As we made our way up the incline toward the top of the mountain we discovered a signpost near a ruined tower. Nearby was a strange man-bear creature that spoke to us about a village not far off. This creature claimed the name of “Wendigo”, and was no friend of orcs. He adcised us that the orcs liked to come and go in the town during nightfall.
Following the road we came upon the ruins of a village long abandoned. Haunts and specters are the towns only inhabitants. At the town center an animated skeleton still clapped in the stocks motioned us closer. Once there it indicated to a box on the ground. Uncovering and opening the box there was a piece of desiccated flesh within. It seems to have been the tongue of the poor bony fellow. Once returned the spirit left similar to those we resolved in the lower lands.
At the far end of town we saw a mine entrance with three additional skeletons still dangling from their nooses. A pall of fear and anguish covered the area. Etched nearby was a marking for the “Bloodstone Mine”. Entering below the surface we didn’t get more than 100 feet in when we were blocked by a collapsed section of tunnel. A tattered journal nearby told the story of the suffering of the dwarven miners at the hands of Solomon and his cadre of guardsmen. Their only hope of salvation was to collapse the mine and trap him within, which they seem to have done successfully.
Backtracking into the town, we kept hearing skittering and calling of strange bird beings the size of turkeys. Someone called them “harpies”. I am uncertain of their importance to this area. We discovered a shaft with orc tracks entering and leaving the opening. This must be their den. Strange that these orcs are dwelling underground…..
Torches were lit and we ventured in. The dark vision of the elves makes them handy scouts I can almost tolerate their confusing elf chatter back and forth. The area inside was much larger than expected. In some sections the tunnels were thirty feet across, clearly much more than a tribe of orc raiders would need. We heard the hammering of active workmen and mining operations. Around the corner we saw a band of orcs commanding a dozen or so dwarven slaves. We fought hand to hand in the futtering torchlight. Hopes that the dwarves would assist in fighting for their freedom were for naught, they were so cowed that all they did was stand there in fear and confusion. Since we were near the surface we decided to get them clear of the mine and regroup. On the way out they asked us if we were sent by Tyrana….the name sounds familiar but I can’t place it. Once outside we met again with this Wendigo and asked him to take the slaves and our pack animals downhill to a safer place.
We outfitted ourselves for an extended chevauchee and made for the tunnel entrance……