After the meeting with the Council of Elders, Sir Bruce headed back to The Standing Stones. He discussed the meeting with Felicity Briarpatch and then went to bed in his tent. In the morning, he was sharing breakfast with Felicity Briarpatch when a horse and rider emerged from the forest surrounding the Stones. A man in black armor with a long and deadly looking pole axe approached. This black knight also had a raven calmly perched on his shoulder. After some tense greetings, Sir Bruce learned that this was Octavius Mort. Octavius Mort was looking for Sir Bruce in order to get his help in finding Sir Darius Black. Duke Eltan Falconhand of Twin Falls Keep had told Octavius about Sir Bruce and his efforts in The Village of Tommen. Sir Bruce explained his previous adventures in Tommen and explained that he was about to remove whatever evil he found in the Salt Mines. Octavius agreed to go with Sir Bruce and help him clear out the mines and make them usable once again. In return, Sir Bruce would help Octavius clear out Sir Darius Black and his bandits at Graveth’s Fort.
The two knights rode off to the Salt Mines after speaking with the owner Jarik Goth and getting the key to the gate. The Knights found the outbuildings deserted and the stable covered in animal blood. Venturing into the entrance they were surprised by a huge misshapen Troll. The creature fought with wild abandon. But Octavius Mort smiled grimly as he swung TitanCleaver – The Green Scythe at the Troll and easily lopped off one of the creatures arms. The troll howled in pain and its disembodied arm somehow leaped up off the ground to sink its claws into the left shoulder of Octavius. The trolls other claw raked down the front of Octavius’ chest but its bit failed to find purchase. Sir Bruce flanked the creature and cut deep into its rubbery hide with his own enchanted blade Talon. Octavius then said a prayer to Hoar and TitanCleaver – The Green Scythe burst into flame. Then he reared his horse and as it came down Octavius brought the weapon down hard on the top of the troll’s head. The creature crumpled and burst into flame. The disembodied arm still twitched on the ground before Sir Bruce promptly pierced it with his lance and added it to the fire that was the burning troll.
Sir Bruce promptly kicked in the door to Jarik Goth‘s office to see if he could find a map of the mine. What he found instead was a humanoid creature sitting at Goth’s desk reading over some of the ledgers. It had sharp crystalline teeth, sparkling skin studded with fine salt crystals, and long nasty claws. The creature stood up from the desk and peered past Sir Bruce to gaze upon the bubbling and hissing burning remains of the troll. The creature frowned, “What have you done to my Troll?”
Sir Bruce said a prayer to Tyr and invoked his divine sense. He instantly knew that the creature standing before him was a fiend. In fact he knew it to be a Salt Devil. “You will be cleansed from this place fiend!” yelled Sir Bruce.
The Salt Devil smiled grimly and said, ‘My name is Skarloch. And I am your doom. You will not survive this.’ With a wave of one hand a salt encrusted scimitar appeared out of thin air in his clenched fist. With a wave of the other hand an inky dark blackness manifested around Sir Bruce. Octavius could still see but a wall of inky blackness separated him from Sir Bruce and Skarloch. Sir Bruce said a prayer to Tyr and was protected by a protection from evil spell. Not able to see his foe, Sir Bruce moved away trying to get out of the room not knowing that Skarloch had moved next to him. Since Bruce was blinded by the darkness, Skarloch had advantage on the attack but the protection from evil gave Skarloch disadvantage on the attack. The two effects balanced each other out and the attack was normal. The scimitar cut deep into Sir Bruce and left a terrible sting sapping the strength from Sir Bruce. Sir Bruce managed to get out of the darkness only to shudder as Skarloch moved closer and the darkness moved along with him plunging both paladins into a blinded state. Octavius followed suit and shielded himself in a protection from evil spell as well. The salt devil cackled with glee as he cut into the paladins without them being able to see to protect themselves. Then Sir Bruce remembered the power of his fey blade Talon. He held the magic longsword aloft and invoked its ability to shed a bright light 60 feet as the daylight spell. The magical darkness was snuffed out as the bright light from Talon illuminated the area.
Skarloch frowned, ‘I do not like your sword, mortal!’ he said as he waved his hand and cast a harm spell upon Sir Bruce. He belched out a cloud of pestilence that engulfed Sir Bruce and subjected him to a virulent disease that would have brought him down to 1 HP. But both paladin’s relied on their divine health to be immune to disease making Skarloch’s most powerful spell harmless against them. With only his scimitar attacks left and at disadvantage because of the protection from evil spells, Skarloch knew he was outmatched. He cut them a few times causing jagged and burning wounds before feeling the bite of Talon and TitanCleaver – The Green Scythe too many times. After he was bloodied with wounds Skarloch teleported away saying, “You are worthy foes. The Master must hear of your interference. We shall meet again.”
Disappointed their quarry had escaped, the Knights of Tethyr continued to explore the mines. At several points they were ambushed by degenerate subterranean blind monstrous cannibals called Grimlocks. They were men once long ago but they gave up their sight for blind sense and keen hearing and smell. It was just the thing to use to sneak around the dark mines and attack the paladins. But Talon lit the way. And they were easily cut down once exposed to the light. But their surprise attacks with their primitive spiked bone clubs did some damage to the knights.
At one point the knights came across a floating sphere with some sort of eye stalks. Both knights thought it was a beholder. Sir Bruce moved quickly up and shield bashed the creature only to find out the hard way that it was actually a gas spore – a fungus creature that eerily resembled a beholder. When Sir Bruce smashed it with his shield it exploded in spores. Luckily Sir Bruce’s constitution was strong enough to avoid most of the poison’s deleterious effects and only damaging him slightly.
Later in the tunnels Octavius grew impatient and moved to the edge of Sir Bruce’s light. He was attacked by a troll and Sir Bruce was attacked by 2 Grimlocks. The battle was fast and furious with Sir Bruce cutting down the Grimlocks and Octavius cutting down the troll in 1 round. However, the troll regenerated and got up and kept fighting even after it was dead. It was cut down again but it got up a second time. Knowing they had to use fire to silence the creature forever, Sir Bruce used a potion of fire breath that he had purchased from Felicity Briarpatch and ignited the troll destroying it for good.
The Knights of Tethyr found that the 2 grimlocks were guarding some sort of altar. It was a large carved block of Pink Salt with some strange carvings upon it of a creature with a tentacled head. Also sitting on the altar of salt were 2 human brains. One was fresh and still bloody. The other seemed that it had been there a while and was encrusted in salt. It seemed to have absorbed the salt and in effect was pickled. Sir Bruce was about to try to destroy the heinous altar when Octavius stayed his hand. He thought it might prove valuable if studied with more time. So they left it be.
The two knights had used most if not all of their lay on hands to heal their wounds and they were still badly hurt. So they tactically withdrew from the mines, working their out back into the daylight. They took a short rest on the other side of the gatehouse and bound their wounds.