“The Sabertooth Miner’s Guide, Part Two.” Written by the Sabertooth Clan of Blackburrow. Proudly sponsored by the Sabertooth Gnoll Miner’s Guild. Learn the history of mining in Blackburrow from the Clan With a Plan!
The Great Sage had said, “Dark times mean there’s not enough light.” He was right. They came up from beneath us, surprising us within our own mines. We fled to deeper tunnels only to find them overrun by the furless as well. They attacked our young pups. They ate our stores of food. We howled with rage and our voices echoed, but still the furless came.
They said at first they were just passing through. Most of them did, going on to battle the furless of the walled cities. But many more came and stayed. There were many of them. They offered to remove us from our mines and we refused. First, they started attacking our miners. Later, we decided to let them stay if we had our pickings from the battlefields. They agreed.
Around this time, we picked up some of their words. Not many, only a few. Handy for knowing their secrets. They had already taken the furless north. They were going to take the furless south, too. Our tunnels and mines would be famous! We wished it were famous because of us. Then we remembered the words of the Great Sage, “Famous is as famous does.” We have no idea what that means. It comforted us.
For many years the furless trooped through the Blackburrow. They ate all our stores. They stole what ore we had produced. Then, suddenly as they appeared, they retreated. Some of our best scouts reported that something bad had happened on the battlefield. The bodies of furless were piled high. Their faces were twisted in pain. Maybe it was something they ate.
After that time, the Clan rebuilt some of the deepest tunnels. We closed off some of our secret entrances. They weren’t as secret as we’d thought. Some of the tunnels were so wide across it took years to close them off. We could have saved the effort if we’d known what would be coming within a generation or so.
The shaking woke everyone up. Big stones fell in the mines. Some miners were killed. Some lost their tails. We left the lowest tunnels. Many tunnels filled with water. When the water would drain away, the walls fell in. Many of the excavators grumbled about the wasted work below. Sometimes, whole tunnels collapsed on themselves. It was an uneasy time.
The furless called this time “the Rending,” and were afraid. The Clan wasn’t afraid. We were disappointed. All our work to close off the lowest tunnels was already done. The Clan is clever. If we’d known, we’d have saved our strength for other things. Since we no longer needed to block old entries, we cleaned up the upper levels. The furless came to us, begging for shelter. We put them in the storerooms till we needed them.
Things were quiet for generations. Then the moon, the new one, broke up in the sky. The furless fell to the ground, begging for help from their gods. The Clan was not afraid. We have the words of the Great Sage to guide us. He had said, “Dig deep,” so we did. Some of the Clan had forgot that the lowest tunnels were gone. We never saw them again.
Lucky for us, we have an underground home. The surface was hit by big rocks. A lot of things died. We were safe in the Blackburrow. Some of the old tunnels are filled with spiders. Big spiders. We mine the other levels. Some went down to clear out the spiders. They got stuck in the webs. These are big spiders.
We’ve been in the Blackburrow for many generations, back to our Great Sage Fippy. He’d be proud of us, still here. We can smell ore through the stones. We knock down the stones. We get out the ore and sell it to the furless. The Clan is clever.