The party set out northwards towards Norhelm, wending their way through Skell and Daymar’Duan and taking passage aboard a keelboat to cross the Illeil to the state of Petra, after plying Yunaan with sufficient alcohol to suppress his fear of deep water. After making landfall in the town of Moset, they journeyed through Petra and into the grassy state of Belmara, just south of Norhelm.
Two days in, they notice the smell of burning wood and spot smoke on the horizon, over a rolling hill. They come upon a damaged, palisade-enclosed town, finding its gate torn down and replaced by a pair of carts manned by frightened townsfolk. At first the folk are suspicious, but upon spotting Torash’s holy symbol they usher them inside quickly. Several buildings have been burnt down, and the village green has been transformed into a hospital/armory/kitchen.
They met Marion, the mayor of the town of Emberven, along with her advisor, Ilmar. The pair explained that the undead had attacked their town last night; a mass of skeletons and zombies that quickly overwhelmed the sleepy, solitary guard on the gate and set about slaughtering the inhabitants. The citizens sought refuge in the tavern in the town center, where a passing crippled cleric of Mariel, Emmel, used his turning ability to scare off the sieging forces. The next day, the villagers sent a messenger to their lord, Baron Tasriem, on the town’s sole surviving mount, Emmel’s mule. However, they do not expect any such aid to arrive today and it was only a couple of hours before nightfall. They beseeched the party to stay and help drive off the attack that was certain to come tonight.
The party agreed to help, and as night fell they assumed positions near the main gate along with most of the able-bodied townsfolk, armed with clubs and staves and organized into small groups around scattered militiamen. The rest of the town took refuge in the tavern, along with Emmel and a handful of boys. Meanwhile, a skeleton guard was placed on the town’s small rear gate.
Roondar rode out to keep an eye out for the undead, taking a position on a hill overlooking the town cemetary that they suspected was the source of the problem. Clouds rolled in, and rain sooned followed, churning the road into mud. The only light came from bonfires scattered throughout the town. After an hour of waiting, Roondar spotted a green glow coming from the graveyard and quickly returned to town. No sooner had he arrived to report the undead’s approach than a boy in one of the towers overlooking the gate confirmed it, and the party assumed positions; Bjorin up in the northern tower, the rest of the group taking point at the carts. As the undead approached and fear gripped the peasantry, the party soon showed their power.
Bjorin placed an entanglement spell into the center of the first wave of skeletons and zombies, stopping them cold while Torash cast Enlarge upon himself and stepped over the carts, raising his holy symbol and calling upon Reimar to incinerate the undead. The first two ranks died in holy fire. Meanwhile, Yunaan began to smell burning wood and acid from his position at the carts, and soon found that what he thought was a puddle at his feet was in fact a ooze of some sort. The ooze unleashed necromantic magic upon him, but Yunaan resisted and fought back, and Glithas joined him. Roondar identified the beast as a graveyard sludge, a necromantic by-product of negative energy and acid.
While Torash and Bjorin focused on the skeletons and zombies approaching by summoning a flaming sphere, manipulating Entangle and calling upon Reimar for additional power, Roondar, Yunaan and Glithas found themselves dueling the sludge with axe, magic missile, flaming sphere and psionic power. Torash found himself increasing pressed by the undead and began to withdraw, while Yunaan fell prey to the sludge’s fear powers and temporarily fled the battle. The villagers attempted to aid them, but found themselves no match for the acidic beast.
When Yunaan returned to the battle, he engaged the zombies and skeletons but soon found himself surrounded by them while Torash was locked in a fighting retreat, withdrawing while using his superior reach to fell his pursuers. Bjorin sent his flaming sphere tumbling through the undead ranks, while Glithas poured spellpower into the sludge and Roondar attacked it with his short sword. Roondar suffered a serious acid burn and required healing from Torash. Finally, after Glithas and Roondar had substantially weakened it, Bjorin dispatched the sludge by casting a Shelleigh spell and charging and crushing the monster with his magical club.
From there, the party found the situation quickly came under control. Yunaan was able to fight his way out of the encirclement, inflicting heavy casualties on the weak undead while Luthiana joined the fray, and skeletons and zombies alike fell to hammer, axe, shield, tooth, and club.
No sooner had the front gate been cleared, however, then a youth came running full speed from inside the town, and managed to gasp out a report that the rear gate had been attacked by foul, bluish undead creatures that Roondar was able to identify as ghouls.
Now, exhausted and drained, the party races towards the rear gate, hoping to stop the secondary attack before the undead are loose within the town…