Then it was another hour and a half before Tom and Shawn and Ed showed up and were all in the same room at the same time. It's like they had a tag team thing going for a while.
After catching their breath and looting the armory (Heyyou took an extremely magical mordenkrad, and Beware a nice suit of chainmail) they headed upstairs with the key. The miner-ghost led them to the mine door, and faded out as he entered the mine, in the middle of telling them that he'd just need to get his ring out of the locker over there so that they could get upstairs to talk to Denerim about opening the front door so that they could get out.
The mine was haunted, of course -- a black mist coated the floor, looking to be made up of thousands of tiny, incorporeal spiders. They didn't want to walk in it, so they had Celeste summon a floating disk for Beware to ride over to the lockers to pick their locks and search them for a ring. He was still on the third locker (out of five) when the larger spiders crawling around deeper inside the mine decided to attack.
The big spiders immobilized with shadowy webs, and slowed with poison, and the thousands of tiny siders slowed with necrotic energy, but the battlefield (at the mouth of the mine) was so cramped that it hardly mattered, and none of the spiders did much damage. So the party chased them off, and Beware was able to search the rest of the lockers to eventually find the ring, along with a bunch of mithril nuggets that were probably pretty valuable.
They weren't sure where to use the ring, though, so they went back through the throne room and took the most ornate door available, which led to a well-preserved royal parlor. It would have been a perfect place to rest, since it seemed immune to the miasma that filled the rest of the ruin, but Celeste saw a ghost pop out of the secret door carrying a bundle, and head towards the front door which they'd been avoiding on the miner ghost's warnings.
Beware: "There's a secret door?"
Celeste: "Yes, it's very well hidden, behind that giant S drawn on the wall there."
They weren't *that* tired, so they followed the ghost, and ran right into a giant demon, who taunted them a bit, and whined about being bored of being trapped in the mine for so long. "I'll give you a boon if you amuse me with a skill challenge."
Varnix: "I'll use insight to impress him with my realization that he's just toying with us."
The party got fairly good rolls, and managed to amuse the demon, who rewarded them by restoring all their daily powers and healing surges. Demons can do that?!
Beware: "Actually, for my boon I'd like that crown you're wearing."
Demon: "If you want *that*, you can take it from my decaying bones!"
And then they fought! Celeste sucked the demon into a corner and locked him down, Beware plopped a damage field under him, and then they surrounded him and beat on him a bit until he died. The demon didn't just stand there or anything -- he fought back with mental attacks that blinded the party and forced them to hit each other -- but he was no match for them, not even close.
Beware: "He's been trapped here for hundreds of years -- he expected us to be 1st edition characters."
The demon laughed as it died, and the party claimed the flaming crown from the dust that was left where it fell -- perhaps it had been a ghost, too?
But with the crown, they had all three of the items that had been inscribed on the secret door. So since the maul was definately Heyyou's, he took the ring and crown and knocked, and the secret door opened -- revealing an empty room, with stairs leading up to the forested level they'd only seen through force fields so far. Hopefully, upstairs they'd find a way out through the front door, which had been sealed with a Mythal.
And maybe a way to get the cursed crown off Heyyou's head.
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