The day started off a little unsettling. Our scout was certain that our location was far off northward, beyond the briar wall. I had known this to be a mistake so, after consulting on the matter and checking our scouts map against the primary map in the tavern, we had gotten thing straight and were able to make toward our intended target with confidence.
On our short trek north we found interesting looking mounds two hexes from Ruined Oak. They initially looked like odd heaps of earth. Our Survivalist inspected further and found moles had been active in the area. It wasn’t long before we stumbled upon one that attempted to attack us. None of us knew how to correctly communicate with it, but it was very obviously guarding it’s new home. We took it as a non threat and left it to it’s own devices, making our way to the mine, our intended destination.
A very uneventful few hours later, we had the abandoned mine in view. Saoch found what he claimed was “the kings pickaxe” leaning against an abandoned hut right by the mine. Interestingly, even with his new found ogre strength, he could not properly wield it and was evidently denied his crown. There was also a note found that was written in Dwarvish pinned to the abandoned hut. No one speaks Dwarvish, though, so we just pocketed it for later study.
We got into the mine area and immediately were attacked by animated trees and man eater plants. After dealing with the magic swarms and towering elms, we took a small rest to recover our wounds and then pressed onward into the cave system. There were three entrances we could see, one north, one south, and one east. The north and south mine entrances were caved in and required to be dug out. The east entrance was covered in thick, pulsing vines that were unnaturally alive.
Hanna wanted to proceed with stealth, so we tied up the donkey and pressed onward as quietly as we could. We met a junction and our sharp eyed Kobold spotted three pathways through the tunnels with deadly enemies down each. It was decided to drop a silence in the central junction to separate the battles we would face and then Hanna darted down south to take on our first foe.
Immediately upon turning the corner southward, however, all the creatures she saw immediately responded to her without even needing to see her. Our plan was shredded to ribbons before a single blow was struck. The north path held a living mass of tangled vines and flowers and skeletons. That thing made it’s way south almost immediately, also undeterred by stealth or silence. We decided to re-plan our tactics and make a hasty retreat to the entrance.
We didn’t get more than 5 feet through the thick, twisted flora before they were on us. The ground seemed to hinder our every move while allowing them to maneuver with the grace of greased lightning. Our Ranger erupted spikes from the earth and the plan altered again. Hanna and myself made a frontline stand at the edge of the spikes.
The smaller hybrid things came first, dashing through the spikes and falling at our feet. Then came the more intelligent, deadly humanoid plants. Their movement less hindered, and their strength easily ten times that of the first wave. The huge mass of vines and flowers was slow, but crashed against our front line at the same time as the humanoid ones did, presenting a much deadlier foe for us to bear.
Without a break we continued to slash through them as we watched a massive skeletal thing lumber toward us. Made partly of bones and partly of living, writhing vines, it carried a massive weapon and, though slow, showed it could easily cleave any of us if it so desired. The mass of flowers and vines also started spitting out zombies into our back line to disrupt and disorient our formation.
With luck on our side and strategic decisions, we were able to manipulate the field in our favor, first bringing one humanoid down, then the flowery mass. In the end, we faced only the skeletal giant, a zombie and one hearty humanoid plant. Focusing our attention on the giant, Saoch brought it crashing to the ground with a wonderous tidal wave wrought from a single drop of water. Hanna, with deadly grace, deftly carved through the massive thing. The zombie went down easily after the larger threat was neutralized. It was Rekbi that ended the fight, though. He was like a living ghost, vanishing and appearing right at the most opportune moments, weaving in and out of center stage as quietly as shadow itself. In the blink of an eye his blade was being pulled out of a lifeless slump of plant mass, signaling the end of the floral invasion. The living vines seemed to fade and shrivel with all it’s allies dead. As we left, Hanna thought best to stack to the bodies and burn the flora out of the cave, lest it regrow and assault another less prepared party.
It was hard fought, but we had cleared the mine. With everything said and done, we made our way south to Ruined Oak, ready to share the good news with Darcy’s children.