It was time for the party to escape and I don't like to hand wave it. Think about it, you break into someone's home and get hurt in the process and then decide to leave. Is the inhabitant just going to sit back and say, "Whew, they are going, let's relax and clean up?" Most likely they will give chase, not only to punish those breaking in, but also to redress the feeling of violation they received by the original break-in as it was.
This meant that the group had to decide to push on and flee, and if they didn't they would risk combat again and eventual capture/death. And this where the Constitution drain occurs. I don't like to do it, but the truth is if you did DIE in the combat, a few cure light wounds and a handful of goodberries is not the stuff of legends - and you will bleed out and become permanently hurt due to it.
So they made it back to town, used the hospice for a few days, and then readied themselves for a final visit to not only save Fist'al, but free the other elves there and put Malven's operation out of commission.
Write up follows:
While Enthir was running for his life, the rest of the party was trying to get the unconscious Tempi out of the goblin chamber. Marcus and Fergus were supporting the massive half-orc, the two of them spilling caltrops into the water just at the head of the winding, narrow corridor. Meanwhile Flimflam was guiding Whosea through the twisting gloom, coming into the watery chamber where he came face to face with the lone goblin. He had his war dog JUMP, still under the auspices of the enchanted potion, knocking the goblin down in the pass and threatening it to leave. The goblin then turned and ran back to the corridor, the same corridor that Fergus and Marcus, both with their hands filled, were unable to offer any resistance to any goblin threat.
So Flimflam had Whosea JUMP a last time, this time the dog and the druid’s cudgel brought the greenskin low. Meanwhile, Fergus was able to hear the goblins on the other side of the door that Chase and Fist’al had been brought through start to chant and rile themselves up and the two of them redoubled their efforts. The paladin was bleeding profusely through his clothes, the many wounds he had taken oozing as he forced himself to drag the staggering half-orc faster than his depleted body had the ability to function.
Once in the water room they splashed and tripped and ran to Flimflam and Enthir, breathing raggedly, as the cheer of chasing goblin voices broke in the distance. Tempi was revived, barely, with a few goodberries, and everyone ran towards the exit, Flimflam going first on his speeding dog.
The party raced through the gloomy dark, fluttering torch and flame poorly lighting the way while goblin chants echoed behind them as the greenskins sang about the “darkness and goblins..goblins all around them!” And for all their effort and draining reserves and Tempi and Fergus literally burning themselves out to make any sort of headway, the goblins behind them were slowly and inexorably closing the distance. A double flask of oil and lit torch was used to provide some breathing room as the beleaguered group stumbled on.
In the corridor where the zombie-goats were ,Flimflam slid off Whosea’s back and called upon Demeter to bless another handful of berries, making another batch of precious goodberries in the process. When the party was catching up to him (with Fergus, Tempi, and Marcus suddenly suffering from a Bane spell and the odd arrow from the trailing goblins) he handed a few more berries out and the group then charged for the exit. Another bag of caltrops was dumped and the group then raced up the long slope towards the surface.
Fergus was the most wounded and suffering, his armor tight on his chest, bags and sack heavy from his frame. He was burning out like a candle. And he was also the slowest and therefore the last in the racing run. Sucking in hot lungfuls of air he was crying as he scrambled upwards and cloth yard goblin arrows began raining around him. Whirling he took the last shield he had purloined from a dead goblin spearman earlier and braved the fusillade of arrows, hurling the broken shield aside after it had been peppered and holed too many times to count. He then mustered his strength and continued his run out of the dark hell below.
At the top of the slope Enthir had coated the last goblin cart with oil, readied his torch, and as the last of his team came into view, set it ablaze and then hurling down the slope towards the chasing goblin pack the burning bouncing rolling barrier. The party made it to the surface, took the maltreated pony the goblin suppliers had left up here, and left Malven’s cave (as well as Fist’al and Chase), heading back towards Shakun.
It took the entire night before they made it to the walled city, showing up just shy of midnight. From there we went to the Hospice at the temple grounds and Marcus, Tempi, and Fergus were seen by the apothecist and master healers. They were told they would need to stay and bandages, poultices, and unguents were liberally applied before the three exhausted men fell asleep.
Enthir and Flimflam went back to the Hall of Heroes where they divested their gear and then crawled into their respective beds, bone weary and done.
The next day was bright and boded better tidings. The druid and mage prepared their spells with care, checked their hurts and bandages, and then went off to the Hospice to see their companions. Conversation ensued and it was decided that we would be attempting to go back to Malven’s cave on the morrow as long as the Hospice gave Tempi and Fergus clearance they could go. We would need supplies and luckily today was Marketday. We knew that Sern’s general store would be restocked today but more importantly, various traders, travelers, locals, and peddlers would be coming to sell off wares and we hoped to find whatever adventuring gear we could find.
With a list in hand, pockets full of coin, and a desire to get this done, Enthir, Marcus, and Flimflam scoured the market. They found swords and breastplates, torches, oil, clothes, shields, and other gear they might need. They also spent time hitting up everyone they could find to hire people to help out and hired 4 such persons: Codron and Thrish (the 2 fighters we had with up before), Hagan (a young warrior who had placed in the top 3 at the last two archery competitions), and Urthar (a 30-odd year old porter who was more than willing to come with us to haul gear). Costs were established and shares were discussed. We tried to find a scout or thief to come with us but Pelis was unable to vouch for anyone in town now.
We rested well and on the morn of the next day made a donation to the Hospice , gathered gear, weapons, and goods, and then set off to go back to Malven’s cave to find the fate of our companions, as well as rescue the 5 elves that we know are in their being killed daily for their precious heart’s blood. It was around 2 in the afternoon that we crept upon the goblin hill again and the group was getting themselves ready to once more reenter the greenskins’ lair.