Location: The Thundrom Mage Tower in Vox, Gardarn. Mid Fall.
The Thundrom Order did not usually look for outside help, but with the war in Skorukh and the multiple archeological sites that have been popping up there was no one else available. Archmage Redgar Callon walked into the room quietly, his staff thumping on the carpeted floor as he went along. He did enough research to know each person he had summoned today was at least somewhat competent. The gnome Antoinette was a cleric from capital of Dighton, Gen. According to the locals she was a miracle worker who would cure the most mortal wounds. The half-elf from Skorukh Iminye her knowledge of history and the arcane were outstanding. The Goliath from the Wilds Arktor ,his strength and skills were were not matched by many. Malbert, the dwarf fighter from the mountainous country of Ironfast he was as tough as they came. The unusual dwarf paladin Zeetryder, he and his mordenkrad were renown through the Broken Isles.
“Let’s down to business, shall we?” Redgar said, “Two months ago at an excavation site near Gen a village boy stumbled upon this.”
Upon the table he placed a large metal stone and continued, “At a distance it appears to be an ordinary stone, but upon touching it, it radiates so much energy that even the simplest of minds could feel its power. It was delivered to us a month ago when the clergy of Gen gave up on identifying the stone.”
He glared at the stone with spite, “This thing vexes us! The other mages and I are at our wits’ end. Normally I don’t listen to the rumors of peasants, but now I do not have any other options. In Leona in the town of Wingfall there is said to be a person with deep ties with their god. I’d like all of you to go there and try to locate this person. After hearing what your masters and employers had to say about you I’m confident you’ll complete this task without any trouble.
Regardless of whether this person exists or not, find out what you can then take the stone to the Leona capital Valido to the mage quarters where you’ll find Archmage Naivara Riel. She will reward you for the task.”
“What do we get when we bring this rock the woman?” Malbert inquired in a gruff voice.
“Typical dwarf,” Redgar thought and said, “Items of substantial power.”
The group nodded in approval and he continued, “There is one thing however you must do. You must keep the possession of the stone secret from all but the Pelor’s clergy in Wingfall. We don’t need outsiders to ‘rain on our parade’ as they say.”
A few more questions were asked and the hires were sent on their way. Mid, Redgar’s apparentice, who showed them out approached his master.
“Master Callon, do you think they’ll find out anything?” The young gnome asked, “This seems like a wild goblin chase to me.”
Redgar’s gazed followed the adventurers out the mage tower’s gates, “I do not expect them to find anything, but it doesn’t hurt to try.”
Mid shot a look to his frog familiar and nodded in agreement.
The sun streamed through the clouds creating thin beams that danced in the sky for minutes at a time. Cool and crisp was what Gadarn was like in the fall. The adventurers made small talk as they rode on their cart. The two horses trudged along the well worn trade road. Traffic on the trade route was constant in the fall, merchants and farmers traveled town to town selling their wares and harvests.
Through the forests they passed, a faint sound of stone on stone was heard by Zeetryder and Antoinette. Beady eyes peered through the bushes at the adventurer laden cart. The holy ones readied their weapons as human figures clad in leader armor, holding mallets and crossbows, leaped out of bushes and trees.
Soon the bandits were overwhelmed by the experienced fighters. Arktor ‘volunteered’ (more like leap off the cart and charge) to go toe to toe with the berseker welding his death maul. The others took care of the archers and the mallet welding thieves. Divine energy beams were thrown, arcane spells were chanted, and heavy steel weapons cracked skulls.
After the battle was won, relatively easily, they took the spoils of the battle with him, then hopped back onto the cart and continued down the road.
Night began to fall as they approached a fork in the road. The now darken clouds drifted through the occasionally blocking the moon. A freshly painted sign pointing to the smaller left road said “Three Crowns Inn” hung slightly crocked on its post. An inn sounded much better to them rather than sleeping on the damp ground of a forest. So, down the narrower road they went white oak and maple trees on either side.
The tree gave way to a humble dark establishment with a sign with three crowns on it. The area was eerily quiet, not even the hooting of an owl or the chirp of a cricket could be heard. A soft breezed carried the scent of rotting meat by the adventurers’ noses. Antoinette’s eye darted from the buildings to the trees. The smell was all to familiar. Zeetryder’s skin began to prickle, evil was about and it was making his head spin. The others noticed their companions looking more than a little uneasy.
Scratching noises became more audible as they approached the darkened building. Ghoulish figures with torn clothing and red sprinted from behind the inn. They screeched, claws slashing in the air as they darted towards the living. The avoided the horse that neighed in fear. As the talons sunk into Malbert’s flesh he could feel life leaving his body and being replaced with a horrid chill over his psyche. Radiant energies seared the undeads’ flesh, leaving a wound of black viscid fluid that flowed freely onto the earth.
After the wights were sufficiently hacked into pieces, the adventurers approached the building.
“I WON’T YOU ROTTEN UNDEAD GO NEAR ME MUM!” A male voice shouted, “BACK!”
“We’re not undead. We’re not going to hurt you,” Iminye said calmly.
The door opened and gave just enough space to slip in. A large nose male halfing eyed each one of them intensely.
“None of them bit ya did they?” The halfing started poking them with a stick.
“Now Lyle leave them alone,” A cheerful stout halfling woman came from the back room.
Lyle sighed, “Mum, there are undead things out there!”
“Nothing like the zombie apocalypse of ’50 dearie,” The woman grinned then turned her attention to the party, “Can I help you?”
She introduced herself as Wella Dale along with her son Lyle Dale. They explained that they own the inn. Lyle began piling furniture in front of the door in hopes of barricading it. Everyone now and then a scratch could be hurt sending poor Lyle three feet into the air with fright.
“Where did they come from?” Iminye asked quietly.
“Oh I have no clue…” Wella began.
“IT WAS THAT BLACK ROBED GUY!” Lyle accused pointing at seemingly nothing.
“Now son it’s not nice to judge.”
“Like hell it isn’t!” The fidgety halfing spat back, “He asked about adventurers two days back. And well adventurers frequent to our in on a weekly basis. He got pissy and left. Next thing you know THEY SHOW UP.” It pointed angrily at the door, “The guard from Vox hasn’t even showed up. We had some adventurers here earlier and they volunteered to go get help…they’re probably dead now…WE’RE DOOMED!”
“Where would they be coming from?” Arktor questioned, his gaze fell on a piece of wood that boarded up a hole one of the wight probably punched through.
“There is a burial ground two miles from here,” Lyle twitched, “Please please please get rid of them we’ll pay you!”
“It’s a lovely orchard,” Wella beamed and began dusting a bookshelf, “If you could get me a few apples from there I can make you all a scrumptious pie or two.”
“MOTHER!” Lyle cried, “How can you think of food at a time like this?”
“I guess we should head out?” Antoinette asked.
“I have gruel on the stove if you’re hungry,” Wella started heading into the kitchen, “And I think I still have that bread I made a week or two ago…”
“We’ll be back soon,” Malbert quickly said grabbing his weapon.
“The path is on the right side of the building!” Lyle called as the last person went out the door and muttered, “We are so screwed.”
“Now dear have a little confidence. No need to be so pessmestic,” Wella sat down with her bowl of gruel and sipped gray concoction, “Hm…needs more sugar.”
The narrow gravel path started by a shed near the inn and led to a shallow hill surrounded they large apple trees heavy with red fruit. A simple makeshift wooden fence enclosed the area with mounds and makeshift graves. In the far end of the simple burial site was a small wooden shed with a iron shovel leaning against the door encrusted with rust. Malbert and Arktor leading stealthily made their way through the gate and onto the area.
The dead burst from the ground! Soil flew as bony appendages clawed and dug their way out of the grave dirt. Skeletons with swords and glowing red bodies clacked as they straightened themselves out. A figure fly out of the shed, pale skin and black robes encased him. He pointed with his fiery mace at the adventurers.
“Surrender the stone and I’ll make you deaths swift!” The priest roared flashing them a crazy grin.
Arktor, Malbert, and Zeetryder charged in brandishing their weapons. The skeletons with swords flew at the command of their master to attack them. The fiery skeletons held back and threw balls of red fire.
“Vecna will have your souls!” The priest yelled. He then dove into the fray.
They crushed the undead with blows that would shatter the hardest of bone. Arktor with one blow of his mighty axe decapitated the priest at the torso. The skeletons were no match for the well armored Malbert, their fire could not sear him. The skeletons were destroyed. Not forgetting their promise Iminye filled a basket she conveniently had on her with apples to bring back for the kind Wella.