From the Depths
Chimeg raised her pickaxe high and brought it down with all of her might. At last the ore broke free from the wall with a thunderous crack. Chimeg let out a sigh of relief and tossed her pickaxe aside. She took a moment to dry her sweaty palms on her leather jerkin before reaching down to lift the ore into her cart. The ore was dense and her muscles strained with the weight and exhaustion from a full day’s mining. Chimeg let out a loud grunt of exertion as she raised the rock over the lip of the cart and tipped it in. Her job complete, she reached for the water skin hung upon the cart’s handle and drank it dry. Her thirst sated, she began to push her cart back towards the main shaft.
Through the fog of exhaustion, Chimeg heard a faint cracking noise. She set the cart down and scanned the wall nervously for signs of an impending cave-in, but there was no sign of a fracture. She chalked the noise up to her tiredness and resumed pushing the cart. Not a moment later, the cracking sound returned, this time reverberating through the tunnel. There was no mistaking it now. Chimeg let out a roar and began to sprint back up the tunnel, leaving her cart behind. The whole tunnel was shaking now and Chimeg could hear chunks of stone crashing to the ground behind her. She could see other miners ahead of her now sprinting for the safety of the main shaft. The ground shook mightily and a cloud of dust rushed past her. Chimeg covered her eyes and felt her way blindly towards what she hoped was refuge from the collapse.
Chimeg felt a pair of hands grasp her shoulders and pull her forward. She wiped the dust and grime from her eyes and saw a number of miners gathered in the tight confines of the main shaft. Some had begun to climb out of the depths, concerned that the collapse would spread. Others stared curiously into the void of the tunnel, as a strange clanging sound could be heard ringing from within. Some miners gripped their pickaxes tightly, preparing for some unseen monster to burst from the tunnel. Instead, the dust parted and a figure in glimmering armor stepped forth.
“Who are you?” one of the miners barked, brandishing her pickaxe menacingly.
“Fear not.” the figure replied in perfect Orcish, raising his hand in greeting, “The gods are with you now.”