While most of the party was chasing down the fleeing warriors, Lily charmed one of the workers and questioned him about the mine -- were there any guards? Why had everyone fled into the mine instead of down the canyon? What reinforcements were available?
The worker didn't have any clue about the reinforcements, but he didn't think there were any warriors in the mine. There *were* lots of places to hide, and caches of emergency supplies, and the arcanist who could maybe protect them with his spells. It seemed safer than risking the goats!
The party decided that the mine wasn't important enough to attack (given that they might end up trapped between the arcanist and the reinforcements if they tried), so they decided to loot and burn. They filled their bags of holding with masterwork weapons made from the blue metal, and tied two full crates to Hef's back besides, using an Ant Haul spell to let him carry the extra weight and still walk. They wouldn't be able to carry it all the way back to the city like that, but they thought maybe they could bury it somewhere more accessible.
They then spent about an hour hacking through the waterwheel's shaft, breaking the massive stone press, setting everything on fire, and generally laying waste to the mine, before heading off north along the hidden trail, planning to leave the canyon at the first opportunity, which wasn't for a ways if they wanted to stick to the trails.
They ran into a problem long before that, though -- one of the fleeing scouts had cut all the bridges. They discussed ways to repair the bridge, but really the crack in the wall looked like it would be a decent place to climb out of the canyon entirely if they were going to be climbing. On the other hand... that would leave them very vulnerable for a good five to ten minutes, where if a drake showed up and fireballed them, everyone would die. So instead, the jumped off the cliff with a featherfall spell and raced along the bottom of the canyon, letting Hef guide them around rockfalls, cliffs, and other natural barriers as they made their way upstream.
Pretty soon, they noticed they were surrounded by goats. Lots and lots of goats, leaving their territorties and shadowing them, massing for an attack. Lily thought something might be luring them magically, and cast a detect magic, searching the party for any anomolous magical auras. She did see a faint glimmer from the crates of blue metal (individual pieces hadn't registered at all), but she also noticed a strange enchantment effect on Calvin that she hadn't noticed before (since he had plenty of other magic and no one had specifically searched him for anomolies until now).
But first, they needed to ditch the crates. The goats were getting more aggressive -- although Sam was able to use handle animal to keep them from actually attacking for the moment -- and they backtracked to a small cave, large enough to dump the crates where they wouldn't be found unless someone specifically looked their. Not as good as burying them, but at least...
Oh, crap. Now the goats were mobbing the cave.
At any rate, Sam tricked Calvin into accepting a protection from evil spell, which let him shake off the enchantment. The only thing that he noticed different about his opinions after being freed was that he didn't care as much about leaving the crates behind.
Then they ran farther, still looking for a good place to hide from the reinforcements, the especially scary ones being the drakes. They hadn't gotten far before there was a massive explosion and a glow of fire from behind them -- the drakes had found the gathering of goats, and incinerated them all! The party broke into a run, and managed to find hiding places in time -- Dawnfire and Hef hid behind a small waterfall, and Dawnfire cast an illusion of a rock fall to conceal the rest of the party. Just in time, as a wing of five drakes flew overhead.
Not knowing how long it would be until the drakes came back, the party headed to the nearest more permanent hiding place -- a half-buried cave Lily's fox had spotted and scouted out. It wasn't big enough to be comfortable, but it was technically big enough for everyone to fit inside. They'd only just managed to squeeze in and re-conceal the entrance before the drakes flew back overhead, and they decided to stay there until nightfall, just in case. There were a couple more overflights, and then the sound of a huge army of gnolls -- the reinforcements en-masse most likely -- walking along the hidden pathway overhead, but they managed to remain unseen until dusk, at which point they crept out and looked for a larger cave.
They found a *very* large and deep cave, that didn't have any recent scent trails leading in and out, and decided to search for a hidden nook to rest in out of sight of the entrance. The first one they chose... had a cloaked. It tried to engulf Hef and failed -- the ogre was too big and strong -- but Hef managed to miss it with his counterattack, and its subsonic screech sent Hef, Calvin and Hobbes all running in terror, leaving the wizard, sorceror and oracle to deal with it, all of them basically out of spells. It engulfed Dawnfire and started chewing on her, while tail-lashing at Liliana and dodging most of Sam's spells... but Dawnfire's touch of flame kept burning it from inside, and they managed to hold out until Hobbes came back and pounced it, finishing it off. And almost finishing off Dawnfire in the process.
But not quite, and they were able to heal her. And with the cloaker gone, the nook was safe to rest in -- nothing else that lived in the cave was likely to attack a cloaker lair.
In the morning they decided to see if the drakes had left the crates so that they could be hidden better, but as they half expected, the crates were gone. They hadn't expected a gnoll to be hiding and watching the cave, but he didn't realize they saw him and didn't want to reveal himself and get killed, and they were able to get close enough for Lily to suggest that he lead them out of the canyon.
Gnoll: "Oh my god! What are you still doing here? You have to get out of here before more people get killed!"
The gnoll told them that their best bet was to use the crack they'd originally been planning to climb up, since the hidden path was guarded again and had a clear view of the canyon floor. Since they knew where that was, Hef and Calvin decided to go ahead and take him out, but he managed to get a shot off before he was killed -- a flaming arrow, straight into the air, visible for miles around. Doh.
Still, they weren't really near any outposts, and they were able to get to the crack and up out of the canyon, and safely under the cover of the forest that grew on the orcish side of the rift, before the gnolls could respond. After that it was a long but mostly uneventful trek back to civilization, where they could sell what was left of their loot and finally get Lily healed up the rest of the way from her ordeal (if they were willing to spend three days shopping, which seemed like a fine idea).
They reported the gnoll incursion to the army, and Lily decided to take a sample of the blue metal to the mage guild to make sure it was okay to sell the dubious metal on the open market. The verdict was... no. No it was not. They were to bring it all in so that it could be put in quarantine until its magical properties could be studied. The rest of the party was strangely not good with that -- they had all been charmed by the blue metal and wanted to sell it where people could use it (and be charmed).
Of course, they didn't know they were charmed, so Sam didn't think to resist the mind-clearing effects of protection from evil. He and Lilia cooked up a plan with the mage's guild, and the rest were bought in to 'argue their case' and walked right into a magic circle of protection, breaking them out of their charm spells as well. Or at least, making them realize that they had been charmed so that they could stay still to be dispelled.
The guild did give them a finder's fee for the dangerous weapons, at least, so they didn't go home completely empty handed. And they still had all the fire arrows to sell, along with a bunch of other magical loot. The arrows were *probably* made out of the same stuff (they'd found arrowhead molds), but it didn't look the same so the guild didn't confiscate it, and surely a mere arrowhead wouldn't be enough metal to charm whoever it was that eventually bought it.
At any rate, they had a lot of gold to spend, but Dawnfire was [400 xp short of levelling] restless and offered to lead the party on a trip into the sewers to hunt undead. There was always a bounty on clearing undead out of the sewers! They'd waste a few ghouls and zombies so that they could be dropped deeper into the catacombs where they would take a while to find their way back up, and that was how the city was kept safe.
Since there were five of them, and they were much better equipped than she had been on her previous forays, they headed down to the 'mid' level of the sewers where more of the more powerful undead lived. Lilia cast a detect undead spell so they couldn't be surprised, and they managed to root out a nest of wights hiding near the entrance and kill them all before they could energy drain anyone, then waste a pack of rabid ghouls led by a ghast that charged at them, without taking a single hit! Emboldened, they headed deeper, until Lily detect five 'strong' undead signatures from a deep murky pool. The wights and ghouls had been merely 'moderate'.
So they sent Hobbes in as an expendable 'scout' -- if the Eidolon was killed, after all, he'd be back the next day. And out of the pool came five wraiths, that quickly drained Hobbes of all his vitality.
The party ran! Calvin paused to cast haste, and Lily to cast Halt Undead which stopped two of the wraiths in their tracks, and Dawnfire was with them too, possibly for solidarity [or maybe she cast something that I don't remember]. They took a few attacks from the wraiths for their trouble, but Dawnfire was the only one hit and survived the experience, and then their hasted running got them the heck out of dodge. And they decided to call it a day.
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