Fourteen hexes north of Alakran.
The bleak absurdity of these mines which dot the low-folded downs west of the lake of the Shi-Ar is well known. They are mostly played out, but still scoured for residual deposits by zealous agents of the Governor -- or rather, by the broken men and women who, for crimes ranging from bestiality to blasphemy to plain debt, are sentenced to work them.
Wandering troublemakers will find that the upper galleries of each mine have been turned into makeshift barracks for the miners, lit with lamps of fire beetle extract.
The northern mine houses the beetle pens and the mercenary guards known as The Truculent Repertory: three fighters (level 3), a barbarian (level 5), and Naptera, a misplaced bard (level 7) who specializes in oratory and is composing the most tragic epic yet, a fantasy in which the miners break into Hell and are consumed one by one by devils. These guards watch over 30 broken and dejected miners, and are so lethally bored and underpaid that 1-4 of them will be ready to join any caper or adventure, asking a cut of the proceeds proprtionate to their skills.
The southern mine is actually a complex of several mines, watched over by more conventional troops seconded from the Companies' training academy in Shasari: 8 normal soldiers, two level 2 fighter sergeants, and a level 5 fighter captain. Here things are different: the guards are edgy and alert, and the 40 miners spread throughout the complex are hopeful and vigilant, because a wandering prophet has told them that the time of broken chains will come before the next full moon. The prophecy is believed enough that the strongest and wisest of the miners, Taresh the one-handed thief, has organized a rebellion and is just waiting for strangers to roll up on the mine. Maybe the wandering prophet pays you off to burnish her reputation ...