We had agreed to escort a merchant, Kapi, to bring beer down the newly re-opened tunnels below the Abbey, for a wedding among the Oresniffer clan in the Near Deeps. Along the way we were interrupted by an encounter with the Goldmelters, and Mel had a bit of a wrestle with one of their number, after which the Goldmelters got a bit of the ale in exchange for quite a lot more than the Oresniffers were paying for that fraction of the ale. Still plenty left for even a dwarven wedding.
And so, we continued along through the Near Deeps towards the caverns of the Oresniffer clan. On the way, we also passed clan Trollbiter. They take their clan title seriously – always prepared to meet a troll (duly armed, flask of acid, etc). Their caverns had some pretty serious fortifications, although still not as serious as the monastery – clearly geared for defence against marauding trolls. And while they grow some of their own mushrooms, they clearly hadn’t been doing well while the monastery was under the control of the zombies, shutting off trade to the Tower. Kapi gave a promotional keg to the guards, and we continued on through Trollbiter territory without event.
As we were making our way uphill towards the Oresniffers, it seemed word had already gone ahead: some came out to meet us, and one particularly well-dressed one came bounding out, weeping for joy: “hooray, hooray, I can get married at last!” Trurach Oresniffer, who, it turns out, was engaged to a Trollbiter.
Part of the dowry, we learned, was to be the marriage weasels (Trurach’s father would select and give prize weasels to the Trollbiter clan). Weasels are valuable in the Near Deeps, as they are used to sniff out gremlins – after all, gremlins are a serious problem when you rely on heavy mining equipment. The dwarves even make little cold iron tooth- and claw- caps for the weasels.
The bridal chainmail was also a topic of animated discussion. And of course, Kapi could now sell his ale.
We took some advantage of the local wares – cold iron and adamantine items considerably discounted from what one would pay to buy from a smith or merchant on the surface.
We talked for a long time about weasels. Now that the ale had arrived, it was time for a pre-nuptual shindig (including the Showing of the Weasels) – to which we were all invited. We had some conversations about the state of the middle deeps, the abbey, etc. We learned that, prior to being taken over by the traitors, the Abbey would from time to time send out scouting parties, which would help deal with threats arising from below the near deeps. Since the abbey had been out of action, that hadn’t been happening at all, which caused a sense of unease among the dwarves here.
While on our way to the shindig, there was a sudden commotion. Al heard something that sounded like draconic, although it was difficult to understand… “for slougrach”? And then, we saw four… things charging towards us – bipedal, human sized, lizard-ish looking things with stone grey skin. And boy, did they smell BAD. Troglodytes. And they were kicking a dwarven head before them.
Three of them were waving big axe-like weapons (a large bone attached to a large skull with shards of glass in it). The other one had a spiky glove. One charged at Maul. The one with the spiky glove cast a sound burst at us. Another one charged at Mel and hit her. Another one ran forward, at which point Al dropped a fireball on them all – weak, but they were all somewhat singed. We took no more hits from the trogs for a while (they really haven’t done a decent one since Wild Thing), their spellcaster attempted to silence Al but failed, and she responded with another fireball, slightly better… but all were still on their feet. There followed several more attacks, a flaming sphere, and a crit from Mel caused the first charger to explode. Another flaming sphere, and then a spectacular tumble from a vomiting Cog (they really do smell terrible) put him in place to deliver the spellcaster a fatal stab to the jaxie.
A few more hits were exchanged, and Al used the flaming spheres to chase the remaining trogs. Maul finished one off, and Mel finished the other one off, after collecting a couple of broken-off teeth from trog bites.
Maul wommed out some positive energy, and we searched the bodies. All they had were weapons and some thoroughly disgusting armour, in addition to a handful of jewels.
Concerned as to what we might find, Cog took a stealthy look ahead. He could see a group of dwarves finishing off the last of a bunch of troglodytes, but a lot of bodies of all sorts lying around. Maul ran ahead to help heal the wounded. The rest of us followed after picking up the troglodyte axes.
It seems a whole hoard of troglodytes had broken through one of the lower gates, but the Trollbiters had rallied and fought them back down. Unfortunately, the weasel (the weasel!) had escaped, and disappeared down through the gate that the troglodytes had come out of. At least weasels are weaselly recognised (unlike stoats, which are stoatally different)… but first, we’d have to find it.
Roderick can track the weasel by its scent (just)… so, down we go!