Campaign Journal #12
A Record of Events by Uriah Orlok
Pelorday, Aprantus 18, 1017 A.G.
Why did it have to be fish oil…
Still unable to actively aid us, Ungus would still ride southeast with us to Col-Fen We had to secure Ungus to his saddle of the borrowed horse he would ride upon. Only Mari and I would ride our owned horses on the road. Technically, we had enough fund to procure steeds for both Ungus and Peli, but they didn’t think they needed to invest in them yet because we had access to Tantron. Staying to the road, we reached Col-Fen before midday and got directed to the home of Mara Kres after handing off our horses to a stable boy. She told us that a week ago people named Rysa Gossen and Quen Laren both saw undead on the outskirts of the village. Also, more recently, a family and some others have gone missing. Mara told us that a trio of never-do-wells was seen lurking and talking to a pair of famer’s sons and they two went missing. There was also a farmer that was injured and resting in his home.
We went outside where Mara pointed out a hillock to the west where Col-Fen buried their dead. There was an outer-ring that was walled off and more recently used for burials. Further west there is an inner ring that is far older and home to some crypts that people avoid. She suspects that is where the missing villages have been taken. I asked to speak to the wounded man to know what he saw when he was attacked. This man wasn’t too sure if he was attacked by undead or large goblins. I advised the man’s sister, who was caring for him, to stay vigilant and find another person if she could to watch over the farmer’s house in case his attackers returned.
Around midday we ventured toward the cemetery and left a passed out Ungus sitting on the wall, facing the village. As we approached the outer gate Peli told us that he heard a cough from a small copse between the outer and inner walls to our left. The voice hiding there said that we should go away; that we weren’t wanted there. I disagreed by saying that we had evidence to the contrary. An arrow hit the wall in front of me and another went over my head. An arrow then went by Mari—this one from a different copse, north of the first one. Peli teleported over the cemetery wall and shot at the archer in the northern copse. Mari charged into the copse with the archer that shot at me twice, but she only hit a tree’s trunk when she swung.
Disregarding power for accuracy, I shot a magic missile from my staff at the archer that Peli shot. The archers, who revealed themselves as goblins to me by their speech, called out for a phalanx formation. I relayed the information to my peers. The goblins appeared from the trees and I could see that they were a pair of hobgoblins. Peli shot the same one again and moved to the cover that the northern copse provided. Mari charged again at the one she missed and hit it despite the improved protection of the two-man formation. Capitalizing on the goblins’ tight grouping, I lobbed a force orb at the one Mari struck and the resulting shards dropped the adjacent goblin. The remaining hobgoblin started to run away, hopping into the inner cemetery, and pulled out a horn. Before he could blow it, Peli shot an arrow over his head. Not to be put off, Mari gave chase and cut him down.
That is when we saw a skeleton and three undead hounds clamor to the surface from a crevice near a smaller crypt. The hounds ran straight for Mari, but only one mashed at her armor, knocking he down. I moved forward to launch a blue bolt at the skeleton to shatter it. Peli bounded over the inner gate and shot the closest hound to him. Mari got back up with the hounds surrounding her, an agile move for one in so much armor, and hit a hound with so much force that it was pushed away from her. Mari then closed the distance. The hounds gnashed at her again, sending her back to the ground. I then drew foul-smelling blood from a hound that had an arrow for a tail thanks to Peli. Peli shot a different hound, the one that was near the dead hobgoblin, in effort to draw attention away from Mari. Our brave new knight stood and kept her attention on the same hound as before. I launch two blue bolts at a hound in effort to drop it, but I couldn’t. Peli’s next arrow, however, did. Mari hit the same hound a third time, but it remained—undead. The remaining two hounds thrashed Mari again, so I let out another blue bolt from my staff to kill another hound. Peli finished off the last one so Mari could catch her breath.
We wanted to properly dispose of the bodies, but we heard a feminine scream coming from a larger crypt further into the cemetery. I summoned a mage hand to open the doors for us, but it was dark inside. I felt a chill from the smaller crypt near where the hounds and skeleton emerged. We heard another scream and then Mari started to go down the stairs to come face-to-face with an undead man. Behind the zombie was an insubstantial figure of a man with white hair. Reaching into my mind, I figured out that this figure was a pale-reaver. Such a malevolent spirit comes from those who are profound betrayers while they are among the living. How such a spirit is commanded by some unknown force is a mystery that the village of Col-Fen needed us to solve. Pale-reavers can pass through walls and have a draining effect on the living. The information shook me and I missed my ray of frost on the zombie.
An armored skeleton with a long sword came around the corner and part of the way up the crypt’s stairs to strike Mari. The pale-reaver went through a wall and then came at me from my left. Peli, standing on my right, shot at the pale-reaver and then moved out of its line of sight. I heard the creak of bones as an arrow came from inside the crypt at Mari, a telling sign of a skeleton archer still hidden from my sight. Mari moved further into the crypt to hit the armored skeleton and I predicted that this was the second of many exchanges the two would make. The zombie grabbed Mari so I hit it with a force orb, but the shards shot straight through the armored skeleton’s bones or bounced off its armor. Its long sword clashed against Mari’s steel-encased frame, and then the pale-reaver moved through walls to get behind Mari and sap some of her life force.
Seeing Mari in danger and surrounded once again, Peli used his superior archery skill to hit both the pale-reaver and the zombie with arrows. A stray arrow came from inside the crypt again and then the zombie released the grab on Mari to slam against her, but the slow zombie missed the agile knight. I hit the pale-reaver with a ray of frost, hoping to prevent it from disappearing so easily, and then attempted to trap it between Mari and myself. A long sword rang against plate armor again and then the pale-reaver tried to sap Mari again, but failed this time—betrayed himself by his own confidence. Peli shot two more arrows at the pale-reaver to collapse the spirit into nothingness. A third arrow came from the dark and hit Mari this time and she held her sword a little lower than before, but she managed to force the armored skeleton back into the crypt. The zombie moved, and Mari’s sword tore chunks out of it as it did so, behind her.
With the biggest threat removed from battle, I played things safe by sending a blue bolt in the armored skeleton’s direction. The long sword hit Mari again, but this time our knight lay still. Peli, coming through for us again, dropped both the zombie and the armored skeleton, which left one enemy left inside the crypt. This skeleton archer missed the still target of Mari. I tried to awaken Mari, but she didn’t respond. Peli went down the stairs and felled the boney archer with a single arrow. It was then I was able to awaken Mari so that she could tend to her injuries.
The woman that screamed was freed from her bonds, along with her child, and said that she was thankful for our rescue. Name Kyla, she tried to kiss Peli and I on our cheeks, but we refused the gesture. She wanted us to save her husband and elderly father inside one of the other crypts, the one with a chill emanating from it. We went to this other crypt and Peli tried to open the door quietly, but we saw that a body, likely that of Kyla’s father, blocking our entry. Mari and Peli pushed the doors in, sending the body down a long flight of stairs. Mari was considerate and carried the body back up the stairs and left it outside. We snuck down this crypt’s stairs that led to a set of doors. Peli opened a door without the slightest sound so we could continue being stealthy. However, the body crashing down the stairs probably alerted the fiends that dwelled within regardless of our efforts.
The room we entered into had a corridor behind a square supporting structure in its center. On two sides of this were two sarcophagi, both containing massive amounts of fish oil, each with a lit lantern atop it. My rational mind must have faded with the nauseating smell because I should have picked up that the room was a trap. Peli moved near one of the sarcophagi and a hobgoblin popped up and turned the makeshift oil-cask over onto the floor and the lantern soon brought flames. Peli and Mari, in the oil’s wake, managed to dodge getting burned. Still not thinking clearly, I moved up to the other side where a different hobgoblin appeared to do the same in my direction. However, this one failed to trigger the trap, so I hit it with a ray of frost. Mari moved and tried to push the sarcophagus on them, but couldn’t either. The second hobgoblins came over and the two of them managed to do so. Mari dodged the flames again, but I was not so fortunate. The goblin I had frosted was hit with a force orb, but I couldn’t guide the resulting shards to hit his companion. Fearing the smell of fish oil being forever singed into my skin, I moved out of harm’s way.
Mari pushed one of the hobgoblins out of the way so that should could hop over the tipped sarcophagus and Peli missed a difficult shot on the goblins thanks to the angles created by the central supporting structure. I would have liked to have done more, but I wasn’t going to risk further pain and nauseating sensations by running through the fire I could only hear Mari fighting and then saw Peli move swiftly enough through the flames so he could aid her. I heard a goblin squeal as it died. Peli was struck next and then there was a cry as Mari splattered goblin blood on the wall above the flames. The flames died down at the same time the battle ended and both Mari and I rushed out to seek fresh air…
It took us about an hour to recover at during that time events were hazy to me, but I swear another person of some sort came through the cemetery during this time. When Mari and I felt well enough to investigate the crypt again, the old man’s body was where Mari had left it and the doors where still open. We felt a tremor at the crypt’s entrance and it lasted long enough to shake loose dust and debris. Despite the danger, we knew our fellow company members were still within and likely in danger, so we went inside. We continued past the dead hobgoblins to a chamber down more stairs filled with many sarcophagi. On opposite sides of the room were two small statues atop of pedestals, but we couldn’t see Peli, Ungus, or any door that led further inside this crypt.
A spectral image appeared on the far side of the room, barely an outline of a large warrior, and it spoke. It wanted to know if we were with the elf or the elf’s enemies. I asked which elf, knowing that Peli could get into trouble quite efficiently, and the specter mentioned something about a necromancer. I responded by saying we were against necromancy in all forms, which made me think I lied due to the silver skull I carried with me. The specter wanted to see if we were worthy of proceeding by giving us a puzzle that dealt with the two statuettes, one of Bahamut and one of Pelor. While I pondered it, Mari moved up to Bahamut’s visage and turned it. I heard a click and felt a rush of air coming from behind us. We investigated and found a door, where there had only been wall before, near where the first fish oil trap was. Hoping this would lead us to the rest of our party, we started to enter the passage when we encountered another obstacle.
Facing us were three emaciated hounds and, down some stairs, was a skeleton with a bow. The skeleton made an amazing shot with its short bow from its position down the stairs and it likely couldn’t have seen Mari at that point. Mari swung just once and the pathetic hound collapsed, which made me sigh in relief that they weren’t of the same breed as the hounds we faced on the surface. Aiming my staff around Mari, I launched a force orb that killed the remaining two hounds, but the shards missed the skeleton. This boney member of the necromancer’s cohort moved up and attacked Mari with a longsword. She responded in kind and I hit it with a blue bolt. The skeleton then missed her, but she sent its pieces down the stairs so we could continue. Mari, hearing something that I couldn’t among the crashing of stones and rocks, ran down the stairs and disappeared when she turned left on the other side of an archway.
I followed her down the stairs, but didn’t want to head towards the chaos. I went through the arch and braced myself against a stone stage, well taller than me, that was carved with all manner of devilish figures. I could then see a mass of bodies on a slick-looking cavern floor and Mari already in melee with a different skeleton. I could sense the necromancer above me on the stage and I could just make out his ornate robes in the near violet-blue fog. His chanting was easily heard amongst the tumult of the collapsing ceiling. He sounded confident as he launched some attack at Mari’s back. I could feel the fury building in me and I introduced a wide column of fire that engulfed the stage. The necromancer was hurt by it, but didn’t make a clear sound as to how much my fires burned him. He would be decapitated and burned soon enough, I thought. My fury at the correct level, I also aided Mari slightly by hitting the skeleton with the signature magic missile from my staff.
The necromancer gave me a snide remark about being a child as he turned his attention on me. It was what I wanted to happen. I have failed before in previous fights—withdrawing when Peli angered Catullus the dragonborn and failing to help slay the hobgoblins just an hour prior—and needed to draw the attention of the necromancer so Mari could attempt to save the lives of the many wounded I saw. And, I just knew the necromancer was responsible for their dilemma and he would pay for his crimes. As the High Septarch of Fallcrest it was my duty to purge such foul magic from the world. The necromancer then tried to attack me, but I raised my staff to deflect. I almost grinned, but a second attack hit me; a necrotic one. Perhaps fearing me, the necromancer disappeared from my sight. I looked back to Mari as she downed the skeleton and pulled out two potions. Figuring that meant only one threat remained, I moved around the stage and saw a ladder. Seeing the necromancer too, I lobbed three quick blue bolts of energy at him.
Of course, the necromancer responded by hitting me with some effect that left me feeling faint for a moment. Mari was busy administering potions to Peli and Ungus, so I expected no aid from her. Nay, it meant that she could not come to more harm from this necromancer as long as I could defeat him. I took a deep breath and climbed to the top of the stage. I asked, “Do you have a named necromancer?” He started to say, “I’m Helvec—“ but was cut off as two more magic missiles hit him square in the chest and I could sense the magic, his energy, leaving him. There were many things I could have said following my success, but nobody was near enough to hear them. It didn’t really matter what Helvec’s name was as it would only be known in connection to me. Another victory for Uriah of House Orlok.
The specter appeared close to me this time and he said he wanted to cleanse the necrotic energy from his skull, which Helvec had been holding and somehow made violet-blue. I pulled the two flasks of holy water, should have had three full ones according to the specter, into a water basin that was on the stage. There was an old ritual book that the specter told me to read and perform for the cleansing. It even flipped to the correct page for me. When that was completed he had me awaken Serago so that I could give the spirit trapped in the skull more vigor. However, the lack of sufficient holy water meant that Serago would be mischievous. The skull itself also only seemed to glow silver. The specter gave me another task, which was to return his skull and those of his fellow Kaius Warlords. Through some manner of energy transference I felt when picking up the skulls, I got the information that this crypt was called the Shadowhaunt Mausoleum. Replacing the skulls with their proper bodies would remove the haunted aspect from the crypt and the mausoleum should be given a more respectable name as the Kaius Warlords deserved as much.
I then went to inspecting Helvec’s person and retrieved his worthwhile belongings, even his robes, and pushed his body off of the stage. I could see that Ungus and Peli were back to their feet, but Ungus was carrying the limp form of a boy and another boy was following him. Those were likely the two boys missing from the village, so the village’s families would be mourning two deaths soon enough. Peli looked to be in rough shape, but he would recover quickly as usual and had the unconscious body of a Kalashtar with him. If it were not for our extended rest in Fallcrest, then perhaps our eldest member might not have been so fortunate. Mari too looked battered, but she busied herself trying to find a clear exit. Ungus investigated a small chest that I passed on the way to the ladder. Inside he found a mere one-hundred gold pieces and a holy symbol bearing Bahamut’s image.
The need for subtly passed, Mari just knocked the secret door we came through aside. She took the boys to the surface, while Peli, I supposed, took the Kalashtar. It was my turn to follow procedures with the dead, so I ensured that Helvec wouldn’t return under the power of some other necromancer. Ungus and I returned to the room with the statuettes, but he didn’t stop to help me right away. He tested where a secret door that he passed through was and it opened, but only for those on our side of the door. I went back and grabbed a hobgoblin body to wedge against the door. I waited by the door for Ungus as he retrieved another living villager from the crypt and had him go to the surface. Between Ungus, myself, and the specter, we got the skulls back in their rightful places. Ungus said some words, expected of a cleric, and we exited the crypt; for good I hoped.
We went back to the village of Col Fen and handed over their dead before going to the tavern where we put Kalashtar so he could recover. Passing time in the tavern, we heard there was supposed to be this famous traveling minstrel appearing. Peli and Ungus soon found people to snog, while Mari and I stayed quiet and enjoyed the evening meal. I was mostly involved reading through the ritual book and writing my journals and didn’t care for the frivolities, like those of a female dragonborn fortune-teller. After a while, the minstrel went to our table and introduced himself as Bennik the Wanderer. He has made an appearance or two in Winterhaven before, but I preferred historical texts by scholars to flowery songs of minstrels. Bennik wanted to hear our tale from the day or be allowed to come with us. Ungus, our captain, refused the offer and wasn’t in the mood to offer a tale. Mari said she would tell him some information, but in the morning. Ungus got his fortune read by the dragonborn, named Surina, and shortly after I retired to a room for more quiet study and to see to my notes.
There was much still to do in the region and I didn’t feel like celebrating when the locals were mourning their dead. Tomorrow was Erathday, but a day of rest would not be in our future.