Old Man Rheinhardt slowly and carefully pushed open the rock face. It swung in comparatively easy considering it most likely weighed tons. As he continued to open it, he heard a CLICK. Pausing and stepping back, he noted that after a short wait, the door started to close by itself. It took a bit of effort to counter the closing force, but they managed to force the door fully open and block it open with a freshly cut log. Rheinhardt and Salvik entered first only to see, at their feet, three skeletal figures on the ground.
Backing out and telling the rest, Geddragg Bitterbrew calmly strode in and kicked one of the skeletal heads down the passage ahead … no it wasn’t like the ones they had encountered just days before. Better safe than sorry. The passage ahead varied in width from 6 to 12 feet and had no light. Rheinhardt led with Salvik close behind carrying a lantern above short Rhenihardt’s head. Around mid-group, Mitiliago advanced with a small flame in his palm and Geddragg brought up the rear carrying a torch. The cavern passage constantly dripped water from the roof making the floor wet and slightly slick.. Water started to gather into little rivulets along the edge of the passage. They were definitely progressing downhill.
Not 30 yards went by when Rheinhardt yelled “Bats incoming!”. Swarms of bats started to attack the first light source and the person holding it, Salvik! Salvik set down the lantern and flailed at the bats along with the rest, Mitiliago put out his flame and waited to see where he was most needed. Geddragg moved up and his torch attracted the attention of part of the swarms. At one point, the bats attacked the lantern, knocking it over and extinguishing it. Mitiliago quickly re-lit it with a short prayer. Luckily they still had Geddragg’s torch to see by in the interim. The experience quickly ended.
As they moved deeper into the cave, the dripping increased and the runoff gathered into a small stream. Soon the tunnel opened into a fairly large cavern, stalagmites, stalactites and columns covered the cavern’s floors and ceiling with the stream winding its way through the center. As Rheinhardt stopped near one of the columns, part of the column separated from the rest and a glob stretched out and slammed into him. Weapons that hit it seemed to sink in and pull out with little or no damage. Kinstaag Grimmhammer Shouted, “It’s a gorram mimic! Ya gotta kill it with FIRE!” There were at least three former victims lying in a pile below the column where the mimic had attached itself. A couple of our brave troupe nearly joined them were it not for the healing draught and bandages purchased in town prior. The mimic finally ended in a bubbling burning glob on the floor and the party continued.
After looking around for “treasure”, whatever that is, they ventured further into the winding cavern. More little streams joining the main one to make an ever wider stream. As the path ahead narrowed, the stream completely covered the tunnel floor, making it smooth and slick after years of wear. The constant dripping and the distraction of their wet clothing and boots almost disguised the sound of rushing and splashing water ahead. Rheinhardt thought it better to secure himself with a rope prior to proceeding. It was a good choice because soon after, he slipped on the slick stream bed and nearly was swept over the edge of a drop off. Kind of a combination waterfall and steep, rocky waterway leading into darkness. Being the shortest and lightest, his weight was easily checked and he recovered. Mitiliago noticed a very small ledge to the left of the stream as it entered the new cavern. He also noticed carved out hand holds about 4 feet higher. These could be used to inch sideways around the outcropping to discover a possibly route down. Rheinhardt was too short to reach the hand holds, so Natina went first. (Each participant did a Co-ordination and an Athletics Test to make it.) Natina acted as anchor for the rope and the rest worked their way across until just the two Dwarves were left. The largest of the crew.
Kinstaag went first, making it through the rushing water to the ledge, but critically failing his Athletics Test and falling to the rocks below. His body lay motionless. Unnerved, Geddragg Bitterbrew wrapped the rope around his waist and started across. Maybe the ledge had something against Dwarves because he also failed his Athletics Test and dropped off the ledge, slamming into the wall below the rest of the party. He was unconscious, but was quickly hauled up to join the rest. A long plateaued winding path followed the wall and slowly went to the new cavern’s floor. Salvik was lowered to Kinstaag with a Healing Draught but had to drop the last 5 feet. Kinstaag was alive, but gravely injured. Several broken ribs would hinder any thought of travel for a bit. The rest slowly worked their way down the winding path to join them.
The sound of the rushing water drowned out almost all noises in this cavern. Even normal conversation was difficult without raising your voice. The group slowly picked their way through the rocks and spray to the far end of the cavern where again it narrowed with the swift stream flowing on the right side and ultimately into a huge cavern with the large stream flowing across the center. The far half of the cavern appeared to be a lake. Maybe it was below the water level of the river now.
Ahead, somewhere in the cavern, came a giggling, mad laughter. Rheinhardt saw what appeared to be an ashen colored figure near the water’s edge. When Salvik and Mitiliago looked, they also saw two skeletal figures rising from the ground beside him.
Kinstaag coughed, “Vorrik …. he’s alive!” and collapsed, coughing blood.