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October 26, 2007

Miner Problems

Fortuna's Journal

Reaping 11, 594 CY
Dwarven mines

Still buoyed by our success and financial gain from our latest adventure, we all sat at our favorite table at the Staggering Lich, trying to decide what to do. None of us really needed any more coin, but we all enjoyed the combining of our various talents to achieve a common goal, and wished to have a similar quest to our last, rather than the mundane mercenary work we normally procure. Once again, luck proved to be ours—a commotion was coming from the courtyard in the middle of town, and we hurried out to see an unfamiliar man surrounded by locals. I wended my way through the throng, Janet beside me, to get a closer look. It was just a young man talking to the town guards, but his story turned out to be of interest to the four of us, so we pulled him aside to get some details:

Robar, as he called himself, had just arrived from the hamlet of Turnel, about two days’ walk into the Yatul Mountains west, to beg for rescuers to make the trip back with him. We were already jumping on the opportunity to help before we even got all the details, but we had plenty of time to get those on our trip! Seems there had been a series of earth tremors in the local silver mine, causing a collapse, and the dwarven miners had not been seen since. A rescue group dispatched to aid them also had not returned, and the hamlet had so few people that they needed to have Robar take a horse and ride to a larger town for help.

We were very confident that we could save the rescuers and miners, or at least report on their fate. Munthrek and I took (uneventful) watches on our one night on the open road, so that Janet and Elizair could get the rest they needed for spellcasting. I’m teaching Munthrek the Terran language—there’s always a chance that whatever caused the tremors is something that dwells below the mines, and being able to talk to such creatures might prove useful. Maybe he’ll teach me to understand what that damn parrot is always blurting at me—no chance of Elizair helping out there!

After a quiet night in Turnel’s Roc Roost Inn, we headed out the half day’s journey to the mine. As we entered the cave entrance, I wondered aloud if there was a second way out—there must be, but we didn’t have any idea where it would be, so we continued in through the known access.

We found a few equipment sheds and a dead dwarf pretty quickly. Elizair also found a silver ring (well, actually it was on the corpse) that will need to be studied later. Munthrek tried to dig around the area a bit, and we felt some tremors—and then the entrance collapsed. So, we decided we should do some investigating, and hopefully find another access to the outside. We did find something—a mechanical cage and crank over a 6’-wide shaft. We were about to lower Munthrek in the contraption when a chittering sound reached us. We all turned to see a huge scorpion-ant creature, and it didn’t look friendly! My friends’ weapons were bouncing off its carapace, but that enchanted dagger I was carrying made a terrific gash in the creature. Janet finished off that bug-thing while I ran to fight another that was attacking Elizair.

We decided to try to find another way down into the deeper mines, so Munthrek (who can see as well as I do) and I scouted ahead. We found several more sheds, some water-filled passages (avoided for now) and some rope and pulley systems in a few more shafts. Elizair and I went down through one of these shafts, and were met with more of the bug-creatures at the bottom. I was injured trying to protect Elizair, but thankfully Janet came down the rope and used some divine healing magic on me. The attacks of these creatures are particularly scary, as they seem to have venom that causes paralysis. I was wondering if they did other bug-like things, such as communicating with a hive mind (I felt like the bug-scorpions were purposely attacking me first when possible!), when Munthrek remembered he had bug-repelling candles in his haversack. I was pretty sure the candles are for little bugs, not human-sized killers, but he wanted us to each take some.

I then snuck ahead alone, trying to see if I could learn any more about the big insects, when to my horror I came upon a pair of them eating a dwarf! I tried to hit them with a few bolts before my friends caught up, but I missed. Worse, when I turned to go back to the group I was hit with paralysis again, and was being dragged away to gods-know-where. When Munthrek realized his candles weren’t going to do the job, he wrestled the big bugs to rescue me, and they fled. The bugs left behind a group of half-eaten dwarves—a miner and five warriors. The dwarves must have been overcome by the paralyzing venom—one died still holding an axe (which Elizair says is radiating magic). We also found some scrolls for healing and water-breathing. We’ve not found anyone alive though, dwarf or otherwise, and this rescue effort is looking grim.

Posted by Kristin at 16:35 | Fortuna’s Journal