After following the tunnel for a short while, it opened out into what seemed to be a vast cavern. It was rather dark, so it was difficult to make out details, but the stone appeared to be streaked with green crystals and giant natural columns reached from floor to ceiling.
In the far distance we could see flickering torchlight and humanoid shadows coming from where we could hear the sounds of mining. I could also hear what sounded like giants talking quietly, possibly a stone giant dialect. This was alongside orcish shouts and obviously dwarven cries of pain.
The quietly whispered plan is to sneak up on them while they’re concentrating on mining, but this plan goes somewhat wrong.
“Aghyefeckinbelgian!” Malin yells as he tripped over a pebble.
Assuming the sneak attack failed, we gathered ourselves to prepare for an imminent onslaught of giants and orcs but to our surprise, the first attack comes from nowhere as a pair of rocky tentacles snaked out from the darkness to grab Thames and nearly grab Regdar!
Rushing in to help his ally, Jasper hacked at the tentacle holding Thames and it recoiled back into the shadows.
Closing ranks, I started my battle chant to activate my aura and we could hear shouts and yells from the stone giants and orcs in the distance as they were alerted to our presence.
Another tentacle struck from behind us, wrapping itself around Barrett and yanking him from his feet, Jasper deflected another from trying to snare Thames again and I found myself being pulled away from the group by yet another of the rocky grey limbs. Fortunately one of the charms on my harper pin helped reduce the injury slightly, but I was being pulled away from the party and I could see Barrett desperately stabbing at the tentacle dragging him away with one of his arrows.
Knowing that I could use my Feywild power to teleport myself out of this monster’s clutches, I decided to let it pull me closer so that I could find out what we were dealing with.
“Thames, I’m going to try and see what’s attacking us, stick close!”
I was relieved to see Thames running after me as the rest of the party vanished into darkness with two stone giants and a mass of orcs closing on them from the mine.
Still with the party, Erevan cast a spell causing his body to glow with fire, which he then blasted at one of the stone giants. Jasper then attacked it while taunting both of them, knocking one to the ground.
Theseus charged the giants attempting to gore them, despite glancing off the one standing, he lifted his head and swung with his hammer, slamming it flat on its back.
Jumping from his shoulders, Malin takes a furious stance and punches the prone giant, while Regdar muttered a quick prayer that caused a barrier of spinning blades across both of the prone giants.
Meanwhile, Vogue had run after Barrett and had managed to break him free from the tentacle’s grasp, but immediately another two tentacles capture them both. Running next to me Thames is also grabbed and a fifth tentacle snakes across and snatches Erevan from the party.
Things were looking bad for the party. We were under attack from at least three fronts. Tentacles dragging myself, Thames and Erevan off to one side of the cavern, with Barrett and Vogue being pulled away to the opposite side, while what was left of the main party was now battling two stone giants and possibly a dozen orcs. It didn’t help that the only way we could tell what was going on in the darkness was from the shouts and yells of the various groups.
My own situation was looking somewhat nastier as I beheld a huge gaping maw approaching through the darkness. Lined with very sharp looking stony teeth and with a giant lenticular eye above it.
Now would be a good time for that teleport. Before I could chant the few words required though, the vicious mouth attempted to bite me. Luckily a was able to struggle within the restraining tentacle and the teeth narrowly missed my head.
I practically yelled the enchantment, simultaneously blasting the creature while teleporting Thames and myself free and ready to attack it after making a short bolstering speech.
Struggling for his life, Barrett manages to wriggle free of his restraints and dashes out of range while trying to heal himself, but he is confronted by a group of four orcs which try and attack him. Grunting with the pain, he reacts and kills one, while taking a wound from another. Vogue is able to twist away and stab at her tentacle. Something screams in the darkness but stays hidden.
Both of the stone giants attempt to regain their feet. The first is cut by the spinning blades, which causes it to flail wildly and swing wide of the mark when attempting to stab Jasper.
The other stands up and steps back, still being cut by the blades, but it’s able to pick up a huge rock and throw it at the group of Jasper, Malin and Theseus. It explodes at their feet, throwing Malin over onto his side and shaking his head from the concussion.
A group of orcs that had been with the giants make a futile attack against Theseus, while another takes the opportunity to stab Malin while he’s on the floor. Two of them practically disintegrate as Jasper thinks something nasty at them, killing them instantly and another two don’t last much longer as Theseus spins around decapitating one with a devastating strike and the Malin impales the last on his spear.
Facing our monster, Thames hits it with a powerful strike from his longsword and Erevan phase steps out of its grasp and blasts the maw with a force orb. He then follows this up with a ball of fire that he conjures from his hand.
Striking an inspired hit with my longsword on a vital spot, I start singing an anthem of aggression
“Sword will cut and mace will thud”
“Watch us swim in a river of blood!”
While this had a positive effect on our fighting ability, it did also seem to annoy the creature. It lashed out with a tentacle, grabbing Thames and pulling him in to bite a huge chunk out of his side. I could hear something similar happening from the other side of the cavern as the other monster pulled Barrett in a biting him, the rocky teeth stabbing into his flesh.
Barrett fortunately managed to struggle free and run to hide in the shadows, while Thames hit our monster with a cleaving blow, causing the tentacle to retreat and allowing him to bask in my healing aura to repair the ugly wound in his side.
From the depths of the cavern, we hear the shout “Quick lads! While we have the chance!” and a ragged group of dwarves rushed out, their leader striking down one of the remaining orcs with his pickaxe.
One of the stone giants stepped towards Jasper, swiping his glave aside and pinning him against the rock with a strange stone spear. The other yells “Go get the keeper!” and throws another rock at Theseus, Malin and the leader of the dwarven miners, which again hits Malin with its shrapnel.
Jasper shoves the other giant back with his glave, knocking it over and Theseus charges at it, immobilising it with a strike of his hammer. Then with a blood curdling scream, Malin rushes in recklessly, horribly impaling the giant with the full length of his ridiculously oversized spear.
Vogue is swarmed by the remaining orcs, battering her with their clubs. With a jingle of bells though, two orc heads roll across the floor away from their falling bodies. She hears the monster shambling towards her and narrowly avoids being struck by a tentacle. Barrett is less fortunate though and is knocked unconscious by another.
Erevan shoots off a magic missile at our creature, blasting it in fire while I chant a dissonant strain of sound at it, causing it to writhe in pain and cast a curse of unluck against it which causes it to miss its attack on myself and Thames, who strikes it with his sword.
The two remaining orcs battling Vogue can only look on dumbfounded as she teleports out of the path of their clubs. By the time, Jasper is running across to where he last heard Barrett, hoping to get to his aid before it is too late. He can just see Barrrett being pulled in towards the second creature as it fails again to hit Vogue with a tentacle. Appearing next to it, Vogue stabs the monster, dodging around behind it and giving it a shove in towards the hall.
Theseus and Malin run around the still spinning blades, goring and stabbing the remaining stone giant while the dwarven minor finishes off and orc. It attempts to throw a rock at them all, taking some damage from the dwarf, but the exploding rock badly hurts Malin and Theseus, knocking them both off their feet.
Erevan is grabbed by another tentacle, but struggles free and steps away, while Thames strikes it a powerful blow. It’s looking pretty badly damaged by now, green ichor is running down its sides from various cuts and wounds and one of its tentacles just drags at its side.
Jasper is charging towards the second creature, attempting to free Barrett. The two remaining orcs try and rush at him but are simply sliced in half by his glaive. Vogue fades into the shadows and reappears behind the monster, stabbing it.
The remaining stone giant sees Theseus advancing on it with his hammer waving around in a strange pattern. Confused, it is struck and falls to one knee. As it tries to stagger back to its feet, the Minotaur’s hammer slams into the side of its head, smashing its skull and splattering brain matter across the wall.
Malin and the dwarven miner rush to our aid, Malin by his conventional method of spinning his tiny little legs in a circular fashion and zipping along the surface of the ground, while the dwarf actually dives into the ground and swims through it, popping up nearby!
I chant some more cutting words at the monster, pointing out how a single eye gives it terrible depth perception, which causes the ichor to spurt from its wounds even more and just as it lashes out grabbing Thames and myself, causing the knight to miss with his sword strike, the after effects of my song finish it off.
Jasper is now in a pitched battle with the remaining monster. It still has Barrett in its grasp and tries to inflict a killing bite, but Jasper steps in its way distracting it and striking it.
Still looking strong, the monster is hit by a magic missile from Erevan who is running across the cavern, robes flying around him and is stabbed again by Vogue.
By this time, we are all running across the cavern to try and stop the creature from killing Barrett but we see it drop him and pull Jasper in to be horrifically chewed by its foul toothed orifice. Now Jasper is passed out near Barrett who is bleeding out profusely.
We throw everything we have at it and it shrugs off magic missiles from the mage and hits from Vogue, Theseus and Malin along with a small rock from the miner, which pings off its hide. Now within vocal range, I hurt it with some choice words about its stony complexion and strike up the dirge of the damned (a strange refrain, involving mystical lyrics about a bear called Edward).
Malin is now riding on top of the creature, striking it wildly with his spear. Grabbing him with a tentacle, it pops him into its mouth, chomps and spits him out with a disgusted look on its face. Malin is left unconscious on the cavern floor.
Thames has more luck, striking a blow against the monster which temporarily immobilises it as Erevan’s fireball explodes nearby, singeing it. Distracted by the light from the blast, it doesn’t see Vogue’s knife come around from behind it and plunge into its eye, killing it and finally ending the battle!
Gathering up our fallen comrades we revive them and stem the flow of blood from Barrett’s wounds. We also rescue Regdar from a sinkhole he managed to fall down while rushing around in the darkness.
The dwarven miner introduces himself as Kurrek-Drong, dwarf warden. He looks pretty scruffy and unkempt (well, even more than a dwarf normally looks) but offers to join our party to get his own back on the giants that have been keeping him enslaved for so long.
Drong points out that in the far darkness of the caves are some dark beings that even the stone giants avoid and as Thames attempts to sell him some “wicked” armour, he shows us the direction of the stone giant overseers’ quarters where he suspects they have his armour and equipment stored.
We follow him to a large cave with a single entrance. It is simply furnished with large furs covering a couple of ledges to make beds for the giants. More interesting is a large stone chest, which Drong burrows through the side of to recover his equipment, a solid gold skull with gems for eyes and a strange animal hide which Barrett recognises as the skin of a displacer beast.
Battered and bruised, we are still otherwise whole, so after resting up and preparing ourselves, we decide to head upstairs to face Nosnra!