We were exhausted upon waking, our dreams filled with strange images and nightmares. It didn’t take long for us all to realize we had all suffered from the same restlessness. These mines seem to wear upon our psyche like nothing I have experienced before.
The group searched the three small chambers hidden within the walls of this square chambered throne room. A substantial amount of treasure lay in one small alcove, its riches spilling over the edges of three wooden chests. Amongst the notable items was a very old and dented horn that looks of little value, yet Moonglum seems to believe there is more than meets the eye. Nine unique cat statuettes were also discovered at the bottom of one of the chests. Moonglum believes these will ward off death for whoever carries one. Numerous potion vials and a scroll tube were included with many copper, silver, and gold coins – all struck with an ancient seal of a time long forgotten.
Meanwhile Jacare investigated the thirty-foot long hidden chamber-hall in which Benus had suddenly appeared behind the throne. Here lay a blood stained bowl nearly three-feet in diameter held by two stone hands protruding from the floor. A bas relief of a mouth was also upon the far wall, right behind the bowl. Jacare soon informed us that there was a small hole in the ceiling right above the bowl, undoubtedly stained by blood as well around its perimeter.
With so many questions yet unanswered Moonglum decides to attempt to speak with the dead. The skull of the room’s protector surprisingly began to speak, even though its skull has been detached from its body compliments of Jacare’s vicious flail, Orc’s Bane. The spell quickly fizzles but not before we discover our only hope of reaching the other areas of the mine is to dig out the upper entrance that collapsed upon Badger.
After hours of digging we finally excavate the entrance to the mine, only to discover glowing dwarven ruins hidden under the dust on a wooden support beam above. Jacare quickly read the dwarven word “PAX”, or “GREAT” in common, and the ruins suddenly faded from sight. Amazingly this allowed us to pass safely into the mine’s tunnels. You can see a look of distrust upon Badger’s face as he continually looks up at the every beam spaced at ten-foot intervals. Can’t blame the guy I wouldn’t trust the beams either after being buried the first time.
At the first intersection I hear faint scraping sounds to the east, but no one else is certain. Alacry agrees to stand guard at the intersection to keep an eye out for trouble, as well as watching the mine’s entrance. The rest of us advanced to the east where we found the ten-foot wide tunnel began to wind downward in a spiral pattern, while another ten-foot passage branched off into a small cavern with a three-foot diameter hole in the far wall. Empty chicken coops were scattered upon the floor. A quick investigation of the hole revealed a chute going down at nearly a 45 degree angle, and dwarven ruins above the hole read “SLIDE” in dwarven. After a lengthy discussion it is decided that we will lower Badger down carefully tied to a rope. It took us three fifty-foot ropes before Badger finally confirmed that he had reached the bottom, as the slide apparently corkscrewed it way far below. Upon pulling him back up he tells us there seems to be a massive pit of a yellow powdery substance which he dare not disturb. Badger suggests finding another path to follow. We agree.
We continued down the mine’s main tunnel and wind our way to yet another cavern where we discover a ledge ten-feet above. Upon that small plateau we discover a nest containing three speckled eggs and a few feathers. Cockatrice nest? Makes me nervous…
Now everyone hears what I heard earlier – something rolling on stone?… Quickly I move toward the south exit of the chamber and wind my way to a larger chamber while the others wait back for a report on what lies ahead. It is there that I spot a large chamber full of dwarven miners, with a dwarven foreman standing upon a large barrel. But these are no ordinary miners – they’re all dead! Nothing but skeletons, probably a dozen or so, just shuffling about and pulling carts filled with rocks. I also spot a pit full of the powdery substance Badger had mentioned a short time ago. I returned to the group to inform them of my unsettling discovery. This is proving to be a strange mine indeed.
We decided to enter the chamber and found ourselves quickly under attack. It was the welcome we expected of course, so we were well prepared, and the battle was quickly brought to a close but not before three skeletal lizards made their way up from beneath the powdery substance nearby. It was also during the battle that the skeletal foreman seemed very excitable, as he began shouting “finders keepers, finders keepers!”, all the while waving a piece of parchment about in his boney hand. We soon discovered that this old and brittle parchment was in fact the deed to the mines, but not before we scattered his dwarven bones across the chamber floor.
The party has become split!! Two of us have managed to avoid a ten-foot diameter boulder of black obsidian rolling through the mine’s tunnels, narrowly avoiding being crushed, but the others have been forced to retreat. This isn’t good… I must push ahead with Badger in the hopes of finding some sort of lever to disarm this deadly trap. Must hurry!