On the way out of the city, they were intercepted by a rabbit monk called Whisper, who didn't talk much, but eventually (after stalking them for a while) managed to get across that she was there for Alex. To protect Alex. She didn't know why, but those were her orders. Alex and Ironhoof recognized her clothing as marking her as a member of a fairly well known order of monks that usually wasn't up to anything *especially* shady. Or maybe they were just that good?
At any rate, with their new companion they decided to walk through the pass, first checking on the fort near the kobold caves. The fort looked okay from a distance, until they noticed that the orcs on the walls were scarecrows. Alex turned invisible and climbed the wall of the fort to see inside, and saw that the whole place had been rigged to blow. So after having the party back off to a safe distance, she climbed up one of the cliffs at the side of the pass and fired a few flaming arrows down into the fort to detonate it safely.
About then, the Tengu attacked -- three of them, at least, had managed to make their way back, and were out for blood! But Alex turned invisible again, and by the time the Tengu were ready to make another pass the whole party was back together, and they weren't about to make THAT mistake again.
The entrance to the kobold caves was missing, so they split up to search the wall for any sign of where it had been. Whisper found it, putting her hand through an illusionary stretch of wall and triggering a rockslide and the release of a wave of acid, neither of which managed to touch a hair on her fuzzy little hide. Some will-o-wisps flew out to 'finish off' the victims of the trap, but as no one had actually fallen victim they were easily chased off. The party decided to re-seal the cave with a wall of stone instead of chasing them back into kobold territory.
Most of the rest of the mountain wildlife was no match for them; some of it even realized that before attacking and getting slaughtered. The next day, they came to a part of the pass that tunneled through a ridge, and noticed a sliding wall before it could slide shut and trap them. Alex disabled it, making the later 'fill the corridor with water' trap look pretty silly. Ironhoof used Stone to Mud to get past the other wall (it didn't work on 'worked stone', but the tunnel had itself been made using stone to mud spells, a standard gnomish drilling technique, and wasn't technically worked) and ended up trapping a huge ambush of weakish kobolds in a mudslide. While the dragonne intimidated them into surrender, they confiscated the kobolds' weapons and moved on.
It was another day to get out of the pass, but that was the last bit of excitement. They eventually came within sight of the coal mine, and saw it looking fairly normal, aside from a Deveel caravan parked nearby for some unknown purpose. They'd met them before and found them friendly and knowledgeable about elemental rifts, but what were they doing here?
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