The Haunted Mines of Krator

The Haunted Mines of Krator

Part 1

By Dwayne MacInnes

Gwendolyn is my name and I am a Wood Elf by birth. You may say that I am a thief by trade. However, I personally do not like to think of myself as such. I prefer the title, scout or wealth adjuster. Granted, after I left my home in the Great Forest to try my hand at a living inside the Empire, I may have had to resort to finding some coinage in a stranger’s pocket. I figured that they would have given it to me after they heard my plight anyway, so why waste both our time with a needless story.

But then I found that I could make larger sums of money by fighting in the Imperial Arena. There is a lot of coinage to be had if you can fight well. Now, do not think I am one of those muscled bound low intelligent Amazons. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, of all I mentioned that I am a Wood Elf. We Wood Elves tend to be extremely nimble and very gifted with the bow. Even a young Wood Elf could teach that famed human bandit Robbing Hood a thing or two in the art of archery.

Now, let me interrupt myself to mention that many humans think of elves as stuffy and aloof. They would be correct if they were referring to our cousins the High Elves. High Elves are very intelligent and love to study. That is why many become mages; however, they are boring, I am sure the High Elves would probably put it as pleasantly dull. High Elves have no sense of adventure (or humor for that fact) and do tend to believe that they the most superior form of all elves not to mention sentient life forms. After all, they are the ones who named themselves the **High Elves**.

Anyway, as I was saying about the arena, I could never be able to withstand a toe-to-toe fight with your average fighter. Remember, I am a wealth adjuster (said thief) and my skills lie elsewhere. The short sword I carry is my backup weapon; my weapon of choice is of course my elven bow.

Now, a bow is hardly a good weapon to use in the arena. Not a lot of places one can hide to fire off a succession of arrows at one’s opponent. However, the construction of the arena does have its advantages to one such as me. I was quick to notice that there were a series of buttresses on the arena’s wall. These buttresses would normally be inaccessible to your average heavily armored and heavily muscled warrior. Fortunately, I am none of these. I found to my great relief that I could leap to the top of the buttresses and fire off an arrow at my opponent. As anyone who has read the military treatise, Mixed Combat Tactics will remember that you should always take the high ground. However, it would hardly be sporting to sit there on top of the buttress and kill off my adversary. Being a Wood Elf I have a streak of theatrics ingrained in me. Therefore, of course, I need to win the audience over to my side.

I could stir up interest by jumping over my opponent; sometimes I would do a flip, land behind him or her and kick them behind their knees. They would then fall over and after they regained their feet, I would then jump upon another buttress just before they could reach me with their sword. It was not long before the audience started calling me the “Black Arrow?.

An interesting thing about the arena is that all fights are to the death. There is no mercy inside the pit. Now, you know why it pays so well. Unfortunately, arena rules forbid you to loot the bodies of the fallen.

However, once the body leaves the arena it is no longer under arena rules. Well, that is how I feel anyway. Plus, I felt it was unfair that the guards and physicians would loot the bodies long after the bout was over and take what was rightfully mine. They say, “To the victor go the spoils? and I agree. It was no problem to gain entrance into the “red room? to pay my last respects to my worthy opponent. I would go into a sacred elven prayer ritual (one I made up myself) and help myself to whatever items looked interesting. That is how I got my shield of magic warding.

I usually do not carry heavy armor, especially a heavy shield. I prefer something light. Maybe, even elven by manufacture. However, this shield I have found to be indispensable. By some powerful magic, the shield absorbs all hostile spells aimed at its possessor. That has proven to be a very useful thing to one in my profession.

Now, that we have some background let me tell you about the time before I was the Grand Champion and was the rising sensation in the arena that the town of Krator commissioned me to help them with the problem with their mines. It is a well-known fact that Krator has the richest silver mines in the empire. The capitol is the only city actually wealthier than Krator. However, Krator’s wealth is due strictly to the success of its mines.

It appeared that some months before my commission the silver mines had a terrible cave-in. Inside the mine’s dark dank bowels many miners lay trapped. It was weeks before rescuers cleared the rubble and stabilized the shafts that they retrieved the trapped miners’ long dead bodies.

It could not have been longer than a week after the mines reopened before the first stories of strange events happening in the mines began to surface. First, it was just someone thinking that they saw one of their dead comrades who died in the cave-in walking the shafts. Then strange accidents began to happen. Miners would sometimes find that the oil in their lamps had mysteriously vanished. Alternatively, a miner would just disappear forever into the inky blackness without a trace.

The elders of Krator petitioned the local garrison to investigate the problem. The garrison commander dispatched a small group of ten legionnaires to the town. The ten soldiers entered the mine one morning and never exited. The town elders petitioned the local garrison again, however the commander flatly denied them this time.

Thus, the town elders petitioned the emperor himself. Given the importance and wealth of Krator’s mines, the emperor ordered the garrison commander to look into the situation personally. Now, the commander had one more and legal trick to play. He told the elders of Krator that in order for him to send a cohort of legionnaires to look into this little problem, they would need to pay a high fee of one thousand Gold Eagles per soldier in order to compensate the Empire for the movement, logistics, and sheltering of the troops.

Krator’s mines by this time had been out of operation for at least two months. Miners were unemployed and had already spent what little savings they had. Hence, a great emigration had already taken place. Until the mines were operational again, the town would be unable to pay its taxes let alone a hefty service fee.

That is how, one day after a rather successful and amazing arena bout against a Dark Elf mage, I found myself reading a letter from the town of Krator. The elders had heard of my success in the arena, they could not afford the Grand Champion (it is highly unlikely he would have helped them out if they could) but they did offer me a thousand Golden Eagles if I took the job. Usually I earned five hundred Silver Crowns for a successful bout; I still had a long way to go to be Grand Champion. So of course, being the entrepreneur that I am, I accepted.

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The Haunted Mines of Krator

Part 2

By Dwayne MacInnes

You may have heard the old verse: How much wood could a Wood Elf shelf if a Wood Elf could shelf wood. The answer of course is as much wood as a Wood Elf could if a Wood Elf could shelf wood. It is a silly little human rhyme, for of course Wood Elves can shelve wood. Furthermore, if I were a High Elf I am sure I would have taken offense if the rhyme were about High Elves. However, I am not -- and it was not -- so I recited the little rhyme as I rode along the road towards Krator.

I received many strange looks from humans as they witnessed a Wood Elf upon the back of a fine black mare singing a silly children's song. That was not something you see every day in the Empire. It only took me three days to reach Krator upon that fine steed.

The citizens of Krator were a bit surprised to see me ride in alone. I guess they figured that I would hire some fellow adventurers and then share the reward amongst the party. The thing about being a wealth adjuster (or as you may call it, a thief) is that we tend to work better alone. Your typical warrior, mage, or priest can make enough noise trying to be stealthy to wake the proverbial dead. That is not including the times when they are not trying to be stealthy. In addition, many of the above are a bit clumsy.

Which reminds of the time a warrior, mage, and priest walked into a bar. The thief nimbly tumbled beneath it. Sorry, that really gets them at the taverns.

As I was saying however, it is far better for a thief, if you will, to operate alone. Parties tend to bicker over wealth distribution and frown on service fees for unlocking locks and disarming traps. I have also heard of thieves being turned into beastly creatures like lizard-men by getting themselves involved with parties.

It took a little convincing of the elders to prove that I was indeed the arena rat they were looking for. I provided a poster of myself. Of course, it was more stylized and the artist took a great many liberties with my body. I certainly do not have large breasts nor do I ever fight that scantily clothed. I do not know what humans have for large breasts but such things would be a great hindrance to successfully firing a bow. Secondly, it is a little ironic to have "The Arena's Acrobatic Archer, The Black Arrow" emblazoned across the poster and then show me (big breasts and all) holding a severed head in my left hand and a gore covered sword in the other.

Fortunately, a few miners had been to the arena and they knew me by sight well enough to vouch for my authenticity. I suppose I could have just jumped from my mare, done a flip over an elder's head, and kick him behind the knee. Nevertheless, I feel that that would not have made my case for me.

Once the elders were convinced that I was the genuine article, they took me to the entrance of the mines. It was a heavy wooden door with the words "Mine closed" and "Danger" written all over the surface. A sturdy lock sealed the entrance. I waited while an elder fumbled for the right key to open the door.

He looked rather embarrassed as he examined every key on his key ring. He could not figure out how he could have misplaced that key. Well, it was easy for me to figure out because I had already lifted it. Now, to say I knew what key to lift would be a lie. The fact I lifted the key in the first place was mere coincidence. I had helped myself to the elder's money pouch (I do have to stay in practice) and amongst the ten Silver Crowns, I found the key.

Things were not starting too well; the elders and the crowd were becoming uncomfortable. It did not look entirely well to hire a hero to fix your problem and then be unable to facilitate said hero toward the said problem.

"Excuse me your grace," I said as I bent towards the ground and produced the key. "I believe this fell as you pulled the ring out of your pocket."

Relief broke out upon everyone's face. I had already proven myself a hero in one small regard. That of being able to find the missing key to the locked mines of Krator.

Soon the heavy door was unlocked and I found myself inside the cavernous maw of the silver mine. The town provided me with an oil lamp before they quickly slammed the door shut behind me and proceeded to lock it.

It had never been discussed how I was supposed to get out once I finished my job. But these tended to be simple folk, and spooks -- real and imagined -- play upon their minds. I can only suppose that they had as much faith in me succeeding as I did. After all, I came to rid these mines of ghosts and ghouls. The fact, that it was the most successful silver mine in the empire had nothing to do with it. Well, maybe it was not quite nothing.

My first official act as hero was to extinguish the lamp. A thief with a lamp is not much of a thief. Now, it is well rumored that elves can see in the dark and to a certain extent, it is true. High and Wood Elves can see in low light and our subterranean brethren the Dark Elves can see in pitch-blackness. However, the interior of a mine favors pitch-blackness to low light.

Fortunately, I had learned a simple spell for seeing in the darkness. A few whispered phrases and *presto* night sight for one minute. Thankfully, it was a spell that did not take a lot of energy to cast. Imagine trying to cast that every minute for an hour. As it were, the routine of reciting the whispered phrases were tasking enough.

Shortly after gaining my dark sight I began to make my way stealthily down the mine's shaft. The town was at least kind enough to offer me a map before they locked me in. My bow with an arrow readied was in my hand.

Now, you are probably asking what good my arrows would do against a phantasm. Well, the fact that immediately after casting my simple spell the tripwire I spied stretching across the tunnel ahead of me told me that these ghosts were more corporeal than anyone suspected.

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The Haunted Mines of Krator

Part 3

By Dwayne MacInnes

Traps come in different shapes and sizes depending on who made them and where they placed them. In many dwarven establishments, you will find that the little dour faced people favor pressure plates in the floor. To detect these just look for the tiles with worn surfaces from usage over the ages. The difference is subtle but can be lethal, especially if you step on an unworn tile that happens to be a pressure plate. Some High Elves of old loved to have darts that shoot out of the wall once a beam of light was penetrated. Here you had to be observant to the tiny holes in the wall and natural light filtering into the area. However, in places like mines or natural caves where occupancy has been relatively short you find the ever-popular tripwire.

Tripwire traps are some of the most common, easiest, and cheapest traps to rig. Break a wire and a weapon from above crashes into your noggin. On the other hand, maybe a boulder topples into you from the side knocking you off a ledge. Regardless of their simplicity, tripwire traps are just as effective as any other trap. Dead is dead, unless of course you are on good terms with a high-ranking priest or a Necromancer. Priests are very expensive to employ in order to bring you back from the dead and even though a Necromancer is a lot easier on the money pouch, very few people want to return from the dead as a zombie or an animated skeleton.

Once a tripwire is located, the next thing is to figure out what it is on the other end of the trigger. In this case, it was some large stones nicely concealed in the roughly hewn ceiling. Having a half ton of rocks falling on you would make a quick end to any adventure. Now, that I had established what the tripwire was the trigger for I had to make a decision.

You are probably saying to yourself "what decision, disarm the trap." Yes, in some cases I would disarm the trap. Say that for example I had a couple of fighters, a mage, and priest bumbling around in the darkness behind me. However, as I established before -- I work alone.

There are two very good reasons why I would not disarm the trap. First, is that I do not want some unfriendly stumbling around and noticing that their trap has been discovered. Not good for one in my profession to alert the occupants of a dwelling that I am on the premises.

Secondly, a trap meant for me can be just as effective against the ones it is supposed to protect. You would be surprised that in the midst of a chase that the person who laid out a trap will completely forget about it. That is why it is of utmost importance that I memorize the location of traps. Many people do not realize that a thief's most important attribute is her memory. The thief that forgets something vital ends up either in prison or dead.

I avoided the trap by simply walking over the tripwire and proceeded down the mineshaft. I slowly and stealthily crept down the tunnel on the look out for other traps. I spied the occasional silver nugget lying on the ground and since I figured, the town would not miss it I kept them as souvenirs of my trip.

I had traveled down the winding shaft for about fifteen minutes (after having to stop and recite my spell every minute) when I noticed a flickering light in the opening ahead. A flickering light meant two things to me, first that I would no longer have to keep reciting that spell and secondly that there was a fire ahead.

The ghost story of a haunted mine was starting to unravel. The last I knew ghosts did not need fires to help them see or to warm themselves. I used extra caution as I approached the fire. Light is not the thief's best friend. However, shadows are and I became very close friends with the shadows.

As I drew closer to the light emanating from the opening at the end of the shaft, I started to pick out two voices in conversation. This was even more evidence that I was not dealing with the dearly departed. I have never in all my experiences encountered a ghost that needed to converse with another ghost. Hell, ghosts generally do not converse with anyone. They tend to moan and wail nonstop, which is more of an irritant than actual communication.

I slid stealthily up to the opening and peered in from behind some large rocks. There on the ground, inside a huge natural cavern with a high ceiling, burned a small fire. Around the fire were two bedrolls and on the other side of the fire sitting at a table were two living humans deep in conversation.

I listened to their conversation for a while. Listening is another trait that a good thief needs to have. It is the best way of learning about people and places. It is also a great way to discover what may lie ahead.

A fighter would storm into the room. Kill the first person and then proceed to subdue the second and then waste valuable time torturing the poor victim until he "volunteered" the information the fighter wanted. This is not a very effective and trustworthy means of gaining intelligence. Then again, intelligence and fighters do not mix.

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The Haunted Mines of Krator

Part 4

By Dwayne MacInnes

I listened to the two humans speak to each other for a good ten minutes. I learned that there were about five or six of them and that they all used to be miners except for the hedge-wizard they hired. The leader, as usual, had his dwelling furthest in the mine.

It does not matter on the species or race, but one thing always stands out. The leader is always furthest from the opening in any dungeon. How I would just love one day to sneak into a dungeon see the leader of the group taking a snooze on the doorstep. I could kill or subdue him collect my reward and leave town. Most bands of ne'er-do-wells tend to breakup after their leader is out of the action. Very few actually vow revenge and try to hunt down the do-wells who had taken care of their leader.

However, I digress. It also turns out that this little party of miners had used the tragedy of the mine collapse as a means for smuggling out silver that they were still mining. The best way to ensure that no one would bother them was for the mines to become haunted. The fence, to whom the miners smuggled their loot, was one of the townsfolk. In fact, he was a former miner by the name of Gunter.

The small party had hired a hedge-wizard from another town to help conjure up, literally, the ghosts and ghouls the other miners saw. The poor legionnaires who were to investigate the haunting fell victim to the traps that lay scattered about the mine. The miners were so kind as to dispose of the legionnaires bodies by tossing them into a deep chasm.

A funny thing about the Mages Guild is that they do not tend to care about the evil schemes in which their members may partake. Their only rule is that members cannot kill one another. Say what you will about the Thieves Guild, but at least there are strict rules for its members. The first is never to kill anyone you are robbing unless it is in self-defense. Another is -- it is strictly forbidden for members rob the poor or other guild members. In fact, it is highly recommended that members help the poor, after all the paupers and beggars are the best informants around. Now you know why I prefer the title 'wealth adjuster' to thief.

I knew that I had gained all the information I was going to get when the two sentinels started to talk about arena bouts. One of the louts even had the audacity to say that my tactics in the arena were not fair and that if he were in the pits he would know how to put an end to me. The second came to my defense, so I killed him first with a clean shot from the shadows.

The first human rose up from the table when his friend slumped forward with an arrow in his back. At first, he just stared in surprise. It took a couple of seconds for it to register that there was a trespasser on the premises.

I had plenty of time to kill off this man, but I stayed my hand. It was a matter of pride. For this human to state that my tactics were unfair really riled me. Did I not go up against adversaries who were not only better armed and armored than me, but also two to three times my strength?

Many would consider the following very poor judgment and I would agree. Except that, I had already spied out the terrain and laid out my plan. This was not just some revenge for an insult. No, I did plan to let this man attempt to prove his point.

I stepped out from the shadows. The human now had his sword drawn and was rushing to meet me. I waited for his advance and at the last second, as his blade swung towards me, I simply sidestepped and kicked the man behind the knee. The huge lug toppled as his leg gave out -- leaving him sprawled out on the floor. Further, his sword went sliding away across the rough floor.

I simply smiled at the man as he regained his feet and then I did a back flip onto a tall rock outcrop. The man's eyes nearly popped out of his skull as realization struck.

"Y-you're the Black Arrow!" he exclaimed in disbelief. I smiled and nodded.

The man recovered his sword. I was now waiting for him to recover his nerve. I also kept a close eye on him just in case he wanted to cry out an alarm. Before he could draw in a deep breath for a yell, I would have an arrow through his throat.

The man must have realized this and composed himself. He screwed himself up for the fight and a mask of rage broke out upon his face.

"Okay," he said silently as he waved for me to come down. "Let's finish this."

I watched the man closely and studied his stance. People rarely realize that they signal their intentions before they actually do them. This man had seen some of my bouts, and he knew about my leaping attack.

It would have been folly for me to leap over his head and kick from behind when he clearly intended to skewer me in mid-flight. So, I did the only thing I could do. I leaped. However, I aimed for ground in front of him. I tucked and rolled behind him and then as I quickly regained my feet I turned and fired an arrow that caught him square between the eyes as he turned to meet me. The expression of surprise froze on his face as he fell backwards; the sword fell from his limp fingers and clattered to the ground.

I helped myself to some of the miners' possessions before I hid their bodies and resumed my "ghost hunt". Unfortunately, all they had on them was a couple of cheap swords and worn armor. The sixty-seven Silver Crowns did not seem worth the effort, but I took it anyway.

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The Haunted Mines of Krator

Part 5

By Dwayne MacInnes

It was not too hard to track the shaft the miners were using. With the dust so thick after months of disuse, it was obvious down which tunnel I should proceed. I knew I would have to be quick before someone notice that the men I had just dispatched were missing. They certainly would send a search party to find them.

The mine at this point had some mining cars and tracks. This was a welcome obstacle because it made it easier for me to hide; especially now, as the tunnels were lit every few yards by a torch. I moved quietly behind the cars down the track. There is a saying that a leaf falling from a tree makes more noise than a Wood Elf moving stealthily. Now, that may not be exactly true but it is pretty close to the mark.

On the other hand, a saying should go that a human moving in a semi-dark mine on patrol is as loud as a dragon that has had its keister pierced with a ballista bolt. That was how I came upon the third miner.

It appeared that this individual was patrolling along the track near a ledge. Why he was doing so I never found out for I put an arrow into his shoulder. This proceeded to propel the unfortunate victim over the side of the ledge. I guess it was not too deep because before he could get a scream off I heard the sickening crunch of his body as it impacted upon the unforgiving rock.

There was not much to explore or find on this stretch of the road. There was not even a silver nugget or a tripwire. Although it was highly unlikely, the miners could have laid a tripwire over the line of track they were obviously using.

I continued my hunt down the shaft before it opened into another large cavern. There working alone chipping away at a vein of silver was a lone human swinging his pickaxe. Not exactly a formidable weapon, but a weapon nonetheless. I waited and watched the man continuously swing his pickaxe onto the silver. Nuggets fell to the ground in a pile. The man finally stopped and started to load the nuggets into a bucket. After he loaded the bucket, he wiped his sweaty brow with the back of his grimy hand. Before he removed his hand, I had it pinned permanently to his forehead with an arrow.

I moved quickly and helped myself to some more "souvenirs" from the bucket. I almost considered ignoring the three Silver Crowns in his pockets. However, money is money no matter how small.

I noticed a side tunnel that led off from the cavern. There were some footprints in the dust on the path. However, it was not as heavily trafficked as the shaft that led up to here. It was obvious that this was the domain of our leader. After all, I had dispatched the bulk of his minions. By process of elimination, this left one hedge-wizard, one leader and maybe another miner.

It became apparent that our glorious and brave leader either did not trust his own minions or wanted a fall back position by the tripwire I found stretching between the two support beams at the entrance of a small cavern. This one too I just simply walked over. A quick investigation revealed it tied to a pile of logs braced above the entrance. Having one roll over on you would be fatal enough without the other five.

I must have been too engrossed in the trap because I did not hear the miner approach behind me. Now, this miner could have easily just have killed me by running me through the back. However, all she did was yell, "HEY!"

I turned towards the voice and the woman ran towards me with sword drawn. I gauged her distance then I headed back down the shaft after I tripped the wire. The logs tumbled from their support and proceeded to roll over the poor miner in the process blocking most of the entrance. The gaps between the logs were wide enough for me to see the crushed miner on the other side, but I could not squeeze through it.

Now, if I were a fighter I could use my brute strength to remove a log or two so that I could reenter the cavern. However, I am not a fighter so I had to spy out another route. Fortunately, there was a gap between the right support beam and the wall to allow a lithe figure such as myself though into the cavern.

I quickly searched the body of the woman and found a Golden Eagle and a silver necklace with a ruby centerpiece. That was a little better than I had been finding so far, but only a little. So far, none of the miners had much in the way of weaponry or armor that would make it worth my while to carry these heavy objects back to town.

A narrow tunnel led away from the cavern and I started down it when I heard footsteps running up the shaft. Apparently, the noise of the logs alerted the rest of the group down the tunnel. With no time to spare, I squeezed back through the beam and wall and waited on the other side of the logs.

In the low light, I made out the forms of the hedge-wizard and another person who could only be the leader. The leader wielded a bow and he let a couple of arrows fly towards me. Fortunately, he was not the sharpshooter I was. Unfortunately, I would have to deal with him after I dealt with the hedge-wizard.

I reached behind my back and grabbed my shield just before the wizard shoved his staff between the logs and released a fireball. As I have previously stated, my shield is quite useful in protecting me from adversarial spells. The heat of the fireball washed over me as I ducked behind the heavy shield. But, that was the only effect I felt.

The hedge-wizard fired fireball after fireball at me as I hid behind my shield. I could tell he must have been getting angry from the curses he released at me as well. The leader took this time to fire a couple arrows at me too.

The steel arrowheads tended to bounce off the enchanted shield with nothing more than a spark. This was more damage than the fireballs did.

I do not know for how long I waited behind my shield until the wizard finally threw his staff down and began to chant his own spells. First, he fired off a lightning spell. The blue electric bolts hit the shield and did nothing. Then he fired off a frost spell and the air cooled noticeably as the artic blast collided with the shield. Then he fired off a flame spell. Two long trails of fire sprang from his fingertips and washed over the shield.

Fortunately, these spells take a lot of energy. After the mage exhausted himself, he pulled back and sat against the wall panting. However, the leader now had me all to himself. He fired another arrow that bounce harmlessly off my shield.

I quickly dropped the shield and grabbed my bow. In one smooth motion, I plucked an arrow from my quiver and fired it towards the leader. The arrow stuck in his left shoulder. Not a lethal wound but I was in a hurry.

The leader grunted and fired off his arrow. It did not even make it past the log barrier. I took better aim with my second shot and the leader fell against the panting wizard with an arrow protruding from his left eye.

The hedge-wizard looked up at me with a mixture of fear and fury in his eyes. With amazing speed, the mage drew his short sword and found the same opening I had used. In surprise, I fell back just barely staying out of reach of that lethal blade. I dropped my bow and drew my own short sword.

I am not the world's greatest swordswoman, but I was better than the hedge-wizard. As he brought his hand back for a deadly chop to my head, I just thrust my arm forward and managed to pierce the blade between his ribs and into his heart. The mage's sword clattered to the ground behind him before his corpse followed suit.

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The Haunted Mines of Krator

Part 6

By Dwayne MacInnes

I searched the bodies of the leader and the wizard. The only thing of worth was the hedge-wizard's staff. Even a wizard's staff that is exhausted of its charges was worth a lot of money.

The narrow tunnel led to another small cavern that had been the dwelling place of the leader and the hedge-wizard. There were two bedrolls around a fire and several crates and one chest. The crates unfortunately, only contained foodstuff and the like.

The lock on the chest was very expensive and of very good quality. I smiled, now this was a challenge I would enjoy. I was still new to lock picking so I broke a couple of picks before I managed to free the chest from the evil constraints of the lock. Inside, I found a few potions of healing and some fine jewels.

These I kept. Obviously, this was a silver mine and jewels would clearly be out of place in this setting. I figure that if the town elders knew about it they would thank me for cleaning up such clutter.

The trip back to the mine entrance was uneventful to say the least. I remembered the first tripwire I came across and I disarmed it for the townsfolk. I did not even bill them a service fee. I felt it was only fair after they let me gather some "souvenirs". I had all I could carry in my pack when I finally reached the huge oaken door.

The lock on the door was a lesser quality construct than the one used on the leader's chest. I did not even break sweat let alone a pick opening it.

The look on the guard's face as I swung the door open was purely comical. His jaw dropped, as he stood there dumbfounded holding his spear in one hand.

"The mine is cleared," I said to the amazed guard. I never found out if he was surprised to see me or just surprised to see me open the door without a key. I am sure it was the former. It is well known how comely elves are -- especially Wood Elves. I think High Elves tend not to be as attractive because of their attitude. Did I ever mention High Elves have no sense of humor?

I smiled at the guard and motioned towards the town of Krator. "You may want to alert the elders to the success of my mission." The guard just stood there and stared. Maybe he thought I was ghost.

"You might want to do it before sundown," I continued.

The guard with jaw still agape only nodded.

There was only about an hour and a half before sundown and I figure it would take three to convince the guard to alert the elders. Therefore, I decided to do it myself. You want something done right; have a Wood Elf do it, or something like that.

Fortunately, as I first stepped into town, news of my approach spread like wildfire. Before I even reached the town square, a large crowd was swarming around me. Everyone was asking me questions. "Did you get rid of the ghosts?" "Do you need to find some help?" "How did you get out?" "Will you marry me?"

Yeah, there is always one of those around. In any case, before long the elders where gathered in front of me. They were no less surprised than the crowd was. Before they could ask me how I managed to make my way out of the mine, I told them about the little setup the brigands had established.

Imagine their surprise when they realized that those miners who disappeared were actually smuggling silver out of the mines. I told them about their outside contact named Gunter.

The crowd hushed and looked around. This Gunter was nowhere in sight. A thorough search by the town guards and a mob of angry citizens with the assistance of a few pitchforks finally flushed Gunter out of his hiding spot underneath a haystack.

What happened to Gunter I do not rightly know. I am sure that if he did survive his ordeal it was not without a longer neck. In any case, I took my reward and returned to the arena. Sure, the mine job paid well, but the ghost hunting got rather dull after awhile. Maybe that is why vampire hunters tend to be humans and High Elves and they are welcome to it.

I sold many of my souvenirs to the local merchants and with its proceeds bought myself a modest house. I continued my rise in the arena until I became the Grand Champion. I even started to take on some real work in the Thieves Guild. But these are tales for another time.

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  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks for the kind words Kerry. I too am very read more
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About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the The Haunted Mines of Krator category.

The God Wars is the previous category.

The Scout is the next category.

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