The Greenbelt Protectors leave Oleg’s for the gold mine. The trip there takes the better pard of a day, which passes uneventfully. Evening and morning comes, with nary a sign of life. In the morning, Krystos discovers the tracks of four elk.
…evening and morning, the first day…
While Jane and Krystos head off to track and hunt the elk, Tad and Vincze set to working the gold seam. They soon find it to be long, arduous work, and, not sure of that is gold ore and what is mundane rock, the two load all they can into a sack. This amounts to about 50 pounds of rock.
Jane and Krystos’s efforts are productive and Team Nature brings down a young elk. With proper butchering and curing, Jane things the meat could feed the group for 5 days, along with a properly cured elk hide. If only they had the proper facility for curing hides. Jane makes due and has the men build a frame to stretch it on, and they pee on it for good measure.
…evening and morning, the second day…
The next day, Jane enlists the aid of her companions to build a makeshift smoking oven. It takes the better part of the day, but Jane is sure after several days, the meat will be ready to eat.
…evening and morning, the third day…
Another night passes and the group decides to set out to explore to the southeast. As evening approaches, they spy an ancient tree on a craggy hill. They approach cautiously, seeing no sign of life. Soon enough they realize it is a sycamore, and most likely, the very same sycamore the mites live under.
A quick search of the base of the tree reveals a root lined hole descending into the earth. Tad and Krystos descend into the hole while Jane attempts to hide Toboe’s saddlebags. Once down, Tad calls up to the others that there is something moving in the darkness.
And the moving something moves closer. From out of the darkness, down one of the passages, emerge three unusually large centipedes. From the other side, something small strikes Krystos’s head.
Vincze begins to climb down into the hole as Jane begins to tie a makeshift harness around Toboe. Tad sets to the insectile monstrosities as Krystos turns, as a small blue creature with an immense head emerges from over the edge of an earthen cliff. Something small spins out of the darkness, striking the sorcerer square between the eyes.
Vincze reaches the color of the shaft as the centipedes surge forward, gnashing at Tad and Vincze. Jane furiously tries to lower Toboe down. Krystos unleashes a bolt of mystical power at the mite, sending it plummeting over the edge of the precipice.
Tad, Trixie and Vincze finish off the centipedes (Trixie achieving her first ‘kill’ in this campaign!) as Toboe hits the ground and moves toward the edge where the mite disappeared. Jane begins to climb down as Vincze moves down the opposite passage into a chamber, illuminating it with her glowing dagger. Krystos moves toward the edge, illuminating the area with four blue glowing orbs (“Dancing Lights”).
Vincze finds herself in a large chamber crisscrossed with shallow trenches filled with trickling streams of foul effluvia. Mounds of earth and manure squat amidst the trenches, bearing hundreds of small spherical eggs. A pit on the edge of her light descends into the darkness. From below comes the sound of voices raised in an unknown language. And from below, the sounds of creatures approach.the sound of many creatures.
Krystos looks down into a small chamber littered with low tables, blocks of wood, rusty blades, collections of sharps and pointies, cogs and sprockets. Another of the minuscule mites stands behind one of the tables, with a clockwork contraption of wood, bone and metal. From the contraption flies yet another sharp shard of metal, striking the sorcerer in the cheek.
After Toboe, Tad and Krystos take out the solitary mite, Skyduster investigates another hole in the ground. Krystos senses the owl’s confusion as it flies down into the hole. In another cavern, Vincze approaches the other pit, attempting to determine what exactly is about to emerge. As Tad pushes deeper into the shaft after Skyduster, he sees movement from below, three more mites, and another small creature tied to the wall, calling out in a language he cannot understand. While he doesn’t understand the words, he gets the meaning. The kobold is calling out for his aid. Tad calls back “Someone here needs help!” Skyduster and Tad start attacking the mites, and Krystos attempts to jump down the hole, hoping his vestigial wings will break his fall. They don’t. Krystos takes a lot of damage from the fall, but rises unsteadily. He then eagerly joins the fray, but after just two rounds of combat, as injured as he was from his fall, he is knocked unconscious. Tad bravely drives off the remaining three mites, who escape through an adjoining cavern by swinging on “vines” which are actually dangling sycamore roots.
Meanwhile, Jane yells Tad’s message to Vincze, who wisely backs away from the pit, and the imminent noises emanating from the darkness. She draws a glob of lard and tosses a Grease spell at the pit. As she backs away, an extremely large insectile creature heaves its chitinous bulk out of the greasy hole. And on it’s back, rides a particularly fugly mite, with a particularly eerie hat made of fingerbones. With that, the diviner turns and runs, while Jane centers an Entangle spell on the monstrous insect, causing the very roots of the sycamore to entangle the creatures who sought shelter beneath its boughs.