While Veduil was in his "vacations", the rest of the group was preparing to leave the capital. Kendra and Varis didn't have a lot to do there, but Lusca was decided to get herself a horse. So she found a stable and performed exquisitely the role of a distressed mother, and got a discount for the horse which would help her "chase the kidnapper of her son", even though a guard had approached and said that he would send a detachment after the criminal.
Kendra, Varis and Dolgan waited for the nymph at the city's eastern gate and left as soon as she arrived. They were two days away from the mountains, so the trip wouldn't last much longer, and Lusca thanked her goddess for allowing her to finally ditch the cursed dwarf. Something around noon of the second day, Veduil catched up to them taking a ride with a sympathetic salesman, who was returning to his village, near the mountains.
The sun began to set, and the sky was painted red, when the group was ambushed by a group of orcs. But the orcs snatched more than they could fit in their mouths and were annihilated. The fact that there was a scout among them alerted Varis, the orc specialist, that there probably was an orc camp nearby, which he decided to destroy.
It was not hard to track the camp, and the adventurers found it set in a clearing in the pine forest. Even though they tried to approach the orcs stealthily, the group was noticed by three sentinels, which attacked. The sentinels were quickly disposed, but the commotion alerted the rest of the camp, and now there were 9 orcs and a commander running towards them. Kendra, thinking fast, summoned a massive sphere of darkness to cut the enemies line-of-sight with her and her friends. The adventurers spread out to reach tactically better positions. Kendra was lurking from a tree branch; Lusca ran along the clearing's edge, to attack the enemy flank; Veduil retreated out of the fog, while Dolgan and Varis, who were swallowed by the dark fog, stood where they were to face the enemies directly.
The battle was swift. Lusca knocked out most of the enemies with her Thunderous Waves, while the remnants were finished off by kendra. Meanwhile, Dolgan and Varis fought off the commander. Even though the underlings were mowed down quickly, the boss managed to stand the attacks of both the ranger and the paladin for a while, and was even able to wound badly the elf before it died.
With the camp cleared and wounds mended, the group spent the night on the orcs' tents and ate their plundered food.
Next morning, they left by the first light, reaching the mountains base before lunchtime. Dolgan lead them through a secret entrance on the mountain, until they reached the hidden dwarven capital: Dûran Stohr.
- I'm afraid this is where we part ways. I must return to my temple, and you must resume your journey. Come visit me someday if ya can, is good to have folks to drink with.
- We surely will… – Lusca whispered through her teeth.
The dwarf bid his farewell and left, leaving behind a very satisfied nymph, who displayed a shiny and broad smile.
They rested, had lunch while the bard earned some coin playing for the cheery dwarves and then realized they had no idea where to go now. Pulling again the map given to Lusca at the Seashore Temple, they got a very vague notion of their destination. They figured out it would be smarter to ask directions to a dwarf, and approached a smith that was working nearby.
- Oh, those be the mines! Dangerous place to go. – He said with strong accent – It be better if ya find a miner to lead you there, they know the way, might just kno what ya're looking for – He rose his head, smiled, and shouted – Oi! Dolgan! Com'ere, perfect timing! These folks here need a miner. – He looked back to the adventurers. Lusca's cringe could be seen, felt and tasted, but the dwarf didn't seem to notice – Dolgan here was a miner back in the day, he can help ya better than me."
- Ohohoho! Did not expect to meet you again this soon! I thought you would have left by the time I was finished with my religious business, but it seems I was wrong, haha! I will gladly show you the way.
- I couldn't be happier! – Said Lusca, her teeth almost cracking with the strength she put on the fake smile.
- We are here, the spot marked on your map is two mountains (or three days) away. The mines are unforgiving, sure you have all you need? – Everyone nodded – Right. We are going in.
So they began their way through the endless maze of tunnels that compose the dwarven mines. The first victim of the mines was Veduil, who, distracted, wandered into a living slimy trap. Swimming fast, he was able to free himself from the Gelatinous Cube. The party proceeded to chop, slice and scoop the creature while it kept trying to absorb them, until there was only a small pile of slime in their way.
Further down the mines, a tremor announced the approaching of more danger. 4 giant vermin, Carrion Crawlers emerged from the rock to feed themselves on the wanderers. Constantly being paralyzed by the creatures' sting, the adventurers had a hard time dealing with them, but once the first died, the others weren't able to hold still all their preys, and the fight got much easier. They were forced to take a break after that battle.
A few hours passed and they were good enough to resume the trip. Entering a large chamber, they saw an enormous monster. It looked a lot like an orc, but bigger. Bigger horns, bigger tusks and wielding a bigger weapon. As soon as it saw the outsiders, he charged towards Dolga, unleashing a roar that shook the cave. Dolgan clashed with the beast, exchanging mighty blows, while everyone shot everything they had on the demon. Wounded and getting weaker, the Tanarukk began to lose its ground to the paladin. The moment the monster lowered its guard to attack, Dolgan hit it in the leg, forcing the creature to kneel. The he rose his hammer, which began to shine faintly with a golden light and whispered:
- Begone, demon. Back whence you came. – And dropped his hammer with a blunt noise, plunging the caves in a deep silence. Taking a heavy breath and sighing he said – I don't know about you folks pant but I think we should wrap it up and call it a day, eh?
400 PO (Sold Orc Gear)
XP – ??? (Party lvl 5)