Spring, 13th Day of True Omens, 4,028th Cycle
The four dwarves saw two orcs busy sparring off with one another while three others watched unaware of the dwarves’ presence.
Each of the orcs was equipped with a shortsword, short bow, and protected by leather armor. They were all in front of cave entrance which was flanked by the remains of an ancient ruins, possibly built by elves or humans though the dwarves were certain that dwarves had no part in its construction.
“We can try getting the drop on them, and catch them by surprise” Kaza, the fighter suggested.
Everyone agreed it was worth a try. With Moradin’s blessings, they hoped to surprise the orcs and end the encounter without anyone getting hurt.
One orc who was sitting on a low wall turned when he heard the dwarves stepped through the thick bushes.
Realizing they could no longer surprise the alert orcs, the four dwarves called out their battle cry and charged the orcs who were readying themselves for the impending battle.
The battle was fierce as both sides tried to get the upper hand. Orcs shot at the dwarves with bows while dwarves returned the attacks with dwarven-forged steel blades that cut through orcish bones and sinews alike.
The battle was won and not one brave dwarf was injured. Meanwhile, half a dozen orcs lay dead upon the bloodied grass.
Otis, the group’s rogue, searched the orcs and found eighty-eight silver coins of various minting on them along with their armor and crude weapons. There were dwarven coins among the other coins that Otis suggested may have been taken from the orcs’ past victims.
After, the four decided to explore the cave which they wondered if the orcs were guarding.
After their eyes adjusted to the darkness, they found themselves in a tunnel extending deeper into the earth. The tunnel was cooler than the outside temperature, which although it was still considered spring, the season was definitely beginning its annual journeys towards summer and the start of a new year.
Deeper inside the cave, the dwarves came upon the remains of hundreds of small game animals and a scattering of tools and rusty, broken weapons left behind by a hapless adventurer.
“Look above,” Kaza warned. The others all looked up and noticed large patches of spider webs, thick as ropes in some places, covered the ceiling.
“It may explain the amount of bones littering the cave floor,” Darnok the mage said.
The group also noticed several large silken cocoons spread throughout the cave. Some looked like they held nothing larger than a small game, while others were large enough to contain a humanoid or two. Kaza walked up to one of the larger cocoons and cut it in half with his sword. He jumped back as the dried husk of an orc fell out of its silken tomb.
Suddenly a sticky net of spider silk shot across the tunnel and completely enveloped Kaza. Another silk net struck Darnok and Xan who managed to avoid being trapped. Two spiders emerged from out of the thick webs on the ceiling, climbed down the walls, and quickly made their way towards Kaza who was desperately trying to free himself from the sticky mess he was in.
Fate was with Kaza that day as both spiders were unable to bite their way through his plate corselet.
The dwarves fought against the two spiders which were later joined by two more. In the end, four spiders lay dead. Like the battle against the orcs, the encounter with the spiders ended well for the band of brothers and cousins from the Ridgeline Mountains.
Not wanting to spend too much time searching through thick spider webs, the four dwarves pressed on. Minutes later, the dwarves found themselves at the end of a short tunnel. A wooden door was clearly visible against a cave wall at the end of the tunnel.
What lay behind the wooden door the dwarves could only guess, but they were determined to find out.