To the Mine again
Well rested and eager to find Harold we pack up our stuff and get ready, it’s a foggy morning so it looks like we are going to get wet again. James casts ‘Charm’ onto both orcs so we can leave them with the mule to guard it and the house. Guido has cooked up the deer meat as jerky it has Preserve cast on it so will not go off, we also have some for KOR which has not been cooked. We take 4 days of the jerky with us and Thorn carries Gnomon’s equipment for him. After all with not being very big that is why he brings the mule with him to carry stuff. With James taking the lead as scout and Thorn bring up the rear as protection we set off again along the path leading further into the wood.
After about an hour we come to the stream and cross, James up front struggles but doesn’t fall. A while later we reach the ravine which this time with no mule we are going to cross. Thorn ties his rope around a tree and using it to steady himself get to the bottom. He then walks back a bit and holding the rope tight we can slide our bags down to him. KOR leaps down the rocky slope as James ‘Levitates’ himself down. Gnoman goes down with his fancy footwork and Guido goes down the rope one handed showing me how easy he thinks this is, Arnost follows him using both hands. That just leaves me so I untie the rope loop it around two trees tie it around me and using my amassing climbing skill go down the slope where Thorn pulled the rope through and repacked it.
James floats up the other side of the ravine and Thorn throws the rope up to him to tie around a tree. We al then make a chain of bodies up the rope to pass the bags up to James once they are all up we all finish moving up to the top. After a rest to recover from the excursion we set off again through the wood. A while later James stops our march as he comes to an open area. This clearing is full of lush tall grass, James isn’t happy about it and then sees that the orc tracks go around it. Arnost comes up and tells him it’s a area of marshy boggy land and he might well have sunk into it if he hadn’t stopped. So we all go around, glad that Gnoman wasn’t point as he would have been able to cross with no problem and led us into it.
Later on James hears a rustling and sees some squirrels disturbed by us passing, he also notices a big wasps nest which he might have fallen into if he had jumped into cover. We continue our walk in the woods and sometime later Panther barks at James. This alerts James to two Hobgoblins who come into sight surprising each other. James reacts fast and lets go a snap arrow shot managing to hit one goblin in its arm for a light wound. The goblins return arrows one hitting James in his left arm but failing to get pass the armour he wears there. James ducks behind a tree to draw another arrow and the hobgoblins leg it. James shouts to let KOR give chase, however as only he had seen the goblins the rest of us had no idea what was happening. Anyway I told KOR to seek and off he went.
The goblin which took the arrow stumbles and KOR leapt onto him grapping his left leg Guido starts walking up towards James to see what is going on. A KOR worry at the goblins leg but is forced to back away and run back to me when the other goblin attacks him with a sword. With Guido to slow in the undergrowth he gives up and the goblins get away. We assume that the mine now knows we are on the way. We pull ourselves back into march order and continue on causally.
It is now getting late in the afternoon so we send an invisible Gnoman to check ahead and see where the goblins went while the rest of us set up an ambush. Gnoman later tells us what he found; first he comes to a small clearing at the bottom of a hill the road seems to end here. As the track I have been following ends, I see an entrance carved into the side of a small hill. The square entrance is framed by thick blocks of stone. The blocks along the top are sagging as it has started to fail with age. This block has writing carved into it over it in red paint under a red whip are more words. Gnoman can’t read them but later we find out that the carved words are in Dwarf and say ‘This is the mine of the Greytoe family visitors not welcome.’ The red words are in Hobgoblin we think but Arsnost only understands some of it using Orc ‘…. Ownership … out’. Gnoman hides himself so he can see the entrance and waits to see if anything happens.
The rest of us hearing nothing start to worry about Gnoman and so we slowly move forward till we also see the entrance and KOR finds the still invisible Gnoman by scent. He wonders why we didn’t stay put and we say we were worried. Arnost tries to see if he can get an echo from the hill and entrance but all he gets is a bit of one off the hill, I tell him to keep quite. I then give a pep talk to Gnoman encouraging him as he prepares to go into the mine. The rest of us again set up an ambush around the entrance. Gnoman says he is off so we wait, this time till something happens as he tells us to.
Again Gnoman fills us in later; the mine entrance is 3m square with a stone floor and packed earth on both sides and above. A series of thick stone blocks are placed every 3m for support of the walls and ceiling. Roots hang down from above. Gnoman enters going slowly and checking for traps as he goes.
The tunnel runs at a noticeable downward slope, and after moving 20m into the earth the tunnel is now carved from solid rock. The entrance is just a glimpse of light behind and he is in total darkness. After another 12m Gnoman comes to a fork as the tunnel branches off to the south east and to the west. The southeast tunnel still slopes downwards. Gnoman starts going west to check that area out even though the orc had said that the main route in and out was the other direction. After a litter distance he can make out some heat sources from something living blocking the tunnel, he moves closer and can make out two giants, small maybe but filling the tunnel, sat down blocking the tunnel. They seem to have javelins and very big axes. Gnoman goes back and heads down the other tunnel, which goes on quite a way.
The tunnel ends onto a large open area, where the ceiling appears to be 6m’ above your head. Gnoman walks out onto the open area and sees a circle of reddish light about 30m away, he hears a faint clicking sound and moves towards it till he can make out some large beetles with glowing red orbs above them. He continues to explore and finds both ends of this massive area the bottom part seems to be a drop down and at each end there is a set of steps cut into the cliff to walk down. There is also what seems to be some sort of elevator in the middle of the cliff area he expects the miners used it for moving ore out.
These steps lead down into darkness but as Gnoman moves down them he hears voices there appears to be others in this area. Being very careful not to make any noise to alert them Gnoman gets to the bottom and can see two orcs on guard about 10m from the steps. Gnoman moves around them and explores, he finds two more guards at the other set of steps as well as the bottom of the lift with old decaying carts around it. There is one other way out a tunnel leaving at the other end of the area. He moves down this till he gets to a 12m square area with tunnels from each side. The one to the right has animal prints in the dirt, maybe the wolf lair the one to the left has lots of orc prints so must lead to the orc barracks. We think the one going straight on leads towards the Hobgoblins and boss area. Gnoman thinks he has gone far enough so retraces his steps avoiding all danges and alerts us to his presence by the normal three stones thrown at us. Now we need to work out how to get past the giants.