Letters Home: The Quest for Caleb

Dear Mum,

Your letter found its way to me in Enonia. I am glad you found solace with your family as you grieve Dad’s passing. And, yes, you definitely should go to sea again – I know how much you missed it, living so long inland. River rafts are all very well, but a proper elven ship on the high seas! Just make sure my uncle the captain pays you fair, the same as the rest of the crew.

I spent a few weeks in Yew, helping rebuild. There was little game in the area, with the orc armies and then the refugees. The forest nearby was better, and I took what I hunted to the Temple of the Light. I know, religion! But they are the ones organizing the relief, and they gladly took venison, boar, conies – whatever I could snare or shoot.

They could not pay me much, with so many needing help, but they did make sure I was healthy – and healed if I needed it. Once, they even cured me of a blood poison from a nasty goblin arrow. The Marshal will need to clear out those woodland goblins; they are cutting off trade which Yew desperately needs.

I escorted a few clerics and merchants to Enonia, then cast around for another job. Drinking at the Fox’s Flagon – not the best tavern, but inexpensive – I was recruited into a band of adventurers looking for a wandering husband. We were all promised a share in the bounty on the man by our new leader, Vincenzo, another half-elf. (The others in my party were all human: a magic-user, Conn; a very drunk human fighter, Cropper; and Milfred, a cleric. )

We found that the man we were after, Caleb, had run off with the Enonia Eagles and their lovely leader, Deesky. The Eagles had a lead on treasures in the old dwarven mines a half-day’s walk to the south of Enonia – near where the old elven fort was built to keep in the monsters.

As we neared the mine, we were ambushed by goblins. Each time we pursued, they took off, trying to lure us into another trap. We ran on, avoiding the bait (and more injuries !) and came upon a camp in disarray. I thought this may be the Eagles’ camp, though it was empty. We continued on, looking for the mine entrance, and were attacked by goblins. We were ready this time, though, and made short work of them.

Right inside the mines, we found the remains of a recent campfire. The ashes were cool, but undisturbed, so the fire had been laid that morning. We were still on the trail of the Eagles – and of Caleb.

Directly across this first room from the mine entrance, I followed the trail of the other party into a tunnel to the west. The others in my party made an exploratory probe into a tunnel to the north. They were surprised by a quartet of goblins, one riding a great wolf. I heard the noise of the battle and rushed back. We killed the wolf and its rider, captured two goblins, but the last fled screaming down the halls. We found little on these goblins – nuggets of copper, silver, and gold, plus a crowbar, an iron rod, a glass bar – but some intelligence was gathered from our captives.

They confirmed that another adventuring party had moved through the water door, which was the direction I’d been going. We also learned the goblin leader, name of Lugi, was trying to set up a new base in this area, and the mines would be a likely spot. Also, the mines were infested with insects. We took our captives back to the fort – some humans are holding it now for the Duke – and from there we rode to the Marshal’s keep and were rewarded for our service.

The next day, we rode South again, returned our horses, and walked back into the mine. As the Eagle’s trail was at least a day and a half old, we went again down the north tunnel. Most of the party went back to the room where they’d fought the goblins, but I walked down another tunnel. They stirred something up, and I heard the sounds of battle again – but the noise came from ahead of me. I reasoned this tunnel must bend around and come out on the other side of the battle, so I ran ahead to catch the foe from behind.

Insects, indeed! There were two huge beetles, and a hard fight it was, despite my flanking maneuver. We killed one beetle, and the wounded were dragged back to the mine entrance. I was stunned but Cropper ran back to pull me out.

We camped in the mines that night, between the water door and the way out. I helped Conn lay out some caltrops just outside the mine entrance, then we set up watches and tried to rest and recuperate. A couple of cavemen wandered out from the depths of the mine and joined us for drinks and a little food. As the night wore on, they grew irritable and left, leaving behind the corpse of a giant rat. Not sure how they killed that rat, but it looked like parts of the body were melted.

Later that night, Deesky and Caleb and the rest of the Eagles came out through the tunnels, high-spirited and loud. They’d been trapped by a falling block, but made their way out through a secret door and back around to the entrance.

Vincenzo told Caleb to come back to his wife. Caleb refused and was indignant Marge had put a bounty on him. Vincenzo offered – for a price – to let Caleb and the Eagles move to another area, and he would tell Caleb’s wife he was dead. Deesky jumped in here, told Vincenzo to butt out. The upshot: The Eagles are based in Enonia and they have no intention of moving. Caleb is not going back to his wife. Vincenzo will not collect the bounty. Deesky tried to recruit others from our party into the Eagles, but we all turned her down – I tried to do so with grace.

The rest of the night is a blur – I remember fighting off cave rats, and some cries from outside the mines as someone or something walked into the caltrops. We barely made it back to the fort alive, but the whole party survived.

Anyhow, I now have some money from this adventure – though not as much as I’d hoped. I should be able to get by for a little while, and perhaps I’ll be more successful in my next outing. Or maybe I can get hired on as a tracker – a fellow I supped with last week told me he’d made good coin at that, and had great tales of how he’d saved the Heroes of the Duchy from certain death, too.

Please give my love to grandfather and all my cousins. Should any of my kin be passing through Enonia, have them look me up!

Love you, Mum.

Gaheris

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