Ahris

Guarding the Tunnel Entrance

Upon arriving again at the mouth of the tunnel, you find some footprints beyond what you believe you left when you were last here, earlier that day. They’re around the entry, among the roots, but do not seem to go any farther onto the road.

Just before sundown a wagon driven by two men, Blass and Terkel, arrives. Blass is a cousin to Corwyn’s mother’s family, and Terkel is somewhat known to you both, give your business connections in Last Home. They’re older than you both and are solid – physically and behaviorally – and bring with them a few shovels, picks, hammers, and rough-cut/cast-off boards and beams, as well as some more rope (albeit heavy stuff – not what you’d carry around) and a cargo net, the type that would be splayed over the top of an over-full wagon.

It looks like they quickly went through a storage room and grabbed whatever they thought might be useful and headed out. They also have a cask of water and a day or two of food each, and feed for all four horses. Each man is also armed: Terkel with an axe and a bow; and Blass with a bow and spear.

“Right – so describe these things you saw in there, lad,” states Terkel after the two settle the horses and begin unpacking the wagon.

(I assume that you give them the same information and description of beings and events that you gave Tallyn Mayfair, the constable, and help them unload the supplies)

The sun has dipped beneath the peaks to the west by the time you’re done unloading, and dusk will last for maybe 45 minutes. What are you going to try to accomplish in that time, and what else are you going to do?

Comments

“Well, it looks like they’ve scouted the entrance,” Corwyn says as he indicates the noticeable footprints outside the tunnel, "but they’ve not gone beyond it — which is our good fortune.

“I think we have two options: we either stay here at the entrance, or go in and guard the tunnel leading to their town.” Corwyn glances over at Kane for a moment before looking back at the two men. “Whether we should do that separately or together is something we should discuss. If we make our stand here at the entrance, we have nowhere to fall back to.”

Guarding the Tunnel Entrance
 

Blass and Terkel darken at bit at the idea of entering the tunnel.

“If something comes out of there we need to let others know, whether we can stop it or not,” points out Blass.

“Yeah, I’m not okay with going in there, getting stuck or worse, and not giving the town fair notice,” chimes in Terkel.

“We’ve a heap of torches and a few lanterns…plenty of oil, too. We could light up the tunnel some and keep an eye on it,” Blass suggests. “And it seems by your account that they don’t like the light very much, or maybe just some. If you want to go in there at least we’d be able to see you, or we’d be reasonably sure of seeing the critters in this last section of tunnel,” he finishes.

Guarding the Tunnel Entrance
 

Corwyn walks over to the tunnel entrance and peers inside the shadowy passageway before casting a dubious look up at the darkening sky, seeming to gauge the light. “I don’t relish the idea of going inside much more than you,” he says after a moment, voice laden with doubt.

There is a long pause as he looks back into the tunnel and then steps up to join the other men on the road. “But the longer they’re in there, the more likely it is that they find another way out — one we haven’t discovered yet. If we keep them bottled up in that one tunnel, we know we’ve got them controlled.”

He looks over at Kane again and then back at Blass. “But you’re right: we shouldn’t all go in. You two need to stay to warn the towns if they get past us. I say Kane and I go in. We’ll guard the tunnel to their town and fall back to here if we have to. You guys can rig up that netting to hold the entrance, and maybe we can figure out a way to drop that tree down so it blocks the passage. Kane and I can set out some torches to light up the tunnel as we go so you and Terkel can feather them with arrows from here if they try to come through.”

Guarding the Tunnel Entrance
 

Terkel chuckles a bit and smiles.

“You wanna go back in there, I won’t get in your way, but it makes sense that there’s a front line in there. I’d rather know they’re coming than have them spill out sometime in the small hours,” he says, Blass nodding along with him.

“Let’s set up this net and some of the boards – make it hard to get out unless you know what’s there, right?” suggests Terkel as he moves toward the pile of supplies. “We can top off these lanterns and set up a few torches for you to light in the tunnel, and that way you can see – and see them,” he continues.

“And we’ll keep watch out here,” adds Blass.

Guarding the Tunnel Entrance
 

Meta
It’s possible to build a breastwork out of the wood from the wagon and some rocks and debris found around the tunnel entrance. This can be constructed at the mouth, among the roots. The net can be stretched over the roots above that, and together they’d provide a decent obstacle to those trying to exit the tunnel who were unaware of what’d been built.

There’s enough oil to top off the lanterns, of which there are a total of 3, although the guys insist on keeping one with them. There are also a heap of torches, so don’t worry about the number unless you get nutty with them.

What’s the plan for inside the tunnel, and where will Corwyn and Kane position themselves?

Guarding the Tunnel Entrance
 

“Right.”

Corwyn walks over to the wagon and shoulders the heavy net with a grunt, shooting a look at Blass and jerking his head toward the tunnel. “We can stake this up above the entrance, and leave it rolled up. If you need to close off the tunnel, you can just drop it down, maybe with some rocks for weight on the bottom corners.”

The net drags on the ground as he hauls it over and flops it down on the shoulder of the road near the tunnel entrance. “We can sharpen up some stakes and put them around the entrance, and maybe chop that tree most of the way through — enough where we can push it down and block the way for good and all.”

Guarding the Tunnel Entrance
 

The two townies agree and kick in with the work. It takes about an hour to finish the breastwork and hang the net. A light rain begins falling near the end of the work, and it’s completely dark by this point, too.

Blass and Terkel are decent guys. You find out that they served in the Colonial Militia for a few years, together, and settled in Last Home about 6 years ago after they got out. Neither have any interest in serving as Hehle or working for the elves or their “stooges” (as Terkel put it a few times), and are quite happy being on the fringe of what passes for civilization, embracing “dangerous freedom” (as Blass put it) instead of living in some “pest hole of a city.”

There is a growing undercurrent of discontent with the established order, especially over the last year or two, as it seems that the elves have been, through the Hehlen, seeking to assert their sovereignty over the colonies. Rumors and stories come up now and again of crackdowns, regulations long-lapsed suddenly enforced, and a sense of…concern…among the ‘younger races’ (everyone not elves) that the elves are working on asserting power as they’ve not in anyone’s lifetime.

Guarding the Tunnel Entrance
 

Corwyn keeps pretty quiet about politics while they’re working. He generally agrees with them as they talk, and questions them about the elves and what their interests might be now that they’re asserting their authority more. He doesn’t commit himself to anything more than saying that it would be great if they would be left alone to live their lives how they want.

As for our plan of action:
We’ll set up two lanterns at the tunnel entrance, one on either side, and another up by the old tree. Then Kane and I will go inside and set up torches lining the initial tunnel. We’ll move through the spider room up to the map room and post up on the tunnel leading to the “goblin” town. If we have the chance, we’ll check the tunnel to the prison to make sure none of the “goblins” decided to go exploring. We’ll take enough food and water to last the night, and torches and some wood to build a fire. We’ll tell Blass and Terkel that we’ll come out around dawn, and if we don’t they shouldn’t come in after us, but should wait until the Dahr comes with his men.

Guarding the Tunnel Entrance
 

Everyone’s on board with that, especially Kane.

Guarding the Tunnel Entrance
 

Totally on board. ( If I remember correctly, we did not spill the info on the prison room and cool stuff in there. If that’s the case, I commend Corwyn on an awesome excuse for us to “discover” it now.)

During the entire time, I fight my instincts to throw the rocks down the well.

I will not be able to stop myself forever.

Guarding the Tunnel Entrance
 

Sounds good and makes sense.

Guarding the Tunnel Entrance
Lyle

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