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    The Mithril Mine
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    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
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    Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:39 pm  
    The Mithril Mine

    The continuing adventures of the Wild Bunch

    Part 1 - The Troll Bridge

    With things pretty well in hand after the final battle and then the arrangement with the flinds at Koralgesh, the groups decide to split up, continuing on their way. Throgrim takes out 10 potions of Healing which Lyseios created, and he hands them to the Wild Bunch.

    The Wild Bunch leaves Littleborough, and they proceed to Koralgesh. The Heroes of Hommlet are going to proceed on their investigation of the giant troubles to the west....

    Sunday, 2nd of Planting (582 CY)

    It's a partly cloudy day, with a light wind from the NE. Temp is about normal, and the Wild Bunch says their goodbyes to the Heroes of Hommlet. The two groups split up, with the Wild Bunch heading back to the south towards Koralgesh and ultimately to the Mithril Mines, while the Heroes head west, into Veluna and on the trail of the giants.

    I should add, two dwarves show up just before they leave. One is a female dwarf, usually rather rare. Her name is Samra al Holybatlert (Goes by Sam), and she is a priestess of Berronar. The other is a dwarven warrior, Norric Holzmalk. The two heard of what is going on, and they have made their way here to assist in the retaking of the dwarven lands.

    It’s the morning of leaving the town when into the common room of the inn the wild bunch is staying at the door flies opens and in walks the tallest dwarf you have seen, almost 5'. Sitting down in the first chair she, yes you realize that despite the beard it is a she. She says, in common, " Barkeep, a tankard of your best and can anyone summon the adventurers of this place that are going to the dwarf hold. Tell then that I will see them now." She says a prayer over the ale.

    Astrid responds, "There aren't any. No one who lives here goes there."

    "Figures,” replies Sam. “I came all this way for nothing." She then calls the innkeeper over and orders the best room in the house, and someone to take her stuff up to her room. If no one else approaches her she will finally spot Din and call him over.

    Bree will try to liven up the tavern with her many talents!

    Thelyn takes silvermoon to the stables and pays for the best room and board available for him, and the best stabling for his horse. He orders the finest wine and food available and invites all survivors of the last excursion to the table.

    "We are lucky to be alive and should enjoy life to the fullest!! To the finest group of companions one could ask for as we journey onward!"

    Then he turns to the barkeep. "Keep the alcohol flowing for me and my companions, it's on my tab." He says with a smile and gives them some good to get started.

    "Elf," the female dwarf says, "this group of yours, you seem to be short on honoring the gods. Who does your healing and blessings

    "The gods can choke or pound sand for all I care,” replies Theyln. “They have done me no favors, and they don't need me to honor them."

    "Whatever,” she replies. “You are probably not the party I am looking for."

    “So, do you come with a name or do we just call you the short bearded girl?” says a cloaked figure. “I'm Mal. I take some getting use to (if ever). Theyln seems to hold something against me. I may of stole his kill. I'll endeavor to be less aggressive next time. Mals a taker of life, what say you? What brings you joy in life?”

    Norric walks into the place and looks about. He's a wide as he is tall and heavily muscles with dark hard and braids in his beard and on his head. He wears exquisite studded leather armour and carries some fearsome weapons. He makes his way over to Din, who is obviously the leader of the group. "I'm Norric Holzmalk," he says by way of greeting. "I understand ye need some muscle in this group. Too many of them damned fairy elves prancing about waving their hands instead of killing things. Me weapons are yours fer me fair share and a chance to be killing giants and other big beasties."

    Even Din finds he's surly for a dwarf. He makes Gotrek look cordial in comparison.

    Looking at Mal she says, "A Hobgoblin is friendlier then an elf, I see how this is. Thank you Mal, you may call me Sam. I get carried away sometimes in the killing of sub races but mostly I am a priestess of Berronar and wish to see our lands restored. If this is the party that is to try to do that than I will aid you. Ah I see other dwarfs I will go to great them. Thank you for the greeting."

    She walks to Din and sits down, "Are you the one in charge, and another new one like me, if I heard correctly. I am sent to aid you by the Temple Of Berronar and you look like you can use all the help you can get. That elf, where did you get him, I thought his queen kept his kind locked in the forest. The others seem in need of your leadership." In a whisper, "I see you even have a trained Hobgoblin, he is cute and respectful. I always wanted a pet. You can call me Sam."

    “Well welcome,” says Mal. “Ye be right about dirt divin in the abandon mines. We might be knee deep in poo again but we shall welcome your aid. And you know elves. They dont really like other races. I wouldn't pay it any mind. They all run red when my spear finds it mark so I see no real difference to base any prejudices.”

    Sam looks at Norric, she is almost as muscular as he is. "We should work together to help these restore our lands. I know it goes against our nature but they are willing which, I am sad to say, so many of our own are not, Try to be nice, I know I will even if it kills me. Such is the burden we all must bare."

    The two dwarfs recognize that she is from the class called Highborn.

    Norric looks back and says, "Ye just do yer job as a walking healing potion and we'll get along just fine, fancy britches. I couldn't give a rat's **** about restoring lands. I came to kill things."

    “Then ye and I will be good friends in the future,” replies Mal. “If it don’t spend or bleed I could really care less. Ye can’t spend glory.”

    "We will get along fine,” says Sam. “I will cure you and kill them. I think that is fair."
    "Mal, you seem a good sort, I think we can get along." She thinks, "Cute but deadly, I like it."

    Bree walks over and after listening to the conversation chimes in. "After our last encounter I would figure people in this party would be happy to get help from where ever it came."

    Once the party gathers a few more supplies, they prepare to set off on the trail once again. Sil has spent the time making sure her supplies are restocked and that she has plenty of arrows, that her bows are still in good repair, that her weapons and armor are also still in good repair. Once ready she will offer to take the lead as scout or co-scout for the group. "Ah, a couple of newer recruits than myself? Very good. I am Silmarwen and I don't cast spells." She says with a smirk having heard Norric's comment earlier. "Feel free to call me Sil." She adds as she suddenly realizes she really hadn't introduced herself to the rest of Toni's friends other than Thelyn.

    Din is silent and sharpens his axe.

    “So..expecting trouble are we master dwarf.” Says Sil. It is not a question. “How far away are these mines? I once heard tells of this huge ball of jello. Quite an unfriendly sort that ate the goblin group. We're not getting near that area reportedly inhabited by undead I hope. It's just not natural for dead things to move about.”

    "Not too far, I'd wager," Din replies. "The undead you speak of infest Karaduum...Thorgrim warned me to stay well clear of that place. Of course, he also warned me not to take a war to the gnolls of Koralgesh, and not to push too hard into these mithril mines if the way seems beyond my ability. I sort of do my own thing, as I am neither his slave nor his servant, but a Free Dwarf with a mind of me own."

    "I do choose to follow Thorgrim...he says he has a plan to re-take Dorob Kilthduum, and I would like to see that achieved. There is supposed to be a secret entrance to our former home through the mines, and I would like to find that...take those damned Orcs by surprise, we would! If we find such a tunnel, we should be careful about exploring it. Nobody knows how many Orcs reside inside, but they began with some hundreds, maybe, and more than 50 years have passed. They could number in the thousands or tens of thousands by now..."

    Din looks glum for a moment, then takes a shot from his flask and shakes it off.

    "From hundreds of gnolls to thousands of orcs,” says Bree sarcastically. “Out of the frying pan and into the fire!"

    Norric says, "We don't even know if orcs are there. Ye all are makin some leaps. Maybe we should be lookin at the place before we go chargin in?"

    “Wise advice,” says Mal. “Let’s not get weak in the knees until we at least know what we face. But our mission is the mines. We aren’t tasked with the cleansing of Orcs at this time.”

    "Right,” says Astrid. “We are looking for a back door. We don't have to enter it."

    "We don't know what's in those mines," Din says. "Could be orcs, could be anything...even undead."

    "Mebbe giants," Norric intones with a deep hunger in his voice.

    Sil waits for a moment before speaking up, "Perhaps instead of wondering what lies in store for us, and pondering what potential nasties wait to kill us, maybe we should set off and actually check what we are up against?" She feels there is a time for action and a time for caution, right now is the time for action before caution.

    "We are NOT kobolds living in warrens," Norric harrumphs, "You have never known beauty until you have seen the wonders of an underground dwarven city."

    "Beauty is usually in the eye of the beholder,” says Bree with a laugh. “Except in rare cases like myself ... I am just universally gorgeous! One man's underground beauty may be another person's large hole in the earth."

    Mal's not quite sure how to respond. He just shakes his head in agreement.

    "Ye ain't bad girl,” says Norric, “but it's hard to get interested in a woman with no beard."

    Din laughs heartily. “Laddie, lookin under the beard is half the fun."

    Sam listens while thinking about her own beard.f

    "Well,” responds Bree. “I just don't see my face sprouting whiskers anytime soon ... my brother might at some point."

    Norric leers at Sam. To the point where it becomes distinctly uncomfortable. Sam seems to not even notice the leer, until she says, "If you want to keep both them eyes lad you will want to look somewhere else. At least till you be talking with my dad."

    The Wild Bunch eventually sets out, and they reach the camp near the Fortress of Koralgesh that night. Nobody has any mounts except Theyln, who proudly rides ahead.

    Moonday, 3rd Planting (582)

    The day breaks and it is a partly cloudy day which starts to warm up fast. The party moves on, passed the Fortress of Koralgesh, and south along the river road in the direction of Dorob Kilthduum. They assume that they have about a day's travel before the get to the mines. The day passes rather uneventfully, with no sign of gnolls or flinds.

    Towards the end of the day, the party reaches a gorge, about 200' wide, with a turbulent river flowing at the bottom about 100' below. Fortunately, the torrent is spanned by a massive stone bridge composed of three arches supported by two huge piers sunk into the riverbed.

    [url]t.ly/6R7y[/url]

    Side view of bridge

    The sides of the bridge are protected by stone walls, 2' high and 2' wide. The columns that flank your approach are cracked and covered with vines and moss. From this vantage point, the bridge appears to be old, but the dwarves note very quickly that it is still quite solid. The beginning of the bridge is flanked by two large 10' square marble pedastals. The left pedestal is covered with rubble, but a beautiful marble statue of a pegasus rears up on the right one. Ot would likely be quite valuable, were if not missing one wing.

    Standing in the middle of the bridge about 20' beyond the pedestals and halfway to the first pier is a huge monstrous troll!

    In common Sam says," Troll, we seek to cross this bridge, may we please do so."

    The troll didn't notice the party until Sam spoke up. Then it turns towards them and snarls!

    Sam, says, "Good, it does not want to talk, now we fight." She takes out her two handed hammer and advances carefully while saying, in dwarf, "Fight, fight, fight."

    Mal climbs a tree. Not sure which side we are on but there seems to be trees on both sides. Once up pull out bow and nook an arrow. Good luck Sam. Hope your efforts bear fruit, but luck hasn’t been on our side in the past.

    Norric shouts with joy, pulls out his axes and attacks the troll.

    Mal was inclinded to wait and see but as soon as dwarvish war cries erupts from behind, Mal fires at what Norric intends to charge.

    Norric charges across the bridge, drawing his battleaxe as he does so. The troll swipes at him, but he ducks under the claw and swings back, also missing. Bree casts a Ray of Enfeeblement, which streaks out from her hand but misses the troll. Sil steps out and around those in front of her to get a clear shot at the troll. As she moves, she readies an arrow so that when she comes to a stop; she is ready to fire. She lets loose, but the arrow streaks over the troll's head.

    The troll attacks Norric with both claws and a vicious bite, but the nimble dwarf avoids all three, ducking and dodging around the clumsy troll. Theyln swears something about foolhardy dwarves, draws his sword, and charges across the bridge as well. Din fires his crossbow, sending a bolt right over Norric's head and slamming into the troll's arm [3]. The troll just takes it and plucks it out, tossing it aside.

    Finally, Astrid moves up and leaps atop the pedestal to the left, where she gets a good look at the troll. She notes that wound from Din's crossbow gradually closes itself up, regenerating fully!

    [url]t.ly/Wwqt[/url]

    Bree pulls out her dagger, then moves a bit closer, just behind the first anchoring pillar of the bridge, looking for an opportunity to do something. Sil steps up and fires an arrow at the troll, missing. Mal finds a place in the tree from which he can fire his bow at the troll and gets his bow ready.

    Theyln slashes at the troll, chopping off one its arms! [15]

    Astrid runs along the left wall of the bridge, then does a flip and roll (i.e. tumbles), coming up behind the troll with her latajang ready. Din moves up to the corner of the right-hand pedestal with the statue on it and reloads his crossbow.

    Norric swings with his axe, but misses badly, nearly falling down. The troll responds with a claw swipe [8]. The detached hand also grasps at him, but misses. The troll then bites Theyln [10].

    Sam then move forward, staying just out of reach of the troll to avoid attacks of opportunity as she advances.

    Sil then fires another arrow, hitting Norric in the back! [5] Theyln also misses with a second shot.

    [url]t.ly/NKqB[/url]

    Bree moves up behind Din, dagger in hand. Mal and Sil are ready to fire, but they hold their shots, wanting to avoid hitting friends. They have arrows knocked and ready, and will release if they get an opening.

    Din takes out his axe and moves up to attack the troll, which claws at him as he approaches. Sam then moves around the edge as well, taking a claw [6] from the troll as she does so. She swings at it missing.

    The troll attacks, with the severed hand grabbing Silvermoon and digging into her leg [6]. It attacks Norric with the other claw [8] and it bites Theyln [9].

    Theyln attacks again, slashing at it again for [9]. Everyone else misses.

    The troll attacks Theyln and Norric, missing with its claws and bite, while it continues to attack Silvermoon, clawing again [5].

    Theyln withdraws with Silvermoon, parrying any attacks by the troll as he gets his mount out of harms way. "Look after her," he says to Bree as he dismounts next to her. He then notices the troll claw still holding onto Silvermoon's leg, which is looking pretty bloody there as the thing continues to dig away at it.

    Bree moves up and pries the claw away, tossing it over the bridge. "That'll teach ya!" she yells.

    Sil no longer has a clear shot, so she moves up by the edge of the bridge.

    The dwarves all attack and miss, while Astrid lops off the trolls right leg with a sweep of her latajang [7]. It tumbles down, but still writhes around fiercely, and everyone can see the previous wounds regenerating quickly. Even the stumps where Theyln lopped off a claw is no longer bleeding.

    [url]t.ly/UKmw[/url]

    "Bloody hell,” curses Sil. “Someone use fire on the damned thing!"

    Bree leads Silvermoon away, back off the bridge. She just looks at Sil. "I know," she says.

    The troll then attacks. [I'm not sure how to handle the attacks with one limb now thrown over the side. I'll just let it use it's stump for bashing, at less damage. :)] It turns and attacks Astrid with a full attack, clawing her for [5], drawing her head down to its level, and then biting her in the ear [14]! It bites Astrid's right ear clean off, ripping it away savagely. Astrid screams in pain, falling back to the ground stunned as the troll swallows her ear!

    Sam steps towards Astrid, and again attacks, missing the troll completely. Din chops at the troll's back, hitting it for [11]. Norric then chops at the troll, missing badly and slamming his axe so hard into the stone floor of the bridge that it snaps right behind the axe-head!

    He curses and is about to draw his axes, when he hears Theyln shout. "Get away from it!" he yells.

    Norric backs off, stepping clear, as Theyln casts Chromatic Orb, throwing a flaming orange ball at the troll. It hits it, and the troll takes [1] damage from the fire. However, its dry flaking skins starts crackling intensely, and it hops and rolls, putting out the dreaded flames!

    The troll grabs the stunned Astrid and throws her off bridge! She plunges nearly 70', but she is able to twist and hit the water cleanly, taking only [4] from the impact. Din and Sam both took AoO when the troll grabs Astrid, but the both missed!

    Bree takes out her Wand of Wonder. "Why not?" she mumbles.

    Sam was about to heal Astrid, but with the troll throwing Astrid over the side, she turns back to it and attacks. [She doesn't get an attack, since she was going to cast a spell. She thus just doesn't cast her spell.]

    Sil puts her bow away and follows Astrid downstream. Well, it's a straight gorge, so she cannot help right now. However, she can follow, attempting to keep an eye on her. She sees Astrid surface, though the monk is immediately carried away downstream. Sil rushes along the top of the gorge, trying to get down to help her.

    Mal swears, but still holds his fire. Din steps to the side, staying out of Theyln's line-of-fire, and attacks again. Unfortunately, he misses. Theyln, however, does not, as he throws another Chromatic Orb, this one doing [7]. The trolls roars in pain, turns and glares savagely at Theyln, only to be interrupted by a charging Norric. Two hand-axes in hands, he rushes right into the troll, swinging wildly but missing with each blow.

    [url]t.ly/hKkz[/url]

    As you can see, Sil and Astrid are not on the map. Astrid's down in the river, while Sil is running after her.

    "Everyone better stand back. No telling what will happen this wand discharges!", Bree shouts.

    Bree calls out, then activates her Wand of Wonder. Suddenly, a large paper clown appears atop the troll's head! The trolls swipes it with one arm, blasting it apart as it turns and attacks Din and Norric. It would go after Theyln, but recognizes that with one legs chopped off it will never make it. Thus, it settles for some dwarf meat. Din is clawed for [8], while it misses Norric.

    Theyln throws another Chromatic Orb [I realize now that it's not treated like a missile weapon.] He throws another flaming orb, this one also hitting and erupting on the troll [8]. It screams a very loud and ear-splitting scream which sends shivers down the party's spine.

    The dwarves all attack, with Sam hitting it with her hammer [4]. Norric adds another blow of a handaxe [5] while Din misses, tearing up the remainder of the strange paper jester.

    Meanwhile, Astrid is knocked around terribly by the raging water of this narrow torrent. She takes [3] from being pummeled against the rocks. Without knowing how to swim, she finds herself at the mercy of the raging waters. Sil cannot keep up with Astrid's downstream progress, and she quickly falls back and looses sight of her. Plus, the vegetation along the edge eventually forces her away from the river, so she takes off at as fast a pace as possible, trying to find a way around or down.

    The troll attacks Din, grabbing him with both arms. Din attempts to break free, but he fails. Sam misses, while Norric backs off, lays down his axe, takes off his backpack, and rummages around for a flask of oil. [See how much has to happen?] :)

    Theyln sees what Sam is doing, holds off on another spell, and instead drinks his Potion of Healing and heals [8].

    Bree then uses another shot from her wand.

    Suddenly, the troll and all three dwarves fall UPWARDS! [DM OOC: The wand caused Reverse Gravity in a 30'r]. They fall about 1000' high (and I'm being VERY generous with that!!!) by the end of the first round.

    Meanwhile, Astrid continues downstream....

    [Mal OOC: Well the good news is, terminal velocity will pretty much cap falling damage. The bad news is the cap will probably be around 20d6.]

    [Bree OOC: Hey she did shout a warning! Sorry about shooting the dwarves into orbit ... no one can toss a dwarf ... but apparently they can shoot them into the great beyond!]

    Bree watches the troll and dwarves shoot into orbit. "Hmmm ... never did that before."

    Din reaches to whip out his Potion of Flying, then realizes that he already gave it to Bree, the very person who's now murdering us all! "Curses on you and that damned wand!" he screams.

    Bree shouts back, "Sorry Din ... you have to admit this is the first time it has done something harmful to the party." Bree is fluent in dwarvish and it mortified such foul language would be used in the presence of a lady! "Sorry guys ... I guess this adventure is really 'up in the air' at the moment!"

    Well, assuming there's really nothing that anyone can do, the four “fall up” for another round, which puts them VERY high! However, there's a moderate breeze from the SW at 17mph, so...as soon as somebody falls off to the side enough to clear the area of effect, that individual will start falling back down. Now, I'm not really going to get crazy with the physics, but here goes.

    Everyone falls up about 500' when Norric clears the field (he was right on the edge.) He then starts to plunge downwards again. He continues to fall towards the NE, landing squarely in the river. He takes 7d6 damage when he hits the water [21]! He is left with 2hp!!! He then begins to be swept downriver. Luckily, he successfully grabs a boulder and hangs on for dear life. He cannot do anything except simply stay there as the water pounds against him.

    Din, Sam, and the troll are still falling up! They are waaaaayyyyyy up there now! Others can’t even see them anymore.

    Sil realizes she can't catch Astrid by chasing after her on land, and decides to take to the water to try saving her. She will leave her pack, weapons, and ferret on the shore where she enters and hope that her companions won't think she was dragged off.

    "I'm on my way, Astrid!" She mutters as she gets into the river.

    [DM OOC: Also, this is a gorge, about 70' deep, so there are no "banks" to the river. You can't get down to it. You would have to just leap off the top..... Finally, there's no maneuver that Sam or Din can do. They are free-falling up. In a minute gravity will return to normal and they will start to fall down. They better hope they hit the water, because anything else is certain death. We're talking a fall of a few thousand feet now.]

    [Bree OOC: I did warn everyone I was discharging the wand! I think our DM is having more fun with this wand than I am which is probably why he allowed me to retrieve it.]

    Din pushes away from the troll and pulls out his bag of holding. It's tough, but he is able to wiggle into it just before he starts to fall. The bag plummets to the water, hitting with a big splash. However, Din is fine inside the extradimensional space. [DM OOC: No force from the fall is transmitted inside, so he's fine. Well, except that his bag instantly starts filling up with water!]

    Norric continues to hold onto a rock just down from the bridge. Meanwhile, Astrid grabs a rock as well, and she succeeds in stopping herself from tumbling further down the river. However, like Norric, she too is stuck where she is. The troll lands in the river with a tremendous splash, and its body is carried downriver as well.
    [DM OOC: Time for a little deus ex machina.]

    Sam, is currently floating gently down like a feather from about 1500' up in the air, the trajectory appears to be heading towards the edge of the bridge.

    A tan wild elf with wild blonde hair, covered with tribal tattoos, and clad in green dragon scale armor appears near the two struggling in the water.

    In a musical voice she says, "Thorgrim was right to be worried. You children are lucky I have been watching over you on occasion since we parted ways." The earlier party members will know her to be Isilme, as she met them at the Inn.

    Din, Norric, and Astrid find themselves levitated out of the water and dropped gently on shore in rapid succession.

    [Din OOC: Hoho cavalry's here!]

    Din can barely believe he is alive...his plan worked! He felt nothing! Then the water comes rushing into the Bag. He feels the jade scrollcase bump him in the face, floating on the water, and he grabs it. He takes a deep breath and fights for the opening but can't find it! It's pitch black and the walls undulate and surround him, smothering him. In the dark, his seeking hands sieze on a weapon handle...his new axe! Din yanks its sheath off with his teeth and slashes the bag open! He opens his eyes and looks up, and fights for the shore.

    Isilme helps the party to gather back together at the bridge and heals everyone back to full strength with prayers to her goddess. She even lays hands on Silverymoon and heals all the horse’s wounds as well. After providing all needed aid, Isilme flies over to Bree and floats above her saying, "Your brother always hated me using that wand," and suddenly the wand of wonder flies into her outstretched hand. "I will take that for now dear," she says with a smile.

    "Hey no fair! It isn't like I burned down a keep with people still inside or shot off a fireball at point blank range." Bree protests.

    Theyln walks over to Bree and hands her his Wand of Magic Missiles. "Lady Bree, it would honor me if you used this in its stead."

    She takes it with a sour look. "It won't be as fun,” she says, then smiles, “but thank you Theyln."

    Norric says, "Guess elves have their uses. Thanks. I hate swimming. Flying's even worse."

    Sam is shaken by the near death experience and that an elf would save her.

    "Thanks for the help in reuniting our group." Sil says to Isilme, "And thanks for saving us. What happened to the troll though?" She missed out on the floating and the almost splatting of Sam. "I'm sorry I couldn't get to you, Astrid."

    Bree then sings a quick verse.

    The troll started moving, it drifted with the tide
    The dwarves looks up for the rocks and they cried
    The waters came down and floated the troll away
    And that why you never see the troll again to this very day.

    When Norric gets back to his feet, he advances angrily on Bree. Though Bree likely doesn't know Gotrek, the level of anger is close. "Ye do that once more and I will throw that wand of yers in the deepest pit I can find."

    "Talk to the elf who pulled you out of the river ... she took it from me. I must have regressed in age to infancy. I am not longer allowed to play with my favorite toy." Bree pauses for some drama. "However ... Theyln was kind enough to give me a substitute and I am just itching to see what it does ... so watch it shorty!" Bree makes a teasing wand waving gesture in the air at Norric. "And I thought you dwarves were hearty folk ... you whine like a mule. We had a guy with us the last time who whined a lot, but at he wore a dress so he looked the part. I think those flinds got sick of the whining though and split his head open pretty good!"

    So, Isilme saved Sam from falling to her death, and then she rescued the others from the river. Din saved himself with his Bag of Holding, and just before slashing it open it was pulled up out of the river by Isilme as well. He climbed out relieved to find himself atop the bridge again. Soon, everyone is on the bridge, including Isilme.

    Turning to Isilme, Astrid thanks her. "And thank you, my lady, for saving this unworthy's life." She makes a short strange bow at the end of the statement and holds it slightly longer than normal bows.

    Isilme return the bow and says "No thanks is necessary, just endeavor to be more careful in the future. No doubt the Troll will be back, falling from the sky wont kill it, only slow it down"

    Din sputters and coughs, then catches his breath. "Lady Isilme, I see now why Thorgrim values you so highly. A thousand thanks would not be sufficient. But how did you get here?”

    "I have my own ways of travel" she says with a wide smile. "Thorgrim went ahead, while I had other details to attend to, like your companion Amaris who I helped find her father.”

    She then directs her words to the entire group. “Your wounds are healed, and I would give you the opportunity to be well rested. But you need to take greater care, as I have other matters to attend to. From here you are truly on your own." She says sternly.

    "Any who wish to return with me can,” she says as she prepares to leave. “Search your hearts and decide the best course of action."

    Theyln steps forward "I would return with you lady Isilme. It is an honor to be in your presence; it was to speak with you and learn of your goddess that I left the Celene. The presence of a goodly drow among us caused quite a stir in court. The Queen and Prince Melf ordered me to guard lady Tihali, and to learn from you. I am sure some of my people have already arrived, curious to speak with you." He looks back at his companions. “But they need me. Perhaps another time?”

    She nods. “You will be welcome in Hommlet,” she says. “Very good, I must depart. Again, please be careful.” She then turns invisible and departs, leaving the Wild Bunch to continue on their own.
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    Sun Aug 30, 2020 4:55 pm  
    Part 2 – Death Awaits Us All

    Before you head across the bridge, you find a pile of coins near the statue of the pegasus. There are about 100 coins, all of various types. They are all at least a hundred years old, and some are much older. Theyln notes one gold luna with the face of Queen Yolanda's father, denoting that it is at least 500+ years old!

    Theylyn searches, but he doesn’t find anything, just a bunch of coins. They are not scattered but are in a loose pile. You notice troll blood on some. Looking south you see the first pier. It extends 30' to the east and west of the roadway. A shrine-like structure consisting of a roof supported by fluted marble columns stands on each side of the pier. The structures seem relatively intact.

    Mal sneaks along the bridge, checking out the first pier and its structure. Sil sees a bunch of fresh blood on the ground in the center of the bridge, just south of the urn, and another scattering of coins there.

    I already gave a brief description of the pier areas. In the left one [marked A] contains a large brass urn. The right one [marked B] has a large statue of a dwarven warrior.

    [img]t.ly/JKR3[/img]

    Mal goes back to get Din. "Looks safe but I need to know what this urn and statue are. Do we need to offer up some of those coins to the gods of this place?”

    Mal leaves the pile of coins for Din to collect. Mal's supersticious nature takes over and he respectfully move near the Dwarvish statue and leaves a few coins of his own as a show of respect. He whispers back to Sil, “send a Dwarf in here to explain this to me. The last thing we want to do is offend the dwarves.”

    Mal drops a few coins at the foot of the statue as the dwarves move up and investigate. The statue is clearly of dwarven make, as it is in the form of a giant dwarf warrior. Sam recognizes the symbol of Berrronar carved into its chest.

    Sam comes up and examines the statue. There are clear indications that the statue has moved recently, as evidenced by large "footprints" where there is no dirt or dust. Sil also notes a bloody partial footprint which leads from the small pool of blood near the scattered coins and back to the statue. Sam looks carefully and sees a bit of blood on the right foot of the statue. It definitely stepped in that blood before returning to its current position.

    "I would think this is the treasure the troll gathered from those it killed,” says Astrid. “The urn was convenient to drop coin into. The statue is likely where the items it thought was valuable went. Should check both for traps, then try to move the statue."

    Sam and Din look around for traps, as does Sil, though nobody sees anything. Sam tries to move the urn, but it doesn’t budge.

    Mal says, "Don’t piss the statue off or it animate and stomp you. Come, let’s move away from the statue. Thank you brave dwarf statue warrior for letting this humble servant pass."

    Nothing happens, and Mal moves across the pier on to the next section of bridge. Sil goes with him, as does a relatively bored Norric.This pier has not stood the test of time nearly as well as the north one. The roof and nearly half the columns have fallen and broken, and the entire area is covered with rubble. The left section has collapsed into chambers below. The right section is in better shape, and a large round basin occupies the center. You can't really see much more from your current places.

    Mal isnt certain of anything. But he thinks the blood is from enemies of the dwarves. Mal gives the basin as much space as he can as he moves up with caution. He grips his new dagger tensely expecting an attack. If things go well, he waves to the group to move up. He doesn't see anything to the basin end of the southern pier, but he notes that the other side (the left side and top of map side) is full of large spiderwebs. There is a hole going down into darkness around the center of the pier structure, covered with lots of webs.

    Sam lights a torch and burns some of the webs. The party stands ready for a giant spider or something, but nothing happens. Sil notes that the opening going down was clearly some sort of secret door, but when the roof collapsed, it broke the door open. It seems there are chambers of some sort inside the pier.

    "We should not stray from our mission,” says Theyln. “Let's continue on over the bridge to seek what we came for. I fear only death awaits you here."

    “Death awaits us all,” replies Mal, “but your judgement is sound.”

    Bree backs away. "I don't like spiders. They are icky!"

    "These spiders may cause trouble later,” says Din. “Should we need a swift exit. This bridge might be our only escape path, and I don't want to get boxed in again. Ever. We should make sure it is clear before we move on.” Din then goes back to the first pier and explores it further, keeping an eye out for spiders.

    Back on the first pier, Din finds a very cleverly concealed secret door. It is behind the statue of the dwarven warrior, the one which seems to have come to life and attacked the troll. It is an 8' slab of granite, with the symbol of Berronar engraved in it.

    t.ly/KnUF

    Sam comes back to the Dwarf statue and says, in dwarf, "Noble warrior, I am Highborn and need access to the door you are standing on. Move aside."

    "You dwarves make a habit of talking to inanimate objects?" asks Bree.

    "Good stone is alive with the spirit of the earth,” replies Sam.

    Theyln gets off the bridge if the party is messing with the statue, muttering to himself. "Perhaps Amaris was wise, this party has a death wish."

    “You elves sure are skiddish,” says as Mal with a smile as he stands back behind Theyln.

    Since this is Sam's goddess she goes over and prays by the symbol that she will be shown the way they should proceed. She gets the feeling that she need but touch the symbol with her own, and she does so. A grating sound issue from the bridge, as the ancient granite slab drops a foot then slides out of the way. It reveals a stair down to a chamber below. Sam tells the others that her goddess is the patron of home and as such she feels that this is a good sign and that we should take this path. As proof she goes down into the chamber while saying a prayer of thanksgiving.

    The room is 30' square, with four columns in the center supporting the ceiling. It is illuminated slightly by the light from above as well as from a small window on the west side. The walls are carved with reliefs showing dwarven scenes. A corridor leads to the east, screened by an old tattered curtain. An owl sits perched inside the chamber, watching as Sam enters. It then takes off, flying out through the window.

    Sam looks at the relief to see if they show dwarves working in a mine or city life or what. "I think the owl greeting us is a good sign," she says as she puts out the torch.

    Din grunts. "Possibly..."

    Everyone follows downstairs, while Theyln stays outside with his horse, guarding the exit.

    Sam looks at the pictures to see if they give any hint of where this leads us. She will go to the tattered curtain and carefully look behind it. When she disturbs the curtain, a cloud of yellow spores erupts from the yellow mold colony behind it! It flows up and covers the area around the curtain. [DM OOC: Both Sam and Mal make their saves (otherwise they'd have died!).]

    Sam lights the curtain on fire with her torch, and it almost instantly is engulfed in flames. Everyone stands back for a few minutes while the curtain burns up, until there is little left by ashes. Beyond the curtain is a hallway going about 40' and then ending in a stairway that spirals down. There are two doors to the left. The first door is wooden, and it is so rotten that it is on the verge of collapse. The second door is metal, with a rusty lock.

    "Sil, would you please check these doors for traps and locks,” asks Sam. “I know the metal door has a lock but not if it can be opened."

    She nods, and looks around. “It all looks clear.”

    Mal goes up to the wooden door, which pretty much disintegrates when Mal barely touches it, so rotten is it. Beyond it is a 20' square chamber. The chamber seems to have been a sleeping chamber, with a small window opposite looking out along the river. A bed in the corner has rotted away, leaving only the brass frame standing. A bronze helmet and shield, emblazoned with the symbol of Berronar, hang on a peg along one wall. There is nothing else in the chamber except old decayed wooden debris, probably from old furniture.

    Sam takes the helmet and puts it on. Searching the room finds nothing else of interest. There's another door, made of iron and with a lock that is rusted shut. There's also a narrow stairway winding down.

    You can go upstairs and get Theyln, who will come downstairs and smash the door open. He does so, asking only that somebody watch the horses. Astrid agrees to watch above, while Theyln bursts the door in with a determined shove. Inside is another 20' square chamber. There is a large bin in the center, just below a 1' wide brass pipe which extends down from the ceiling. A lever sticks out of the ceiling next to the pipe. The remains of a rope are on the floor next to the bin. It was likely tied to the lever, but has rotted away.

    “Now this must be a trap,” says a worried Bree.

    Sam tries to estimate if this pipe is about where the urn with coins is. “Are we about under the urn?” she says to herself. She thinks this may have been how the dwarves emptied the urn without bothering the statue. Setting up the rope, she can pull the lever. It opens a hole in the bottom of the urn, letting all the coins tumble down into the bin. There is a total value of about 500gp between all the various coins.

    "It seems to me that these coins are donations to the goddess,” she says. “It also they were not meant to be left in the urn. I think it best for me to carry them.” She then puts them in her backpack.

    Theyln goes back upstairs, finding no further reason to be there. He patrols up top, while Astrid returns below.

    The stairs wind around to another chamber, this one about 30 square feet. It is damp and moldy, and whatever was in here is long decayed. Another set of stairs continues down from the opposite side, and she can hear the roar of the river echoing up through the stairs. The stairs go down to another level, but there is only about 4' of chamber above water. The rest is flooded. If the chambers below are 10' high like the rest of the area, then you're looking at 4' of air and 6' of water. It's also totally dark.

    "I can't believe this place fell into such ruin in just a hundred years!" Din exclaims. He looks around for anything that looks like a pump mechanism.

    Sam holds her torch down the stairs, but sees nothing. As she turns, a form leaps up from the water and attacks her. She is hit from behind by something very heavy and feels claws and bites across her backside [8 damage]. She drops her torch, which falls into the water and goes out. She is also grappled from behind by whatever it is. Only Mal and Sil are near her on the steps. They turn around, just as surprised as Sam, and it takes some time for their vision to clear. As it does, they have a hard time determining what is grabbing her. It looks like some kind of algae-covered statue. It is holding Sam fast from behind, so they don't have any clear view of it.

    "Mal, help, please," she says as she looks for something to hold onto.

    She sees nothing to grab onto, but Mal reaches out and takes her hand. The thing seems to be trying to pull her back into the water, and Mal can barely keep it from succeeding. It bites Sam again [3].

    "HELLLLP," She screams, as she reaches back with her other hand to pry it off her. She know this is a bad angle but she has great strength and it is slimy.

    Sil grabs ahold of Mal, and they pull Sam a bit further away. They now see the thing a bit more clearly. The thing has two legs wrapped around Sam's waist/legs and two arms which end in wicked claws wrapped around her chest. It's bitting her in the neck.

    Sam tries to twist free, but she fails and the creature twists its arms and legs firmly around her. Mal and Sil are barely able to hold onto Sam, and Mal cannot get a clear shot at the creature without letting go.

    Din makes a loop out of his rope and throws it around Sam and whatever the thing is, and then they all start pulling too. Together, they start dragging the two up the stairs. It tries to let go of Sam (who just healed herself of [6] too) but now it's caught. In a couple of minutes, the party drags them up the stairs to the next level.

    "GET THIS THING OFF ME!” she cries.

    Din rushes around behind the two, hitting the creature with his hammer. It just bounces off the thing, and it feels like he just hit a solid rock! However, when Mal stabs it with his dagger, the blade sinks right in! [5]. The creature cries out in pain, and writhes around mightily, breaking free of the rope bonds. Bree hits it with a couple Magic Missiles from her new wand, doing another [12]. Norric hits it with both his hammers, but they just bounce off.

    Din is standing in the stairway, between the Kapoacinth and the way back down. Mal and Norric are standing on it's opposite side. Sam's rolled away, and Bree is behind everyone using her wand. Astrid is also hanging back. Seeing how the attack went Sam draws her +1 dagger and gets back to her feet.

    Din switches weapons as does Norric, thinking magic will work better than hammers. The Kapoacinth tries to get passed Din, who swings his battleaxe at it (AoO) slamming it back with a powerful strike [10]. It falls back to the ground, as Mal stabs it in the face [5]. With an eerie screech, and starts to convulse. Mal stabs it a couple more times, his dagger easily penetrating, until the thing stops moving, clearly dead.

    Din wipes the sweat from his brow. "For a moment I thought that was another magical Dwarven Statue. But I'm sure it's not the only fell beast to make its lair in this abandoned place."

    "What's the plan, Mal my pal?" Sil asks with a chuckle at recalling and twisting of something her father's apprentice used to ask. "I might be able to check around under there where it wouldn't be a good idea for others to go."

    Sil heads down into the water, after tying the rope around her. The others can hold the other end, as she descends. It's freezing cold! This chamber is normally above water, and she finds an exit to the river which is all flooded due to the high water level. Most of the chamber is basically empty, and she takes about 10 minutes searching. Eventually, she finds a small niche in the corner, and inside it a rotting bag of gemstones. She brings them out and reports that there is nothing else of value within.

    "Good work, Sil. That was vary brave of you," Sam says as she helps to dry Sil off.
    "I still think we need to move back to the surface unless we quickly find another way to go."

    Din puts the gems in the Bag of Holding. "Hopefully I won't be taking another fall anytime soon," he says.

    Returning to the top, the group inspects the other pier. Nobody wishes to go down the hole, so they pour a couple flasks of oil down there and they drop a torch in. A fire starts below, and then a huge black spider emerges from the hole, slightly burnt and still smoking, one leg a bit twisted around.

    Mal and Sil fire their bows, both hitting the spider [5 and 6]. It skitters away, going over the side of the bridge and out of sight. Sill then explores down the hole.

    She doesn't find anything in there except bones of animals. There really is not a very large space there, and she cannot do anything except crawl. It's a good thing she didn't crawl in with that spider there, she thinks. The collapsed upper floors have blocked any passage deeper into the pier if there is anything there to find in the first place. It could be cleared, but it would take a rather major effort. She carefully backs out. "Nothing down there. Good thing there was just that one spider down the hole. I doubt we could have dealt with a nest of them."

    After a short rest, the party crosses the bridge and continues along the road.
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    Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:36 pm  
    Part 3 – The Beach of White Sand

    Godsday, 4th of Planting (582)

    The party travels on the rest of the day, which is only maybe a few more hours. Eventually they camp for the night, set up watches, and pass a rather uneventful evening. The next day it begins to rain rather hard. The party begins their travels along the road, but soon they realize that it is raining too hard to continue.

    Sam mutters, "This is why dwarves like to travel underground." She looks around for a campsite.

    You find a suitable place, a bit out of the way and nestled in amongst the trees. After setting up shelter, the party settles down for a rather uneventful, if wet, sleep.

    Waterday, 5th of Planting (582)

    It pours hard all night, but nothing happens. Overnight, the rain stops and in the morning the clouds part slightly. The wind dies down, and the air is crisp and clean. It's much colder, and everyone is a bit chilled and tired from the difficult night.

    Sil finds a place to change into one of her cold weather outfits without being spied upon by her companions. "Well, I think we've lost any chance to track anyone or anything for the moment. The mud would make a great way to track, but it will also leave us open for being tracked. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm somewhat cranky and am wondering if it would be wisest to wait another night before pressing on?" Either way doesn't matter a whole lot to her, however tiredness and crabbiness does sometimes lead to mistakes and she does not want to end up with another party member lost. She will lean toward trying to convince the others to wait another day. If they agree that it would be best she will attempt to find other herbs useful as antidotes or for poultice making against spider venom.

    The party moves on, and just before dark reaches the outlet of a large lake. There is a ruined village there, with very little left except the shells of some stone buildings. All the rest is gone. The road continues around the right side of the lake.

    The party checks it out, makes sure the area's safe, and beds down for the night in an old stone building. It is half-fallen down, but there is some cover within and soon they have a nice fire to warm themselves up. Everyone takes off clothes and armor to dry them out after the difficult previous night and day of rain.

    "I guess I have spent the night in worse places,” bemoans Bree.

    While the party is warming up and drying out their weapons and armor, Theyln stays outside, riding around the near vicinity and scouting. As they are warming up, a swam of 3' long snake-like things emerge from various cracks in the building's walls. They have very nasty-looking mouths, much like a lamprey.

    [url]t.ly/VBpH[/url]

    Bree grabs her wand and sends a Magic Missile into the nearest lamprey [5].

    Sil grabs her longsword, just as the creatures attack. Two attack Bree, both hitting her [1,1: total of 2] and latching on. One actually grabs her hand, right over her wand! One latches onto Sil while another latches onto Sam. Each takes [1] damage.

    Sam finds she cannot attack now, as she cannot swing her 2-hand hammer while being, basically, grappled. Astrid attempts to hit the lampreys attacking Bree but misses with a couple punches.

    Mal grabs his weapons as indicated, while Din picks up his crossbow and loads it. Two more come through cracks in the wall.

    Guulvorg rushes and bites at the one attacking Bree, biting it nearly in half and pulling it off her. It drags the lamprey away, shaking its head violently as it kills the thing. With a smile, Mal grabs a torch and puts it up to the one attacking Sam. It instantly lets go, writhing away and right into Norric's axe, which splits it in half!

    Bree fires a magic missile right down the throat of the one on her hand [2]. She takes [1] as it drains her blood.

    Din fires a crossbow bolt across the fire, between Sam and Sil, and pins the far one to the back wall where it too dies. [10].

    Astrid is attacked by one, but it misses. She hits it back, using her United Fingers Strike and hitting it twice [1 and 3: total of 4]. However, Sil, Norric, and Sam are all hit again, taking [1] each and Sil takes another as the one that already bit her drains more blood.

    Norric misses his, while Sam grabs at hers, but fails to get it.

    "They don't seem to like fire!" Din shouts. He continues using his crossbow, preferring to kill them, and at point-blank range.

    With fire, the lampreys are driven back. As they go outside, you hear Theyln shout a warcry. He makes short work of them, armored and riding Silvermoon.

    Earthday, 6th of Planting (582)

    After a fitful night, with a couple on watch at all time, the party awakes the next morning. It's a much warmer day, with a strong wind (25mph) blowing from the NW. Gathering up things, the party continues along the road which skirts the western shore of the lake. Ominous clouds begin to appear, moving SE in their direction. It's going to rain soon.

    As they continue, the road disappears beneath sand dunes. In fact, this area is completely dominated by a strip of white sand dunes which have gradually moved westwards from the shore of the lake.

    "Let us make haste," Din says. "I don't want to be caught in the sand when the rains start."

    "Let's just get to the damned mine," says Norric.

    After a while, you come across the remains of what looks like a small camp. Lying partially buried in the sand are remnants of rope, canvas, and supply boxes. Numerous biped tracks are scattered throughout the area, and the crates have been pried open.

    Norric finds a 100' length of rope, a couple of cloaks, and a waterskin. He also finds a small book which is half eaten. Only one page is legible.

    [url]t.ly/YbbR[/url]

    A torrential rain begins to fall. Everyone is quickly getting quite wet. Moving up to the top of the closest dune, the party discovers some ruins just on the other side. The remains of some stone walls are visible, poking out through the dunes. Within the walls are a handful of stone buildings, as well as about a half-dozen small stone huts. The huts seem mostly intact, while only two of the buildings remain roofed. The two largest buildings seem to have suffered serious fire/destruction and their roofs are gnarled remains of burned timbers. The largest of the paritally destroyed buildings seems to have been a temple of sorts.

    Mal checks out the largest hut. The hut is about 15' wide, and everything inside is all tumbled about and broken. Bits and pieces of stuff are strewn everywhere. Otherwise, it is in very good shape, the domed stone having withstood time and the elements with ease. The party camps within the building, waiting until the storm passes.

    Sunday, 9th of Planting (582)

    You awake the next day to a cloudy, cool day. A strong wind blows from the south at about 20mph, not enough to really affect much. Here's a map of the area:

    [url]t.ly/oANo[/url]

    Sam says, "The other party that wrote the parchment we found seemed to think that the L-shaped Scriptorium was worth study so I think we should go there, after that I think the chapel should be next."

    Din whispers a fervent prayer to Clanggedin, kisses his holy symbol and readies his crossbow.

    Theyln wonders why we are screwing around here instead of heading to the mine entrance. "So easily distracted, like children really."

    "It's no wonder no one ever found this mine once it was lost," Din remarks. "We've got a full description and still we can't find it."

    “This is a dwarvish mine,” says Norric. “They aren't going to put a sign ‘come get your mithril here!’”

    ou move to the Scriptorium (that's the L shaped building to the top right). There was a great fire here, and the stones themselves cracked from the heat. Inside you find nothing but charred timbers and ash. Sifting through the debris are two large bipedal creatures which you can only describe as crabmen.

    [url] t.ly/U1Rj[/url]

    "Zounds!" he cries. "What hideous monsters! Begone, beasts from Hell!" He does not attack but waits for a reaction.

    A barely noticable whisper comes from Norric. "Sam, being our only healer, needs to stay out of combat unless forced into it. I would be honored to kill this for you if you'll keep yourself safe.”

    One of the crabmen looks at Din after he speaks, then whirls around and looks around the other side of the debris-filled chamber. After a moment, it turns back to Din.

    Din backs away a bit and observes, keeping his crossbow trained.

    "They don't appear aggressive...I think we might be able to avoid them," he calls to the party.

    The crabman cocks its head to one side as Din speaks.

    "Does anybody have a Tongues spell or Comprehend languages?” asks Din. He then digs into his Bag of Holding and pulls out a few days' rations. He sets them on the ground and backs away some distance, observing.

    Astrid will step forward, clearing her mind and assuming a meditative pose, seeing if she can 'Harmonise' with the creature. The crabman watches, then mimics Astrid's movements.

    Mal uses his amulet of ESP to get an emotions reading on the crabman. He doesn't sense any hostility. Mostly curiosity though with a bit of wonder. It really seems interested in the dwarves.

    Mal asks Sam if she can read the runes on the amulet worn by the crabman. Mal wonders in these creatures are polymorphed dwarves.

    The crabman puts a claw up on the amulet. As Sam says she cannot, the crabman takes it off and holds it out to Sam.

    Sam bows, takes the amulet, says, "Thank you." and proceeds to study it. She is now arms length from the crabman. It's hard to translate, but it says something like 'The language of friendship is not words, but meaning."

    The crabman doesn't seem to understand anything Sam says. It points to the amulet with a claw.

    "Perhaps this amulet can be used to Comprehend Languages," says Din. "He seemed to understand us when he was wearing it." Din un-cocks his bow and slings it, then advances and takes the amulet and wears it. "Hope this doesn't turn me into seafood," he says. He waits to see if he can understand anything these creatures say. If this works, it could be passed back and forth to allow communication.

    The crabman nods to Din. "I am Yicctii," she says, "and this is Tuunaa. We are of The Tribe."

    "Tell me, what is The Tribe?” asks Din. “What brings you to these lands?"

    The crabman points a claw to the amulet.

    "Maybe if you hand it back and forth between you and it,” says Norric.

    Din passes the amulet to the crab-creature and waits for him to put it on before repeating the question. It does work to pass the necklace back and forth. It is an Amulet of Comprehension (basically lets the wearer Comprehend Languages, but not speak.). You find that the crabman you are talking to is named Yicctii, and it's a she. The other crabman is a male, Tuunaa. They have come ashore to forage the area of the Out of Shell People. They did not expect to find anyone, as nobody has been here for many hatchings.

    As Din talks to them, he find that it's pretty hard to understand them. They have a way of talking that just doesn't make sense.

    Bree hums a little tune. "Crab people, Crab people. Taste like crab, talk like people. Crab people, crab people."

    When Din mentions the mines, she shakes her head. She then waves to the party to follow her as she and Tuunaa leave. Yiictii moves passed the party and goes outside, Tuunaa following her, his eyes turning back and forth as he watches the party. Nobody makes a move to stop them, and they go outside. Yiictii waves a claw, pointing to the T-shaped temple building as she heads that way. She makes some clicking noises, then passes inside, along with Tuunaa.

    Whoever this temple was devoted to is lost now to destruction, the interior now a maze of fallen timbers and debris. Most has been "bulldozed" aside by the crabmen, making a zig-zag path through the rubble. You follow Yiictii to the Inner Sanctum, where you find a large, bluish tinted crabman. It is sifting through a pile of stuff in front of a "statue" of a giant crab. It is skillfully assembled from a mix of wire, spikes, chains, shovel heads, a couple picks, and some pieces of armor. In one claw of the statue is a brass scroll case.

    The crabman looks strangely at the party, but Yiictii clicks to it, and it clicks back. She then turns back to the party as the large blue-shelled crab nods.

    "May we look at the scroll?" asks Sam.

    Yiictii translates Sam's request, and the blue crabman nods. He reaches up and takes it from the "statue," then hands it to Sam. A couple more crabmen appear behind the party, but quick clicking from Yiictii and the other crabmen keep them back.

    Sam opens the case, and she sees a scroll inside. She takes it out and finds that it is written in dwarven.

    “Know ye that this document is a Sacred Treaty effected between Norntall, High Priest of Muamman Duathal of the White Sands Monastery and Zitticck, Chieftain of the Tribe of crabmen who dwell in Lake Rilvarn. Be it known that henceforth and forever the Tribe is granted a Concession that they shall have Right of Way on the beach of White Sand outside the monastery called by the Tribe the Round Stones even down to the water to use as they will for fourteen nights during their Year-End-Walk, for the pursuance of their religious activities and their hatchings.

    Henceforth it shall be considered a trespass to use the Beach of White Sand or its environs by any dwarf, man, elf, or any other race of land dwellers, known to the Tribe as Out-of-Shell People, during the time of the Concession. We warrant that we shall vacate the Beach of White Sand during the Concession to avoid accidental hurt or loss to any.

    In return, the Tribe agrees to suffer no one who enters the lake, be it from land, river, air, or cavern, any harm. They pledge to aid those in need and spare those in ignorance.”

    It is signed by the High Priest as well as by a crabman, though you see only a strange inkblot that resembles a claw.

    Sam reads this to all present, then she says, "I hope we have not arrived during this time and violated this agreement. If we did it was without knowing. Forgive us." She looks carefully at the back of the scroll to see if anything else is written then hands it to the party to see if anyone sees anything else. When all have viewed it she hands it back. " Thank you. Can you tell us what happened to all the people who used to be here?"

    Yicctii acts as interpreter of the party's questions, and when asked to share the amulet, she agrees. This way you can communicate effectively, albeit slowly.

    The Tribe (the crabmen) made this treaty with the Out-of-Shell People (the dwarves). The dwarves had built this monastery right on the land where the Tribe made their Year-End's Walk. Rather than fight, an agreement was reached which led to peace between them. When the Out-Of-Shell People vanished, the Tribe continued to honor the treaty, only coming here for two weeks after their Year-End's Walk.

    You now speak with Ruuchk of the Blue Shell. He is the Goods Carrier, Sea Talker, Scavenger of the Beached Beast, and Finder of the Buried Metal Shells. He is responsible for leading the Tribe during the Year-End's Walk, and for seeing that the Rites are observed and the hatchings accomplished.

    “Do you know of any openings to underground structures here, old dwarven places?” Sam asks. They nod. "Are you willing and able to show us?”

    "Are the Out-Of-Shell People going to abide the treaty?" asks Ruuchk.

    Sam says, "I am of the highborn among the dwarves and we honor all agreements made in good faith between our people and any others. Yes we honor the treaty willingly.
    Do you need any help in doing your walk? You mentioned that you know where the entrance to the dwarves' place is and that you found some metal shells (could be armor). Can you show us where these things are, please."

    "If you honor the treaty, then yes." Ruuchk then points. "You go, now, honor treaty."

    Mal's ready to leave surely. But just so we don't accidentally break any of the terms, exactly what area is off limits? Just this immediate area or does the treaty include additional areas.

    "The Beach of White Sand."

    Theyln rolls his eyes and sighs. "Have them take us to the entrance so we can clear the beach and honor the agreement."

    “I think he means we leave the area of the white sand then when their walk is over they will show us,” says Sam. Before she leaves she says, "My honored party member points out that if you were to show us the underground entrance then we could leave the white sand that way." She waits for an answer before leaving.

    "After,” replies Ruuchk. “Come back 5 days. We take you to tunnels."

    Sam bows and leaves, making sure they have the amulet. "I am sure we can find something to do these days...maybe even find out what happened to the dwarves." She heads to wherever the white sand is not.

    You head inland just a bit, off the narrow stretch of white sand, and leave the crabmen to their thing. After setting up a new camp, you can get a good rest for the evening.

    Din is dumbfounded at the thought that Dwarves and Crabs had interacted and made a treaty before his time. He is in awe of the strange creatures and their obvious intelligence.

    "Well I'll be damned..." he keeps saying. "I had the urge not to kill them! It was very strange."

    Freeday, 14th of Planting (582)

    You wait for 4 days, taking the time to camp just off the Beach of White Sand. It's probably a good time for some exp. Everyone gets another 1000. The weather's been cloudy this whole time, but it's not cold and it doesn't rain. So everyone is actually happy for a few days to relax while they wait for the crabmen.

    After the period is over, the party returns to the ruins. There they find the Tribe waiting for them. There are maybe fifty of the crabmen there. Yiictii and her father, Ruuchk, stand at the head of the Tribe. They bow awkwardly to the dwarves as the party approaches.

    The crabmen lead them to the tunnel entrance. Unfortunately, it is below water level; however, it leads to old dwarven tunnels. They stay out of them. It takes a day to walk along the shore to where they indicate. They do not tell time and distance like you do, but it seems it's pretty far down, maybe 40' deep. They do not know how far back the caves go, but they were told they led to what you call mines.

    Sam looks at the crab men and says, "Thank you for bringing us here, sadly we cannot breath under water or swim very well. We will need to find a land and air passage in. You have done your part and we hold that you have fulfilled your part. Thank you and let our compact be a shining example of how races can work together."

    They agree, and the crabmen depart.

    Once they are gone, the party splits up into two groups and searches the area. There is a large hill just up from the lake, and there the dwarves quickly find cleverly concealed ventilation ports. They are not large enough to allow entry to even the smallest of creatures; however, it lets you know you are on the right track. After a few more hours, Din recognizes a path, clearly constructed by dwarves so as to not be visible to others, which leads up and around a large rock outcropping.

    Following the path around the bend, Dwarves in the lead, they spot an entrance into the hill. It is cut into the hill with a flat outcropping of rock in front of it that is roughly circular, leaving only a small opening which is not visible until you are right up to it. The entrance itself is 30' wide and 20' high, perfectly cut from the surrounding stone. There are a half-dozen orcs standing guard in front of it, and the dwarves quickly duck back around the corner before they are seen.
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