Having looted the sarcophagus, the companions return to town in order to rest and fix up their “hide-out.” After hiring the necessary people the companions are happy to find out that in roughly 3 weeks it will be renovated completely! No more dirty inns for them!
The companions then return to Filge’s observatory in order to collect him for the investigation into the mine they agreed to. Upon arriving at his doorstep however, the companions soon all have furrowed brows as their knocking goes un-answered. Entering the observatory the companions are further annoyed to find that the entire place appears to have been cleaned out and Filge nowhere to be found. Clearly the coward skipped town. The companions decide that they still need to talk to Smenk though and so head back out the door and make their way toward the “fancy” inn where Smenk is known to be at. They don’t make it more than five steps though when they are accosted by a messenger. It would seem as though the wizard Allustan would like to speak with them. It is well known that Allustan is perhaps the smartest man in Diamond Lake, and brother to the mayor himself. Seeing nothing to lose by this interview the companions change their course and follow the messenger instead.
Arriving at the rather well-to-do house the companions are shown into the sitting room by the butler. Thok of course has the owlbear, Hemi, in tow and has to immediately begin reprimanding the animal as it happily begins to tear at the fanciest rug in the room. Thankfully the companions don’t have to wait long before Allustan himself enters the room.
“A juvenile owlbear! How fascinating!”
Relief floods Thok’s face as the wizard devotes more attention to the young animal than the actual mess it has made. The wizard is further fascinated by the worm in the jar that Thok insisted on carting around, and after examining it briefly invites the companions to follow him further into the house. They enter what appears to be a room of both research and experimentation. Allustan quickly seats himself at the desk and places the specimen next to another one of almost exactness.
“Your specimen seems similar to this one. A farmer brought this to me after finding it in one of his deceased cows. He of course had no idea of its importance. Something of this nature generally intrigues me, but this, this I find concerning.” The companions can’t help but raise their eyebrows at this statement, a statement that is further intriguing when Allustan adds, “I’m afraid this may be a grave threat to Diamond Lake.”
Allustan looks up at the companions at this, seeming to examine each of them in turn before stating, “You look like a dependable bunch, would you mind investigating this further? I have a few leads here that will get you set on the right track.” Without waiting for an answer quite yet however, Allustan looks to a dark corner and talks as though to someone else. “Have Milo bring something for our guests.” The companions look to one another thinking they must have stumbled upon some crazy old kook. The air seems to move strangely however, and Thallis suddenly blurts out “Unseen Servant!” Allustan simply gives him a knowing smile before continuing on.
“I feel that the worms are somehow connected to an ancient temple rumored to be hidden beneath the earth. I believe this temple to be within one of the copper mines, specifically the one owned and operated by Ragnolin Dourstone. He is, unfortunately, a rather surly, greedy, and paranoid fellow so gaining entrance may not be the easiest. Perhaps a little…reconnassance is in order…” And with that the companions agree to journey forth, with Thok staking the mine entrance out for the night to observe the guard situation.
Thok in the end doesn’t find too much worth while at the mine entrance, aside from the fact that the entrance is surrounded by a wooden palisade. The companions decide to come up with a sort distraction plan. Tanrug sneaks up to the far side of the palisade and casts the “Spark” spell, which quickly fans into a full blown fire. Soon there is chaos as the guards and miners alike rush over to either watch or try to put the flames out. Seeing the perfect chance, Thok manages to sneak up and open the gate behind the guards’ backs. Thallis is able to silently join her, but Ariadne and Tanrug apparently can’t help but stomp up to the gate. Thankfully though, Ariadne is able to knock the guards out quietly and the companions are able to enter the mine itself. A bottle of booze and a torch is left with the unconscious guards.
Soon after entering the mine the companions come to a padlocked door with the sign “Keep Out!” on it. Clearly this is the door they want. As Tanrug starts to remove the hinges from the door, four miners approach the companions and ask what they’re up to. Thok is able to bluff them that they’re part of the “exploration crew” and that since there’s a fire outside they have to let themselves in. Surprisingly the miners accept this easily…as well as a gold piece tossed by Thok as the companions enter the room, replacing the door behind them. Before them is the elevator, Thok, Thallis, and Tanrug all hop in and ride it down with Ariadne climbing down the chain itself after them. Reaching the bottom the companions find a couple guards! Battle ensues! After the guards are dealt with the companions remove some of their armor to further investigate. As it turns out, the guards’ arms are covered in tattoos, their faces distorted into having fiendish aspects. They also carry a symbol upon themselves, that of a fist holding arrows which represents Hextor, the lawful evil god of war and tyranny. Looking at one another and thinking that perhaps they are into something bigger than they initially thought, the companions continue deeper into the mine.
The next door is locked, but luckily the companions had scavenged the key from the guards. Thallis places the key in the lock and then uses his super magical powers to open the door from a distance. The room before them contains dozens of suits of armor upon bleached bones, all in seeming position to march forth. Entering the room the companions are a little surprised to find the skeletons suddenly marching toward them! Battle of course ensues! Almost as soon as the skeletons are defeated more guards and cultists appear in the room and more killing ensues! As the last of the guards runs away down the hallway, yelling something about “release the beast!” The companions can once again merely look at one another and prepare for this new assailant. Not long did they have to wait however before a horse-sized boar comes charging into the room, its tusks capped with iron. With unrelenting speed however, the companions manage to defeat this foe as well before hurrying on in a vain attempt to stealthily continue exploring the area.
Soon they enter a larger room with a statue in the middle and a cultist sulking about near it. Charging the cultist and subsequently killing him, the companions soon discover they are not alone…not even close. Five humanoids appear on the balcony overhead, along with two seemingly zombie-type creatures. One of the humanoids is a lean man with white hair and a missing eye, wearing armor with the symbol of Hextor emblazoned upon it. Clearly this man is the leader! A long and bloody battle ensues, one in which the companions are eventually victorious! Seriously…no one died this time!