After Dayn had gotten an acceptable amount of rest Zak shook him awake, he put a finger to his lips, "We can't go any further this way, we'll have to backtrack" he said urgently, Dayn rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and gave him a questioning look. "Orcs, not just the dumb cave ones either, I spotted an Iron Orc last night."
Dayn knew of orcs, they were in every fantasy game he played growing up back on earth, He had never heard of Iron Orcs though. Zak explained they were a recently discovered breed and like humans they could range from good to evil, he wasn't going to take his chances though. Iron Orcs were nasty as enemies, they had the strength of orcs, the agility of elves, and could reason as well as any human.
"If there is a community in the area I'd rather not stumble into it even if this group is good they're a very territorial race."
While they were packing up Dayn's torchlight caught something on the stone wall behind him, he walked over to investigate, a portion of the wall was streaked in colors of red, gray and brown, it ran down a fair length of the wall before returning to its normal color.
Zak walked over to see what had caught his attention, he shined his torch up close to the wall, "A mineral deposit, he reasoned, not sure what type it can just be a valueless rock or it could be iron."
The worked paths made sense now, someone was mining in these tunnels, it could be dwarves, Zak thought to himself. He had been planning to take the tunnel they ignored yesterday, he thought backtracking to the other worked tunnel they skipped might be a better idea.
It had been several hours, they were getting close to the intersecting tunnels, they heard heavy footsteps approaching, they were getting closer clearly coming straight towards them, was that two sets? Zak looked around thinking of what to do, if they ran back the other way the odds may be even further against them. He put his hand on the hilt of his sword and instructed Dayn to do the same, they'd have to fight their way out of this or die trying.
Boom, boom, boom the footsteps drew ever closer, they suddenly stopped Dayn and Zak could barely make out the outlines of two forms at the edge of their torchlight. One was tall around six feet while the other stood somewhere in the four foot range. Zak knew these were clearly not dwarves, they were humanoid but were standing just far enough away as to not reveal any identifying features, he dared not advance to illuminate them further less they be enemies.
Garrok signaled Ziri to stop, he looked ahead into the darkness and could make out the shape of two forms, one tall and the other short, he thought to himself it may be adventurers, a human and a halfling most likely. His hand rested on his axe nervously, he didn't want to fight here, they had travelled a long distance since their exile and gotten lost in the tunnels.
"What should we do daughter?" he asked she fingered the hilt of her sword nervously, they had fought several battles and were exhausted, hounded by kobolds for days, the worst outcome would be if they were coming upon an Iron orc and a goblin.
She sighed heavily, "Call out" she said "I don't have the energy to run anymore" Garrok considered the idea and agreed, "We mean no harm, we got lost and are trying to find our way" he said in the common tongue.
Zak relaxed at the familiar sound of his language, "You're in the same boat as us then" he called back "The exit collapsed behind us we're looking for another way out," he started walking towards the pair ahead of them. The torchlight illuminated blue-green skin and he stopped suddenly, Dayn looked at him confused and continued to advance, the torch lit up the figures of Garrok and Ziri.
Garrok was of human build but his bear chest revealed heavily corded muscle and fading white war paint, he had a long shock of black hair tied up in a tail at the top of his head which stopped halfway down his chest. Small fangs protruded from his lower lip appearing strange on his otherwise human face.
Ziri was different, she was more thin clearly female as indicated by her small bosom covered by a fur tank top. Dayn was sure they had another word for it but to him it looked like a tank top, her form had a deeper blue hew to it then the males, She had similar long black hair however it was tied at the base of her neck. She had a purely athletic build he wasn't familiar with in the girls around his age. Zak quickly ran through several scenarios in his head, they might be able to win in a fight but these two were the savage wild orcs even more rare to encounter then the iron orc from last night. He gripped his sword more tightly then he had before, Dayn however was confused, they looked nothing like orcs, if they had scales and a tail he would think they were lizard folk.
Garrok and Ziri stepped forward a few more paces releasing their grip on their weapons, Garrok raised a hand "We don't mean you any harm, we were just trying to find our way" he said calmly, Ziri smiled and waved at Dayn. Dayn relaxed he didn't feel any malice from these two but Zak still looked worried, Dayn put a hand on Zak's sword arm, "Let's hear them out he said quietly, they don't seem to want to fight."