Ros, Reverand Mother of the True Temple of Jovan (not to be confused with the False Temple of Jovan that sent gibbering minions and skeletons to attack defenseless towns), appeared at the door of the Demon Arms Inn, resplendent in her crimson robes.

“Were there not more of you before?” she said in melodious tones. “I have come to offer thanks and apologize for my earlier brusqueness.”

“Tinuviel and Chanel decided to spend the night outside, camping in the streets,” said Iffy the elven conjurer. “Gora the Seventh did kind of pick our pocket before she offered us free room and board for the winter.”

“I see,” said Ros. “Well, I wanted to offer you a nugget of information in recompense. When the followers of false Jovan invaded, as you know, you allowed them to escape with a wagon filled with prisoners.”

Adenan the halfling bruiser bristled at this suggestion that they had failed. “What about it?”

“One of the Jovan cultists was captured by the city guard. He…perished…under interrogaion, but not before revealing the heading that the prisoners may have followed.”

“Excellent!” Iffy cried. “We can go rescue them, really live up to our status as associate junior guards!”

“I must admit,” added Reverend Mother Ros, “normally I have to pay quite handsomely in bribes for this sort of information from the guards. But this time, one of the guards offered it to me quite willingly.”

Iffy and Adenan looked at each other with loaded expressions. They knew all about their halfling ne’er-do-well friend Tinuviel’s continuing flirtations with Vakt the city guard.

Ros held up a scroll. “The guard only insisted that the information be given directly and personally to a short woman,” she continued. She thrust the scroll into Adenan’s hands, oblivious to the halfling’s eyes suddenly swelling to saucers. “He also asked that I give you…something else…but I regret that my oath as a Reverand Mother of Jovan makes that impossible.”

The Reverand Mother departed, leaving Adenan holding the scroll, stunned, and her companions overtaken by hopeless laughter.

The last gibberling–a tiny whirlwind of teeth and fur that seemed a cross between a gibbon and a Pomeranian pup–took Chanel’s blow to the head and passed out cold. The others tied him up, and turned to Adenan to converse with the creature, since she had taken a minor in Gibber Languages at university.

“Who are you?” she said in Gibbertongue. “Who else is in this cave? Talk or I’ll throw you into the river!”

“You-killed-my-friends!” the gibberling motormouthed. “You-killed-Gus! You-squashed-him-into-jelly! Gus-had-gibberlettes-and-a-gibberwife!”

Adenan bonked the gibberling over the head. “Who are you?” she repeated. “Who else is in this cave?”

“I’m-Gus. Gus-Two. Lots-of-Gusses,” the gibberling…well…gibbered. “Lots-of-us-in-here. Some-big-green-ones-too. And-the-boss.”

“What’s the boss?”


Adenan rolled her eyes. “What about the prisoners?”

“Oh-yeah-boss-has-some-prisoners. Gonna-eat-em-soon! Taste-good. Like-the-horses-outside. Ate-them-and-then-burned-the-bits-for-fun!”

Attempting to sneak around a corner of Ransack Cavern, Tinuviel the halfling rogue instead came face to face with a young troll–one of the “green-ones” that Gus Two had gibbered on about before he had run off screaming and broken his neck in a deadfall trap.

Normally, she was decently sneaky. But this time, Tinuviel tripped over her own foot-hairs and tumbled straight to the ground. Her cooking set tumbled out of her rucksack, making such a ruckus that it could have woken the dead (had any of the skeletons they’d fought earlier been present).

“What that?” the troll cried. “Who there?”

Thinking quickly, Tinuviel got up, dusted herself off, and bowed deeply. “Why, I’m one of you! My most humble apologies, sir. I seem to have gotten lost looking for the boss.”

The troll regarded the tiny halfling with deep suspicion. “You smell like Gus,” he snarled. “Smell like Gus Two. Like Gus Two’s gooey bits. You kill him?”

“Of course not,” saif Tinuviel, bowing again. “He killed himself by running into a deadfall. But I’m still one of you, one of the Ransack Cavern gang through and through.”

“What the password?” the troll said, readying its fists.

“The password is…” Tinuviel racked her thoughts, and coughed up the first word that came to mind: “…flugelhorn.”

The troll gaped. The password was indeed “flugelhorn,” after the boss’s ill-fated stint as a brass player. “How you know that?”

“Like I said,” Tinuviel grinned. “I’m one of you.”

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