I awoke in a dark room. It smelt horrific. There were others in the room but I could not see them. The only light was from a small crack in the ceiling. My hands we bound in chains, clothing was tattered, and my other gear was gone. What had happened?
There were three others in the room with me. One of them asked the rest of us to make a deal of servitude with him. Not a notion that I was particularly fond, but at least I was only dedicated up to 1 year rather than 5 of one of the others.
Our first task as servants to this new captor, find a way to escape. We went for the light, opened the trapdoor, and found that on the deck of the ship waited our original captors, 4 hobgoblins. We attempted to work together, myself slipping under the stairs and the other two free yet captive men luring the hobgoblins downstairs. As the enemy approached, I attempted to trip them by pulling their feet or legs in to the stairs while the others found ways to subdue them. Everything seemed haphazard but we accomplished out goal in general.
While we dealt with these hobgoblins, our new captor started some sort of fire! We ran for it, though the new captor, a halfling tried to leave us on the ship—trying to leaving the one who was dedicated to 5 years of servitude in the hold and throwing caltrops in our path on the deck.
Though there were complications, we made it to the one remaining rowboat. Fighting the hobgoblins for the boat, we ended up turning it over in the water. The ship sank and we made it to shore floating on barrels. Unfortunately there was no civilization, but the barrels did contain some salted fish and rum so we would not die. With everything over and the halfling missing, Critter, 5 Years, and myself made the best of this situation.
The halfling did not stay away forever. The next day, as we traveled along the beach we encountered him, wearing nothing but an over-sized helmet.
As we travelled, the halfling continued to back out orders, most of which I ignored. In time we came to a tunnel. The tunnel was fairly vertical but had a ladder. Reaching the bottom, we discovered some mining equipment and tunnels, three tunnels to be precise. The halfling entered last and began commanding us again. We split up, the halfling and 5 Years to explorer one path, the center most path, and me and Critter to take the others.
Critter and myself gathered some of the mining equipment—helmets, lamps, picks, and some crude knives. We headed down one of the tunnels. At the end of the tunnel we came to a chamber that opened up and was decorated with a wooden wall. Oh, and the halflng and 5 Years found us here as well, for all three tunnels lead to the same place.
5 Years ventured over the wall first. Once he was on the other side we could hear a commotion. From the commotion, I could make out some words in the Dwarven Language. The halfling seemed to not understand the language so I headed over the wall next. The dwarves were protective of their home. Using that nature, I told the dwarves that the halfling was leading an army of hobgolbins to take their treasure and that the three of us were captives being forced to scout.
The dwarves seemed to have bought it, well once I proved that the halfling was my captor by first striking at the halfling with a thrown blade.
The halfling was taken captive by the dwarves, and so were we in a way. The halfling was going to face a trial and we were limited in what we could do until the trial was finished. But we did get fed and had a place to sleep.
The next day was the trial. The halfling was placed on the large structure where it appeared that the dwarves were going to release some of the molten rock within the volcano down upon him. Well I got him into the situation and I could not have that on my conscience, plus we were pretty sure that after his trial ours would come.
I made a deal with the halfling, speaking to him in his own tongue and hoping that the dwarves were not familiar with his language. The halfling agreed to enter my servitude or pay us 50,000 gp for his freedom. Of course the dwarves were not going to listen to me as I suddenly change sides!
With the help of 5 Years and Critter, we attempted to change the fate of the halfling. 5 Years attempted to draw the attention of the dwarves away from the trial by making the tunnels sound as if an army was invading. Critter and I attempted to get the dwarven guards away from us with a minor skirmish. The plan did not work, but fate did. The tower structure that would be the halfling’s coffin cracked at the base, tumbling down into the crowd of dwarves.
Critter, 5 Years, and I ran. We escaped the mine, after navigating around a nasty piece of mining equipment. We did not know what became of the halfling. Our concern was our escape solely. Once out the the mine, we put some space between ourselves and the dwaven complex. At least we were no longer in servitude…