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January 21, 2012

…While familiarizing himself with my new estate and its ledgers Bax Edin noticed that 90% of the Viscounty’s gathered resources were missing. A focused search of the storage room in my tower revealed a 3ft by 3ft secret door hidden under the stairs that lead to a tunnel running west to northwest. The tunnel quickly lead into a network of tunnels that appeared to be recently dug. One chamber encountered early on contained shrieking mushrooms, which began to shriek as Hakim approached them, causing him to smash them to bits with his warhammer. Feeling that we probably just alerted the denizens of the tunnels to our presence I use an arcane eye spell to scout ahead. Most of the passages were empty but one passage opened up into a chamber which contained several orcs waiting to ambush us. Using a hypnotic pattern spell we quickly eliminated the awaiting orcs, but not before Salhadin was bull rushed and knocked into a ravine down one of the side tunnels.

Further exploration brought us to a tunnel with a locked, sturdy, fire hardened, wooden door bound with iron. The lock was large and well made, resulting in Relhor breaking one of his picks before he was able to open it. Behind the door lay a storage room that contained the missing Viscounty resources. I was relieved they had been found intact as these resources were sorely needed to begin improvements within the domain and to pay Councils taxes. To the west of the door we found the tunnel ended in a vertical shaft with a rung ladder leading up to a higher tunnel ledge. This strategic position was well defended by several orcs who used thrown rocks and dropped boulders to hold us off until Relhor was able to sneak up the ladder invisible. With Relhor distracting them with an attack from the rear the rest of our party assaulted the ledge driving the orcs back until they broke and fled down the tunnel.

Advancing more cautiously we passed a few small side chambers until we reached a point where the tunnel passage was covered with a heavy rope curtain. Using a flaming sphere spell I burned away the ropes to reveal a huge chamber, illuminated with several burning braziers, and full of orc warriors ready for battle. The center of the chamber was a large pit filled with a gelatinous cube, to the west was a raised ledge where a light catapult was being armed and loaded, to the north was a throne on a raised dais. On the dais stood the orc Over-Baron and his shaman advisor, protected by two ranks of orc warriors, two mysteriously hooded humanoids, and two hoban mercenaries. Our party immediately went on the offensive. Elias lead the assault with Salhadin on the left flank, Hakim on the right flank, myself in the center and Relhor guarding the rear. Using my flaming sphere to occupy their crossbowmen I hurled a fireball at the catapult, destroying it and any forces lurking there.

After that things began to happen quickly. I invoked a shield spell for better protection. Several orcs were cut down by my companions blades. The hooded humanoids retreated to the western ledge. The shaman disappeared behind a curtain only to return leaping into the battle against Elias, augmented by a hellwasp swarm infesting his body. More orcs joined the fray. One of the hooded humanoids cast a magic missile spell at me that was absorbed by my shield spell, revealing at least one of them as a user of arcane magics, while the other hooded humanoid employed a hand crossbow with little effect. After severely burning Elias and Hakim the shaman leapt back onto the dais disappearing behind the curtain to return free of the hellwasp swarm.

Suddenly we noticed a red glow approaching from a side passage to the northwest. The orcs reacted with a mixture of anticipation and fear. They seemed to rally and began chanting about the “burning one”. Our battle paused as out of the passage flew a three foot tall humanoid of intense heat and flame with a body that glowed like lava. This creature, after finishing of a cup of liquid platinum, announced himself as Mixelsmak herald of Lord Alar and demanded to know what we were doing in his master’s mine. Mixelsmak, clearly a creature from the plane of fire, was claiming a mine under my domain, attached to my tower as being under the rule of his master. This was intolerable, and in my wrath I struck him down with a freezing shards spell turning his fiery body to a blackened corpse. Striking down Lord Alar’s herald caused the Over-Baron and his orcs to panic in fear. We soon realized why when a second brighter glow of fiery light preceded the entrance of Lord Alar himself, a young fire salamander noble, his huge serpentine body wreathed in heat and red-hot flame.

Lord Alar, wroth about the defeat of his herald and my demands that he leave my domain or serve me, commanded the Over-Baron and his minions to slay our party. The Over-Baron fearing for his life leapt into the fray while the shaman and remaining orcs renewed their assault. I unleashed a freezing shard spell upon Lord Alar, having enhanced its destructive power with my metamagic training. The icy blast from my spell cause the salamander great pain driving him mad with rage causing him to charge through my companions in hopes of skewering me with his glowing red-hot spear. Having no desire to back down to this usurper I drew my sword, invoked my fire shield, and accepted his challenge. Lord Alar quickly realized the error of attacking me as each of his attacks were met with the chilling flames of my fire shield.

Having had enough, Lord Alar unleashed a fireball into our midst, summoned a huge fire elemental, and fled throwing up a wall of flame to slow pursuit. Using dispel magic I banished his elemental while Salhadin, in a moment of heroism, leapt through the wall of flames in pursuit. Salhadin pushing past the pain of his many wounds and burns ran down the escaping salamander finishing him with one final might blow, though, nearly sucombing to the salamanders great heat and flame in the process.

In the wake of Lord Alar’s destruction I surveyed the room. Elias and Hakim had cut down the Over-Baron, his shaman and most of the remaining orcs but had sustained many wounds for their efforts. Relhor had held off a rear attack of several orcs but had also sustained several wounds for his efforts. The two hoban remained unscathed and actually moved to finish off a few remaining orcs that were attempting to flee the carnage. Being mercenaries they had seen a shift in power and wisely acted accordingly. While the others took stock of the room and began looting corpses I approached both hoban and enlisted them into my service. Having seen my power they readily accepted. There names are Strode and Cade and they are a welcome addition to my forces.
A curtained alcove behind the Over-Baron’s dais contained a huge stone chest with a flat stone lid. Contained inside of this chest is a hellwasp swarm that the shaman was controlling with a control insects potion.

In the end the orc tribe had been crushed and scattered, their master Lord Alar had also been destroyed, a quantity of gold coins and platinum cubes had been recovered, and several magical items were found upon the corpses and in a hidden treasure room. However, the greatest treasure we acquired was the mine itself. Blofeld’s growth and economy would greatly benefit from this new found platinum mine…△

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Karameikos onsilius Thaljun