Exploring the Mine
The Depths of the Mine
Octorum 23, 887 Af.
After getting Faora back on her feet, the rest of the party made their way into the interior of the mine. The entrance was large enough for them to pass easily, although it was probably tight enough to keep a hill giant out. The opening led to a chamber lined with boxes and barrels, holding some basic foodstuffs and water. There were a number of goblins in the chamber, beginning to haul the dead bodies of a few orcs and a number of goblins out of the cavern. The party looked over the bodies, and realized that they were not attacked by the orcs from inside the mine because the goblins revolted when they heard the battle outside.
They continued in to a larger chamber. This one also had walls stacked with crates and sacks, but in addition there were hundreds of sleeping pallets squeezed into the space. Short spurs where some mining had been done were present along one wall. It appeared that most of the living goblins had gathered here, and they were all looking on Kasret and Durdeg as mythical beings. Enarzu introduced them to Vizla, a goblin warchief that had been reduced to a slave with the rest, but was attempting to lead his people to freedom. Faora looked over the goblins, and saw how they had been mistreated and kept near the edge of starvation. She expended some of her magic to heal as many of them as she could.
The group discussed the current state of things with Vizla, asking about the purpose of the mine. They found that they mostly mined for iron, as it was abundant in the area, but the orcs were most interested in gems and jewels of any sort. Coming up with gemstones could earn a goblin enough food to be satiated for a week, although there were many more goblins than there were gems found. Vizla showed them around to the chambers where mining was currently in process. These chambers were well lit, with torches at regular intervals. But they also saw large openings into the darkness, and asked about what could be found there.
Vizla told them that they did not go there, because goblins died when they went that way. Even the orc bosses that had sometimes led them that way disappeared, never to be seen again. This worried the group, as it almost certainly meant there was something there that would be a danger to further operations. In order to explore, Sif took the time to summon a new version of her familiar so that it could explore the caves for them. While she engaged in the ritual, the others spent the hour checking on food and water stores, and organizing the goblins into groups that could more easily be interacted with.
As Sif finished, a bat appeared before her. As the others gathered, she sent her bat out to follow any opening on the left. It quickly returned through a different tunnel, giving them a partial picture of the unknown as filtered through the echolocation and Sif's senses. She sent it out again, and again, and it reported a few more empty caverns. One more time, as they had seen another cavern opening, and the bat took off. As it winged through the opening in the rock, something dropped from the ceiling, dragging it to the ground. Sif felt the familiar's destruction, and relayed the news to the others. Knowing the location of their target, they set off to find it. Magical light was summoned, and they moved off into the darkness.
Sif, with her shield glowing from Kolero's power, squeezed through the opening first, with the others right behind. She had just enough time to recognize the giant spiders that were waiting for them before they set upon her. They attacked swiftly, and as each one in turn attacked, they disappeared. Sif recognized them from her studies, where they were called phase spiders. They had the ability to phase to the border ethereal at will, which made them much more difficult to deal with than most creatures - they had to time their responses to when the spiders would briefly reappear in order to attack. As the first one through the opening, she took the brunt of the damage. Puncture wounds from the fangs of the spiders were left in several places, and she felt the poison coursing through her veins. As the others moved in as much as they could, they prepared for the spiders showing up. The archers remained at the rear, loosing arrows at anything that showed up, while the melee fighters closed in.
The spiders remained focused on Sif, and it began to wear her down. The party was able to put them down when they would show up, but they were losing time to clear the nest and keep Sif conscious. As Sif began to stagger under her wounds, Sharlot drew upon her most powerful spell. There was just enough room in the cavern for it, and it would certainly help keep Sif alive, so as the fourth of the six spiders was killed, she polymorphed the wizard, turning her into a giant ape that hunched slightly below what now appeared to be a very low ceiling. The other two spiders had phased away, and the group prepared to attack upon their return. But as they waited, it eventually became clear that they were not coming back.
With Sif now in the body of a giant ape, she was unable to squeeze back out the opening. They considered dropping the spell, but decided that would probably be a waste of the magic. Instead, Durdeg handed ape-Sif a few pickaxes, and directed her against the wall. As she began to furiously unleash her energy on the wall itself, the others left the cavern, and decided to finish looking over the cavern. Kasret returned to the goblins, while the other went down one more opening they had not explored. It eventually led them to a dead end, where the floor was covered in bat guano. The ceiling writhed with the bats movements, and the party decided there was nothing worth investigating there and moved on.
As Kasret arrived back at the goblins rest area, a noise was heard from the entrance. Kasret called for his archers, and along with Vizla and Enarzu, went to see what was happening. As they looked around the corner, they saw that a force of ogrillons had made their way to the mine and were attempting to retake it. They had already killed a decent number of goblins, but they hadn't faced an organized force yet. Kasret and the goblins quickly lined up and prepared for them. Before the ogrillons even knew what had hit them, the archers unleashed a volley, and the lead ogrillon sprouted a dozen or more arrows. Kasret also unleashed a wave of crossbow bolts at the creatures, while Enarzu used his magic and Vizla closed in. The ogrillons focused on the wall of goblin archers, throwing javelins back at them. They were effective initially, with every throw connecting and killing one of the archers, but focusing on them allowed for Kasret, Enarzu, and Vizla to do more unfettered damage. Kasret closed, and began slashing away with his sword, followed by a shot from the crossbow. He fell into a rhythm, stab-stab-shoot. Enarzu summoned bonfires to engulf the creatures, and to block the way for them to maneuver, and Vizla fought up close. The noise brought the others (save for Sif) at a run, but the ogrillons were ultimately no match for the simple force standing against them. Although they lost more than half the goblin archers, they killed the invaders in less than a minute.
Everyone gathered together, to decide what to do. They realized that the goblin imposter from before surely had met up with something or someone and sent the ogrillons. Since it didn't return, they knew there was a good possibility that more were on their way, and this is just what could be summoned quickly. The question, then, became whether to flee or try to hold the mine. With several injured party members and a lack of magical energy left, the general consensus was that they had to flee. They returned for Sif, and looked at what she had been able to accomplish. Some iron ore laid on the floor, but most impressive was the small vein of gems they found. They were in a raw state, but Durdeg was certain that there were several hundred gold pieces worth of stones once properly cut. They stored the gems in his bag, and began to gather everyone.
They arranged for as much help as they could for the goblins. The party filed out of the archway leading into the canyon, followed closely by a battalion of goblins, and more being carried with spells or quickly fashioned sleds. They hoped to return, but for now, they would go to Calamentum.
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