It didn’t take long to discover that Stirges were the least of Vort’s worries. At the back of the cave you stumbled upon a river troll soaking in a hot spring. Battle unsued.
Seconds later, the discovery that trolls regenerate their wounds faster than you can deliver them convinced you that running away was FINALLY the correct course of action. Just in time, as the second river troll attacked from an adjoining cavern.
Amazingly, retreat actually worked. The river trolls were not interested in fighting creatures capable of wielding fire. They just wanted a warm bath. While they kept guard in the cavern the stirges were located in a crawlway just off the main cavern.
Welsteril was able to roast most of the stirges with his pyrotechnics. However, with the room cleared it was evident that Vort had never made it to the Stirge cavern. Perhaps he had lost his nerve or just wanted to make a show for Tallie rather than fight the stirges.
Looking to the cloudy sky, the sun said there was enough time to make it back to Zelkor’s Ferry before sunset. The heavy snow cover would make the walk slow. The Gnoll ambush waiting at the Ford would make it deadly.