Adventure Log: Desnus 15, Year 4712 AR, Starsday, Afternoon
Dwarves breath, or so one surmises, and where there are dwarves, there are mines, therefore, logically, there must be air-shafts which one could use to enter those mines. So reasoning, the party trekked up the side of Droskar’s Crag…
Egon, led the way, spotting a promising looking rock formation about halfway up the mountain, surrounded by a number of crude structures. After an hour of climbing, they came close to what appeared to be an old wooden stockade with broken gate, surrounding a number of stone and thatch hovels. Guy searched the ground and found some rather large bear tracks. They sneak up to the hovels and find a number of goblin bones, some broken and showing teeth marks, inside the first.
Luckily, grizzly bears are not stealthy. Egon spotted a large she-bear coming out of the cave and he and Maurit promptly peppered it with arrows, making it understandably angry. The bear charged and grabbed Guy, though Maurit downed the beast quickly with a well-placed claw. The bear was promptly skinned and removed of all useful materials (meat, fat, fur, claws, etc.)
They head into the cave and find five week-old bear cubs. Maurit asks if they can keep them and Guy pulls out his alchemy kit and tries to concoct a passable baby formula. Guy wraps the cubs up in his cloak and takes them along.
Egon spotted the sluices and other remains of a surface mine around the side of the mountain and they headed off in that direction. They found another, smaller cave entrance, only about three feet high. Guy spotted a cast-iron frying pan lying just inside and crawled in to retrieve it, at which point the oil in the pan ignited, and the pan flung itself at his face, burning him and searing itself to his flesh. Guy backed out of the hole, the pan still stuck to his face, where Egon promptly kicked the thing off, tearing a gaping hole in Guy’s cheek.
Egon crawled in, looking for traps this time, and found a partially tapped vein of silver, as well as some old rusted mining equipment.
Proceeding on towards the site of the surface mine, they find another cave, more of a shaft really, clearly cut, about 2 feet square, descending plumb into the stone of the mountainside. Guy uses lengths of string and rope to test the depth, finding it to be approximately 70 feet deep. Maurit climbed down to check it out, and spotted a furry corpse at the bottom, a dead stop with a dead thing in it. Finishing her snack, she heads back up. Climbing back down with a light, she sees that it is a test shaft, ending at the top of vein of coal.
Nearer the surface mine, they spot a halfling standing near the top of the sluice, about 50 feet further up the mountain side, staring intently at the ground, his hand near his knife, clearly ignoring them. Hugh draws his bow and calls out to the halfling, getting no response, but sees a rooster poke its head up from behind the sluice. Advancing towards the halfling, Hugh comes with spitting distance of the rooster, which charges at him, revealing itself to have a lizard’s body and bat-like wings. The rooster pecked at Hugh, and his flesh began to petrify, turning gray and rocky.
Hugh countered with a mighty blow of his greatsword. Egon then shot the bird, killing it cleanly. Maurit checked out the halfling, finding it to be petrified, but yoinked the kukri from its belt. She then grabs the 80-lb. statue for use as a lawn ornament. Guy stripped the cockatrice of useful bits (pretty much all of it).
As it was getting late, the party backtracked to the stockaded bear cave to set up camp. Hugh sets up where he can watch the monastery and notices a pair of dog-like creatures scamper out and towards the woods shortly after nightfall.
Desnus 16, Year 4712 AR, Sunday
They wake in the morning: bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and breathing. After brief discussion they decide to head for the monastery rather than poke around the caves some more.