As you move closer to the manor, you catch an occasional glimpse of the roof from in between the crowns of the trees. There's more underbrush around, flourishing without the towering trees of an old growth forest choking out the light.
You're nearly to the edge of the forest when Darius, Aleixis, and Tamni'el hear a rustling from behind them. The others, alert to danger, notice when they're companions stop, turning to the rear. There, emerging from the underbrush, the party sees several short reptilian creatures, carrying freshly killed rabbits and pheasants.
When the short creatures catch sight of the party, they stop suddenly, game falling from their hands, eyes wide in astonishment. For a bare second, they merely stare at the party. Then, moving almost as one, they shake of their surprise, readying their spears and calling out in strange, yipping voices. Movement from behind them tells of more creatures, reacting to the shouts of the others.
For those that speak Draconic:
It's hard to make out exactly what they're saying, since many of them are talking at once, but it amounts to “Invaders,” “Kill the humans!” and various expletive expressions of surprise.
SpoilerYour generally alert attitude (and some surprisingly good rolls) leads to you guys not being surprised when they come up from behind. That doesn't stop them from trying to kill you, of course.
So, combat has begun! The Initiative order is:
Group 1: Alexis, Uriel, Tamni'el, Anthony
Group 2: Kobolds
Group 3: Darius, Tulkar
Remember, you can go in any order within your group.
For positioning, the kobolds are about 30 feet behind the party. As you guys go, feel free to note in what general position you are, relative tot he rest of the party, since you have no marching order yet.