Water condensed on the ceiling of the cavern and slowly gathred. Once enough moisture had congregated in one spot it would come together in a drop that would fall to the floor and splash in little puddles. To Fland's ears the dripping water echoed like thunder. Every little sound was potentially another goblin on patrol. He had to precieve them coming long before they became aware of him. He might slaughter a group of suprised, sun-weary gobs up on the surface, but down here was their home.
With twin maces in hand, Fland listened carefully before poking his head around a corner. He saw no threats down the green lit tunnel. A florecent fungus on the walls provided an erie illumination to the corridor. While the goblins could see a short distance in total darkness, they needed some light to see farther. As such, they used a glowing subteranean mold to provide light in their underground lairs. While Fland was not partial to the poor lighting, it did mean he would not have to carry a torch or have Elarr cast a spell of light that might forewarn any of the goblins they hoped to sneak up on.
The light provided by the fungus was unpleasant, but it was not the only thing making the exploration uncomfortable. The tunnels were just tall enough for Fland to stand, and even then he was forced to stoop at points. The walls themselves were strange, appearing almost organic. Fland felt like he was walking through the bowls of a living creature. The air was putrid with rot. It reaked of unwashed goblin bodies and their refuse. Worse of all was an uncatagorizable feeling of dread. It was as though some monster were watching over their shoulders while slowly sticking its ethereal claws into their souls.
With the way clear, Fland waved for Elarr to follow. They silently moved down the winding corridor with Fland in the lead. At every turn Fland would cautiously check to see if there was a patrol, guard or other threat. After going around several bends and taking the right branch of a forked tunnel it became apparent to the duo that this was not just some hole in the ground.
"I fear we've stumbled on something far worse than just a goblin den," Elarr said quietly, "This is going to far and we have not yet come to the heart of the corruption. To spread so far from its source...we are dealing with something very dangerous."
"What in the Nine Hells are you talking about?" Fland responded dismissively, "We're dealing with a bunch of goblins. What is the worse they could be up to beyond spoiling milk?"
Elarr frowned and responded sharply, "Do not underestimate goblinkind Fland. They may be stupid and cowardly most of the time, but they are creatures of corruption. While they will never master high magic, they have an inate understanding of corrupt magics."
The pair continued on in contemplative silence. It was not long before they caught the sound of goblin voices. Fland crept quietly to the bend in the tunnel. He slid his back along the slick wall, pressing into the shadows. Ahead he found three goblins talking absently. He had never bothered learning more than a few words of the goblin tongue, primarly curses, and had no idea what they were talking about. Words were Elarr's game though, and Fland was only concerned with the fact that they were distracted enough for hime to close in on them undetected.
CRA-CRACK. CRA-CRACK. CRA-CRACK.
Fland's whirling maces made quick work of the trio. Leaping into their midsts, he smacked each twice somewhere on the skull, leaving them with dented heads and bloodies faces. If they were not dead then they were certainly unconscious.
Elarr caught up to him and only offered, "Slit their throats next time, it's quieter."
They moved on without delay. Twice more they came across wandering goblins. Fland took them out with the same efficiency, barely even giving them a chance to attack in turn. Not one had the oportunity to cryout. The muffled thuds of the combat did not echo far enough down the tunnel to alert any other goblins, or possibly those that might have heard just ignored it. Goblins are not concerned with murder amongst themselves and so long as an alarm was not raised most would not think enough to consider the possability that invaders had entered their twisted home.
The meandering tunnel led them down a subtle incline. As they progressed they began to hear the sound of goblin voices and activity. On guard, they approached the noise with maces and spell at the ready. What they found as they reached the end of the tunnel left them suprised and fightened.
The tunnel them to the top of a large cavern. Rough, unstable looking steps were carved into the side of the cavern wall to lead down from the tunnel to the floor bellow. Looking down they could see a multitude of goblins, at least a two-hundred strong. They milled about forges, making crude by deadly weapons. Others chattered away around a cooking pit where they roasted something that looked unsettlingly like a humanoid body on a spit. The air was smokey, but most of it seemed to be escaping though a natural chimney in the ceiling. Across the way they could see holes honeycombing the wall. Goblins climbed up and down rickety ladders to crawl into the holes where they could be seen bunking down.
What drew their attention the most though came from a large fissure in the side of the cavern wall that had been decorated with skulls and other bones. Two large figures, not every day goblins by any means, stood guard at the entrance. An errie green glow could be seen leaking out of it. While it was hard to hear across cavern and over the goblin chatter, both Fland and Elarr could hear pained screams issuing from the opening.
Pulling back, not wanting to be seen, the duo were grim faced. It was Elarr that spoke first, "I told you that this was no ordinary goblin hole."
"Fine, fine," Fland said, waving his hand to dismiss having to admit his error, "So we've stumbled on a whole damn tribe of them."