Varros looks at his companions grimly, "This situation appears to to be far more serious than we expected friends. Everything here suggests to me that soon we will be facing combat against an adversary unexpected, not human in fact."
"This is a grim situation indeed," says Gaven. The cleric picks up the ichor-covered dagger and gives it a sniff and then a lick to try to determine what creature this may have come from. The substance is foul-tasting, but it is definitely blood, perhaps from a goblin or an orc. He stows the dagger in his pack.
Sniffing the air Varros whispers to the party, "It is my guess we may be too late to save both the missing townsfolk, however, it seems to me we may be able to surprise their abductors. I have a plan..."
Varros quickly explains to his companions his idea of swinging east to avoid being caught between the farmhouse and any adversary near the fire on the hill, using the cover of the trees to move into position. Duran will shoot and Oloc will cast a spell, if needed, while the others will engage in melee.
Gaven nods at Varro's plan, "I like your idea, we certainly don't want to get stuck between two sets of enemies."
Duran nods his consent and says "I should like to be positioned to the left of the group during the attack so I can take as many shots as possible while the others charge. This way I won't be shooting over and through you as you move. Then after combat is engaged I can pick off any of their archers who are not engaged in hand to hand combat. I also have my axe should the need arise but I much prefer the feel of bow and arrow in my hands."
Oloc listens intently as well. "I will ready my charming spell, but should we be engaged in hostilities, it may prove ineffective. Otherwise, I can throw a dagger with some skill," he adds, drawing a blade from the sheath at his side.
The mage looks over the ground again. "Clearly our young lothario put up a fight and looks to have drawn blood before being wounded himself. I hope the two remain, for the most part, unharmed."
Before moving into position, Gaven looks at Ollie and says: "Lad, can you take the saddle? I would like to return it to Bob Barley as evidence of his horse and ..." Gaven sighs, "possibly his son's demise." Gaven makes the sign of Light over the horse. Ollie picks up the saddle and, with a bit of effort, manages to successfully stow it.
Once Ollie has finished with the saddle, the party climbs the hill cautiously, keeping to the shadows cast by the trees, and moving from trunk to trunk. After serveral minutes of very cautious maneuver, you hear a rough voice speaking ahead of you, and then hear another that laughs harshly.
Finally you arrive at a point where you can clearly see the source of the smoke. Two goblins, with yellow-green skin, are cooking over a small fire. Though you've always heard that goblins don't like the sunlight, these two seem to thoroughly enjoy it, sitting in the light rather than in the shade. They are both armed with bows. In addition, one has an axe in his belt, the other has a spear next to him, leaning against a stump. The shank they are turning over the fire smells both appetizing and somehow sickening at the same time.
For the moment they have not spotted you in the shadow of the trees. One of them adjusts the shank in the forked branches holding it over the fire, and makes a comment to the other, who laughs again with the same harsh sound you heard before.