The miners were glad that the armed men returned, and even more relieved to learn that the hobgoblin menace was not to be – a trade agreement had been signed, and it seemed that there would be peace and profit. Prince Oargev’s cachet increased along with that of Roget and Amarack at the news.
After taking a look at the collapsed mine shaft and the massive tree covering it, Luc decided that a few arcane thunder claps might loosen the dirt, which they did. After further thought Allyn and Randro made the call to work on opening the entry the next morning, with the whole team pitching in.
An uneventful and restful night followed, with breakfast followed by digging at the hole, enlarging it to the point that Amarack, Deaton, and Luc could climb in to rid the area of what were believed to be more spiders, given the quantity of webs found earlier by the miners. Some 20 feet into the hillside the tunnel opened into a chamber, festooned with web, where the three men were immediately attacked by two giant spiders. Placing himself in harm’s way, Amarack sought to block the movement of one of the beasts toward the unarmored Luc. The quick movements of one of the spiders enabled it to close with the cleric and bite him, knocking him unconscious with it’s poison. Deaton and Luc fought bravely, using sword, bow, and spell to chase off the other, follow it, and finally kill it. Hours would pass before Amarack would wake up, groggy and sore, but alive.
After mid-day, the team headed back into the mine, clearing more tunnels of leftover web and ensuring that no other threats existed. The main tunnel made a few turns, but overall headed back into the mountains, straight south, with numerous small side chambers where digging and mineral extraction had taken place long ago. A hundred or so yards into the mountain the tunnel opened into the first large chamber they’d found, and in it they found the animated skeletal remains of two men-at-arms, still eager for a fight. Replenished and ready for a scrap, the three Cyrans dispatched them in short order, and discovered on one of them an intact waist bag, in which was discovered a single scroll – of Halt Undead.
Along the eastern wall was the only way out, although it was buried in a collapsed pile of rocks. Enlisting the help of the miners, Amarack began removing the rocks, and when there was enough space to look into the next chamber Luc floated the lantern-wielding Mage Hand in…and had it jumped at by some angry figure. Quickly thereafter they removed more rocks, and out tried to jump a single ghoul, wearing the tattered clothes of a miner from long ago.
Deaton shot it, then moved in to swing at it after it raked Amarack with its claws. A few blows later it was dead, this time for good.
Exploring the new chamber yielded an ever-burning miner’s lamp and a magic ring on the ghoul, later determined to be a Ring of Know Direction.
The three men decided that a night’s rest to recuperate and plan for their next moves was probably the best course of action, and the miners were relieved again to know that they’d have some added muscle to help keep them safe as they mapped the mine and assessed the possibility of resuming extraction work there.
A lingering question fueled conversation over dinner that night: why had the mine been abandoned? It made sense that various creatures would make their homes there…but the undead? What had resulted in them being there in the first place? Unsettling questions, indeed. And yet the lure of wealth for New Cyre, and the prosperity it could bring the people was more than enough to drive the men forward.
We can move the story forward some during the week if you’d like. The chambers and tunnels you cleared are being fully surveyed by the miners, and the connection to the ventilation tunnel has also been fully cleared. I’m okay with dispensing with low-level encounters via OP – say, if you run across a swarm of rats or the like – and planning your delve here. I think that’d help us, actually, because it’d keep the story going and would give me – through your comments – a stronger sense of what you’d like to experience and how, so I can plan next week’s session accordingly.