Part 10: The Minecrawler's Nest
Update 9: The Minecrawler's Nest
Outside the Old Mine, I encountered two templars transporting secretion back to the sect camp.
As I was working with Cor Kalom, I inquired as to whether they could teach me how to remove the minecrawler's mandibles. They agreed to explain the process to me and went on their way.
I entered the Old Mine and made my way down to the lower levels. The upper levels, as far as I knew, were relatively clear and safe to work in. The lower levels near the furnace, however, were often rife with minecrawlers.
A few levels down, I encountered the digger Snipes.
"How's things?" I asked.
Not one to smalltalk, snipes immediately offered a business offer.
"I have a deal to suggest" he said. "If you make Aaron leave the chest alone, I'll give you 10 ore!" Never one to turn down easy money I accepted.
I ran up to Aaron in a fake panic. "Ian sent me. You should go see him at once!"
"What does he want?"
"No idea. Ian will tell you himself. Do you think he'd tell me something like that?"
"Then I'll go see him!" Aaron believed it and immediately left to go see the foreman leaving the chest unguarded.
"You owe me 10 ore!" I said to Snipes.
"Here, you've already earned the 10 ore."
"Oh, and one more thing: I have the key to his chest as well. For you... only 20 ore!"
I thought it over briefly but in the end I accepted. If this was a trick I told myself I'd beat Snipes senseless.
"You made good business there." I took the key from Snipes and went over to the chest.
"I just wonder what you get out of it.
"I'm always glad when I can get one over on the guards. And if they found the content of the chest with me, I'd be a dead man.
The key fit perfectly and I opened the chest. Inside I found 72 ore, some alcohol, and a magical scroll of healing. What a bargain this turned out to be.
I quickly left the area before Aaron returned. I went past Ian this time and continued down the catwalks into the mine.
Where the catwalk stopped were two templars from the sect camp. They appeared to be guarding a nearby cave entrance.
Some minecrawlers scrambled about inside this side cave. I went inside and attacked the nearest one. If I was to find their nest I may as well train now.
That did not go well. The minecrawlers rush to the aid of their injured brother and surround me. I backed out of the cave and to the templars, who skillfully finished the creatures off.
I went into the now empty cavern. There was a small natural ramp leading up into a hollow rock.
Inside I found a strange, and slightly magical, ring. That was not something I expected to find in here. I quickly left the area.
I went upstairs to buy some food and came across Aaron. He was not happy.
"HEY, YOU!!! If you try to make a fool out of me again, you had it, you got that?"
"Hey, don't you miss the key to your chest?" I asked for no other reason than to be a jerk.
"Indeed. I don't even want to guess how or why you know about the key. But I'll give you 20 ore if you get it back for me." Snipe's deal kept getting better and better.
"Here's your key" I said as I returned it to him. In exchange he gave me the promised ore.
"Yeah, that's it. Well, here's your 20 ore like we agreed. But you'd better watch out in the future. From now on I'll be keeping an eye on you!" Old camp guard threats did not scare me anymore. I purchased some food and went back down the catwalks.
I looked over the side and saw what I assumed to be the furnace next to a giant pile of ore.
A man operated the furnace while nearby guards and templars kept watch for danger.
I approached one of the templars and told them of my mission.
"I'm looking for the nest of minecrawlers."
"There are many caves next to the main shaft in the mine, but we haven't found any nest."
On my way to speak to the furnace operator, I saw something interested. The old mine utilized orcish labor. That explained the large number of guards for such a relatively small number of minecrawlers.
I met with the furnace operator, Viper. He informed me that he was allowed to trade a certain amount of ore in exchange for useful items. I traded him some of my spare weapons and animal byproduct for 470 ore.
I cast a light spell from one of the light scrolls that Cor Kalom had given me and prepared to venture into one of the side tunnels.
I stepped on a rock which alerted several minecrawlers to my presence. They charged down the narrow corridor and attacked me. Using the tight area to my advantage I began to whittle them down one by one. Eventually I was forced to withdraw, overwhelmed by the number of minecrawlers. I rested by the furnace and quaffed a healing potion.
As the other tunnel was quite full of minecrawlers I decided to venture down the other tunnel in the immediate area.
Some more crawlers blocked my passage but I dispatched them as quickly as I could.
At the far end of the tunnel I discovered some valuable items that someone lost. A mace which I deemed to be far better than my current weapon, and two potions.
I hefted the mace and gave it a few practice swings. Very nice.
With my fortuitous find in the other tunnel I decided to return to the minecrawler infested passage. I forced my way through and deftly struck each minecrawler as they lunged at me.
I climbed up a ladder which took me to a large cliff. Atop it I discovered a skeleton, no doubt belonging to an unlucky digger, whose skeletal fingers still wore a rather valuable looking ring. He would no longer need it so I took it.
Back in the main shaft with the furnace, I spied yet another tunnel that I had not been down. I made my way into it and discovered that it led to yet another occupied shaft.
A smasher of some sort sat idle, along with the orc slave operator. A large blocked gate stood at the end of the room kept watch by a well armored guard.
"There must be a nest of minecrawlers here somewhere."
"The whole bloody mountain is just one big crawler nest!"
"Why have you closed this shaft?"
"It didn't matter how many crawlers we killed, more and more kept coming out."
"Sounds like there is a nest somewhere near. Let me open the gate!"
"No! This gate can only be opened with Ian's permission. Nothing will be done before."
There was no way of convincing Asghan. It looked like it was back to Ian for me.
I said the same thing to Ian. "There must be a nest of minecrawlers somewhere here."
"There are probably dozens of nests here." he replied.
Ian didn't catch my hint. I tried a more direct method. "Listen. I need to get to this nest now..."
"I don't have time to see to it now. Our masher doesn't work any more. The gearwheel broke a few hours ago. I've no idea where to get a new one. Just get me a gearwheel, then I'll see to your problem."
"A gearwheel? Where am I supposed to get that?"
"No idea. I'm as much at a loss as you are! But there's an old broken masher in a side shaft. Maybe you'll be lucky there."
I thought I recalled seeing an abandoned shaft with some machinery not far from the furnace. I discovered the shaft, being watched over by a single guard. I walked into the shaft in order to explore it further.
This was clearly the shaft that Ian told me about. Unfortunately, it was now filled with minecrawlers. I could see the masher machinery off in the corner.
Three minecrawlers skittered about below me. I searched for another way down but the only safe method appeared to be by ladder. I made my way down. The noise alerted the crawlers who awaited my arrival at the bottom.
I waved my weapon at them threateningly when I hit the ground and they jumped back. My new weapon proved deadly to these creatures and each crawler was subdued in only a few direct hits.
With the minecrawlers dead I moved to the masher to examine it. Luckily there was a spare gearwheel down here. They seemed to have abandoned this shaft in a hurry. I grabbed the wheel and quickly left.
I took the gearwheel back to Ian who was both pleased and surprised.
"I have the gearwheel"
"Hey, well done. I think that'll work. Now what about you, you're looking for the nest of the minecrawlers... hm..."
After a moment of consideration, Ian reluctantly agreed to allow me to continue my search in the blocked off shaft.
"Just go to Asghan and tell him to open the gate, so you can search the dark shafts."
"Just tell him 'Everything's gonna be fine' then he'll know I've given you permission."
I double backed to Asghan.
"Hey Asghan, you may open the gate now!"
"I've already told you: only if Ian..."
"Asghan... Everything's going to be fine... and best regards from Ian."
"Well then, if Ian is responsible for this... but only under one condition. Just get me two or three templars for support. I don't want to be here on my own when the crawlers come out of the shaft." That was a fair enough proposal. I agreed and approached the nearest group of templars.
"I'm looking for secretion for Kalom and I know where the crawlers' nest is. Will you be there when the passage is opened?"
"When fighting crawlers it often costs a lot of blood. If you give me a healing potion, you can count me in." I had plenty of healing potions but not enough that I was willing to spare them. I had no other choice however, and was forced to hand one over. I really needed to get in there.
"Thanks. You can count on me. We'll meet down below with Asghan."
I went to the next templar, seated not far from the one I'd recruited.
"I know where the crawlers' nest is. I'm going there to get something for Kalom, so he can brew a stronger potion."
"Then you'll need my blade. I'll join you."
"Good. We'll meet at the big passage."
The last templar was situated at the very first abandoned shaft I'd tried to enter.
"I need your help" I told him. "I'm looking for secretion for Kalom and I think I know where the crawlers' nest is. If we open the passage, will you be there as well?"
"The crawlers' nest! Finally. My sword is at your service." I attempted to convince the other templar that guarded the shaft but he refused, citing that this passage was too dangerous to be left unguarded. Shrugging, I returned to Asghan and waited for the templar help to arrive.
When all three we were, we were ready to begin. I met with Asghan.
"All preparations have been made. The gate can now be opened!"
"Okay then, open the shaft now. Let the show begin."
I turned the winch and the gate slowly raised. In the distance the shrill cries of the minecrawlers echoed, getting louder and louder as they ran toward the light. The five of us stood at the gate with weapons unsheathed and at the ready. I used up a scroll of light at this time.
Moments later they arrived. The templars ran into the dark tunnel, skillfully dismembering and killing the minecrawlers. Asghan fired upon them with his crossbow, and I attempted to aid the templars. Just as quickly, everything was over. A dozen crawlers lie dead or dying on the ground.
I pressed onward into the darkness alone. Both Asghan and the three templars refused to go any further. I was to do it alone. The contents of this cave was different from the other infested shafts. A large organic structure hugged a wall, with long, hollow tendrils extending in all directions. Some minecrawlers attacked in the darkness, but I dispatched them with ease.
My light spell wore not long later. The first cavern led into yet another cavern, which also contained the strange organic things.
I spotted yet another minecrawler in front of a wall that pulsed with red lines.
I killed the minecrawler and ventured into the narrow, pulsing red tunnel.
I ran through the twisting corridor. An unknown, pale light could be seen coming in from the other end. A minecrawler lunged at me as I neared it and I put him down.
I looked into the lit chamber. A large mass sat the center of it.
With two more minecrawlers dead I moved closer. That mass was very much alive. This must be the queen. The queen clawed at me I instinctively backed away but it couldn't reach me. It did not look as if it could move, either. It was too large.
I attacked it, hitting it repeatedly with my mace and jumping out of the way of the sharp appendages. It went on for some time as the creature had thick plating but eventually it wore itself out. I finished it off.
When the adrenaline wore off, I discovered why the creature had been so hostile. All around the sides of the chamber were minecrawler eggs. It had only wished to protect its young. I took a few of the large eggs with me as I left hoping that these were what Cor Kalom sought.
As I ran out I couldn't help but feel a tinge of guilt for wiping out the minecrawler nest. It was necessary, however, if I was to get out of this colony.
I lit a torch and ran back to the entrance where the templars awaited me.
I informed Gor Na Kosh of my victory and discovery.
"Wonderful! Now go back to the Camp and finish this mission. Kalom will be waiting for you!"
I was exhausted but I slowly made my way back up the main shaft to Ian. I told him that he wouldn't have to worry about the crawlers any more. He was quite happy and rewarded me with six beers. I took this time to rest before returning to the sect camp.
Update 9 Supplements: Old Camp Tour Viddler | Original
Minecrawler spotlight Viddler | Original
Minecrawler queen Viddler | Original