After a tremendous, against all odds, something of a half-way victory at the campsite, the party regains their breath and begins making plans for their continued pursuit of the lost children. As they’re rifling through the pockets of the fallen, and searching the abandoned buildings, a trio of Dwarfs approach the wary adventurers. Shel Garwien and her compatriots, the twins Rol and Bol Thurn introduce themselves and make it known that they too are interested in the whereabouts of the children and seek information regarding the strange behavior of the band of Northerners and Gnomes that seem to be scouring the mountains and mines for some unknown treasure. As they are making their introductions, the party reveals that they have discovered a strange parasite that seems to have infected a number of the fallen men- a small almost translucent caterpillar with long wispy glowing hairs. Both Hastrubel and Shel remember something from each of their clan’s legends about the deep cave dwelling caterpillars, and Shel senses a psychic emanation from the parasite. She surmises that perhaps a psychic bond is formed between host and parasite and some outside source could possibly tap into that connection and exert some force of will over both.
Shel explains how she and her companions, 10 altogether, came to follow the band of humans and gnomes to this location, recounting how the bandits had been searching the northern mountains for something supposedly buried deep in the mines and caves. The children arrived only a day before the party had come in and burnt the place down. Shel sent 5 men after the boat carrying the children and 2 of her men had left east a couple of days prior to investigate reports of trouble in the eastern clans. Shel also revealed that a handful of the bandits had opened up an old mine and entered earlier that morning, not having returned. She was very curious as to what they were searching for and felt that if one of them could be captured they might be able to determine what it was they were so desperate to find. Enlisting the help of the party, she sent them into the mine to discover what had become of the bandits and their search for . . . something.