Late January 2013
Katherine S. as Keldeth
Amanda K. as Melima
Tyler J. as Baanor
Duane K. as Romulus Lux
People walk into Lorrigan’s Roadhouse looking for something every day. Usually, it’s just a place to sleep or a stiff drink, but the black-bearded dwarf who stumped into the common room that day was a different stripe of customer. He strode up to the bar like he expected it to run if he broke eye contact and shouted over the wooden span: “LORRIGAN! I need teh speak with yeh.”
A growl issued from behind the bar and Lorrigan turned around. A vast swath of man, his golden eyes locked on the miner and in three steps the barman was in a position to loom. Instead, he rested a massive, hairy arm on the oak of the bar, leaned slowly in and grunted “What?”
The dwarf launched into a whispered monologue punctuated liberally with hard whacks on the bar. Lorrigan nodded impatiently through most of it, then replied with something that made the dwarf’s already ruddy cheeks darken with fury. His black eyes narrowed and he stared up at the bartender for a long moment before giving a single, curt nod.
The barman nodded his shaggy head back, and said “Right, then.” He scanned the common room without straightening, his eyes stopping first on a hulking gray figure that hunched over his table like an adult trying to work in a schoolkid’s chair. He noted the steel gauntlets that the goliath had slapped onto the table, and the massive hammer leaning against the wall, then called “Hey! Big guy!” The massive man looked up from the pork ribs he was tearing into. “Yeah,” Lorrigan insisted “you. Over here.”
As the goliath stood up, stooping slightly to avoid the chandelier, Lorrigan’s gaze swung to first one dark corner of the room, then the other. A cloaked female figure sat in each; one was wearing brown, the other black. Both were glancing around furtively with the almond-shaped eyes of elvenkind, although one was merely swarthy while the other had skin blacker than her cloak. Brown-cloak had a longbow in easy reach; as he looked, the empty chairs around black-cloak shifted slightly, as if uncomfortable in her presence.
Lorrigan’s brow knit for a moment, then he shrugged slightly and called out “Elf! Darker Elf!” When they both looked up, with near identical expressions of annoyed disdain, he added “c’mere.”
The barkeep shifted his gaze around the room one last time, settling on a tired-looking human in dusty chainmail, with a gold sun symbol glinting on his chest. Lorrigan shouted “Oy! Cleric!” The holy man looked over from where he’d been staring into the flames, and Lorrigan jerked his head toward where the others were gathering. The cleric rose, his expression bemused. and headed towards the bar.
The varied group began exchanging looks ranging from quizzical to hostile, until the dwarf drew their attention (quite literally) down on himself by asking incredulously “This lot? Seriously?”
Lorrigan bared his extremely sharp teeth in what might have been mistaken for a smile in worse lighting, “if I say they can handle it, they can handle it. Unless you wanna try your luck with the watch.”
The customer glared over his beard and nodded. “Right then, they’ll have to do.” He squinted up at the clustered adventurers, his scowl deepening visibly as he went from from the elf, to the giant, to the dark elf. Finally he settled on the human, and extended his hand.
“Gundrem Coaleye,” he growled. He gripped the human’s hand like it was a snake he was trying to crush, and let go only after the cleric started to look bored.
The human wiped his hand on his cloak, and responded “Romulus Lux.”
Coaleye took this with a mere narrowing of his eyes. He glanced over the rest of the group. “And the rest of you?”
The goliath thumped his chest and roared “BAANOR!”
The elf in brown flipped back her hood and murmured, “I’m Melima.”
The drow glanced at the elf, sank deeper into her own hood, and intoned “My name is Keldeth.”
Coaleye nodded, and said “Right then. I’ve got a problem.” He went on to describe a small prospecting operation he was running in a the abandoned mining tunnels under the Tumbledown. He’d just homed in on a major find when he was run off by a bunch of tiny reptilian savages. The old mines were technically condemned, and the Watch weren’t exactly letting anyone in, so there was no strictly legal way of getting the filthy kobolds out and extracting the vein he’d spotted.
Which is why he’d come to Lorrigan.
After haggling out the compensation and being assured that no actual people would be harmed (which was only a problem for the cleric and, oddly, the dark elf), the four agreed to clear out the infestation. Lorrigan then demanded that each of them sign their names in a massive tome he hefted from behind the bar, and after they did so (in scripts ranging from elegant to paper-shredding) he announced “Welcome to Lorrigan’s Locators!”
A barmaid, nearly as burly and wild-haired as Lorrigan, called out “it’s just the Locators now, dad!”
The big shifter looked sullen, and nodded, “The Locators. Welcome to it.”
Since the Watch getting involved would’ve been a tad less than ideal, the newly minted Locators set out at dusk. They passed the low side gate of The Crossing — close enough that they could see the soldiers manning the horn-towers of the Red dragon’s head — and continued on to the rather less secure and scenic route of The Long Stairs. Starting down into the mind-numbing depths of the Schism, Coaleye called over his shoulder: “Don’t trip.”
Baanor looked over the edge, down into the vanishing depths, and nodded. “Falling,” he observed “would be bad.” The titanic warrior strode down the the steps with sure-footed confidence, impatiently shadowing the dwarf. Melima and Keldeth both chuckled, more at the idea of tripping than Baanor, then exchanged glares as they began gliding down the steps with inhuman grace. Romulus unceremoniously placed himself as close to the wall as possible, and began moving down after the rest, one hand out to steady himself.
Coaleye stopped them at a landing far enough down that the lights of the Crossing above them looked like a just a few more stars in the narrowed sky. He took a quick look below, and the adventurers followed his gaze down to a lit landing a two hundred feet or more below them. Where guards in the blue and grey of the Watch’s livery stood in front of a roped off opening. Coaleye muttered, “this ’ere is the place.”
Romulus sat on a step as the dwarf slipped behind a boulder “You couldn’t have dug in from someplace less…?”
“Public?” Melima helpfully added.
“Exposed?” Keldeth supplied.
“Dumb?” Bannor wondered.
Romulus finished his thought “inconvenient.”
The stepped behind a boulder and shoved at what looked like a solid wall of rough stone. With a low grinding, the wall slid aside, revealing a narrow tunnel that sank out of sight into the rock. He responded to the gripes as he stepped inside and lit up a sunrod, safely out of sight of the guards below; “Look, Ah’ll worry abou’ the logistics, you worry abou’ the bloody lizards, aye?” Without waiting for an answer he started down the tunnel, and the adventurers, sighing, followed.
The narrow tunnel eventually opened up into an older, wider passage, this one boasting a rusted minecart track and rotted wooden supports. The dwarf nodded, and lead them into the old mines, past collapsed tunnels and twisted mine tracks. Baanor attempted to entertain everyone with what he claimed was an old goliath marching song, his tuneless rumbling nearly causing both a cave in and his own murder before Melima stopped him by hissing: “Be quiet!”
Seeing huge warrior’s wounded look, the elf continued “sorry, I meant — I hear something.”
The party stopped in their tracks and tilted their ears to where the rogue was looking. A series of sounds like two small-breed dogs yapping playfully at one another echoed to them. Melima murmured, “I think that’s them.”
“Them” was a few reptilian humanoids whose size made the elves look like giants (kobolds), and a pair of leashed stormclaw scorpions — big as dogs! ELECTRIC PINCERS! — on leashes. The reptilians — and their giant scorpions — blundered around the corner, yapping backing and forth in what, to the party, was unintelligible gibberish.
“Yip, yappi-yip?” Asked one of the kobolds tentatively.
The one in the back, thinking quickly, replied: “YAPYEPYIPSSSSSSS!” at which the others dropped the chains — which were holding the massive scorpions with thunderbolt claws — and drew spears and slings.
The adventurers knew how to handle this part. Romulus and Baanor rushed forward to engage to the charging horrors of sparking chitin, while Keldeth hung back and immediately pointed her magic staff and unleashed a salvo of what might be called “mind acid” at the lizardling that looked to be giving the orders. It splashed against the stone with a sizzling that sounded eerily like laughter as the target ducked behind cover. Melima seemingly vanished, only to pop out of a shadow and clip a kobold with an arrow as long as the lizard was tall.