Wherein the heroes encounter a surprise at the bottom of the well.
The group stands in the forge staring at the narrow crevasse. Where do we go from here? Down the well, or down the crevasse. Can Stone Man even fit through the crevasse? After a bit of discussing, the group agrees to go down the well.
Meander pipes up, “If we are going back to the well, we might want to deal with the ghouls, because they were twitching when we left.”
Broken adds, “Further, we should just take the ghouls and dump them in the forge.”
The dark clouds in the room had dissipated, but the room still remained hot and thin smoke hung in the air. Red began to hum, activating his strange earth sight as the group made there way into the twisting tunnels back to the well room.
The ghouls still lay where they fell at the entrance to the butchery, but they were obviously twitching, making small jerky motions. They did not do more though as they were carried to the forge. Their bodies lit like well seasoned kindling.
The party regrouped by the well. They spent a moment investigating the well and cauldron, and discussing who should go first. As they discussed, Broken began casting a spell and touching himself, Meander, Red and Tough Bark in turn. He explained that it was his Helpful Wall, a spell that helped people climb. It was quickly decided that Stone Man, Meander and Red would go down in the first trip.
Meander turns to Broken, “When we get down to the bottom, we might not be able to yell out to you. Can we talk to you through the golem?”
“Oxdriver, I cannot hear or see per say. But if you get into a fight, I will know it. You can trust me, I have insight on these things.”
As soon as Stone Man steps into the cauldron, the chains snap and pop. The whole contraption crashes down on top of Stone Man at the bottom of the well. Broken seems to indicate that Stone Man is ok, but under attack. Broken instructs him to attack back.
Looking down the well, Stone Man is illuminated by the torch strapped to his arm. He appears to be thirty feet below, standing in some sort of depression in a room. There is nothing obviously threatening him. Chains flash from the darkness, wrapping around his legs, bringing him to the ground.
Meander pulls a rope out from his pack, but before he can tie it to the crossbar, the rope snakes out and ties itself. He starts to raise his leg over the ledge to begin the descent, the rope swings over and wraps around him. As he gets into the well, bricks slide out from the well wall, serving as steps. The climb almost seems effortless. He descends to the bottom of the shaft. The rest of the group peers from the rim above, with Red chanting a spell.
Looking below, Stone man stands in a depression on the demolished cauldron, with the chains around him. As he starts to get back up, a form streaks by attacking the golem with a spear. The attacker was a Kobold that was riding some creature that looked like a giant fanged frog. The pair crouched in the far corner. The frog leaps, and the slides across the floor like it was covered in ice. The Kobold holds out his spear like a knight carrying a lance, attempting to skewer Stone Man. A glistening sheen is left in the frogs wake.
Meander drops down the rest of the way, trying to roll out of the way. He smacks the ground and flounders up to his feet rather ungracefully, but still effective. He lands right behind the mounted Kobold. Meander pulls out his axe and disembowels the Kobold. The dead Kobold doesn’t fall off the frog. It is stuck to the back of the Frog with a crusty glue.
Red finishes his spell, causing plates of granite and slate to slide up from the ground and form around his body. He grabs ahold of his stout rod and jumps down the hole. Red lands with a solid resounding thump.
Meander jogs over besides Red to get close enough to the other mounted Kobold. He quickly uncoils the flying talon and with a quick looping swing wraps the talon around the Kobold. He yanks on chain to sling the Kobold against the wall, but instead the Kobold and frog slide over between Stone Man, Red and Meander.
Red and Meander look back as Broken lands behind Stone Man, having climbed down the well. Red turns back to the Kobold and lays into him with his rod, shattering his hips and bending him backward at an awkward angle.
The frogs move away, tagging the dead Kobolds on their back. They leave a trail of nasty, slick goo in their wake. They appear to have streaked the room with slime trails.
Broken asks, “Those frogs are getting away. Do we want to get them?”
Meander adds, “Yeah, we want to get them. I can’t see them, but I guess we can follow the slime.”
Taking a moment to look around, the shaft drops down into a roughy square chamber. A doorway opens off to the west. Two tunnels lead to the north and east. The tunnels are roughly hewn and have been broken through from the outside.
Meander walks around Stone Man and Red, proceeding after the frogs. As he crosses a slime covered path, he slips to the ground. Broken must have dropped his Helpful Wall spell. The plates of stone covering Red fall back to the ground. Stone Man is surrounded by slime trails and once he starts to move, he immediately slips and falls.
ToughBark climbs down the rope, since the fighting has calmed down. The kids still watch from the rim above. He spots the frogs moving up the hallway and looses an arrow at one, striking it in the forearm.
Broken, “I guess the frogs left. What’s the plan?”
Meander yells from the ground, “Get those frogs! Do we want them pulling back a whole swarm of more Kobolds?” He tries to get up and slips again. He rolls around in the slime trying to get traction, and covers himself in slime. He eventually slides over near the hole and falls in, out of the slime. Stone Man flails about in the slime as well, and then rolls out following Meander.
Broken pulls Red out of the slime. They both walk over underneath the well. Red calls out, “We have company coming from the east tunnel.”
ToughBark jumps over the slime trails and covers the doorway on the west side of the room. Meander manages to get up, and gets out his chain, swinging it slowly waiting for the creature coming down the hallway. Red begins chanting and shaping the earth around him.
Broken has been obsessed with figuring out a way back up the well. He decides to cast his Helpful Wall spell again, as Stone Man finally manages to stand up in the depression.
Meander moves between Broken and StoneMan, right up to another slime trail, and waits impatiently to see the creature that is approaching.
Broken finishes his spell and ropes, bricks and stones in the well begin to move and shift. He begins to climb back up the well.
Red thrusts his hands into the air as if the earth were reaching out and grabbing something. He calls out, “I’ve trapped him. Meander, you have light… Go get him.”
Meander jumps over the slime into the hallway, with Red right behind him. Red whispers to him, “There are more coming.” Meander can hear banging sounds in the hallway, like stone striking stone. It sounds like it is right in front of him. He steps out into the passage and sees several small Kobold slaves striking a rock in the middle of the hallway with crude picks. “They are beating on some sort of rock cage and are about to break through.” He rushes at one of the slaves, slamming into the kobold. Looking about, the room opens up into a cramped room with rocky overhangs and jutting boulders. There are six slaves surrounding the cage.
Broken reaches the top of the well and climbs over the rim. He touches Kit, the first kid in the group he could reach. “Trust me and slowly climb down. You will be helped along the way.”
Red follows Meander down the hall to the cage. They can hear the sounds of Stone Man struggling to cross the last bit of slime before the hallway.
The Kobold slaves finally manage to clear enough rock for the bigger Kobold to burst from the cage. The mining foreman works a gaggle of slaves. He has short spindly legs and a large upper body. He wears a mining helmet and carries a decent sized pick, huge for a Kobold. He has broad shoulders and thick python like arms. His face is squat and mean and looks like someone may have broken a shovel on it. PayDay has a striking resemblance to the Foreman. He screams something at the slaves and they pick up their picks again and brandish them at Red and Meander.
Broken begins to help the kids down. Kit goes down first. Halfway down she calls back to the others, “It’s EASY! The ropes will help you down. Just let it do its thing.”
Junior mutters somewhat under his breath, “If she can do it, then I can do it,” and he proceeds down the shaft. Jabs goes next and just smiles like he doesn’t know what’s going on. About halfway down he finally gets the hang of it. He has to wait for the kids to reach the bottom before helping Vale and Song.
Meander changes to his battle axe. He swings wildly at the Foreman. The Foreman easily dodges the blow and turns to Red. He glares at Red, obviously suspecting that he is the one that trapped him in the cage. He buries his pick into Red’s chest, leaving a nasty puncture.
Red covers his hands in earth and strikes out at the Foreman. The Foreman partially wards the blow, but gets struck in the left hand.
StoneMan finally struggles past the slime and charges at the Kobolds. The slaves look a little shaken at the moving wall of earth thundering towards them. But a quick glance at the boss, who is still screaming at them, causes them to heft their little picks up and keep pressing the attack. They crowd around Red and Meander. They are not warriors, and only manage to nick Red with one lucky strike.
Once the three children are at the bottom of the well, Broken transfers the power to Vale and Song to help them down. Vale seems very uncomfortable at first, and talks to Broken about his magic. He seems to be using the technical terms about magic. He seems surprised there is no animus. Once the magic takes hold of him, he settles down and appears much more comfortable.
Broken asks him, “Do you know what I do?”
Vale answers, “The primary principle of you magic is animation. The primary forces of your magic is life force.”
Broken can tell he has obviously been schooled in magic, but he doesn’t quite understand Broken’s magic correctly.
Vale, Song and Broken move down the well without incident. Broken tells them of the frogs, and they can hear the fighting from the hall. Vale adds that the toad-like monstrosities sound like “Slurks.” Once Broken gets down, they see ToughBark jump over the slime to try to get within sight of the battle.
Being outnumbers, Meander decides to fight very defensively. He just can’t seem to find an opening to strike at the Foreman. The Foreman keeps pressing Red however, and strikes his legs, but the granite plate deflects the pick.
They all trade minor blows, going back and forth, with the slaves only serving to divide attention. Meander gets frustrated and brings his axe into an overhead swing, leaving himself vulnerable, coming down onto the Foreman’s head. The blow split the Foreman’s skull.
With their leader dead, the slaves screech and turn to run. Meander sprints after them and slams into the trailing Kobold, knocking him dead against the wall. Red also moves after the Kobolds, almost catching them. However, with the warriors chasing them, they divide into two groups and leave through opposite tunnels as if hell itself were behind them.
Broken let’s his spell fade, since everyone is down safely. Song examined the slime, touched it a bit, and moved around it. Broken looks for a way around the slime. He says to the children, “Stay here. I’m about to check out this room over here.” He then walks through the doorway to the west.
The dower room is filled with crate and barrels. Stone rafters criss-cross the ceiling above. Laying on the floor is a “goblin” with tentacled arms and legs. It looks like it is dying. A barbed Kobold spear is sticking in its back.
“Do you understand what I’m saying?”
It flinches and tries to crawl away making gurgling noises.
He calls out to Song. “Help. Help! There is someone who might need your help!” While he waits, he walks over to the goblin and looks to see if there is any “healing” that he could do. He doesn’t see anything that might make it better.
ToughBark and StoneMan rush into the cramped chamber where Red and Meander stopped. Meander screams through gritted teeth and then turns to the group, “Do you really think we should let them go?” He then turns and sprints off running around the corner to the northern passage. He catches up with the Kobolds in the twisting tunnels right before opening to another chamber. The Kobold yells at the one in the lead. When they enter the chamber, they split up, one to the right and one to the left.
Meander runs into the open chamber. One of those frog creatures sit in the chamber with an arrow in its butt. It growls menacingly at Meander. The room is covered in a semi-transparent slime. There are two other passageways leading away. The right passage leads down deeper into the caverns. The left passage seems like it would lead back to the well room. Meander turns around and rushes back to the room with the others.
Red says, “I heard a big boom to the south.”
“Well, the Kobolds split apart in a room to the north. The frog creature that Tough shot in the hind-end is in that room and it is covered in slime.”
Song rushes over to Broken, hearing his cries. He stares at Broken looking for wounds. Broken points to the goblin and Song stares blankly back at Broken. Why would he want to heal the goblin?