After a breakfast of stew and roast, the Xaniqos are picked up by Murgol and escorted past market and inner city to a wider area. Charts and piles of junk lie neglected in the midst of activity. The merchant leads them towards a very quiet spot, where they are greeted by a couple of Duergar. It is eerily quiet near the wide mine entrance, all is silent. This was one of the most thriving mines, Murgol says, it goes 2000 feet deep. And perhaps a beast is eating all of my ore and gems.
A railway leads the Drow into the deep. The mine is very dark, fifteen feet wide, and every hundred feet a lantern glows softly. Phaedra scouts ahead, followed by her sister, while the male Drow form the rearguard. All walk in formation next to the rails. After about twenty feet, the tunnel splits and the Scout takes a left. A staleness fills the air, loaded with the smell of stone. The dark Elf Scout stealthily glides forward, and even the Cleric manages to move silently – more or less – but Alvra’s new armor takes some getting used to. Sound travels far underground. When Phaedra walks on, she suddenly hears the light click of a pressure plate. In the distance a rattling mechanic clink resounds, coming closer and closer. Alvra and Lilith push themselves against the wall. A mine cart rattles down the track at full tilt, tipping over at the pressure plate. A series of explosions light up the tunnel and flasks of alchemist fire burn the area within twenty feet. The walls are shaking and the corridor caves in. Where once was a tunnel, now only a pile of rubble remains. It fills the opening from wall to wall and the railway is torn and bent.
The Scout, who was able to jump away just in time, examines the cave-in and declares it a dead end. She moves them back towards the other tunnel, where they take the right one. Again the Xaniqos move into position and walk down the path. That is, until another ominous click sounds under Alvra’s feet. Phaedra seems to disappear into the wall, while Lilith runs as far and fast as possible, increasing the distance between her and the place where another explosion announces the arrival of a second cart. The fighter and his brother also press themselves against the wall. Pieces of rock and fire hurt them in varying degrees.
When they encounter another split – to the right a smaller tunnel, five feet wide – Phaedra hears a low vibration in the stone, it seems like the stone is humming. She enters the corridor and observes the walls. They are smooth, like molted clay, with many round edges and curved depressions. This tunnel is definitely not dwarf-made. A smell of acid gets stronger with every step. The Xaniqos all walk in carefully, the Wizard calling up a protective Mage Armor. Jharrath then summons two Earth Elementals, which walk fifteen feet ahead of him.
When they turn the corner, two huge paws claw their way through the wall, sending one of the Elementals straight back to its plane. With a second blow, the other Elemental goes back to where it came from too. Seems like the Drow have found the culprit: a big head comes out of the stone, soon followed by a sixteen feet long and six feet wide tear-shaped brown body. It indeed is a Delver!
The Wizard lashes out with a persistent blade spell, but misses. Phaedra activates her house emblem and climbs the wall, while her sister calls upon the Spider Queen to grant her resistance against this foe, also fortified with a shield of faith. The Scout takes up position near the bend in the tunnel, while Jharrath returns to the main tunnel. There he summons three Monster Scorpions.
A chaotic and uneven fight starts. Lilith and Jharrath make themselves scarce, trying to stay ahead of the massive Delver, which is in pursuit through the stone. It follows them to the main tunnel, where the scorpions attack, doing only minor damage. The Scout fires her crossbow, but the bolts deflect upon its armor. The Cleric takes out a flask of Alchemist Fire and hits the creature straight in the face. The Delver is not much disturbed by it, but still it does some damage. The javelin Alvra throws simply vanishes. The acid that is protecting the Delver is strong!
The beast attacks Lilith and when its paw swipes across her armor, it pulverizes completely. Her armor, gone! That hurts even more than the wounds the Delver inflicts. A sizzling fireball, hurled by the Wizard, flashes past and burns through the beast’s skin. It’s payback time. Together the siblings renew their attacks with bolt and javelin. This time it seems to work. Still upset by losing her armor, the Cleric can’t focus enough to release her slashing darkness spell. But however hard they try, their attacks just aren’t enough to hurt it much, let alone slay it.
Alvra and Lilith retreat into the main tunnel to reflect on their situation. The Fighter tells his Cleric sister that their way of fighting is not effective. Meanwhile the Delver turns the other way and goes after the Wizard and his Scouting sister. She also gets hit by one mighty paw, but fortunately her armor protects her from the brunt of the attack. Jharrath is fast running out of spells, and throws a couple of earth elementals in the Delver’s way, though he knows they won’t do much good. The Scout casts two mirror images of herself to distract their foe, but since the beast has tremor sense, that’s not working either. She tries to get past it towards the main tunnel, while the Cleric calls down deific vengeance on its ass. Alvra’s kukri adds a bit to the damage. Jharrath again summons four creatures to provoke a reaction and manages to get back to his siblings too.
The Scout quickly drinks a healing potion and takes out her spiked chain, while Lilith attacks with her spiritual weapon, but to no avail. When Alvra’s javelin attack again misses, they give up the fight and race back towards the entrance. They need more weapons and have to get rid of the armor. The Delver’s acid is simply too damaging. Somewhat later the Duergar see a half naked furious Drow Cleric emerge from the mine entrance, followed at safe distance by the others.