Back in the Rusty Dragon, Olga, Dharma, and Kaielea wait for Ameiko to prepare the bath. The smell of mutant goblin sick keeps most other patrons at bay, but one stranger approaches and introduces herself. Helia, a wandering sorceress in need of funds, wished to join the adventure for a share of the loot. The women discuss this in the bath and decide to let her tag along.
They all go together to pay a visit to Chask in The Curious Goblin. He helps them identify some of their loot. He doesn’t read Abyssal, but agrees to ask Sybil, who is a regular customer, to take a look at it the next time she visits. The heroes leave the book with him and go to the temple, in search of the two caravan guards Amiko said were looking for them.
They find the two men by the cliff near the temple. They explain that their caravan was attacked by goblin, who made off with a valuable black horse called Shadowmist. They promise the heroes a handsome sum if they can return the animal.
Meanwhile, Squall is scouting the road through Nettlewood. In the north part of the woods, on the coast overlooking a mysterious island with a skull-shaped mountain, she discovers a goblin fort made of thick brambles.
The following day Squall leads the others through Nettlewood to the goblin fort. It’s a long and troublesome trek through the forest. Thick vegetation slows their progress, and patches of Stinging Nettles are a constant hazard. Helia steps in one and gets a dose of the poisonous sap.
Finally, the group arrives at the goblin fort. They follow Squall in, through the narrow passages. They can hear goblins chattering about some fearsome creature they call Bunyip who lives in the Howling Hole and apparently feeds on goblin. The goblins really should be worried more about the group of heavily armed adventurers closing in on them.
The party approaches the goblin room, still unnoticed. Squall is in the lead. As they crawl stealthily towards the entrance, Olga hears a goblin say something about suspicious noises, and starts the attack.
Squall is in a perfect position to cover the entire chamber with magically animated brambles. Many of the goblins are entangled by nasty thorny vines. Those lucky enough to escape the vines charge out of the room to meet Dharma’s sword. Two of them lose their heads. Another goblin takes Kaielea’s Magic Missile to the chest and starts coughing blood. Suddenly, a Harpy’s shriek resonates through the tunnels. Helia smiles in satisfaction as a goblin screams and runs back in the vine filled room.
The swordswomen continue to engage goblin after goblin. Olga Commands a goblin to flee, and the confused creature starts climbing down the cliff in a mad attempt to escape. Squall peeks out and sees the goblin hanging on for dear life. Then, looking up, she notices a little thrush flying fast towards the island, apparently carrying something that looks like a necklace. As the thrush flies overhead, Squall’s charms convince it to abort its mission.
Olga commands a goblin to lie down at Dharma’s feet and get beheaded. The fleeing goblin comes to its senses and climbs back onto the cliff edge, only to be ripped apart by a wriggling thorny vine.
Only one goblin left alive. The terrified thing tries to hide in the brambles but Kaielea’s Magic Missile finds it. The fight is over.
Squall learns from the thrush that a druid goblin sent it with a message to a Big Goblin on a Big Chair. The pathetic warning message evokes some pity in Olga’s heart, but the goblins started the war and it is too late to stop now.
The heroes go in search of the druid goblin, Squall on top of the bramble canopy and the rest squeezing though its narrow tunnels. They discover a clearing with a nest of red-black hair, and another with tied up goblin dogs. In another larger opening they find a hole in the floor that opens to a sea cave. They keep following the tunnel until it forks: one way leading to a bridge to the island and the other leading to the clearing that Squall discovered scouting the area earlier. They hear noise inside. It must be the goblin druid.
They charge in. The goblin druid is waiting, with his firepelt leopard companion. The goblin druid mutters magical words and the floor and walls spout thorny vines that seek to entangle everyone. Dharma and Kaielea engage the big cat. Squall climbs down from the canopy and attacks the goblin druid from behind, who retreats into the thick of brambles. Olga conjures a magical floating hammer that proceeds to make swooshing sounds near the cat’s ears.
Squall follows the goblin into the brambles, relying on her intuition and asks the thrush for assistance. The bird chirps and hops its way through the brambles as Squall follows, reaching out and shooting electric bolts each time she gets close to the goblin. Meanwhile, Helia concentrates her mind in on the goblin’s magic presence and finally is able to pinpoint a location, firing Magic Missiles blindly into the brambles. Dharma and Kailea finish off the poor kitty and wait anxiously for Squall to report back. At last, the elf returns covered in blood and brambles with the dead goblin’s gear.