|My Mapper's Artwork|
Our intrepid heroes continued their perilous journey after crossing over a poisonous gas cloud the last session. Venturing deeper into the mines, the party encountered no winged rats but soon found a man chained to a pillar. The party's hesitance to immediately murder an unarmed prisoner nearly got everyone killed from falling rocks, but Oskar barely managed to save the party (albeit not one of the corridors) through the use of excessive force and ended the prisoner's suffering in short order.
A few floors deeper into the underground, the party encountered creatures appearing as "half-domes of chitin and a long thin almost spikelike tail". Having learned its lesson from the previous encounter, the party asked no questions and immediately executed one of the creatures while the others fled.
Without much more trouble, everyone finally reached the chamber of the Big Guy, finding chained children (who may or may not have consented to this), a cauldron of a mysterious yet alluring liquid, and Big Guy himself. Somo and Leszek tipped the cauldron over to prevent Big Guy from drinking from it, while Kai and the rest of the party kept him occupied with repeated spear-stabbings to the chest. Louis generously shared his combustible lantern oil with the creature, who in turn attacked the front line of the party in a most ungrateful manner. Smolhilda came to see the error of her ways and how the party had been the ancient evil all along, and attempted to donate her dagger to Louis' rib cage. Unfortunately the poor little girl was restrained and mercilessly molested by Somo and Leszek until Big Guy had finished his personal barbecue and departed for the next life. The little witch was thus released from the monster's charms and collected what remained of the liquid in the cauldron.
The party returned with the surviving children to Vald, where the thankless locals did not even offer a single one of their excess horses for ritual sacrifice, and vowed to return to the mines with proper equipment to dislodge potentially lucrative minerals.
Kai has to resist the urge to groan as Smolhilda tries to goad Oskar in causing a cave-in with his sledgehammer. The only thing that stops him from panicking is the fact that he doubts that Oskar could even reach the ceiling with his sledgehammer, bulge or no. Not that he expects Oskar to even rise to Smolhilda's bait in the first place—the little guy has been surprisingly capable so far—but it never hurts to be careful. Especially when the other members of their retinue are currently too busy rapping, beatboxing, or playing with their tentacle trophy.
As they walk it's a sudden cry of pain from Louis that finally brings an end to the rapping and beatboxing. Kai smiles as he sees what caused it; a rock hitting the priest right on his head. It seems he’s not the only one who didn’t appreciate their awful performance.
The smile instantly vanishes once he sees Somo starts prodding the boulder above their head. Kai takes a few steps backwards just to be safe. They call him paranoid. That’s fine with him. He likes his life and he has no intention of losing it to a cave-in inside this creepy mine. He’s also not planning on ruining his good looks by adding any lasting scars to his body. Bartering for more money would be way more difficult with an ugly face. He’s certainly seen the trouble Somo has with it.
Luckily his fears are misplaced this time and they can continue their journey without any problems. Beyond Smolhilda’s usual antics, and her new fascination with her tentacle, it’s a mostly uneventful journey. At one point Kai suggests splitting up in the hopes of reducing the risk-factors in their party. They don’t go for it, and if he’s honest with himself he can’t blame them. Who knows what kind of creatures are lurking down here.
When they stumble upon another chained up man it is Louis who once again causes the situation to escalate. Not for the first time Kai wonders how he’s wronged Louis’ God that caused him to punish him with the one disciple without any common sense. He has no time to ponder the question though, as the chained up man that Louis has agitated with his sermon seems hellbent on murdering them. It’s only Oskar’s quick action that kills the man and saves them from a cave-in. He complains a bit about visions of death, but as long as he remains useful like this Kai isn’t too worried.
In an attempt to distract two of the biggest troublemakers from causing any more trouble he gives Smolhilda the idea to ask Louis about necromancy. It works better than expected and soon the two are engaged in a heated discussion about the risks and benefits of the magical art. It’s great timing too as the discussion makes for a good distraction when Kai finds a hidden stash of gems without anyone noticing. He gives two to Oskar, as encouragement to continue being useful, and pockets two of them himself.
With that they continue on, eventually descending deeper into the mine and passing numerous fossils and gems on the way. Sadly they don’t have the tools to take them with them but Kai vows to himself to return later with the proper equipment. No reason to let those riches go to waste down here.
As they walk a familiar voice mocks them with his rhymes. Kai has to admit that it’s a bit eerie how the voice seems to know exactly where they are, but is forced to admit that they haven’t been hiding their presence all that well thanks to their loud party-members.
It’s a sudden noise of skittering that puts Kai immediately on edge. It sounds like spiders, and if there's one thing he hates it's those cursed beasts. However when Louis brings his lantern closer to the noise Kai lets out a soft sigh of relief when it becomes clear that the sounds merely come from three ivory pale trilobites. Creepy still, but at least they’re no spiders and an arrow, dagger, and a bit of magic makes short work of one of the three creatures, causing the other two to scurry away.
As the group descends even further they finally find the monster’s chamber. Three children are bound in shackles inside the room next to a large bubbling cauldron. The monster smiles and mocks the party once again, saying the children are beyond help at this point. Kai isn’t quick to believe the beast considering his history of lies but he has to admit that the children certainly look well out of it.
Before much banter can be exchanged the creature lunges at Oskar but manages to do little damage. It’s an intense fight, especially when the creature sets its eyes on Smolhilda and causes the small girl to attack Louis. However as the attack misses Somo and Leszek manage to restrain the girl with little problem, and after that little trick the monster goes down easily thanks to a couple of spears and a surprisingly well-aimed burning lantern.
Kai can’t help being annoyed with the girl though and makes sure to remember to cut her reward in half if anything like this happens again. It’s one thing to be an all around annoyance, it’s something completely different to be an active liability. Her lack of remorse doesn’t help matters either, being more worried about getting the contents of the beast’s cauldron than the health of her companions. She's cute and useful at times though, thanks to her being the only magic user, and Kai can’t help but appreciate her ruthlessness with an eye for results. He just wishes she wasn't as focused on butchering horses and having a complete disregard for teamwork.
When they’re finally finished looting the place and freeing the children—only after Louis has ensured them that they’re no longer possessed—the party finally makes their way back to Vald, taking the prisoner that they found at the mine entrance with them. Kai makes sure to keep an extra eye on their newly released entourage, still not confident that they can be trusted, but despite Louis’ drunkenness they arrive in Vald without much trouble. There Kyrill explains how grateful and in debt they are to their new heroes and offers them free lodgings and equipment. An offer Kai gladly accepts, his mind already on the riches they can excavate from that mine now that they’ve got the right tools. Something they do the very next day without much trouble, leaving the exploration of the rest of the mine for some other day.