No time is wasted in taking out the 3 goblins. The whole party moved with cut throat efficiency. Aramil shrouds the valiantly charging dwarf with a powerful defensive spell as Olaf crushes his foe his bellow “I shall be remembered for this” is heard ringing through the cave and Celdor, as if his arrow, fated to slay that particular goblin, cuts through the air and finds the heart of the gangly beast and the Dragonborn, leaping over rock and dead goblin swinging her sword cuts the goblin from waist to torso. It falls dead in a heap of it's own viscera. “Ha, you should have taken my gifts.”
Arianna, smiling looks around and chuckles “That was easy, wasn't it?” Perhaps she jinxed it, perhaps it was just bad luck but before she'd finished muttering her hubris an a short and stubby arrow came flying through the darkness and found it's way into a chink in Arianna's armour and embedded itself harshly in her stomach.
Olaf scrambles to Arianna before she can hit the floor but not before she slips from consciousness, while the others try to find the source of the arrow. It was Aramil who spotted the small round hole in the wall and instinctively calls upon his magical arts to put a halt to the assailants. He mutters an incantation and as he extends his hands they turn from a pale white to a frozen blue, specks of ice crisping and falling from his icy hands. He fires rays of frost from his hands and lovely flowing hair glides on the blast but whips round and hits him in the face... he misses and hits the wall.
Lejandra unperturbed by everything around her glides across the floor, beaming with her hands outstretched, “Don't shoot, I have a lovely pot! Would you like it?” but as she tries to stuff the pot through the tiny hole she hears the clinking sound of blade being struck against the pot.
Once Olaf had healed Arianna enough he looked around to find the source of the varnish scent Arianna had described. It didn't take long. In the centre of the room (surprised no one had spotted it) Olaf saw clearly a large wooden box. It looked old but it good condition. He picked it up and examined it before opening it. There was no writing or runes on it but it was rather heavy and long, perhaps as long as he was tall. He placed it on the floor and with a creak and a little resistance he pushed the heavy lid open. Inside were some gold coins, a bright golden handled scimitar and a shortbow that seemed wholly out of place in the dark, twisted cave of the goblins. He surreptitiously pilfered the gold, then called out to the others.
The others were too busy pleading with Lejandra to stop making vain attempts at befriending the goblins (though Manny was too busy drawing a male member on the wall with a sharp rock to care) to notice Olaf and the box, save Celdor who noticed the clinking on the pot had stopped and was watching to make sure no goblins got the jump on them.
Olaf and Aramil give the weapons a quick once over which though not a thorough check, is enough to determine they are fine weapons. Screeched cackles bounce of the walls of the caves and reminds everyone where they are. They fall into a new formation the armoured warriors and the Dragonborn leading the way back to the split in the paths.
With the fear of Goblins dropping in on them at any moment, the party is no longer moving cautiously, the move with haste, desperate to rid them selves of cave, goblin and the putrid smell of blood. Thankfully for our party, Olaf was not so preoccupied he'd forgotten about the traps and warned “Everyone freeze!” (Manny choose this point to perform an elaborate belly dance routine he'd picked up on the boat) when he saw the arrow trap from earlier. Lejandra, using her pot again, blocked the arrows while everyone passed.
Soon they reach the split in passages and as they do so there's a whisper from Olaf, “Contacts in front.” Sure enough, at the end of the stretch they could see what seemed like the silhouette of goblin features protruding from the cave wall.
Manny stepped forward, beaming for he, had a plan. He burst into animated speech about flying pots filled with Gnomish bards and some kind of thunderous force. Celdor, assuming this was a joke began to laugh to himself until those around him fervently began adding to this plan and within no time madness had been devised. Was it madness though, or genius?
The gnome, looking more pleased with himself than he had yet (more pleased even than when scribbling crude doodles on cave walls) clambered into the pot as Aramil sent a ray of frost across the floor, creating a 'slip n' slide' of sorts. Olaf, covered the gnome and pot in some kind of protection spell and Lejandra bent her knees and sent the pot skidding across the ice. If this alone was not madness itself, it was sure pushed that why when the squirrel biscuit ran in front of the pot, brushing the ice with it's tail as it went.
The pot slid across the floor with ease and stopped just past the passage split and the feet of two utterly bewildered goblins. Manny, leaping out and laughing maniacally screamed “Pikachu” and as he was was airborne he shimmered yellow and from him blasted a thunderous wave of energy that sent the goblins flying, killing one and knocking the second down the passage. Before the congratulatory cheers could be showered on these most brave warriors however, the echoes of Manny's thunder wave rumbled into an explosion of sound and stone as the cave passage completely crumbled, covering everyone in dust and chip. Celdor was sure he could still see Manny's pure elation shine through the powdered rock and slabs of stone as he beamed a most mischievous smile. With the rest of the cave now blocked off, the potty party make their way out towards the forest, something Celdor was only too pleased about.
The sunlight was washing over the forest now, dancing in brilliant golden rays, it almost looked alive. The smells soothed Celdor and it was a moment before he thought to inspect the bow, Aramil had given it to him earlier in the cave. The others were right, it was definitely of better craft than his bow and a damn sight better than the crude short bow he picked off a dead goblin but there was something about this he couldn't put his finger on. Running his hand along the bowstring, he pulled it far and taught and released it. It was quiet. Silent in fact. He noticed some writing he couldn't understand, both he and Aramil thought it elvish but none they understood. Arianna however, recognised it almost instantly as Sylvan and translated it without issue. “The Silent Shot” she said.
Eager to get away from the cave and perhaps try out his new bow, Celdor was about to suggest leaving when he noticed fresh tracks, tracks that didn't belong to any Goblin but to Gnomes. Lejandra sends Biscuits off to search while Celdor investigated the tracks more. In no time Biscuit had returned and was raving about something. Manny explained that apparently Biscuit had come across many squirrels and they seemed to be in the direction of the gnomes. Celdor lead them along the tracks.
It doesn't take long for the tracks to lead to a grove in the forest, a clearing of tress with one huge old oak standing tall in the middle. As they step into the grove, they can hear the chirp of hundreds of squirrels. The trees are covered in so many fluffy critters, it seemed their bark was moving even biscuit was bouncing on the spot.
“Warning. These blasted things are the doorbell for these gnomes” proclaimed Manny.
Lejandra asks the squirrels to “Take us to your leader” but before any attempts could be made an arrow flies from brush and stops just short of Manny and a voice in soft Gnomish calls out “Who are you?” Manny, coldly replies in his mother tongue, looking on the party with a wry smile. The gnomes begin a short back and forth and after the exchange of a few short phrases, Aramil asks what's being said. “Ah, your slaves speak the common tongue” said one of the gnomes, somewhat surprised. A blast of “Slaves?” and “who does he think he is” came from everyone in the party and Celdor stepped forth to chastise Manny when some more gnomes stepped out of the trees and surrounded them. “Drow! Where did you get that bow?!”. The mood had changed, there's was a thickness to the Gnomes speech and an accusing tone that couldn't be missed. “Leave this place, no good can come of you being here. You will no find that which you seek!”. Celdor tried to reply with questions, hoping to find out more but the gnome just said “We've seen another with that bow. Leave now.” and he, along with his kin and the squirrels disappeared into the forest.
Left alone in the middle of the grove, the party begins to argue at how best to proceed. Lejandra suggests leaving a tribute in the pot for the gnomes in a bid to convince them of the party's friendliness. Celdor, agreeing this the best course of action stepped forward and dropped some gold coins into the pot and slowly everybody else began to also. That is, except for Olaf. The dwarf, used to the lavishes of finer life was reluctant to give away any gold. In fact, he went so far as to protest the leaving of gold in the forest but reluctantly he was convinced when he felt it was the right thing to do and the tribute was 11 gold pieces but as they turned to leave and prepare a camp for the night, Manny, hovering around the pot attempted to steal the gold for himself but lost in his greed he fumbled the coins and knocked over the pot. At the sight of his new friend betraying the party, Celdor flew into a range and swung his foot back in arch to kick the pilfering prat sky high but it his anger he slipped and fell on his arse.
It was Lejandra that put the fear into the gnome though. Towering over his small frame, Lejandra looked the gnome dead into his eyes and said “If you want to be a friend then be a friend but steal from us or my pot again and I will kill you.” This would have scared anyone coming from a Dragonborn but the smile with which she delivered the last part sent very real chills down both the Gnome and Celdor's spine. Never the less, the Drow will keep a much closer eye on the bard.
Still fuming with the Gnome, Celdor needed time to cool off. He thought perhaps some meat for the camp might be enough to raise everyone's spirits so he slunk off into the woods on the trail of a deer while Lejandra organised a fire and with Olaf's help managed to make a shelter for Celdor's return. A hearty feast was enjoyed by all while the sat around the camp fire and regaled each other with tales of adventure and far away lands.