Don’t blame the healer
It took a little doing, but eventually I got the DPS kids to fill in the rest of what had gone down after they’d sealed themselves in the cave. (I’m not going to stick Gurtash with having to do comic panels for every last word of it when we can just exposition our way over it, because seriously, that would burn through a TON of paper, and there’s only so much Ashenvale lumber on hand.) (For now.)
Like Gurtash and Giska were saying last time, they encountered saurok – multiple packs of them, actually – and did their best to fight them off while fleeing deeper into the caverns. By the time the saurok gave up pursuit, the kids were pretty far underground…and one fewer in number. Lok’osh – another orphan that Gurtash knew from Matron Battlewail’s place – got hacked up pretty badly in the fight, and while the rest of the kids managed to get him out of there with them, his injuries turned out to be too much for him.
He was a good kid. Quiet, but I guess that comes with being a rogue. I was maybe going to introduce him to Garona one day, except for the fact that, you know, who needs to be subjected to that, right? So maybe not. Anyway, moot point now. Unfortunately.
I decided to have the kids check our perimeter while I figured out our next move. There were two ways into the small chamber where they’d set up camp, and I’d just used one of them a short while before, so we knew that one was clear. So I had the batch of them chain their way down the other passageway to scout as far as they could. Standard procedure in unfamiliar territory, when you have limited numbers and want to play it conservative – one of them plants themselves in the passage, within sight of me, then the others spread out while going further. Each one in the chain goes as far as they can while still maintaining line of sight with the person before them. This way you cover the widest range, without anybody ever being in a position where the cavalry can’t be called in within ten seconds. Plus it would be giving them something to do to get their minds off Lok’osh and feel like they’re helping.
Korrina couldn’t get close enough to get a good look – I’m sure she would have tried, if they all weren’t under orders not to try to be a hero – but she was pretty sure she could see shadows moving further down the tunnel, and something seemed to be making some noise. I rounded the trainees up in the passageway and had them chain behind me while I went down to check it out – not even for the sake of them backing me up, really (spirits help me if I ever wind up needing the kids to save my ass), but mostly so they could call me back if something snuck up behind them. No surprise to anyone, Gurtash made a point of making himself the last link in the chain to me. As the passage started to widen into another room, I reminded him to keep me in sight, but also told him in no uncertain terms to stay back, no matter what. And down I went.
So…yeah, hold on to your hats for this one.