The heroes raced through the streets of Emberven, the wind whipping in their faces and rain lashing down through the buildings. As they approached the northern gate, a single wooden tower looking over a narrow, lashed-together wooden door, they heard a scream and saw a boy try to escape from the top of the tower before being grabbed by a rotting, purple hand and dragged back into the shadows. Several other bodies already lay at the bottom of the tower.
The party spread out and moved forward cautiously as a second ghoul appeared at the tower top. The ravenous undead descended, inflicting minor damage on Yunaan before they were quickly dispatched. Glithas took to the top of the tower with his bow as two more ghouls climbed over the wall and rushed forward, while another appeared from behind a house to the south. A fierce melee battle ensued. Bjorin attempted a charge, but lost his footing in the muddy ground and fell. One of the ghouls fell upon him and mauled him before he was able to recover, pushing the monster off and dealing a heavy blow with his enchanted shillelagh. Torash found himself receiving a charge of his own, and when the ghoul’s teeth sunk into him, he found his limbs locked and tumbled to the ground, but Roondar distracted the ghoul with an arrow to the side. The party fended off the attacks until Torash regained his feet, destroying seven ghouls; Bjorin, Torash, and Yunaan engaging in hand-to-hand fighting while Glithas and Roondar provided ranged support.
After Glithas fired a light-enchanted arrow into the darkness outside the gate to make sure no more ghouls were coming, the battle ended. The party took some time to note the same green glow the other undead had, and that it was emanating from a spiral pattern etched into the back of the undead’s heads, but they were unable to identify its source or lore beyond an assertion by Glithas that it was certainly magical in nature. Bjorin went to the main gate to notify Ilmar and organize peasant patrols within the town to make sure the buildings were clear, while Glithas and Torash went to the tavern. There, Torash reported his findings to Emmel while Glithas observed. The priest of Mariel observed that it might be wise to notify the temple of Mordyn in Estril, where the Hands of Mordyn, the ultimate undead slayers, had a small detachment. Afterwards, the party rested up for their descent into the masoleum.
When dawn broke the next day, Ilmar and Marion beseeched the party to find and end the source of the attacks. While Ilmar began organizing townsfolk to build pyres to burn the bodies from last night, the party set off to the graveyard. They found it empty but obviously disturbed, with most of the graves having been dug up and piles of mud lying everywhere. With no other structure to investigate, they entered the masoleum’s anteroom, with Glithas deftly observing and notifying the party to steer clear of a booby-trapped floor tile. He scouted downstairs, finding a large, crypt-lined room, strewn with rubble and broken stone, with a green swirl of light and gas rotating in the center, filled with bones. On the far wall lay a metal door with no handle, but a circular socket. He notified the rest of the party who followed.
Glithas had just found a suspicious-looking crypt on the left wall when the swirl emitted a pulse of blinding light and streams of bones emerged, forming into skeletons who set upon the party. Torash called upon Reimar and vaporized them in short order, but no sooner had the last one been destroyed then the swirl flashed again and another 5 skeletons formed. Glithas, blinded, enlisted Roondar’s and Yunaan’s aid to push on the odd crypt, thinking it would deactivate the light. Instead, they found it released a revolving door, while Torash, Bjorin, and Luthiana fended off the skeletons. The door led into a small shrine to Reimar, inlaid with his seal and with a banner with his holy symbol, a red plated fist, knuckles facing, on a black background. Two biers were set up; one was empty, while on the other lay the incorrupt body of a cleric of Reimar, still holding his hammer and prayer book. Surrounding him were a pair of ghouls and a skeleton, dressed in tattered robes in Reimar’s colors and with some sort of pendant around his neck. They spotted Glithas and moved in to attack.
The situation became difficult. Bjorin and Glithas both summoned flaming spheres to combat this new skeletal threat after the party quickly dispatched the ghouls. The skeleton displayed dark cleric powers however, laying hands on Yunaan and opening wounds. Meanwhile, the light continued to pulse and Bjorin and Luthiana in particular found themselves pressed while the rest of the party focused on the skeleton. Torash attempted to turn him but failed, and from then on the skeleton targeted him while Roondar made several attempts to strip the skeleton on its pendant, believing that would end his unnatural life. Instead, he only succeeded in angering the entity; when a wounded Torash withdrew from the front line to heal himself, the vengeful skeleton turned on Roondar and dealt a pair of mace blows to him that left him in a pool of blood, hovering on death’s door. Bjorin acted quickly; he broke away from the skeletons he was engaged with, suffering a pair of heavy blows in the process but healed the fallen psionicist, reviving him but in a severely weakened state.
Meanwhile, the skeleton healed itself with its dark energies and proceeded to inflict additional damage on Yunaan. However, the party’s onslaught finally wore him down and he finally fell to a beam of positive energy from Glithas’ palm that reacted violently with his connection to the Negative Material Plane, incinerating him. The other skeletons continued to press close and the cloud itself was firing bolts of negative energy, striking Luthiana, Torash, and Bjorin. Needing to inflict maximum damage, Bjorin cast a spell to turn himself into a small, radiant sun, burning the nearby undead with purifying light. Several skeletons fell to its power, and the party broke a cordon around the badly wounded Luthiana.
With the fourth wave of skeletons destroyed, the cloud’s power was undone and it quickly dissipated, leaving the party free to explore the shrine. There, Glithas and Roondar found twin books on stands; one that appeared to be an autobiography of sorts, describing the life of cleric of Reimar near 300 AB who fought in the Battle of Skalvor. The second book was an ancient holy book of Reimar, containing information about rituals, temples, rites, and prayers. As soon as Torash entered the shrine however, the eyes of the incorrupt corpse opened, still milky white in death. The cleric rose from his bier and approached Torash, ignoring his attempts to contact him. Instead, the revanant handed his warhammer to the young priest, warning him that a storm was coming and that Reimar would require instruments to do his will. Success would be rewarded with a place of Reimar’s side; failure would doom him to the pits of Mordyn. Torash accepted the hammer and the revanant returned to his resting place, folding his hands over his book and closing his eyes once more.
Roondar investigated the pendant left behind by the skeleton and realized it was a gnomish multi-key, designed to open a gnomish lock mechanism that was nigh-impossible to pick and that it fit the metal door. He used it to open the door and, after a search revealed no traps, went inside. Unfortunately, the search was found to be faulty; a trio of spears shot from the wall which Roondar was not fast enough to avoid, puncturing his body. Glithas tore down the trap to free him, but the gnome was well enough to continue. Finding themselves in a short hall, the party opened the final door and viewed a gruesome scene. The main chamber had been converted into some sort of experimental lab with body parts in the middle of the floor and two half-finished monstrosities dangling from a chain. A table, chair, and bookcase, recently made but empty were along one wall. Several zombies shuffled around the pile, one of which was wearing a tabard and carrying a grevious gash in his chest, identifying him as the murdered captain of the guard. The zombies attacked.
Even in their depleted state, the party found little challenge in them. The former captain of the guard managed to land a pair of heavy hits on Yunaan, and another zombie inflicted damage on Torash. Bjorin transformed his hands into bear claws and savagely mauled two of the undead, while Glithas burned the former captain with a flaming sphere, and Torash and Yunaan fought with hammer and axe. Torash summoned a spiritual hammer to aid the party, striking at the zombies from behind. Roondar, low on psionic power and with no weapon other than a piercing spear that would have little effect, found himself largely sidelined after dealing some minor damage to the captain.
Once the party dispatched them, a brief flicker of intelligence came back to the captain momentarily, who gasped out a warning to the heroes to ‘beware the man in the mask’. Unsure what to make of this, the heroes searched the room but found the instigator of the crisis gone. Bjorin, searching the room with eagle eyes, found a single ring of protection underneath the rubble of an effigy in an alcove.
The heroes returned to Emberven, and while the townspeople were joyous, the party found themselves having to move fast; a boy returned riding Emmel’s mule, reporting that Baron Tasriem was finally on his way. Marion and Ilmar agreed it was best that the party not be present when the baron showed up to realize that he was too late to gain any glory, but just in time to help with reconstruction, fearing his misdirection frustration might catch their saviors. Instead, Marion presented the party with several days of food as well as 50 gold pieces each and promise of future hospitality.
So, the party resumed their trek northwards, pulled to the mountains of Norhelm by the strange crystal vision and now haunted by the mysterious warning of a slain guardsman….