Darkness in the Mines

I swear it was dawn, but as we headed back up to the castle, it grew dark once more. There is chaos in the courtyard. The prisoners that didn’t go to town came here, and took a dozen more down into the mines. Nat takes charge and sets an elder of the town to manage the citizenry. She gets the men to building tents in the continued storm and the women and children inside to the banquet hall for shelter. After checking to be sure Nat’s family is alright, we all try to get a little rest. We have to go to the mines, but not in the exhausted state we’re currently in.

After our rest, and a bit of orange juice (Remy is still obsessed with the juice’s existence), we talk about what to do. It’s decided that we’ll go to the mines through a secret entrance from the castle, instead of the front gate. We head down carefully, because the crazed crossbolter has set bear traps all down the path. Fortunately, we don’t run into him or the strange bat-man. We find a phantom hound, like Dalish’s upstairs. Gerhardt dispells it so we can get by.

We get down to the mine level, but the chamber between us and it is full of the inactive undead, stacked like cordwood. Remy starts freaking out again. You’d think he’d seen enough undead by now, but I guess some people just can’t handle the creep factor after they’ve tried to kill you repeatedly. Remy starts flying and the rest of us start climbing our way through. One twitches, Remy shoots, and then all heck breaks loose.

I grab Marybeth beside me and dimesion door us out of the room to the far side. Dalish and Gerhardt join us after only a moment. There’s a huge explosion on the other side of the door, and Remy yells at us to get Nat. It takes some doing to get the door open after he exploded all the zombies in front of it, but we managed to pull her out and get her healed back to consciousness. Just in time for Remy to get himself out before we slam the door back shut.

Back awake now, and with all of us gasping for breath, wondering what we’re doing down here, Nat shares a vision from the night before. The guy we’re after is deep in the earth. He’s been here a long time and to stop the current disaster we have to break his body. But to finish him, we have to break his mind. Oh good, riddles to go with the creepy shadow monster.

The group has a bit of a fluff up with Remy about zombies again, until said creepy shadow calls out to him, saying it can work with a fear of zombies. We call out to it in turn, asking why it’s doing this. It says it got a gift and now must destroy the Bones, as they kept him trapped here. We try to figure out who he is and how he got free, but it’s no use.

We head on, and come across a group of people, beaten and tied. We call out to them quietly, and they say that the miners check on them every half hour or so. Deciding to set a trap, we cut their ropes and send them back to wait outside the zombie room. Marybeth and I sit where they were while everyone else hides. They show up on schedule, and though the fight is rough, we put them down.

The shadow starts talking again. He asks about the mage revolution, and we tell him the mages won. He was put down here before it started. When we mention Rictus, he seems interested. We try to make a deal, don’t go after the Bones and we’ll help him get Rictus. He won’t be disuaded, though.

We head onward, freeing captives as we go, sending them back along the paths we’ve cleared , and hoping for the best. Then we come across a group of miners that are still working. Some are badly mutated, but some are only slightly affected. Nat recognizes one as Philomena’s butler, Ulysses. She approaches him carefully.

Asking what happened, he slowly, painfully replies punishment. Then asks after the family. She assures him they are safe. She asks what happpened. Bad things go bad, but not him. Remy steps up to take a look at him. The mana exposure has caused severe damage. It seems the mana has weakened them, made them easier to control for the shadow. Nat delves a little into his mind, with his permission, to try and understand. The shadow takes the weak, but he doesn’t know where they go. He keeps working so he can keep control. He says he’s been here in this mine for a year now.

We try to get him to stop working and go wait with the others, but he won’t. He doesn’t want his family to know what became of him, begs us not to tell Philomena. Remy thinks maybe Triplehorn or Klyce can figure out a way to fix the damage. Nat says it’s too late, he wants it to end. While the boys argue, Nat steps forward, and stabs him through the heart.

I… I can’t look. I… we knew him. He was innocent… Not a monster… not bad. He… I… what… No…