Continuing their exploration, the team find dead ended tunnel after dead ended tunnel. Many appear to be exploratory tunnels dug looking for ore seams.
Eventually, they come to a large chamber containing a number of phantoms and muttering maws. These prove to be little match for the group and are swiftly defeated. There is a pile of bones – the remains of a lost adventurer maybe – and a cloak and a ring are found amongst them.
Moving on, they come to another large cavern – this one containing more of the previously encountered ant-creatures, but there is a new type here. The ants attack – a number of the flying ones gathering together in front of Mark.
The flying ants are unable to get past Mark’s defences – when suddenly the ground based ones reveal themselves to be magic users, and they launch a devastating magical attack on Mark – rendering him incapacitated almost immediately! Fortunately he recovers and regains consciousness. Arthur runs up quickly and heals him – revealing in the process the hidden power of Arthur’s staff.
Releasing a cloud of pheromones, an advantage is given to the flying ants, and they manage to land some weak blows. However, they are quickly put down, and attention is turned to the magic users, first one, then another is destroyed – their devastating ranged magical attack seemed to be a one shot, and nothing anywhere near as bad is revealed. However, the 3rd magical ant makes it escape and disappears down a tunnel.
Attempting to follow, the group head out – coming to a junction. Looking down the passageways, they can see a group of frightened dwarves dressed as miners down one passage, and a tunnel leading on down the others.
Unaware of homonyms, Parker quips that he hopes these dwarves have adult supervision.
Talking to the dwarves it seems that they released some dark spirit whilst digging. This seems to have coincided with also tunneling into the ants’ network of tunnels. The ants captured the miners, and have kept them here for days.
Explaining it is safe to leave, the group send the miners back to the surface.
Continuing back down the tunnels, they come upon a huge hollowed out chamber, containing many many ant creatures. Including at least 7 of the magic users that had proved so deadly earlier.
Taking an unusual approach, Parks lays down his crossbow and walks into the room with hands held up – thinking calm friendly thoughts.
One of the magic users skitters up, and begins to cast a spell – bracing himself, Parker is relieved when it speaks to him.
Out of the resulting conversation it turns out that the ants attacked because they thought the humans were invading their tunnels. For their part, the group apologise and explain what it is they were doing. The ants tells them that they know of the evil and have collapsed the tunnels leading to it.
They agree to open the tunnels, and the group will deal with whatever there is inside.
Heading down, deeper into the caves, then encounter a high vaulted ceilinged room, with 10 open sarcophagii. There are also 5 barrow wights, who alerted by the noise of the excavations are ready to attack. With Mark blocking the tunnels, it is difficult for them to launch a massed attack, and so are easily dealt with one by one.
Entering the chamber, the group pile up and burn the corpses.
Searching the room reveals assorted items – and a ring, and a dagger.
Continuing on, the find a large chamber containing 100 statues, arranged in a 10 × 10 grid. With Mark’s now customary automatonophobia, he sets to – turning, twisting and knocking one over. Confident they will not animate, they returns to the large chamber holding the ants.
They negotiate an boundary agreement with the ants, so that the miners and ants may be able to coexist.
Returning to crossings, they meet up with Gundren and explain everything that they found.