“Of all the bloody luck,” lamented Hasan. They had been hunting in the forest. Now, it looked that they were earthbound, for at least a while. He lit a miner’s lantern he found amid the furniture; its sturdy, simple construction had stayed whole despite the struggles in the room. The meager jag of light it cast paled against the slivers of sunlight that nicked into this entry chamber, but Hasan knew the humans especially would welcome the light as the party entered further into the mine. For further they would go. That much was clear. The elf waited for the words of the dwarf that would make it so. This time, he kept his Feldard count to himself. “One. Two. Three …”
Stephan felt the adrenalin washing from his veins. He heard Hasan’s lament and was clearly nonplussed. The elf had always seemed so collected. It showed, he thought, that he still had much to learn of his new mates.
Sheathing his blade, Stephan, squinted at the lantern light while wiping some disgusting fluids—a common consequence of goblin slaying—from his cheek. He peered into the darkness of the mine seeing a bit of doorway and rough hewn walls. Sniffing, he nodded at the dwarf acknowledging his partnership in the recent melee. Finding a second lantern, he managed to inflame the wick with a bit of miner’s flint, thereby providing additional illumination for the humans.
Revealed in the additional light were the remains of Feldard’s and Stephan’s handiwork. Crushed in dismaying manner was all sort of goblin flesh and bone. Clearly, the majority of destruction was delivered by the dwarf’s fury but the Dymrakian’s account was no small matter.
Miklos stepped over the fallen Goblins into the main entrance chamber. Watching Stephan for a few moments, he realized that he had something better. Fishing around in his backpack, his hand found what he was after.
Light blazed from the magic users hand as he produced the lightstone. “Here Stephan.” he tossed it over to the astonished warrior. “It produces no heat to ruin our friends’ darksight. Just pop it in your pocket if they ask you to.”
Shadows fled before the Mage as light flooded the chamber, banishing most of the priests claustrophobia with it. He kept the relief from his face, no sense in worrying everybody.
A swift investigation of the chamber and the side room and tunnel to the right revealed there had been around a dozen miners dwelling here. They counted eight demihuman bodies among the carnage, meaning their number had been cut by over half.
“It seems some good miner folk may yet live somewhere in this gloom,” Stephan said. He strode to the door to which the prints seemed to lead. Cocking his head, he attempted to listen for any distant sounds.
Feldard didn’t waste time binding his wounds, nor wasting the cleric’s precious prayers. “Maruc, the survivors will no doubt have need of you. Prepare as best you can. I’ll take lead from here with Hasan’s tracking.”
The priest grinned, “I swear by the reincarnated hand of King Halav you’d probably say that even if you have no limbs left!” Shaking his head he withdrew to allow Hasan into the lead.
Miklos also armed himself with a lightstone and inspected the corpses piled around the chamber. “More Wolfskull. I wonder if they are regretting their sortie yet? Probably not.” He eye’d Feldard and idly wondered who many goblins you’d need to raid a mine? Especially if it was full of the likes of Feldard? Quite a few decided the mage. He stood next to Stephan, the warrior had a resigned looking face. “What’s your problem?”
“No one is staying quiet long enough for me to listen properly.” he snapped.
“Oh.” the mage remained silent.
The dwarf glanced over the group for a moment daring someone to gainsay him. But all seemed to be in accord.
He joined Feldard as he shouldered his way the to northern exit. “Do you need those scratches looking at?” knowing the dwarves reponse before he asked, but he was nothing if not polite.
Feldard strode past the priest, following the tracks that the elf had pointed out. Though the thought of the wounded worried at him, Feldard took care to be sure their route was secure. There was a chance that the survivors had trapped the path behind them to keep goblins from following.
They ventured about fifty feet down the tunnel from the miners’ quarters. Up ahead they saw a pile of rocks that partially blocked the passage. It appeared the miners had engineered a small rock avalanche down upon some of the goblins. Apparently, they had done some preparations in case of being assaulted. Eventually, the goblins had cleared away enough stone to continue their pursuit.
Feldard called out. “I am Feldard Scarredbrow of Rockhome. The goblins have been dealt with. A priest is available to attend your wounded.” He listened for response. He got none.