The relatively short flight aboard the Luckless ended very near the site where the adventurers had exited the TEMPLE PRISON and made their way down to the TIDELANDS.
A set of railway tracks led out of a tunnel sitting twenty feet or so above the beach sand. The tracks ended at the cliff’s edge, the trellis which once bore carts to and from the MINES having now fallen into the marshy waters below. The ruins of the trellis looked like a good place for an ambush, so they were glad they were arriving by airship rather than by land.
Weddumlir Aleshield the Dwarf Fighter, Davroar Hollysword the Elf Cleric of Moriarty, Nathan Garney the Human Cleric of Everly, Meldor Ironforge the Dwarf Wizard, Acindor the Human Fighter and Thril Wolfsbane the Elf Fighter exited the Luckless and steeled their resolve as they faced the MINE ENTRANCE. They tried to ignore the sneering look of vengeful delight in the eyes of Puddles the Goblin Cannoneer as the airship departed. After gathering their bearings by the map River Hopfoot the War’tode Rogue had drawn for them from memory, they headed into the tunnel. River had been kind enough to circle the places they’d said they needed to go to in order to gather theRiver had been kind enough to circle the places they’d said they needed to go to on the map.
The MINES were lit with electric lights similar to those they’d encountered in SMUGGLER SPEAK. The light was brighter in the main tunnel, but the light in the north tunnel eventually faded into darkness. They decided to take the brighter path, intending to head to the OFFICE to retrieve the reams of parchment requested by Fizwick’s Fantasticals and then north to retrieve silver bars to seal their bargain with Gunny Saks..
As they made their way forward, they heard voices.
Hedd and Not-Hedd
“Don’t do that. Don’t light that here. What is wrong with you?” someone hissed. “Have you lost your mind? Do you know where we’re at?” The voice immediately then shushed his apparent comrade.
The voices seemed to be coming from behind a door to a room labeled with three Xes on River’s map.
As they approached the door, they heard the voice again. “Shush! I hear something. Don’t light that.” The voice had an unmistakable goblin accent.
After a quick conference, they decided to flank the door while Weddumlir knocked.
The knock resulted in panicked commotion. “Stop it! Put that out! I told you not to light that! Shush! I think They heard us! Would you put that out, Not-Hedd!”
“Let me in,” Weddumlir ventured. “It’s me.”
“Don’t do it, Not-Hedd,” the voice protested. “It could be the wight.” Then to the adventurers, the speaker bellowed, “We’re not coming out there. Ya hear me? We’ll blow yer bits all the way to the Pandemonium!”
“We’re here to help,” Weddumlir said. “Let us in if you want help.”
“Hedd, I don’t think that’s the wight. A wight wouldn’t offer to help,” Not-Hedd said from behind the door.
“Not-Hedd, yer a fool! Them wights would say anything to get us to open that door,” Hedd scolded.
“We can’t stay in here… I’m hungry,” Not-Hedd said.
“Alright, we’re coming out!” Hedd called. “Stand back!”
“Sir! Yessir!” Weddumlir called back.
The door opened slowly, revealing two goblin miners. One held a lit candle threateningly near the fuse of a stick of dynamite. ”Stand back!” Hedd reminded them.
Not-Hedd held another stick of dynamite. He jabbed it toward them, heedless of how close his gestures brought it to the candle’s open flame. “You better listen to him! We’re serious!”
Hedd’s eyes widened. He swatted Not-Hedd back. “Get that boom stick out of here! You’re gonna hurt somebody.” Turning his attention back to the adventurers, he shouted, “Back!”
“Stop that,” Acindor said. “We’re here to help you. We’re here to protect you from the undead.”
Hedd scoffed. “Can’t nobody do that. We done lost three or four good men just in the last day. They ain’t no fighting them. We’re getting outta here and if I was you, I’d do the very same!”
“We are willing to let you go. The way out is clear ahead,” Davroar said, “but first we need some information.”
Hedd’s eyes narrowed. “How much you willing to pay fer this information?”
“Do you want to get out of here?” Davroar growled.
“Oh, I’m getting outta here. And you’re either getting outta here in one piece or several,” the goblin said with a mad grin, inching the boom stick closer to the flame.
“Well, there’s seven of us and two of you,” Davroar pointed out.
“An’ there’s one stick of dynamite and that’s all that matters,” Hedd replied.
“Be reasonable,” Davroar said. “You mentioned the undead. Are there any other creatures we need to be concerned about in these MINES?”
“What about the tunnel we passed back there that leads north?”
“We blocked that off,” Hedd said, “on account of the ghouls.”
“So there are ghouls.”
“Yessir, thar’s ghouls and the wight. And since we lost a few guys, there’s probably zombies by now. Wights like to raise ‘em as zombies.”
“What about the OFFICE?”
“The one just past the BUNKS.”
“You mean the SECTION OFFICE. I don’t know. We ain’t been in there. We wasn’t even of a mind to go anywhere near it. We was getting out and nothing else!”
“What about the FORGE?”
“You can get to the FORGE. Not sure I’d recommend it. We collapsed the tunnels to keep out the ghouls but that’s a pace beyond the FORGE.”
“OK then,” Davroar said. “One last thing and I’ll let you go. I want to know if you’ll give me one of those boom sticks for 9 gold pieces?”
“You wanna trade a stick fer 9 gold?”
“Nine gold for one of your boom sticks and information on any more we might find nearby,” Davroar amended.
The goblin snickered. “I’ll give you the stick and the information you seek just as soon as the coin is in my hand and we’re past you lot.”
“Not-Hedd, give him your boom stick.”
As Not-Hedd and Davroar made the exchange, the former laughed. “Nine gold! He’s an idiot. Shucks, but thar’s a whole room of these behind just free fer the taking.”
“Shuddup!” Hedd snapped. “We’re gonna leave now.”
“It’s your lucky day,” Davroar said. “Be safe and begone.”
“It is our lucky day,” Hedd catcalled as he and his friend made a dash for the exit. “We’re finally getting outta here! The nightmare is over! Yer the fools a-going in!”
After they watched the goblin miners leave, they turned their attention to the room they’d been in. True to Not-Hedd’s boast, the room was full of boom sticks; however, they noted that much of it was slick and greasy.
Nathan Garney sighed deeply. “That is old and unstable.”
Nevertheless, Davroar did manage to spy out two more usable boom sticks.
From the XXX ROOM, they proceeded further down the tunnel to the OFFICE to secure the parchment requested by Fizwick’s Fantasticals.
The edges of the door glowed softly as if a fire were somewhere on the other side, perhaps from a fireplace on the other side of the room. Opening the door, they realized that the glow was coming from a large reservoir of lava. It looked like the back wall had been shorn away during an earthquake or similar disaster, revealing the lake of lava that adjoined the OFFICE.
Nathan, Wedd and Acindor entered the room while the others kept watch outside. Despite the heat, two long tables were filled with loose parchment and log books. It was in the latter that they read the disappointing news that the shipment of parchment for Fizwick’s Fantasticals had been delayed back at the MAIN OFFICE. A large wall map indicated that the MAIN OFFICE was located at the end of a long rail line to the west in FYRAN TYRION.
As Nathan Garney attempted to grab the map for future reference, he leaned over the table, awakening a half dozen Parchment Golem.
After a brief skirmish in which Davroar felt compelled to come to their assistance, they successfully vanquished the Parchment Golem; however, there seemed to be no particular reason for the presence of the menacing constructs. Collecting the map, they proceeded north along the tracks to the Forge via a handcar.
Along the way, they noticed a few stalagmites in an area that had been mined off the main tunnel. Acindor was instantly wary. His family came from a mining tradition and he knew that there shouldn’t be stalagmites in a mine.
They found the FORGE, formerly fired by a lava tube ingeniously designed for such service, had been damaged by whatever cataclysm had torn out the back wall of the OFFICE. Lava flows now blocked the other end of the tunnel the FORGE rested along. To the north, they could plainly see where the miners had collapsed the tunnels to prevent the ghouls.
The silver bars lay in a neat stack, as promised. With their backs to the lava at the west end of the FORGE TUNNEL, they decided that they should take some of the bars and melt them down to silver their weapons to make them more effective against the promised undead. Finding the necessary equipment intact, Meldor Ironforge set himself to the task at hand. The others took turns either aiding him per his instructions or taking their posts at watch.
The sounds of their industry did not go unnoticed.