hands and saw her fingertips lightly resting on the ground. She could feel them coming. "Quick," she said, "hide."
Entreri spun about and raced back to the other side of the room. He realized he was still holding the keys, and tossed them on the dead bodies of the goblins. There were two exits and Entreri picked one that led away from the noise he could now hear.
"Wait," Elliorn almost cried out, "leave the keys." She used her feet to spin herself around so she was facing the main cavern. By the time she faced the right direction, the room was already empty save for the dead goblins. Her keen eyes could see the keys lying next to them. "Did he even bring them over here?" she asked herself.
The noise of the approaching troupe caught her attention and she quickly snagged the empty leg shackles, pulling them toward her to hide them. Four goblins entered the room a moment later. John was with them.
* * *
Entreri ran silently down the tunnel. He saw a little extra light coming from ahead and paused. There were some torches hanging from the wall in various locations, and Entreri took a moment to study them. They were lit, but did not produce any heat. When he saw the glyph scribed in the wall behind each torch he understood. This was more work from the shaman frost giant. Entreri thought he remembered Elliorn calling him Kron.
Entreri crept down the hall and saw that the extra light was coming from a large cavern. Peeking inside he saw weapons. A lot of weapons. He also saw one lone goblin standing with his back turned to the entry. Entreri slowly and quietly walked into the room, a throwing dagger ready in case the goblin turned around. It did not. In fact, it did not move at all. It stood as if frozen in place.
Entreri stopped his slinking approach and walked right up to the creature. He could not hold in his laughter. The now dead goblin had both hands wrapped around Cicle's blade with its tongue firmly attached to the end of the rapier. They had taken his weapons, and on examining Cicle, the stupid goblin had an impulse to lick the cold blade. Entreri was only mad he had missed the show. The doomed creature could not very well put his tongue back in his mouth unless the goblin was a sword swallower, so it had grabbed onto the blade with its hands to pull it free. With that much skin in contact, it probably had not taken long for the goblin to freeze.
Its buddies had probably started laughing, but then fled in terror when they realized what had happened. His dirk was here too, lying on a table. He saw John's sword lying on the table as well. Leaning against the wall were all the guards' swords. They were too big for the goblins to wield and too small for the giants. Entreri also saw a very familiar staff and bow.
Entreri just took his weapons. He carefully slid Cicle out of the goblin's hands, not wanting to disturb the comedic statue. He found the scabbard on the floor next to the goblin and quickly strapped it and his dirk to his waist. He liked to carry both weapons still though he rarely wielded them together. Unlike his dark elf friend, he did not feel comfortable using to equal length swords. He carried the dirk because Cicle was too dangerous to use for simple tasks. "Like if I ever want to clean my tongue," Entreri thought to himself.
The next room was full. Over a dozen goblins milled about. Some sat at tables playing games while others just paced about the room. Entreri saw that there were three exists from this room beside the one he was standing in. Down one he could see bedrolls and figured this is where they kept the slaves on the off shifts. The other two were darkened and were just corridors similar to the ones he had already come down that lead to different sections of the complex.
Entreri took a deep breath and walked quickly into the room, killing three goblins before the alarm was sounded. The creatures ran to him in a mass, and Entreri hacked them to pieces. He was taller then they were, and they foolishly raised their weapons to attack him while his legs were by far their best targets. With his weapons up, each strike he made against them was in their face or across their necks. Each goblin only needed one strike from the accurate assassin and they were either dead in seconds or fell away to die slowly gripping a horrid facial wound.
The last goblin turned to run and Entreri caught him in the back with a thrown dagger. He walked over the carnage to pull his dagger from the final kill, and sucked the last bit of energy out of the creature. There was not much life energy in the creatures to begin with, but Entreri had made enough hits with his dagger to negate the ill effects he had been feeling from the electric lie detector.
He now took a moment to contemplate his choices. He ignored the bunkroom for now. He could come back for them if he needed to. Instead he looked at the other two passageways. One led down and was only about thirteen feet tall. The other led up and was definitely big enough for a frost giant. Entreri had a score to settle. He went up.
The tunnel climbed gradually for a hundred yards and then came to a series of large stairs leading back down. There were smaller steps carved for the goblins to the side, and a large archway leading into another vast cavern at the bottom. Entreri skipped quickly down the goblin steps, and barely caught himself in time as he saw more wards scribbled on the steps and walls. He recognized them as fireballs, lightening strikes, poison blasts, and a few other nasty spells. He also noticed that they were only warded against humans. The goblins and giants could pass freely.
Entreri did not have to disarm them all. He spent a long minute examining their locations. He took a deep breath, made sure his weapons were secure and leaped forward. He rolled, jumped, skipped, and ran through the last fifteen steps as he avoided half of the wards, and triggered the rest. He hit the final step and jumped hard, diving forward as the last fireball exploded behind him.
He slowly got up and let out a long sigh of relief. The sigh got stuck in his throat as he looked around the new chamber. It was the dinning room and it was full. He had made quite the commotion coming down the stairs, and well over two dozen goblins were not happy about having their meals interrupted.
Entreri drew his weapons and attacked.
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