After the visions faded and the dreams passed, the party awoke in comfortable beds. The residents of Blackroot had dragged their comatose bodies from the weeds outside town and placed them in open rooms at the Boar’s Head Tavern. Convening in the great room, the group met Golby, owner of the inn.
Iapol arrived shortly thereafter and updated the party up on what had been happening in Blackroot. Local dwarves had been taken from town by force. No culprit or cause was known, but clearly they were targeted. Iapol was unable to track the source, so she called in a favor to her friend, Captain Towercrest. He came with two of his men, and they followed a lead into Blackroot Forest.
They had not returned.
Desperate, Iapol put a call out to any capable adventurers she knew in the area, in hopes of recovering at least Towercrest, if not also the missing dwarves.
Roderick and Slashreap spent a little time harassing the inn’s young helper, Geoffrey, but as they’re welcome was about to wear thin, Roderick oddly decided to make good by buying a stew pot at well above market rate.
The party headed out and chased down leads, eventually making way into Blackroot Forest, where they picked up tracks that led them to the mouth of a wide, but dark cave that had been carved out of a low-sloping hill. Beat up mine cart tracks led from the cave mouth inside.
Inside the mine were all sorts of hostile and foul creatures, including goblins and hobgoblins. Les immediately showed of his courage (and lack of balance) by tiptoeing across a narrow rail bridge that spanned an open pit in the cave. Peppered with longbow fire, Les fell helplessly to the cave floor, needing Orren’s immediate healing.
But the party fought on and cleared the room, moving into further cave chambers. Great excavation work had been done in the cave system, though quite hastily. Soon the party discovered also that it had been done at the dwarves’ expense. The missing citizens of Blackroot were found—caged—in the depths of the cave. All had been put to work digging, and several had been worked past their last breath. Towercrest’s men were there as well—alive—but injured beyond purpose in battle. The party freed them and had them wait while they continued looking for Towercrest himself.
In the furthest chamber of the cave the party discovered a band of goblins, led by one called Sharil who had made a home of the place. Towercrest lay chained in the corner of the room. Sharil and his minions were no match for the adventurers, who made quick work of them. They freed Towercrest and tended to his wounds.
Among the spoils of the battle the party found gold, magical boots, and the tiniest bit of residuum. As well, they found a half burned note near the fire pit which read:
What do you think you’re doing!?…
I told you to avoid the town at all costs, and now you’ve taken dwarfs from Blackroot?
…no more digging there. It’s been four months, and you’ve found nothing. Prepare to leave. I’ll send you a new location soon…
No more mistakes, or I’ll come down from Tellgard and deal with you myself. Burn this letter. Kill the messenger. We can’t take any chances.