Tomas and I chat about acquiring Namfoodle’s knowledge and talents for the blaster staff. Tomas seems to think this thing could be quite significant, and argues for taking it or Namfoodle back to Montenegro. We agree to send back a request for someone to come out and negotiate.
The next day we “officially” visit the Dwarven liquor merchant and view the available wares. He is doing some decent business, and we make quick arrangements for a lengthier meeting that evening.
Then we head out to deliver some turnovers to Sabrina the Troll Seeress. Following my new philosophy of keeping seers in the “not pissed off at me” column. After a nice visit and lunch, we return back to the Retreat.
Back at the Retreat and after dinner, we met with Glavin to compare information and plan our next journey phase. Our destination is a town about 25 miles to the NW of Moscow. The mine has five main tiers, and we’ll need to use a dwarven elevator between at least a few of the tiers. He gives us enough information to orient around and near the mine, and use some of the equipment. We’ll be meeting another Dwarf, Robart, on the bank of the Vistula River to serve as our guide inside the mine, should we need to enter, and help determine what we may have to do while onsite. Denying further access to the Ore, and estimating how much has been removed, are the desired goals of our trip. Later someone will need to figure out where the removed Ore has gone and how it is being used. Glavin passes along a sealed scroll tube with our written authorization from the Dwarven Government to conduct a survey of the mine. Glavin tells us the mine used to be a good supplier of Gold and Copper, and the Russians have been highly interested in Gold and Silver.
The next morning, we set out overland up the Vistula into Poland and a bit beyond, ending up in our meeting-spot of a village. Robart is not hard for us to find, and we quickly adjourn to the local version of a pub.
The next morning, we’re back on the road. We take a shortcut across a part of Russia, and note that the old saw of “I put my army on the borders” may not be a figure of speach for them. So many armed Russians! As we get closer to Moscow, we have to spend more time avoiding larger goblin-and-friends units (bigger than company size). Eventually we punch through the mobilization areas and get close to our target town. Not many troops wandering around overland. Pretty well maintained roads and a very well fortified town, with large open fields of fire surrounding it.
We spend some time watching the mine. Goblins are working continuously, using three shifts that bring up ore and ship it back to and through the village and ultimately off to the South without any apparent local processing. At least one mine cart per trip is handled specially, guarded, and loaded on a different set of wagons.
Robart tells us about the slit shaft that will serve as our secret entrance into the mine’s second tier. The shaft goes in at a steep angle for about a mile, and should avoid all of the outer guards. Robart sets up a water-lubricated slope for us to “surf” down the shaft. Other than bouncing a few dozen times off of the ceiling and walls, I made it through, pretty much paving the way for the rest of our group. Fortunately, Milo was quick with some healing.
We made our way deeper in. Garrick hears some shuffling ahead. After some scouting, we determine the light noise is coming from a hole blocking our passageway. At the bottom, about 30 shuffling zombie-likes: one goblin, the rest dwarves. Milo offers to dispose of them, and we briefly discuss contingency plans. We briefly split up, leaving Robart, Jarred, and Kell a bit back, while the rest of us escorted Milo up to the hole. A quick prayer later, the cluster of zombies is so much dust. Garrick notices some twinkling from the passage walls reminiscent of the sparkling from the Romanian mist that Milo routinely triggered. Milo keeps us at the pit to watch the dust. Just when I’m ready to leave, Milo indicates the dust is moving. And slowly the dust starts reforming back into zombies. While we’re playing with the dust, Robart find a piece of the Dark Ore we’re trying to understand.
Robart doesn’t recognize the Dark Ore, other than that he has never seen it before. Figuring the mine has been active by the goblins for three years, and the ore quality ranging from rare to uncommon to common, he projects between a couple hundred pounds, 300-500 pounds, or a ton. Milo reports the ore is quite evil. We briefly discuss what we can do about it — we certainly don’t want to add to the zombie population if we can avoid it. Flooding is an option, perhaps to force the goblins out. Kell reveals she has, in effect, a stink bomb that is pretty powerful. We quickly plan to drop that down a shaft, wait for the goblins to leave, check out what they were up to, then flood the whole mine while we make our way out. Simple, really.
Kell drops her package, and the Dwarven gong-warning starts sounding. After some confusion amongst the goblins, their Ogre Magi and Ogre overseers order them out of the mine. Robart takes us down a few levels to investigate their work and Milo grabs some samples. Back up to the second tier, Robart excavates an escape route, and uses more water magic devices to make some of the water fill the escape shaft at high velocity. We are gushered out as the mine begins to fill. Success for now!
From a convenient overwatch position, we watch the area tremble and the goblin response. A pale human of some kind emerges from a nearby building to take charge of the goblins and their response. The human orders the Ogre Magi, who send a squad a goblins in to the mine (only a few return), and soon after mobilize the garrison to prepare for a perceived attack from the mine. When such an attack doesn’t manifest (we’re not fools). The human does some spinning trick and disappears. We watch long enough to see he doesn’t come back right away, and that a few escaping snakes and zombies get chewed up by the awaiting goblin forces.