The party retreated a bit and set up camp. They immediately set about healing themselves and relearning their spells. Given that they camped at about 4 pm, this meant that the party was as ready as they could be by midnight. Nothing disturbed the time except a lone wolf that wondered by their camp.
Having learned the lesson, they let the Shadowsworn move on ahead as a scout. As they neared the prior ambush location, they noticed that the bodies of the slain had been removed. Scanning the area, they noticed a glint of metal in one of the trees about 60+ feet ahead.
Shakill moved along silently, living up to his class’ name, while the paladin, druid, and bear moved along at 30’ behind him. As Shakill neared the tree, a crossbow bolt hit the Paladin from the kobold concealed in the tree.
A Battle ensued, and they managed to kill the kobold after three exchanges. Shakill, in his greed to loot the corpse, broke cover. He was rewarded with a crossbow bolt to the back. After a volley of arrows from our intrepid adventurers failed to dislodge the kobold, Bayor walked up to the tree and hurled a dagger into the luckless creature.
As thanks, the third kobold fired his crossbow (they were in a layout similar to before, but the combat had started prior to the party being surrounded). They returned fire, and the kobold fell, dead.
It seems the kobolds set out sentries in groups of three, as the party made its way to a ravine where they were set upon by a group consisting, as before, of two kobolds wielding crossbows, a goblin with a short bow, and a kobold with a short sword who seemed to be in charge.
They managed to take down the rest of the creatures fairly quickly. Tired of walking into the unknown, they decided to have the Shadowsworn scout out what lied ahead. The kobold camp rested in a fairly large cul-de-sac. Consisting of six tents, 5 in the same style, but one of which was nicer and centrally located. Next to the central tent, the captive lay bound in chains.
On his report, the paladin decided that “Hey, they are lawful creatures, and I am a lawful creature, I’ll just challenge the Kobold leader to honorable melee combat.” So, the Shadowsworn and the Druid snuck along the sides of the ravine, the paladin (who couldn’t sneak anyway) strode down the middle shouting his challenge in draconic.
He was answered by a volley of crossbow fire. He repeated his challenge and they repeated their response. He fell prone and used his shield as cover. The Druid decided to toss an orb of fire at the first tent which had two effects. the first was to cause the four goblins inside of it to dash it to the ground in order to minimize that whole catching on fire thing. The other was to illuminate the forces arrayed against them.
Two squads, such as they had fought before, one on each side of the burnt goblins, stood before them. Five crossbowmen to a squad with a swordsman leader. In the center, behind the goblins stood a kobold in even nicer armor.
The druid cast entangle and hurled another orb of fire at the center, this killed the goblins and started a fire which the kobolds could neither flee from nor put out. He then joined the paladin in what they later referred to as a “tactical retreat”. Hopefully, the rationalizations he came up with were enough to pacify the spirit of his order.
The shadowsworn, in a contrary burst of bravery used the diversion to go camp and rescue the captive. Bringing her back, he realized they couldn’t get by the kobolds with crossbows, so he had the woman hide in a tend while he fired his bow at the leader.
The Kobold leader had been “encouraging” his followers to kill the intruders and small groups of three and four broke free. Nice manageable chunks for them to deal with. They had also stopped just out of crossbow range.
Between the fire and the smaller groups, the adventurers managed to take out the kobolds. The shadowsworn managed to get a lucky strike which nearly killed the kobold leader. The leader activated a ring which caused him to disappear. leaving nothing but empty tents and corpses. A search of the camp revealed a message in the goblin’s tent saying (roughly translated from the Goblin) “Be Useful! We will not be left out,” and an annotated map in the commanders quarters showing the patrols and defenses of the neighboring circle.
The woman’s name is Zelimirka Takac.