26 The Rotting, 1371
Black Spire Mine
With the ogres dead, the party healed themselves and tended to the three injured that they saved from the ogres. The names of the saved miners were Gilmer the dwarf (the one enlarged Dwafer switched places with), Kahmala the dwarf (female), and Baroun the human. The dwarves were from Citadel Felbarr, a dwarven stronghold north of Sundabar, and the human was from Sundabar and works for the Moon River Trading Company. The mine had been abandoned due to the increased numbers of orcs and other nasties, but a few years ago when the dwarves retook Citadel Felbarr, they entered into a contract with the Moon River Trading Company to reactivate the mine as a shared venture.
That morning the miners were working a deep vein when an explosion happened. The amount of dust and falling rock made them think it was a possible cave-in. About a dozen of them managed to get to the emergency chute (the black spire is the name of the vertical tunnel that spans the mines levels and gives the mine it’s name). They released the tie and were quickly pulled up the spire to evacuate at the top level and exit the cave…. But the ran into the ogres and were easily captured… the ogres were playing the wishbone game on our friends (for food and treasure, we think) when you arrived.
They are also able to confirm Goramir’s telling that you are in the central Nether Mountains, not too far above the city of Sundabar (a major city in the Silver Marches that lays on the River Rauvin)
Once everyone was cared for and collected, the decision was made to delve into the mine rather than risk more ogres. Not knowing what’s up ahead, the miners guided the party back down into the mine.
They lead everyone into large anti-chamber (where the ogres had stuck the miners into the ceiling) and through a series of smaller tunnels, past some inactive mines and down a couple of levels where you came to a large basket hanging above a deep hole about 20 feet across. The miners gathered everyone into the basket and then used a rope and pulley system to guide the basket down the spire. The descent was slow-going and tedious but as the party grew nearer to the cave in/explosion, the air grew thick with dust and smoke. They stopped to check a nearby safe room to see if any other survivors were there, but clearly no one had been there.
Finally the party came to the room where the explosion took place and found the entrance filled with rubble to within a foot or so of the cave ceiling. Peeking over the rubble revealed a large room with several small fire creatures that appeared to be securing the room. Also visible was a large fire burning in the middle of the room (causing the smoke in the mine) as well as a blue-ish glow coming from a hallway. While observing them, one creature dragged a human body and piled it onto the fire while other creatures seemed to be shoring up the rubble pile, trying to completely block off the room.
Using an ingenious invisibility/benign transposition trick, the party was able to engage these fire creatures quickly. While the party was definitely able to take these creatures down, the party also learned that they had a fiery breath weapon, could summon more of their kind, just had to stand in the bonfire to be healed. In addition, the closer the arcane casters got to the glowing hallway, the more they felt an unusual sensation… not a wild magic area, not a dead magic area, but a “strong” magic area. Casting spells in the area had a chance of not being consumed by the casting. Eventuallyl the last fire mephit was destroyed and the casters attended to the glowing light while the paladin attended to the wounded.
The glowing light was actually a miner’s pick stuck into the wall and acting as a conduit from a magical lay line on one end of the pick to some sort of portal on the other end (where the fire mephitis came from). Gaspard and Niven both felt the area as almost a “pure” or “raw” magic area until they were able to pry the pick out. The pick seemed to absorb power from the lay line and from the portal and melted into a blob on the floor of the cave. Detecting magic on the metal blob shows strong enchantment and conjuration.