As our heroes collected themselves and began to take stock of the scene around them they began to realise something was amiss. The kobolds had been almost frantic in their attempts to gain the fort, rushing towards death with little to none of the typical cowardice shown by their kind. Black of scale, each with a strange cleft patch near their left breast the kobolds also all wore a single manacle with strange glyph’s that resembled elvish covering them. Markaria examined the manacles and detected a magical residue lingering on them of the enchantment school.
Erlinmyer came to speak with party, warning them that all ore (unrefined or otherwise) in the mine was property of the Consortium before making pointed, if extremely confusing, remarks about them disrupting the pattern and muddying the future. He proceeded to provide them information on the whereabouts of Ribald, informing the heroes that he’d set off in search of the ruins suspected to exist in the same area as mining claim #2. Rattled by the strange eddies in the pattern around the heroes, Erlinmyer excused himself, leaving it to his guard captain to provide more detailed directions to the mining claim.
Leaving early in the morning the party proceeded unmolested, stopping for midday near a lone stand of trees next to the road. A small wildcat was spotted briefly in the distance, but never seen again. As the companions broke bread among the trees Elfis discovered signs of this same place being used many times before as well as on a couple occasions in the last few weeks. The party continued to eat in relative silence, on edge after the previous nights assault.
With their meal finished they proceeded along the trail, wending their way through the foothills, climbing and descending ever steepening banks. On a high, flat stretch they spotted a tall wooden post at the roads edge with someone hung from it and left for carrion. Suspecting an ambush the group approached cautiously, weapons drawn and eyes alert only to discover that it was an obsidian skinned kobold, almost identical to many of those who’d attacked Greenbow’s Redoubt the previous evening, unconscious and near deaths door hanging from the post.
After some discussion, they decided to rouse the helpless creature and see what it knew. A flash of Elfis’ scimitar severed the rope holding the kobold to the post and Krackscorn quickly administered the blessings of Austri, rousing the small drake. Fear in the back of his eyes, the small Drake nevertheless showed the spirit that likely earned him his place on the post as Markaria interrogated him. Introducing himself as Fl’aycindrakkon Khaasxarax or “Flash Krak” the fierce kobold told a tale of strange robed figures working together with red scaled kobolds taking over his home and enslaving his warren-mates with an unknown magic bound into the manacles they were wearing. As soon as Flash Krak heard the players were headed for the mines he insisted on accompanying them and after a brief discussion they decided his knowledge of the mine would be helpful and agreed to let him accompany them. Arming the small kobold they had affectionately dubbed “Reggie” with a sling courtesy of Krackscorn, the now enlarged group proceeded towards the mines.
The road continued for another hour or so before moving into a small forest hard up against the side of a particularly steep hill. Synder and Elfis moved quietly into the trees, following the road until the mines entrance was in site. The two watched from hiding as a lone sentry dozed near the entrance, marking the ruins of several collapsed buildings as well as some odd rock piles in a clearing on the opposite side of the road. Synder heard something moving among the trees on the opposite side of the road but with no way to cross the open space they returned to their companions.
After a brief discussion the party decided they would approach from the trees with Skarrosh serving as a distraction since he was too large to move stealthily amongst the forest. As Skarrosh crashed into the clearing, the companions noted another sentry was now present. Before either of them could move forward to engage the heroes Reggie approached from above, unleashing a torrent of acid from his mouth that dropped the two sentries screaming in agony to the ground. Suddenly from the trees came a large, scaled beast with wings and a beak, determind on attacking Skarrosh. While Skarrosh fought the strange creature, accepting several sharp blows, new kobolds drawn by the sound of battle appeared in the cave mouth and threw javelins, poisoning the mighty Lizard. As Skarrosh reeled from the poison flooding his body Elfis leapt forward, double stabbing the cockatrice viciously and drawing it’s attention. Just as the beast turned to face Elfis, Markaria sent the now desiccated hand of the dead sentry flying toward the beast, knocking it prone. As it struggled to stand Synder leapt into action, severing its head from its neck with a brutal overhand chop as Elfis recovered and drove his blade deep into the creatures chest. Up above the entrance Reggie had managed to crack himself in the knee with the unfamiliar sling, dropping to the ground in agony but quickly finding his feet again.
Turning their attention to the mine Krackscorn and Elfis saw the two kobolds scatter something on the ground before fleeing inside. Rushing forward, heedless of the danger Skarrosh roared his fury as Caltrops drove into the pads of his feet, pumping more poison into his veins and further atrophying his already numbed reflexes. Quickly gathering themselves the group followed Skarrosh down the tunnel, emerging to a flurry of arrows as two kobolds managed to trip Skarrosh with hooked chains before their companions peppered him with poisoned arrows. Rising from the ground, now mad with blood frenzy Skarrosh raced forward, leaping at the last moment as Snyder shouted a warning about a poorly disguised pit trap. Feet crashing down on the far side his momentum carried Skarrosh right through a trip wire, dropping a swinging log carefully concealed in the ceiling to crash into his chest. Driven back by the force of the log, Skarrosh teetered and then fell backwards into the pit, gruesomely impaling himself through the back on the sharpened spikes below. Wasting no time his companions moved up from behind, Synder leaping deftly from Skarrosh’s bent knees to land on the opposite side, while Elfis somersaulted over the pit and landed on the resting log.
Krackscorn fired a bolt at one of the retreating kobolds, missing it narrowly as Reggies stone shattered on the stalagmite next to another retreating kobold’s head. Dragging himself out of the pit Skarrosh moved forward to engage two of the kobolds who were running towards a large bell. Ringing the nearby bell, the swiftest of the 4 kobolds turned tail and fled, suffering a nasty cut on it’s shoulder but shrugging it off as it fled. The remaining two kobolds followed suit, each turning as they moved down the tunnel to launch a javelin towards the failing Lizardman. The first went wide but the second pierced skarrosh through his elbow, forcing it’s way through the bones of his arm and sending a torrent of blood gushing out of his body as he dropped limply to the stone. Within seconds the pool of blood had spread well beyond his body and it was clear the mighty lizards heart beat no more.
The final kobold launched an arrow from it’s shortbow, grazing Elfis before turning tail and fleeing down the tunnel on the east wall.