"Filbert bravely tried to resist them," says Hazel, "but they were too strong. One of them struck Filbert with the pommel of a sword. That's how he got that gash. They pushed me to the ground and told me I'd hand over our gems if I knew what was good for me." Hazel looks down at the floor. "I knew we couldn't overcome those men, so I gave up our gems."
Gaven responds to Filbert and Hazel, "I am sorry. We should have questioned those men further. I will do all in my power to get your gems back once we have dealt with the goblins."
"Thank you," says Filbert. "I heard them say something about making their way back to the keep, just before I lost consciousness."
"Yes," says Hazel, "then they rode away north up the road toward Woodfield."
"If you go after them," adds Filbert weakly, "I should like to accompany you. I would dearly love to give them some payback."
As this conversation ends a farmer stands on one of Harlon's tables and bangs the handle of his pitchfork on it. "I say we head out now and put an end to this menace once and for all! We've seen this before, and we know how it goes if we take no action! Are we going to let goblins – or ogres or anyone else – come onto our lands and plunder and burn as they please? I say no, by the Light! No!"
A stout cheer goes up from a fair portion of the farmers in the room. Others seem less than roused by the sturdy man's speech.
Before heading up to the roof, Varros addresses the men, explaining that Belloc is on his way and adding that the company was tasked with scouting out the goblins. Varros explains that the farmers will be killed if they choose to meet the goblins. He tells what he knows of their numbers and that there are also hobgoblins. He stresses that attacking them without the aid of Belloc will only result in their deaths and hardship for their families.
Duran nods in agreement. He adds "It would be better for you to await Captain Belloc here where as a group we have a better chance to defend ourselves. Varros and I will be on the roof keeping a look out. Oloc and Gaven do you think you can organize these men into a defensive posture around the inn?" With that Duran turns and heads up the ladder to the roof.
Oloc nods at Duran's suggestion and tries to calm the locals down. Many of the group, including the ringleader on the table, sober up a bit as Oloc reinforces what the others have said about the arrival of Belloc and his men.
Some of the others, who had cheered on the ring leader, still shout: "No, no! Let's get them now! Filthy goblins! Let's take the fight to them!
Gaven then heads to the bar, stands atop it, brandishes his silvered club and his holy symbol and yells, "Good people of the farmlands, lend your ears!"
Once he has their attention, he continues in a loud, commanding voice, "I am Gaven Bonecrusher, cleric of the Light. I have sworn a solemn oath to protect our lands from the scourge of chaos and I intend to do so here. These goblins are well organized and will surely wipe us out to the man without Belloc's reinforcements. The Light does want us to protect our lands, but not at an unnecessary loss of life. We have a good, defensible position at this fine inn. So let us fortify it and show the goblins that the men of Light will not be easily defeated!"
There is a dead silence after Gaven's speech, and then a soft murmur, and it seems the the men who stood quietly in the earlier tumult are now taking the lead and quietly convincing their fellow farmers to listen to the group's words.
Finally a consensus is reached, and another farmer steps forth, a thin, silver-haired elf, carrying an axe in his hand and a large knife in his belt, flanked by a halfling and a dwarf.
"I am Eric Fallow," he says, "And I now speak for the farmers gathered here. We will stay with you and defend the inn. Some of us have families, so I will send two or three of the swifter, younger men to run to those farms and send the women and children south toward the Fairbrook bridge. They will undoubtedly encounter Captain Belloc, assuming he is on his way, so they can let him know the details of what we're doing here."
Eric shakes your hands, and everyone sets to work. The runners depart on their mission. Duran and Varros make for the roof to keep lookout. Gaven and Oloc ask Harlon about the best defensible positions in the area and start to lead the men in fortifying the area.
With very few men, Eric and Harlon suggest a small perimeter around the inn itself. Harlon points out his sturdy tables could be used for a barricade, and a quick inspection of the rest of the inn reveals a substantial store of grain sacks, ale barrels, and food crates, which Gaven and Oloc realize could be used in conjunction with the tables to form a small, sturdy perimeter. With the help of the farmers, these items are quickly put into place.
Gaven notes that some of the farmers are armed with bows, and he suggests they make ready keeping an eye out along the new perimeter. He and Oloc have the remaining men – armed with a variety of weapons including pitchforks, flails, staves, axes, hammers and long knives – form lines once fortifications are complete.
The industrious farmers are able to complete all this activity under the group's direction in only about an hour. Shortly after 6 pm, everything seems in place, with not much else to do but wait for Belloc and the goblins.
As the sun hovers just above the horizon to the west, a few minutes before 7 pm, Varros and Duran believe they see a large body of shadows moving up the Fairbrook road from the south. There are a few moments of tension as the shadows draw nearer, but then a familiar "caw" rings out and Karnak lands on the rooftop next to Varros.
The sun disappears below the horizon and the sky goes black, except for the fading, flickering orange light on the skyline northeast of the inn that must be Timm's farm. A few minutes later, however, Varros and Duran note a second orange light spring up on the horizon, due north of the inn. It flares far more brilliantly than the fading light emanating from Timm's farm.
Below, the guard detachment from Fairbrook arrives at the barricade, with Belloc in the lead, on horseback. The barricade is opened and Belloc rides in and jumps down from his horse.
"We met your families on the road south," he says to Eric. "They should be quite safe from the goblins now." Then the captain addresses the party. "So what have you seen of the goblins and what course of action do you recommend?"
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