In the morning, the group found a note that was written by the Mage. In it he revealed that he became too homesick and therefore had to head back to the village from which he came. But, he did leave them the magical dust that was found in the tomb. (Retreat #1)
So the group mustered their waning courage and pressed on back to the goblin ruins. Upon their arrival, they discovered that the goblins had left the dead where they fell at the front entrance. This was a bit concerning because it was not normal. Were they all holed up with the chieftain in a last stand? The group was soon to find out. They bravely scaled the walls past the dead goblins and moved in.
What they found was an empty village ruin. No goblins left defending at all. There were some orcs tied up in what ended up being the goblin larder, but after careful consideration, the group decided they needed to die. So without further ado (actually there was just a teeny bit of ado), Brother Morgus piled kindling around them. Dagad decided that burning alive was a little too harsh even for orcs so he cut their throats just as the fire was lit.
Then there was the task of finding out exactly what happened to the goblins. The whole area was mapped out including the goblin tunnels. What apparently transpired was that the goblins being sorely depleted ran off into the wilderness and their footprints were only visible for a short time. So a hasty retreat was accomplished. (Retreat #2)
So with nothing to show for it, the group left the goblin ruins (no one was brave enough to search the refuse pit and claim the +5 Vorpal Blade). On the way to Hamar, they met a halfling who sold them a magical sword and shield. Once they arrived in town, they found out that they belonged to the Steward’s nephew who had been murdered recently. Rather than give up the man who sold them the items, they bravely lied and then went to great lengths to alter their campsite to corroborate their tale. While the falsified evidence was being planted by the Druid (because Druids are good at planting), the group was fleeced of their cash by the Public House bartender.
Once their lie was accepted, they then turned down an offer to retrieve a magical tome from The Shrieking Hollow, a local hangout in some nearby woods. Instead they decided to get out of Dodge as fast as they could. (Retreat #3)
But then they arrived at the path to the Shrieking Hollow and decided that perhaps they were being too hasty. They followed along and found a large sinkhole and climbed down inside. There they found a large underground cavern that was inhabited by some weird screaming mushroom with hostile tendrils. Ignoring those, they pressed on to find another sinkhole. Naturally, they went down even further.
In the deeper, danker, darker caves lurked weird creatures. Creatures that were able to ensnare the Druid and the Fighter/Thief and drag them up to a ledge high above the cave floor. A rescue was decided and the evening broke off in the middle of the battle.
Will this fight spur on Retreat #4? Only the shadow knows (but they haven’t encountered that yet).