The bloodbath finally over, the three who remained standing decided to head back to Winterhaven. With built-in warrior’s honour, Agresiv needed to bring back Brok’s body for burial. They exited the mid-bowels of the Keep on the Shadowfel without difficulty or encounter. In fact, in the early morning their first encounter was with Lord Padraig himself, standing on the wall over the closed gates of Winterhaven upon their arrival back at the town.
Yes, Winterhaven’s gates were closed. Several figures stood with weapons drawn on the parapet above. One of the figures, Lord Padraig, waved as they approached. He called out, “We are in peril! Several villagers have disappeared, and the dead in the cemetery have risen. We fear these creatures will emerge to assail the gates and drag us all away.”
The adventurers told Padraig of what they had seen and done at the Keep, explaining that they would be honoured to continue helping Winterhaven but that they needed to enter the town to rest and recoup before venturing into the graveyard to fight the rising undead.
Although a little sad that they weren’t immediately heading off to keep fighting the town’s problems, Padraig quickly let them in. With the town gates safely shut behind them, the party rested and unloaded some of their spoils at Bairwin’s Grande Shoppe where Agresiv purchased a simple magic short sword for Noorwyn, while the gnome had breakfast tea with Valthrune the Prescient who was absolutely aghast at the bard’s tale. The old wizard told him of a young wizard, Seth who had come to town and wanted to help old Valthrune learn more of what was plaguing their land by doing research about the undead in the graveyard, and now probably in great danger.
Mana, however, had had enough. With everything he had been through and all this new talk of facing undead, he was finished. He could take no more, claiming once again that he was no adventurer, he turned his back on his former company and went his own way.
Once rested, the group set out in the early afternoon to investigate the trouble in the graveyard. They cautiously entered the fenced area and Agresiv set Brok’s body down just inside the gate.
Unbeknownst to the duo, Seth was holed up in one of three small mausoleums and – through a crack in the door – he had seen an elf hunter pour liquid in a pattern on the ground, making it glow with a sickly blue light.
Noorwyn moved up along the side of the area among the tombstones while the warforged walked up the path. Agresiv asked the gnome if he remembered the name of the young wizard they were looking for. “Kalarel,” he absently replied. So Agresiv called out, “Kalarel! Where are you, Kalarel? We’re here to rescue you!” However, Noorwyn was mistaken and the wizard’s name, of course, was Seth. Suddenly, from out of the ground burst a squad of skeleton archers and a pair of gravehounds! Noorwyn was attacked and he immediately disappeared and dashed into the nearest mausoleum, where Seth happened to be hiding. After exchanging a few words and the gnome tried to explain the mistake with Seth’s name, they could at least decide that for now they were on the same side, although the wizard remained wary of Noorwyn.
It was scary, but it went from bad to worse when Ninaran also joined the fray, sniping from the doorway of one of the other mausoleums, then a scared monk named Garth ran fleeing out from the main building, pursued by a pair of githyanki and their pet. But with the monk on the scene, and the wizard also joining in the battle, they slowly began to turn the tide. Then more and more undead rose from their graves: zombies and flying undead! What to do now?
With a flash of inspiration, Noorwyn ran to the glowing pattern in the ground that Ninaran had made. Well skilled in arcana, he managed to discern that by successfully applying his skill he would eventually be able to destroy, reverse or disable the magic of the glowing glyph and put an end to the walking dead. After a few more rounds of battle, the resourceful gnome was able to put an end to the zombies by un-working the evil magic inscribed in the ground; and the githyanki were defeated by the the monk and the wizard, while Agresiv subdued Ninaran.
When the fighting was over Noorwyn went straight for the hunter from whom he had taken his falcon. His intimidating presence was irresistible. She tried to answer him by handing him a piece of vellum which read:
“I received your report on the adventurers. Next time you see them, put an end to their meddling. Mix the blood of ten people with the elixir my messenger brings. Then trace the following pattern on the ground of a graveyard and pour the liquid into the lines. That should supply you with a force to thwart them. I’m very close to completion; see that I’m not interrupted. As you already know, if you do come to the second level of the keep, the pass phrase is “From the ground, some magic was found.”
Being as insightful as he was intimidating, Noorwyn saw through her bluff and forced her to tell him the true pass phrase: “And life fails in the dark.” With the danger behind them for now, the newly formed group took a moment to acquaint themselves with each other, while, Agresiv dug a grave for Brok under a tree with his goblin shovel. When the warforged’s back was turned Noorwyn cut off Ninaran’s head to bring back to Lord Padraig, to whom they returned before nightfall.