The goblin party had been dispatched and Towercrest had been recovered, but the part was not yet out of the woods—literally. There were dead; there were wounded; and there was an arduous march through soggy, thick woods.
The party was insistent upon returning the remains of the fallen dwarves as well as helping those wounded to make it back safely. As they discussed options for getting home with such a beaten up group, a tremendous rustling and howling came from the woods beyond the cave entrance. Les scurried up a tree to see what was the cause.
Towercrest asked the party to investigate while he continued to prep the wounded for travel. When the group came to a clearing in the woods they saw something they had never seen before. There was a massive, hulking minotaur struggling to free himself from thick, dark mud. Reluctantly, they offered to help.
Orren tossed the minotaur a rope and tried to pull him out. He did not budge. The minotaur tried to help himself, pulling on the rope. That did not work as intended. His huge size and tremendous strength simply pulled Orren off his feet—flying wildly into the bog with him. Wisdom eventually prevailed, and after tying the rope off against a sturdy tree, they managed to get everyone out.
But they were not yet safe. Muck and grime started to slither off of the minotaur’s clothes, coming together with a great mass of it that had pooled in the bog. A giant ooze creature formed and attacked them, and the minotaur soon showed why he would become a valuable ally to the party, moving this way and that, striking with
fists hooves of precise blows.
When the muck was destroyed, the party walked back over to Towercrest, with a new member in tow. The Captain was doubtful of the creature at first, but after hearing how it dealt with the ooze, and realizing they needed help to get home safely, he reluctantly trusted him. The minotaur was soon introduced as Astereon.