Having looted the camp, the heroes took stock. Harald and Balasar went with Saeldur to recover the packs the party had dropped before sneaking up on the hobgoblins. The rest of the party decided to (enthusiastically) interrogate the hobgoblin leader.
While their vanquished foe spat invectives at them and threatened them with death at his hands—if he could only get free—the heroes did learn that Grod, the hobgoblin chief, lurked under the hill and that he was drawing an army to his banner for the express purpose of sacking Dunstone. The hobgoblin threatened to slay Ozloc—for his hatred of elves seemed great—so the party slew the warrior before he could get free to carry out his dire threats. Before Harald and his companions returned, the heroes disposed of the evidence by hurling the bloody and mutilated corpses of the hobgoblin dead into the lake.
With Harald and the rest of the party returned, the discussion turned to what to do next. Returning to Dunstone to warn the townsfolk seemed like the prudent course of action, and so—as dusk fell—the party retraced their steps. As they marched through the gloom, it quickly became evident they would have to stop somewhere for the night. The caves nearby, home to several giant bats, seemed the best place, so the party headed in that direction.
They did not reach the caves without incident, however. Unbeknownst to the heroes, hungry, feral ghouls lurked in the woods. A small band of the scavengers fell upon and surprised the party as they neared the Bat Cave—as they had named their objective. The beasts were quickly destroyed, but not before Balasar was severely hurt. Luckily, Bodrum was strong in the faith of his god, Anstis Shaelress, and used his divine powers to heal his dragonborn companion.
With their desperate nighttime battle behind them, the party quickly marched the rest of the way to the cave. Forcing their way inside passed the thick vegetation choking the entrance, they discovered the cave empty—the bats were clearly out hunting.
Revelling in this stroke of good luck, the heroes moved to a side passage and settled down to rest and wait. They didn’t have long to wait. Barely an hour passed before a huge bat—the size of a pony—swooped soundlessly into the cave carrying what looked like the corpse of a gigantic bee or wasp. Saeldur was on watch and sensed the beast’s approach. As it glided virtually soundlessly passed the side chamber where they lurked, he and Harald struck. Pierced by javelin and arrow, the bat crumpled to the floor dead before it realised its home had been invaded...