At the end of last session, we left our heroes in the midst of a desperate battle against a veritable horde of undead.
The battled raged on, but quickly the PCs’ superior skills, tenacity and resilience shifted the balance in their favour. The ordinary skeletons proved no match for the heroes; even their mere presence close to Shardane seemed enough to annihilate them!
Vesleng quickly grappled one of the scythe-wielding skeletons and ripped it apart while Thaladan’s righteous fury made swift work of the other. The spellcaster seemed more resilient, however. Another flame strike followed up by an unholy blight caused much damage to the party and Cortana to order the Grey Maidens to retreat—here was a foe beyond their strength.
The undead cleric had cloaked itself in an antilife shell and this protection stymied the party for a few rounds before Karelia dispelled its potent protection. With this gone, the evil cleric was in trouble. Even a blade barrier cast across almost the entire party could not save it, and soon it was destroyed.
Victorious the party healed their wounds, looted the dead (discovering a symbol of Demogorgon on the powerful undead cleric’s armour) and questioned the peasants they had just rescued. It transpired, the peasants were from a small hamlet a half-hour away or so. The undead had recently attacked the hamlet and these four were the only survivors. The peasants also said the undead came from the direction of Piren Bluff!
With this news, the party rapidly pushed onwards. They passed through the now ruined hamlet spoken of earlier, stopping only to swiftly bury the dead. An hour or so later they were are Piren’s Bluff—it seems just in the nick of time. A few straggling peasants were hurrying towards the gates guarded by a half-dozen nervous-looking members of the militia. On the horizon, a slowly approaching dust cloud hinted at the approach of another—much larger—undead horde.
Things seemed grim. It looked like the populace of the entire area had retreated to the town, but the safety they had sought appeared more illusionary than actual. A wooden palisade ringed much of the town and the experienced warriors among the party worried that it would not stand up to a determined assault from the undead horde.
The castle seemed a better bet, but its gates were firmly closed. Here professional men-at-arms stood guard, but they ignored the party’s calls to open the gates and let the townsfolk shelter within. The Captain of the Guard, Captain Blacklock, explained his lord could not be disturbed at the moment and that no doubt the baron would deal with the matter when he had attended to “important matters.” Several of the party voiced their disbelief that anything could be more important that the undead horde bearing down on the town, but Blacklock was immovable.
Briefly discussing, and then discarding, a plan to force the keep’s gates open, the heroes explored the town. It was not long before they discovered two temples: The First Light and The Pact Hall dedicated to the two brother-gods Heironeous and Hexor respectively. The First Light was a faded, neglected place. Only one priest remained—an old half-elf who seemed more than a little mad.
Cortana and Thaladan introduced themselves and eventually talked their way into the secret vault below the temple. There the party discovered many sarcophagi containing the bodies of the heroic dead, many carvings of a martial aspect and an entire chamber full of mouldering papers—church records, personal diaries and the like. Karelia couldn’t wait to immerse herself in the ancient writings, but important matters required her attention. The carvings on one of the sarcopaghi radiated moderate evocation magic—or rather the carving of a beautiful long-handled axe radiated magic.
Intrigued, Cortana prayed to his god and received a cryptic message—“Take Heaven’s Fury!” Reaching out a trembling hand he touched the carving. Before the party’s eyes, it transformed into a beautiful axe crafted from a single piece of adamantine! At mention of the name Heaven’s Fury, Karelia remembered something about the weapon. A holy relic imbued with divine power and sacred to Heironeous’ faith it was said to be the brother weapon of a similar flail—Hell’s Vengeance…