A Mad Wizard and his Friend

Gavin completed Lathander’s quest with the aid of the Troupe, slaying the mad mage Mutamin. During the mission they met Shar-Teel, a human warrior with a strong distaste for men. They now rest in Feldepost’s Inn, ready to decide their next quest.

23 Kythorn 1368

Our morning begins with Shar-Teel picking on another of the women in our group.

Emily: Spilling people’s innards for shallow reasons is why the world is worse than it could be.

Shar-Teel: It’s what makes life fun.

Emily: I hope I don’t have to share your company for long.

She claims to hate men, but her words are always targeted toward women. Perhaps she isn’t a good fit for our group. I have noticed she still moves a little slower since she was petrified. Perhaps she could use time to recover.

I consider what to do next. Many of my former companions were intent on investigating the mines in Nashkel. Two of them can be found in the Jovial Juggler.

Aegon: Aye, that I do.

Montaron: A wise choice, indeed. Puts me off having to kill you by a few days at least. Move it wizard! I’ll not have us delayed by your flitting about.

I ask Shar-Teel to remain here and rest. Gavin says he needs to take a break as well. Lathander has been working him hard.

Xzar is itching to talk to me again. It seems word has been getting around about my dreams.

Aegon: Of what concern are my dreams to a necromancer?

Xzar: All things relating to so stalwart a companion as yourself are of interest to me, Aegon.

Aegon: Are you suggesting that *I* am of interest to *you*… personally?

Xzar: Don’t be absurd! I merely wish to assure myself that your nightmares do not presage… insanity, or… possession.

Aegon: Relax. They’re just bad dreams, nothing more!

Xzar: I hope that you are as uncertain of that as you sound, Aegon.

He turns to Finch, curious about her writings.

Finch: I am recording observations of what we do. Information documenting our path, listing what we’ve seen and who we’ve spoken to…

Xzar: Spies! SPIES EVERYWHERE! But who does she spy for? The dragons? The rabbits? Or-?

No, not them! Anyone but them! Keep away from me, fiend!

Finch: But-

Xzar: I’ll never tell! I’ll never tell! Back!

Another insane necromancer, but compared to our previous encounters this one is relatively sane. Somehow this still surprise me.

We check our new companions equipment. I give Montaron Zargal’s Whistling Sword. It seems fitting to give it to another bandit.

Xzar takes an enchanted dagger and upgrades his attire to the Traveler’s Robes.

Xzar takes a look at my spare scrolls. He scribes what he can, learning how to jump dimensions.

Before we leave for Nashkel, I want to identify Mutamin’s equipment. It’s still early, but we find Magnus has already opened up shop around the corner.

Rose: Sure thing, lets see what you have.

He is able to recognise all of Mutamin’s equipment. He tells us what they are, for a price. The robe is an Adventurer’s Robe. We don’t need a new robe for now, so into the Bag it goes.

The ring is a holy one, that will bring anyone closer to their god. I slide off my Ring of Human Influence, and replace it with this one. I give my old Ring to Montaron. He needs it more than the rest of us.

The enchantment on Mutamin’s Cloak explains how he was able to spend so much time among basilisks and medusas. I throw this one over my own shoulders.

24 Kythorn 1368

It’s a full day’s uneventful travel to the Nashkel Mines. When we get close to the entrance, Rose spots a wand sticking out of a dead tree.

We are unable to tell what kind of wand it is, unfortunately.

Montaron feels this is an opportune time to tell Finch how he feels about her.

Finch: I drink as little as possible; I have to be careful, even with water. A spilled drink all over my books and papers? Those beautiful words reduced to inkblots?

Or… or… to spill something worse, like you do after a few flasks of that homemade concoction you keep tied to your belt. Oh, I hate to remember it!

Montaron: Remember it, do ye? So Mistress Goody-Goody has taken off ‘er robes ‘afore and danced on the table? Mebbe ye be less of a waste of space than I be thinking.

Finch: Quit frothinh, Montaron. Unlike some, I learn from my mistakes.

Montaron: Hushing me be the hard kind of mistake to wake up from, four eyes.

Finch: Not if you continue drinking that fuming swill. You may move in silence, but I can smell you coming!

I didn’t realise the halfling would be such a creep. Have I emboldened him by giving him the Ring?

We descend to the entrance for the first time. Somehow it feels like this place has been calling me. Rats scurry underfoot as we walk under the minecart rails. Rose tries to talk with one of the miners.

The ore is tainted somehow? Braegar may be right about the inferior ore. Another miner tells us of dogs with swords.

Could it be gnolls? Is this connected to the stronghold to the west? The mine entrance seems to small for them to fit through comfortably. It’s also heavily guarded.

We as around and find Emerson nearby. He’s happy to give us access to the mines.

We are tired after the long journey from Beregost, so we set up camp and rest for a while before we go into the mines. Finch is worried about the necromancer after we awaken.

Xzar: In my sleep, I saw an entire village razed to the ground, the bodies of its inhabitants flayed open, lying in neat rows among the ashes. I sunk my hands into their entrails, and my arms ran red with their blood!

Finch: Oh, no!

Xzar: Oh yes, it was so beautiful! Please, please, I hope I have it again!

I would be unnerved by this if I hadn’t already met Bassilus and Kryll…

The soldiers don’t block our entrance to the mines. Emerson must have talked to them while we rested.

We enter the mine. One of the miners approaches us as we enter the tunnels.

Rose: Why? What have you heard?

Miner Gord: Well, my friend Ruffie barely escaped with his life he did. Little demons jumped out of the very walls and chased him down. He’d be dead now if it weren’t for the guards that came running. ‘Course, them guards are dead now. Old Ruffie’s around here somewhere. You ask him what he saw and he’ll tell ya.

We find Ruffie next to some minecarts nearby.

Rose: What did these demons look like?

Miner Ruffie: What did they look like?! They looked like demons, ya blasted idiot!

Not the most useful informant. If there are indeed demons down here, may Lathander protect us. The Amnian Soldiers guarding the place are just as clueless about what lies below.

We find another miner coughing his guts up.

Rose: So, what do you think has been happening with the mines?

Miner Marvin: Didn’t you know? The mines are haunted! The ghosts of all those that have died in the mines are here to kill us all. They said they’d spare me. Liked me they did. Could see it in their beady little eyes.

Rose: You saw something?

Miner Marvin: Of course I saw something! Had a nice long conversation with the little chap. Would have asked him to stop haunting us too if the supervisor hadn’t kicked me. Said I was sleeping on the job. Can you imagine?

People’s minds are slipping in these depths. Something tells me we will only find out what is happening by going deeper. Something else tells me our minds may not survive it.

We search some of the minecarts and find the ore to be brittle and toxic.

It’s coated in something… strange. Even without any experience working metal we can tell it’s more brittle than it’s supposed to be.

We talk to another soldier that still seems level-headed.

That would explain the rumours of dogs. Of course, humans can’t see well in the dark. They can only hear. And kobolds bark.

The soldiers also talk of some traumatic experiences in the mines.

I don’t know what this could mean. Madness does seem to be seeping from deeper in the mines, perhaps just an hallucination?

Another miner, this one is excited to see us with our equipment.

Rose: Do you know something about what’s been happening here?

Miner Bob: Sure I know what’s happening. What do you wanna know?

Rose: What about the ore?

Miner Bob: Oh, we don’t ship as much as we used to. We do pretty well considering the shortage of people we have to help, though.

We keep moving deeper, when I spot something that confirms my suspicions.

I rush back before it spots us. That was a kobold commando! The demons are actually lizards. I prepare my Mage Armor, as the commando follows us around the corner.

Rose hits the yipping lizard with a quarrel.

We move carefully around the corner. These things are rarely on their own. A second kobold waits around the corner for us.

Rose is quick with her crossbow again.

After seeing her skill with the weapon, a miner rushes out of the darkness to ask us for help.

Emily: Sure, I’ll return his dagger.

Miner Dink: Thank you so much. I’m sure he’ll appreciate it.

Emily: I hope he’s okay, this is not a place you want to be unarmed.

We find another miner, also in the midst of losing his sanity.

Rose: Um, are you okay?

Miner Lesley: What? Don’t you see the walls? Walls everywhere. No room to breathe. No room to breathe. They said they paid excellent wages, they did. Didn’t say anything about little holes, did they? No, spaces too small they are. Spaces too small.

He rushes toward the entrance, continuing to mutter to himself. People are really losing it down here. His companion seems a bit more… focused.

Rose: I’ve heard there have been problems with the mines recently. I’m here to try to help.

Miner Cory: Hmph. I don’t know what you can do about it. Sure there have been problems, the ore that we’ve been pulling outta this place has been crumbling almost as soon as it’s cast.

Rose: Do you know what’s been weakening the ore?

Miner Cory: If I knew that, we would have already fixed it!

He makes a good point. The kobolds might be responsible, but how are they doing it? And why?

We find another kobold in the mine, Rose readies her crossbow.

Her aim is true as always.

Kobolds are known for their traps, so Montaron starts to keep an eye out for anything. He says his eyes aren’t too keen, however.

We move deeper into the mines, closer to where the miners extract their ore. A man runs toward us screaming in panic.

Rose: Never fear, we shall protect you from any harm!

Miner Beldin: But I- There they are! There they-

A small group of kobolds comes around the corner toward us.

Emily and Finch take two out almost immediately.

I kill a third one.

The miner is struck through the neck by the last kobold.

Finch avenges his death.

The miner’s death hurts us, but we don’t have time to mourn down her. We loot the kobold’s corpses and keep moving. We find their commander hiding further back.

Rose gets another kill.

It has a friend that runs right into Emily’s crossbow.

The kobolds keep coming. And running into our arrows.

We find some more miners hard at work, but they are too busy to talk to us.

We come into a large cavern full of miners and soldiers. This must be where most of the work is being done.

It is down here that we find Kylee, the man missing his dagger.

Rose: While with a dagger you can relax, no one could ever hurt you. *pfft*

Miner Kylee: Oh, leave me be…

Rose: What do you know about the happenings of the mine?

Miner Kylee: Kobolds! They’re overrunning the place piece by piece. We used to see them occasionally but now you can’t go more than a few feet without kicking one of them in the lower levels. It’s not so bad up here with the guards around. Still, I wouldn’t get caught in the dark if I were you.

Exploring the mineshafts we end up kicking some more kobolds.

Kylee wasn’t joking, these lizards are everywhere.

With our infravision we are able to kill them easily.

The path is strewn with the corpses of people who couldn’t fight in the dark.

We find and kill more kobolds. We know they are responsible for killing the miners now, but how are they destroying the ore?

We encounter a larger group deeper into the mines.

One of them hurts Rose, so Xzar puts them to Sleep.

They don’t pose any challenge after that.

This is the largest group so far. Are we getting closer to the source of these creatures?

Around the corner, we are charged by another large group of kobolds, this one led by commandos. Their fire arrows hurt Rose badly.

Xzar attempts to put the group to Sleep again.

I heal Rose, and Emily kills one of the commandos.

The commando and its entourage fall asleep.

Finch kills the kobold attacking Rose.

We kill the sleeping kobolds with ease. Among their corpses we find a strange looking potion. It feels like something that could be “poisoning” the ore in the mines. We stop short of drinking it.

So we know how. But why? What do kobolds have to benefit from poisoning our iron? Are they planning an invasion?

There’s only one way to go if we want answers. The mineshaft we are in now goes deeper underground. It’s where the kobolds were coming from. We follow it, not knowing if we are prepared for what lies beyond the dark.

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