Our formation generally involved Alhorn and I in the front of the group, with Kantrilla and Halette and Kasner in the back. Carlos stayed behind them, and preferably out of combat entirely- though he certainly wasn’t helpless. Sock’s position was… wherever she felt like. She ran back and forth from the front of our group to the back… though only when the area was wide enough. She did take up quite a bit of space, but this dungeon had ogres in it so it was a bit wider than normal. Not that it was exactly roomy.
Though Socks moved with great speed, we knew she wouldn’t run into us as long as we continued as we were walking. Thus, Alhorn barely even flinched when Socks jumped straight over his head. Much better than when she was first doing that- I almost fell over. Sometimes, Socks did that to be playful… but this time she was snarling and growling as she landed… as well as significant ripping sounds. I didn’t see anything but… I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Activating Martial Trance, I didn’t see anything in front of me… but that included the specks of light that I expected. I swung my mace in front of me, feeling it impact something.
I briefly saw bits of goblin in front of Socks before it started fading away, and I could also see just the hint of eyes near where I swung my mace- or rather where my mace flung the goblin. I couldn’t say I swung my mace extremely accurately, but just making contact was enough. From what I could see, they had no armor… and goblins weren’t exactly known for their durability. Socks probably hadn’t even really needed to attack the one she pounced on- just her weight had likely killed it.
Alhorn stabbed at the air next to me, and I noticed a blank space there as well as trying to move past me. However, once I knew something was there… it only took a moment to finish it off. After Socks ran back and forth to determine there were no more hidden goblins, we looked on the ground to find a few daggers. They weren’t quite the same as the dungeon themselves- they just didn’t reflect much light instead of absorbing all of it. That didn’t mean it was easy to see them, but at least it would be possible to pick them out. I sighed, “Great, there are goblin ninjas now?”
“Ninjas?” Halette asked, tilting her head.
“Well, they’re wearing all black so… I guess there aren’t really ninjas here, huh?”
Halette shook her head, “We would probably call these goblin assassins, though from what I heard they’re usually not so… well concealed. Not that they’re necessarily not sneaky, but these were damn near invisible.”
Alhorn nodded, “Their skin was basically the same as the dungeons. Their weapons are quite well concealed too.”
“I could just pick out their eyes…” I shook my head.
Socks came up and sniffed the air, then barked. “Well, at least you can smell them,” Halette patted Socks on the neck. “Looks like we’ll have to be a bit more careful. I sort of saw the areas that Alhorn’s light wasn’t going, so I can pick them out that way.”
Kasner shook his head, “Just stick an arrow in em and I’ll zap them! Though I suppose at that point they’re basically dead already.”
As we continued through the dungeon, we ran into more goblin assassins, some of which had bows. Fortunately, we were on guard- and with no sound besides our footsteps and breathing, arrows flying through the air stood out. Kantrilla blocked for Kasner, crouching down to have her shield cover most of both of them, and Halette avoided the arrow. Fortunately they didn’t seem to think Carlos was a threat. Maybe if it was Arrows, but we hadn’t brought the horses with us. They weren’t much good for riding into a dungeon, and housing them in a dwarven city would just be more trouble than leaving them back in Ekralas
In the end, the archer versions of the assassins were only a bit larger of a threat than the melee versions. Though the melee assassins were quick, they weren’t up to standards that could stand against our group- and once Halette had seen them a few times, she could pick them off as soon as they came within range of Alhorn’s light magic. Since they expected to be able to ambush people, once they couldn’t they weren’t any more of a threat than regular goblins.
They weren’t the only anomalies we met, however. In addition to the regular ogres, some of them had boulders… or at least large rocks. They were certainly not anywhere near as subtle as the goblin assassins but they still posed more of a threat. Getting hit by a hundred pounds of rock wouldn’t be fun for anyone. Alhorn deflected one with his shield, and I could almost hear his bones creaking. Well, he had proper technique and all otherwise he would have taken the full force behind it. While a hundred pounds wasn’t much on its own, it was the speed they were thrown at that was the issue. It wasn’t blindingly fast or anything, but they got up to some pretty serious speeds. I don’t think even I could have thrown the boulders that fast… mostly because my arms were about a third the length of the ogres’. I considered trying to catch one once… but I realized I had less stopping distance available as well- my arms could only bend so far to slow the force.
The only good thing was the ogres only had two of the boulders at most, one tucked under each arm. After that, they had to come into melee combat where we could defeat them easily- if Halette or Kasner didn’t get them before that. The worst part was they were a threat to all of us, since everyone had to be paying attention and dodge on their own. That included Carlos, but fortunately he wasn’t getting weighed down with loot so he was still mobile.
In the end, we didn’t find any more anomalies within a good radius of the entrance of the dungeon, and there didn’t seem to be so many monsters that they would spill out to the surface in the near future. It would still be best if the guild could send someone to deal with it as soon as possible, so we hurried to the next city. They would have an adventurer’s guild, and presumably Mike would have already contacted them- but we would come with more details. The guild there might have to send to another city for a more permanent solution, but they could coordinate that as necessary.