Deeper into the dark
21 Nightal 1489 DR
After defending themselves from a pair of giant rodents, they took a moment to dress Roathus' injury - Allegra spoke a word of magic that helped close the wound. With his breath caught again, Roathus stepped into the river flowing through the chamber to see where it led. The frigid water immediately shocked him to the bone and nearly swept him away but the skilled sailor kept his feet and saw that the river fell into darkness not far after the end of the chamber. Roathus quickly stepped out of the rushing water and dried off.
With no other path, the group followed the reptilian tracks further into the mine to a wooden platform leading across a chasm which fell further than their light could illuminate. They - very carefully - crossed the platform across from the thundering waterfall from the cave where they fought against the rats. Once safely across, they descended to the next level of the mine via a single-passenger bucket elevator.
There were a lot of reptilian tracks in the dust both going and coming from one direction and only a single set of tracks leading (but not coming back from) the other. Out of an abundance of caution, they all agreed to follow the lone set of tracks first and found themselves in a chamber with an opening to the central chasm but no sign of any creature, kobold or othewise.
Roathus thought he saw something move among a cluster of stalactites and sent a beam of frigid energy toward it, striking something that pulled further into the dark! Ukira offered her torch to light up the ceiling and Allegra created a magical hand and floated the torch upward, revealing a set of barbed tendrils attached to a bulbous, wrinkled body with a cruel-looking beak!
A quick, brutal fight followed, leaving Ukira injured and Roathus gravely wounded. While the group caught their breath, cleaned their equipment and tended to their injuries, they heard some scuffling sounds back the way they came but never seemed to come close. Roathus also felt a distinct impression of volatile pride that wasn't his own and the realization soured his mood.
After recovering, the adventurers took the opposite tunnel and Roathus just caught sight of a pair of waist-high reptiles bundled in furs and leathers fleeing from a room with another dead giant rat. They carefully continued through the tunnels, sloping down further into the cold earth.
The tunnel opened to the chasm again, with another wooden platform leading to another tunnel hosting a cluster of the reptilian creatures. One of them wore a crude set of wooden-and-paper wings, and introduced himself as
Trex, saying they meant no harm and simply wanted to work the mines as part of the town.
To a one, the group was suspicious of Trex but couldn't put a finger on why. They asked him to wait while they continued looking for the missing miner. After finishing their search unsuccessfully, Allegra offered to escort Trex back to Termalaine to negotiate living in town and working in the mine.
On the way back, they pried into what Trex was hiding, eventually grabbing his satchel to search it. But when Allegra held it, her hand started going numb and she tossed it away - when it landed, a spectral figure with a mauled face and a deep gash around his entire neck appeared, floating, nearby!
A hollow voice rasped out:
You just couldn't let me get to town, could you?