Being the travels of Alyosha Medvyed during the times of the Southern expansion and the formation of the kingdom of TBD.
A Journey in the Dark
We had come upon, in our earlier travels, a small kind of fey, much the same size as Nixies, with the rude countenance of an ogre or some other beast, sparsely haired, a squashed, flattened nose, bleary eyes and the most peculiar bluish pallor to their skin. Oleg named them mites and seemed to see them as a nuisance, more than anything. We had tracked them, previously, to a large tree standing freely in the middle of the plain, where it seemed they had gone to ground, quite literally – the tree had at least one entrance into an underground area that we had seen that day. It was to this tree that we returned.
We traveled most of a day south and somewhat east from Oleg’s trading post and came in sight of the tree as the afternoon was wearing on. Approaching the tree cautiously, we saw nothing moving about on the surface, which in itself was not surprising, As Oleg had said they were mostly active at night and in dark environs. Searching around the base of the tree we found an entry there that we could all fit through, though the godtouched woman and the half-orc were probably more hard-pressed than myself and the monk. Still, all of us were forced to stoop to some degree to get into the entrance, which only added to the difficulty of it being effectively a dirt-walled tunnel. Once inside the tunnel it was clear we would need light, as only myself and the monk could see well at all, a torch was kindled and we moved further into the tunnels.
It was not long before we made contact with the mites of the tunnels, we came upon three of them and were immediately set upon, dispatching them quickly without much trouble. In the room we had encountered them, there was a passage that was nearly vertical leading down to a lower chamber, from which we could hear rough laughter and tormented squeals. Dropping into this chamber, we were again set upon by some half dozen more of the mites, at which point the half-orc seemed to go into a frenzy of action, the monk and myself acquitted ourselves well, while the godtouched woman watched over us, she has proven before to be an effective healer, and her abilities in that role would become needful for myself shortly. After the mites had been dealt with, we found the source of the squeals, a darkly scaled kobold was bound by the roots hanging down from above to the wall and had been being tormented by the mites. He gave his name as Mikmak, and claimed to be of the Sootscale clan, which were the known group in the area that we were to either eliminate or parlay peace with, he said he had come to retrieve an idol the mites had stolen. The creature seemed quite pathetic and we decided to leave him where he was and come back for him after dealing with the remaining mites.
Moving along the passage out of that chamber we came to a chasm in the path, it appeared to be something one could jump across, or climb down into and back up the other side, as we were discussing how to pass this obstacle, the half-orc pointed out a large creature that was nested left of the passage in the chasm. To our revulsion it was many legged centipede of daunting size, fully the length of a river canoe. I threw one of my concoctions at it and somewhat botched the throw, but fate conspired to allow me to look not quite the fool I had feared I might, and it landed in the center of the creature’s body instead of on its head, as I had intended. The centipede was definitely aware of us at that point and whether due to ill luck, or my attack upon it, the damned thing headed straight for me. It struck quite hard and I was knocked unconscious. By the time the godtouched woman had revived me, the half-orc and the monk had finished off the centipede. I have resolved not to anger large insects in the future, if it is avoidable.
With the centipede taken care of, we moved on up the passage, the monk again leading. These mites must have some affinity for insects because the next group we came upon seemed to be keeping a large tick as a pet. Again we had little trouble overcoming them, some of them running in fear after we had killed the tick and what appeared to be a leader from his somewhat less shabby clothing. On a rickety table there we found a small bone idol that appeared to be what Mikmak had mentioned earlier, beside what seemed to be a map made of piled dirt, leaves and branches. The map didn’t seem to correspond with any area that we had explored yet. The only other chamber was a common area that was empty as we entered it, the remaining mites having chosen to flee.
We retraced our steps and freed Mikmak who then led us to the Sootscale camp, I sought to use the idol as a bargaining tool to force a peace with the Sootscales, but the godtouched woman gave it freely to the Sootscale chief. His behavior was somewhat unnerving, as he lifted the idol over his head and dashed it to the ground, then gathered his warriors and attacked a shaman within the den, we were drawn into the brief conflict, and when the shaman was dead, we were able to secure a peace with the leader of the Sootscales, they are an ally of such now. As part of the negotiations, we were able to retrieve the ring that Oleg had asked us to look for, I am certain he will be relieved to have it back. The chief has in his possession a small bag of soil that seems to have strange properties, but I was unable to get him to part with it.