The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn...

Dear Nimbleweed and Ellykins Gulnackle,

I am pretty damn worn out right now! We’ve been down in the bowels of this horrible factory for longer than I’d care to be. And to make the whole thing worse, some Elf has popped up telling us the factory needs shutting down or the world’ll end! Seems a bit overdramatic to me, but right now he’s mucking about with the big machine, turning it off. Taking his time though. You’d have thought it’d have a big red button marked ‘off’, but I guess not. Oh, and this Elf guy is also apparently Rei’s lost mate, what she was looking for earlier, but when I first saw him it seemed they’d had a bit of a kerfuffle while I was gone. See we was planning on getting a bit of shut eye before the Elf dropped by and Brok said we needed to be in this power room. Best place to defend he reckoned, but I pointed out that there were lots of beds back upstairs and he finally agreed to let me go and get a mattress if I brought back two of them. Well! I had to summon all my bravery. When I’d climbed back up to the barracks room and stuffed the two cleanest, well, the least stained mattresses I could find down the trapdoor I heard footsteps coming down the corridor. The mattresses were a tight fit and they weren’t going down quick so I dived under the nearest bed and watched as four sets of Hobgoblin feet walked in towards the trapdoor. I whipped out the clockwork bomb I’d got off Big Bed and set it for a short timer, no more than a few seconds. I placed the thing down under the bed, jumped out from under it and launched myself into the open trapdoor hoping my weight’d be enough to force the mattresses through. It was, but they’re not as soft as I hoped cause it damn well hurt when I hit the bottom! I dragged the mattresses as quick as I could past the acid pool before the surviving hobgoblins came down after me. Halfway Brok shouted for me to stop. I did, and turned to see a big metallic snake staring at me, and that strange Elf with Brok and Rei, and Kos and Red over the other side eyeing up a familiar looking couple of metal dragon things. I tried to explain about the Hobgobs coming and Brok told the Elf I was with him, but the following Hobgoblins definitely weren’t. Rei’s Elf mate ordered the dragons to kill off the Hobgobs, which they did very well. Don’t know what they’d been up to before I came down but to make up for it the Elf charged one of the dragons with Rei’s safety! That’s just not fair. Why don’t I get my own metal dragon servant!?

After all the crap we’ve been through I deserve a metal dragon. I mean when we first were in this power room we had a right game when a Hobgoblin stepped in asking what we was all doing here before legging it. Rei and Kos were examining the machine again to find some important looking parts. They found some, so I detached a fuse they’d pointed out and pocketed the thing. The lights all up the top half of the machine flickered out then. Red and Brok were doing the whole ‘guard the door’ thing, but it sounded like it was pulled open a crack. I looked around just in time to see Red boot it open smashing a poor hobgoblin behind it as it swung full. There were others though, out past Red and Brok. But them two just beat on anything as they came. Rei managed to shoot a Bugbear in the leg making him tumble through the door at Brok’s feet. Not the best place to be as Brok ground him further into the floor with that magic ever-changing weapon of his. Looked like a maul when it came down on the Bugbear. Kos stepped up too and blasted his wand through the doorway, then, I guess cause he wanted a better view, decided to hop up on top of the Bugbear lying splayed out in front of Brok. He must have liked the view from up there cause he blasted off a couple more shots with his wand. I stepped up next to Rei to have a shot though the doorway too when the Bugbear threw Kos off of him and right over Brok’s head coming crashing down next to me and Rei! I helped him up, looking all shaken after his flight, but his horns felt a bit wobbly and all rubbery. I’m beginning to wonder if after all this time Kos is putting up a ruse. Maybe he’s a fake Tiefling!? Also, there was whispering coming from his backpack, so I tried to reach in and see, but Kos stopped me, and reached in his self and pulled out that black leather armour he’d picked up way back when. That was definitely what was whispering in me head, but Kos went about putting in on before I could grab it. I thought that was a bit selfish of him, but when it came alive with hundreds of eyes I didn’t really want it no more. Looks more than a little disgusting, but then again, it kind of suits him. Well meanwhile I think the Bugbear had been knocked three ways till next Sunday by Red and Brok so they’d tied him up and dumped him in the corner of the room. Oh, I just looked round. He’s still there! I think a couple of the other Hobgoblins ran off too, but this Bugbear ain’t going nowhere. Brok and Red did a whole ‘Bad-cop, worse-cop’ interrogation on it with Rei translating for them. Apparently it said there was an even bigger machine elsewhere, and much more Hobgoblins and Bugbears than it could count waiting for us through the double doors we’d passed. Don’t think Red much cared though cause he unceremoniously killed the tied up Bugbear in cold blood! I ought to try harder not to wind Big Red up too much.

I rigged up that clockwork bomb off Red to the double doors before we went through the other single one in the other wall. We ended up on the same raised platform as through the double doors, just around the corner some. Brok went right and Red went left following Brok’s tactics idea of controlling the ladders down. I followed Brok and Kos followed Red, and Rei stood at the corner, right in the middle with her bow. That factory room was all full of thick steam, and it was damn hard to see far. Could just make out figures in the distance, but they soon got all close up. There was a couple of big brutish looking Bugbears, a bunch of Hobgoblins working away at factory stuff, and two magic slinging Hobgoblins. They was the two that ran off before. Brok beat on one of the Brutes who was up on the walkway with us, but he swung away on a dangling chain. A few Hobgoblins climbed up the ladder behind us and started trying to land some hurt on me so I jumped up on a chain too and swung away, but I came to a stop hanging ten feet above the floor below in the middle of the room with one of them caster buggers right below. She missed with a bolt of lightning so I dropped down, and took a quick shot at her before dashing around some big noisy machine to hide. Maybe should have aimed a bit better cause I accidentally killed a Hobgoblin next to her, but oh well. When I looked back up to Brok on the walkway above Rei had somehow managed to get on the otherside of him. She shouted something down at me and pointed back past Brok and the Brute he was slugging it out with, before teleporting me over up there. Made me feel all funny inside and before I knew what was going on the second big brute was up behind me. He gave me a right whack, smashing me against the railing! He brought his arm round for another go at it so I rolled over the railing just to get away, but I landed hard on my back. I figured old Brok’d be fine up there with the two of them. It was about then that Red came barrelling back around the corner on the raised walkway with Kos just behind. Don’t know what they thought they’d been getting up to round there! Seeing Big Red, the brute who’d knocked me about went for the Warforged. There was a flash and an explosion of sparkly glass shards that knocked Red down and threw Kos clean off the platform, right over the railing. I dashed back around the machine again, catching that orb throwing Hobgoblin by surprise. I slammed one of my razors into his foot, pinning the bugger to the ground. Thought that might distract him from throwing crap around. Rei then shot him in the shoulder pushing him right off balance making him fall over, so I yanked out the razor and slashed at him some just as the lightning slinging Hobgoblin turned up next to us out of the smoke. I’d already seen more than enough of my blood so I legged it back around the machine to hide from her, but Red came charging past so I had to turn and follow him, help him deal with them two. Red quickly killed the lightning one while I sliced at the orb thrower. Grabbed him to slit his throat, but that damn brute of a Bugbear stepped up behind me and knocked me about some more, swinging and spinning a huge flail like crazy-blurry fast. I hobbled back behind Red to keep out of the way, but the orb chucker kept throwing his exploding glass balls knocking Rei on her ass. Brok didn’t seem to care about being cut by flying glass, he was too busy wrestling with his own brute. Rei though, jumped back up, dusted herself off and shot the orb Hobgob right in the neck sending him tumbling backwards down a rubbish pit. He’d had a wand, but that went flying into the air. I saw Kos try and catch the thing but he missed. Think he must have picked it up though. Red did that nice warm laying of hands touchy thing he does as I hobbled around him past the pit to avoid the bugger with the flail. Feeling a touch better I got around the pit to see that brute dead at Kos’s feet. Brok had to chase his brute through the door we came through and we all followed in time to hear the brute tell about the Elf what hired him and his, but Red killed him before we could officially take him prisoner.

It was then that I deactivated the bomb I’d rigged to the door earlier, and tried to convince Brok of the merits of having nice soft mattresses, and after the trouble I went through to go get them I don’t even know if we’re going to get round to using them! Rei’s Elf mate explained that the factory was sucking power from some other eldritch source, and he’d hired the Hobgoblins off of Tavya. He took us off to the factory library nearby, where he said the Hobgoblins kept him locked up when they betrayed him, on Tavya’s orders I guess? Brok had me check the door, which was a sturdy spinny-handdlewheeled one that had been braced from the outside. Looked like he could have been locked in, but I couldn’t see no sign that anyone had broken out. Elf seems to think the Hobgoblins are working for Tavya all secretly, and she wants the factory kept running. Mishva and the Silver Flame folk both want the place destroyed, we thought so that each other don’t get the chance to use it against them, but the Elf showed us this text book in the library. All technical nonsense, and diagrams, but he pointed out a none too cheery passage about demon-flies, not unlike what we’ve been having troubles with, and the crown pieces we’ve been collecting, being keys to lock a gate into the Khyber. Bunch of kobolds made themselves some ‘Insect Eaters’, way back when they unleashed some nasty fly-demons, and this factory is drawing its power from these insect eaters’ pods. Need to pick one or the other to keep running. And to make it all worse, apparently there’s a sentient wargorged in the forge room just wanting to make lots of little metal dragons in peace. Turning off the factory will piss if off no end, but allow the insect eater pods to grow us some insect eaters. The Elf has already shut down most of the power now by the looks of it, but this book of his says even the insect eaters weren’t enough to save the kobolds. There was a whole damn war before these crown pieces were used to lock the demons away. Where’re we going to get a couple of armies from in Q’Barra!?




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