Some 70 feet or more down another slope – all carved tunnel – Deaton moved stealthily, the lantern floating near him to provide light. Upon coming to the end, where another chamber opened, he saw four still figures standing awkwardly about the room, and a glow emanating from the right side of the chamber. Upon entering the chamber two of the moldered undead began moving toward him, while the others lagged behind, seemingly unaware of his presence. Cracking and popping with rigor mortis, the two zombie miners shed dust and parts of their clothes as they shambled unsteadily toward Deaton, who attacked one as he called back to the others.
Seconds later Amarack and Luc were in the chamber, and another opponent appeared – a semi-translucent figure floating feet above the floor, winking in and out as it moved. The ghostly humanoid struck, draining away what felt like life itself, before Amarack called on the power of the Host. The burst of divine power from his holy symbol bathed the wraith in a nimbus of light, causing it to convulse in fear and pain, and sending it retreating back to the far wall of the chamber. It seemed that the power was expended on the more powerful enemy, as the zombies were unaffected.
The team quickly dispatched the remaining zombies, whose tactics were insufficient to threaten the skilled coordination of the three warriors. Soon, only the cowering, mad spirit remained, pinned against the back wall some 10 feet up, shaking violently as Amarack approached. Remembering the scroll they’d found, Luc and Amarack planned a simultaneous attack. Upon reading the spell, which should further fix the thing in place for a moment, the two spellcasters slung what spells they had at the spirit, knocking pieces of it off and degrading it.
In a mad rush, the wraith descended on them, incorporeal arms flailing and a spine-tingling howl screaming from its breathless lungs. More spells followed, and the thing was no more, its ectoplasm frozen by Luc, and the remaining pieces tossed into the lava chasm along with the zombies’ bodies.
Upon searching the cavern – which was mostly natural aside from the tunnel through which they’d come and the left side of the room, which had been dug out – they found two things of interest. First, the chasm, which was about 25 feet deep, held a thin stream of magma, about 1 feet wide and perhaps 8 feet long at the bottom. Glittering shards of gems and other minerals were visible in the dull glow from the molten rock, and the types of rock and color of the magma – a strange violet hue – led the miners and adventurers to one conclusion: they’d found a very narrow sliver of Khyber, the underworld of Eberron. The ancient, evil dragon’s body had transformed into a rotten complex of tunnels and in some places vast chambers that, together, spanned the globe. In it lived some of the worst horrors known. Khyber was usually not accessible this close to the surface, but in some places random upwellings could be found, and when they were they were capped, covered, and avoided. Perhaps the mine was abandoned because of this?
The second was another, small, chamber, accessible through a hole in the left wall: a burial chamber holding only a single stone table and the ancient remains of a hobgoblin, probably of some renown, if the barely-visible carvings on the walls and mighty battle axe left with it were any indication. The thing matched the visage of the wraith in that both were hobgoblins and both wore armor in the Dhakaani style. Putting their heads together, the team guessed that it was possible that something could have come out of Khyber and animated this dead hobgoblin of old, or perhaps something else left its spirit undead and buried for so many centuries.
The burial chamber itself had a small, long caved-in access tunnel in the upper part of one wall – probably the means by which it was accessed, improved, and finally sealed off, long ago.
The miners were eager to seal off this entire portion of the tunnels, beginning in the chamber where the wraith was found and moving backward all the way up the tunnel to the work room. “The more rock we put between us and an entry to Khyber – even one now plugged with a magma flow – the better,” stated Allyn emphatically. Reopening this mine would require all the usual risky work, and was now added to by the fact that at least in this one area of the mountain it was possible to access one of the worst of all places, Khyber – every miner’s deepest fear.
Over the next several days the miners and their security detail surveyed the rest of the tunnels, finding and killing some more beasts, but nothing else as dangerous as the undead or ettercap. The mine, by Allyn’s estimation, was worth reopening, and would probably yield a good amount of wealth for a while. It had been abandoned for security reasons, not because it was spent. With the help of Luc’s spells the miners were able to collapse to their satisfaction part of that chamber and the tunnel leading to it. They’d put more work into sealing that tunnel with mortar once they had some, and talked of their desire to have it warded and magically sealed, as well. That would be adequate, they believed, and would enable them to get to work in digging out wealth, rather than burying threats.
What’s next? Spending another week or so at the mining camp would open opportunities to interact with G’Toch and his people some more, so if you want to go that route please indicate as much in the comments on this post. The miners seem ready to go the next step, that of rebuilding enough infrastructure to restart operations. That’s going to take more men and materials, however, and they’d really like to have some magical warding and whatnot put on that sealed tunnel before proceeding, too. These are things that can only happen with the help of resources in New Cyre. Looking for other opportunities to improve the city and the lot of Cryan survivors means going elsewhere, too. ALl that said, you guys make good friends in the miners and get to know the mountains around the camp reasonably well, as well as the mine itself.