Following Astra’s defeat of the orc leader, the party examined the corpses, recovering small amounts of treasure and weapons. In the gallery beyond the chamber where the final duel took place, they discovered a live prisoner, the Damaran fighter, Bob. He was unconscious but woke up quickly, glad to be freed. Recovering his weapons and armour from the orc leader, he joined the group.
There was a pit in the chamber, with a rope ladder and a basic crane disappearing into the depths. Checking the drop, and hearing a moaning noise, they decided to leave this route for later examination and proceeded on down the gallery until they reached another barricade, composed of broken carts and spoil.
It took them a moment to realise what was odd about it: it faced further down the tunnel, rather than towards the entrance. Astra decided to climb over the barricade and pressed on, throwing light stones: she was somewhat surprised when one of them came back, hitting the barricade with a loud clatter.
A low groaning began from the darkness and, suddenly, everybody except Eckhard found themselves overcome with fright. Jedda ran away from the unnatural noise, although the others were able to stand their ground. Eckhard cast disrupt undead, injuring and partially illuminating a translucent spirit.
Astra immediately retreated, as Bob vaulted over the barrier to defend the party. A rock came sailing out of the darkness, hitting Eckhard on the head, while Bob found himself in hand-to-hand combat with a second ghost that he was unable to hit, although it could hurt him. Eckhard was able to finish off the first ghost, revealing it to be one of the miners as it dispersed. Jedda returned to the fight and launched a spear through the second ghost with perfect accuracy… to no effect. The second spirit turned on Eckhard, becoming visible and then suddenly rotting in front of him. The sorcerer finally ran in fear, but Bob took the opportunity of its now-solid form to cut it in half.
Once the sorcerer had returned, the party pressed on past the barricade, discovering two skeletons and a rather fresher corpse. As they approached, a third ghost arose from corpse, pleading for release. It didn’t take too long for them to realise it was Karl Tzeghenov, Andreas’ agent. It seemed to be looking for a proper burial, so they arranged for Grodn to take them to the Vaasan Gate. They found some coins and a letter on the corpse of Tzeghenov
Faced with climbing down the shaft, the group decided to take a night’s rest, returning to the investigation the following morning.
Re-entering the tunnel, they rigged a new rope (the rope ladder was ten years old) and descended. Astra fell part of the way, but Jedda caught her. Exploring the gallery, they found it opening into a larger tunnel. As they stepped out into it, they became aware of a rumbling noise from further up the tunnel, and saw a large mass heading towards them. As it resolved into a giant worm, they threw pots of spice at it in an attempt to distract it, but it simply smashed them out of the way.
Realising they’d attracted its attention, the party ran back into the side tunnel. Although it was bigger than the passage, the worm attempted to smash its way in, enlarging the tunnel as it did so. The party broke out into the sunshine, closely followed by the worm, blindly questing for the morsels of meat that had escaped it.
Retreating to the side of the sinkhole, they decided to make use of the Alchemist’s Thunder. Strapping a vial to an arrow, Jedda fired it down the thing’s throat. A muffled thump signified a detonation and the giant worm retreated into the tunnel.