The PCs rested at the bandit camp southeast of Avonhill and prepared to follow some tracks they believed would lead them to the kidnapped locals. They also discovered Isilde, a huntress held captive in the camp.
They traveled south and discovered what appeared to be a mine with some wooden shacks outside its entrance. They were ambushed by scouts armed with bows and fought a long, fierce engagement against the scouts, some mercenaries, and the mine’s foreman.
After their victory, they learned that the kidnapped locals were being used as enslaved miners. They entered the mine and freed the women and children who were being kept as hostages, as well as the miners deep inside the mine. The miners and their family were able to flee the mine, but the PCs’ enemies were able to burn the supports to the mine entrance and trap them inside. The PCs found a mine shaft that intersected an old tunnel composed of dwarven stonework.
The PCs rescued Isilde, who was bound in Viro’s tent. She had a black eye, a cut lip, bloodied nose, and bruises. She was only covered with a thin wool blanket with no clothing. She was somewhat tall at 5’9” for a female, with a slender, willowy build. She had green eyes, black hair cut short, and tan skin. She looked young, around 18-20. She grabbed two short swords, some daggers, a longbow, and some studded leather armor that she claimed were hers.
The Heroes left Isilde alone with VIro, who was tied up with rope. Talon wanted to see what she would do and sneaked up to the area, but the perceptive huntress spotted him. Talon asked what she would do, but she was reticent., choosing not to speak much. Isilde finally cut Viro loose and told him to flee. She then shot him in the back with two arrows and left his body for the wilds to claim.
The Heroes busied themselves grabbing everything in the camp that did not grow from the ground, including trade goods, loot, horses, and even the tents! They also took this time to rest, eat, and pack Grimbull’s wagon. Isilde, the huntress they rescued from Viro, got impatient and forged ahead along a trail the bandits had used to take kidnapped locals south to a group of Vyshani.
The PCs now each had a horse, but again found the terrain too difficult to take their wagon. They chose to leave it behind in a camouflaged area and continue on horseback. They found Isilde after an hour and then traveled the rest of the morning and early afternoon.
“As you journey south, the mountains loom larger and larger before them. The land becomes rugged, the trees start to become mixed with pines, and the ground goes from grassland to thin soil and rocks. The largest of the mountains towering over you are already white with snow."
As the Heroes approached a major ridgeline, they spotted a possible mine with two wooden shacks hastily constructed near the entrance. The area was next to the stream they had followed upriver, which cut into the mountain ridge in a narrow gorge. Donkeys, water troughs, and boxes of provisions could be seen.
_ “You cross a large meadow and as you near the next ridge, you see two hastily constructed wooden shacks, with empty carts nearby. Troughs lie next to a swiftly flowing mountain stream. Its rushing waters drown the sound of the wind over the ridge.”_
As the Heroes approached the camp, they were ambushed by scouts hiding behind the buildings, who were armed with longbows. As the Ps engaged, they were attacked by a total of 4 scouts, 4 mercenary thugs, a dwarven mercenary, and a Zaladaran slaver.
“The slaver, Jakar, looks to be at least part Zaladaran. He wears a vest with much of his tattooed chest and pot belly showing and has a bushy mustache and is bald. He also wears ostentatious rings on each hand. The scouts look Vyshani. The mercenaries look like northmen (Bron). Vorgrin is a burly dwarf with a bald head and a bushy dark brown beard with two braids. He has gold wiring holding his braids. He also has a flat nose and a scar on his face.”
The scouts fired arrows at the PCs, who in turn sought cover and exchanged fire. Dane and Grimbull decided they could do more if they closed the gap and moved towards their opponents. Ki and Nicholai remained behind cover and threw magic missiles and fire bolts at their enemies. The mercenaries swarmed Grimbull, along with the slaver and enemy dwarf. Savina and Isilde moved to assist Grimbull, who was being pummeled by the mercenaries’ maces. The slaver threw a net at Savina and fought with a large, two handed scimitar, inflicting massive damage on anyone he could hit.
The Heroes eventually defeated the slaver, mercenaries, and scouts, causing one scout to flee and the dwarf, Vorgrin, to surrender. Grimbull was enraged to see a dwarf involved in this evil kidnapping scheme and punched and yelled at him. The dwarf stubbornly refuted he was a mercenary and was only here to guard the mine. He claimed Terius was the man in charge. Talon recognized the name as that of a crime lord in the Vyshani city of Amarre. Grimbull exclaimed that Vorgrin would be returned to the dwarves for judgement and execution. He had Vorgrin bound tightly and barricaded inside one of the shacks.
The PCs explored the two shacks, finding cots and supplies. They then decided to enter the mine.
H4. Inside the Mine
“The mine itself is a crudely dug shaft with rough timbers supporting it roughly every 20 feet. The smell of sweat, decay, and fear are palpable as soon as you set foot in the shaft. The light from outside allow you to see inside for 30 feet, but after that is darkness aside from a torch further in, perhaps 50 feet away. The occasional echo of mine picks can be heard from much further down.”
The Heroes found a side tunnel that led to a barred and locked door. On the other side was women and children related to the enslaved miners who were being kept as hostages to prevent uprisings or escape. They were half starved and behind kept in dark, filthy conditions. They cried at the sight of their rescuers. Talon and Isilde led them out of the mine.
Further in, the PCs found a side door that was barred and locked. Inside they discovered cages holding strange creatures that looked like reptilian roosters. Broken stone statues lay on the floor. Guessing the creatures were cockatrices, the Heroes left them alone.
Much further in, they began to find miners. They told them to leave the mine and find their families outside. The men were also partly starved and covered in grime and dirt.
The Heroes also found a long shaft that ran into an older tunnel that appeared to be composed of dwarven stonecraft. Grimbull was especially interested in this.
As they were looking for any remaining miners, they felt a deep rumbling towards the mine entrance, as if the rocks had shifted. They hurried to the entrance, only to find the door to the side room with the cockatrices was open and the beasts were loose in the tunnel. Talon wanted to find some wood, like one of the mine carts, to put on fire and use it to frighten the cockatrices, but the party easily dispatched them.
They could smell smoke and felt another reverberation from the mine entrance. Savina ran ahead enough to see three individuals at the entrance, with one controlling a ball of fire being used to burn the last of the wooden supports.
The wizard was a female with pale skin and dark hair. With her were two men dressed in dark cloaks and armed with slender swords. At that moment, the entrance collapsed, causing a cloud of dust and small rocks to engulf the group and almost choke them.
Savina started to panic at the thought of being buried alive. Dane suggested returning to the shaft that intersected the dwarven tunnel.