The half-sized savages’ morale broke and they fled back into the wilderness. The men-at-arms pursued a pace, mopping up those too slow to escape, and Gar ensured that one remained for me. I’ll not belabor the point; I broke his will and plundered his mind—such as it was—before letting Gar put the thing out of its misery. I sent word back to the garrison commander, and then returned to the door, where I applied what I gleaned from that savage’s mind.
The door, as I expected, had a password that I knew would be possessed by someone close to its exterior; no useful portal has no security, and that security needs to pass through it in order to execute its duty. With this in mind, I had complete confidence that I could readily defeat the security measures, and I did indeed do so. The doors to Silver Mountain, and the ruins of the old demon cult’s stronghold, creaked open before us and the smell of stale air offended my nose as I gazed into the darkness within.
Gar reformed the men-at-arms into a solid, albeit slow-moving, formation and we advanced into the mountain’s depths. At this time, again benefiting from past experiences in such endeavors, I drew forth a wand that I previously prepared. Every so often, I used it to illuminate a spot on the ceiling—out of reach of most beings—and ensure that a continually lit path from the portal to our position existed. I knew it would not last that long, but it would be enough for our purposes in the short-term.
Once we came upon a defensible interior position, at an empty chamber formerly meant as a fallback defensive position, I ordered Gar to have the men-at-arms erect palisades. I sent word to the base camp, and I left Gar to hold our position while I retreated back to camp. I did not dally, concerned that other hostiles would come after us, and when I got back into camp I immediately rushed to my tent and made contact with Lord Eloc.
I reported our progress, and in return Lord Eloc informed me that he could spare more men, as he had prisoners on hand and wished to be rid of them. We struck a hasty bargain, and I used simple applications of basic principles of our sciences to bring these less-than-willing volunteers to my camp. I then put them under the garrison commander, after binding them to ensure their compliance, and told the commander to make use of them- including seconding them to the camp mistress as required. That solved our manpower requirements, and soon we had regular patrols keeping clear the base camp and the advanced position.
With another application of the divination sciences, I eliminated wasted time in explorations of the mountain in favor of plotting the most direct path to our objective. I marked it on the map, and I returned to the advanced party- and we found trouble indeed.