The party wakes up in a room previously explored. There are two ornate braziers, casting a faint red glow around this large chamber. Thickly scented smoke clouds the air before disappearing through small ventilation holes in the stone ceiling. There is a pool of water deep in one of the rooms. Another part of the room there is an iron ring that the black horse was attached to. The party had decided to camp in this room due to the twin small basins where the guard drake was located. The water in them is clean and pure, and helps to heal any wounds the party receives. Before continuing on their adventure, Polaris had the idea of visiting the room with the fire glyph carved on the floor, to give the party a higher resistance to fire. After everyone finished with the glyph, they worked their way to the east through a set of doors, to the room with the trap door under the rug. They then went to the north side of this room, where there were two double doors to the north and west.
Black Rabbit was tasked with investigating the doors, and felt an aura of coldness emanating from the door to the north, and only hearing some unknown language being spoken through the western doors. Kerplaaak the zombie slayer identified the language as draconic, being spoken by some lowly kobolds, so the party decided to proceed to the west. Polaris casts the mage fist spell, and a large ethereal looking fist appears before the door, and opens it with ease, revealing 2 kobolds, in a tiny room with a set of 4 runes on the floor, a single door to the west, and a set of double curtains to the north. One of the kobolds turns towards the party and asks, “why you here?” As the only one who knows draconic, kerplaaak decides to parlay with the kobolds.
“We are here to investigate a theft of some personal property of a merchant.”
“They are friends,” replies one of the kobolds, and proceeds to charge the heroes, but doesn’t make it two steps before a bolt from Black Rabbit’s crossbow hits him between the eyes, felling him in a blink of an eye. The other kobold sees this, and attempts to flee through the curtains to the north, but is stopped quickly by one swipe of the charging Kerplaaak’s falchion.
Polaris again casts mage fist, but this time she uses it to open the curtains to north. Two kobolds spot this, and the nearest runs towards the the mage, but Black Rabbit again puts an immediate stop to this with a well aimed bolt. Unfortunately, the other kobold was further away, and managed to sound the alarm for his comrades. 3 other Kobold minions enter the area from the west. A blast of cold air catches the companions attention from the East, and they see that the large, black double doors have been thrown open, and lumbering zombie shambles out of the room. Kerplaaak the zombie slayer immediately recognizes his racial enemy the zombie, and identifies this beast as a chillborn zombie, an undead creature able to harness the essence of winter to aid in its attacks.
Kerplaaak is anxious to attack this foul creature, but he and bear are occupied by the kobolds that just entered the room. Polaris and Black Rabbit go after the zombie. Or at least attempt to. WIth only her robe as protection, Polaris is stunned by the cold emanating from the zombie, and before she knows it, she is attacked. The zombie swipes at her with his hands, just barely connecting, but it’s enough for her body to go rigid from the severe cold. Fortunately, this is short lived, as the adrenaline pumping through her body is enough to coax her body into action. She shifts to the side as the bear abandons the lesser kobolds and rushes to Polaris’ side. Unfortunately, the bear, takes the brunt of the zombie’s next attack, and is immobilized in place by the severe cold.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, Kerplaaak has killed all but one of the kobold minions. As he stares into the eyes of the last kobold, he opens his mouth, bares his teeth, and menacingly swings his sword around his head, frightening the kobold so badly that it curls up in the corner, muttering to itself in draconic, suckling on its thumb. Kerplaaak wants to interrogate his newly tamed prisoner, but he turns to eagerly take on the more threatening foe—-the chillborn zombie. What he sees is a frozen bear, a Polaris that is so stunned that she can’t get a coherent spell out, and zombie that is focusing on a terrified Black Rabbit, who just doesn’t know where to hit zombies to take them out. Even a bolt to the head won’t take out this beast. Kerplaaak charges forward with his falchion, knowing exactly where to hit zombies to take them out. Right as the zombie reached out to grab Black Rabbit, Kerplaaak swings his huge sword and lobs off one of the zombie’s arms, followed with a swift kick to the leg, grinning as he hears a snap as the zombie falls to now shattered knee. Proceeding exactly as Kerplaaak planned, he steps back, takes a powerful swing with his sword, and lobs the zombie’s head off, smiling broadly as it falls to the ground and splatters like an over-ripe watermelon.
All the companions feel much more experience after having such a battle. They have emerged stronger and more skilled. They take a moment to gather themselves and reflect on what they have learned, and then proceed to search the room for anything of use. Polaris explores the alters that are scattered about the room. Her knowledge of religion is limited, but she does glean a few things from them. She learns that one of the alters is to an old god of neutrality named Reorx, and remembers that this god tends to be portrayed as a paunchy squire to another god named Kiri-Jolith, but dwarves and gnomes hold Reorx as the highest of the gods. According to legend, Reorx forged the universe with his hammer, and also forged the Greystone of Gargath, and is thus the father of the gnomes, dwarves, and kender. Polaris starts to presume that this temple must then be an ancient dwarven temple, but then she identifies another shrine in the room as a shrine to yet another god of neutrality, Zivilyn, the world tree. Zivilyn is said by the elves to exist in all times and in all lands, and possesses all the wisdom of the planes of existence. He is the counterpart to Gilean, the god of knowledge. The other two shrines in the room go unidentified, as no one in the party knows enough about religion. Black Rabbit makes the comment that maybe this is some sort of ancient unitarian temple.
Meanwhile, Kerplaaak is off interrogating his kobold prisoner. The kobold reveals that his master is in the east room, and has something to do with dead things. Kerplaaak tells his prisoner to stay put, and gathers the rest of the party to proceed into room where the chillborn zombie came from. What they find is a shimmering magic circle painted on the ground. Using her knowledge of the arcane, Polaris identifies this as a teleportation circle, useful with a ritual of teleportation to transport creatures from one location to another. The circle appears to have been designed to have only one specific destination. Polaris attempts to trace the magical energy flowing through the sigils in the circle, with the hopes of gleaning some information about its destination. She feels a surge of adreneline as her mind connects with the destination, and her head is filled with a vision of a giant floating fortress, suspended in the air on a cone of jagged stone, as if it was forcefully ripped from the earth. Surrounding the fortress are hundreds of flying creatures, but as Polaris tries to push in closer, darkeness fills her senses, as does a foreboding fear. She withdraws her mind and is caught by Black Rabbit, as she briefly collapses in his arms.
The party proceeds towards the doors on the Eastern wall of the room with the teleporting circle, and are greeted by two goblin cutthroats and a bugbear. Easily dispatching the goblin cutthroats, the companions proceed to take on the bugbear. Despite its power, the bugbear knows when it is outnumbered, and flees in to a nearby room with a large urn full of hot coals. He is pursued by the companions, who back him up against this urn. Just as they thought they had him finished, the bugbear grabs the urn, and tips it over onto himself and the companions, immolating himself in the process. What he didn’t count on was that the companions had used the fire glyph discovered earlier to grant them resistance to fire.
They proceed to search the room for any treasure, searching in the numerous crates and boxes that are stacked in clusters in this large room. Polaris searches the bugbear’s body, finding a magic axe called a lifedrinker greataxe. She decides to keep this for herself. Finding little else of value, the party edges closer to the double doors leading to where the kobold prisoner says his master is located. Before proceeding, the party takes a 5 minute rest. While Kerplaaak is off maintaining his sword, Polaris attempts to off this prisoner, as she doesn’t think any creature of evil deserves to live. However, in her haste, she miscasts her spell, and alerts Kerplaaak, who rushes in and proceeds to get in an argument with Polaris about his sense of honor and her sense of “evil must die.” If it wasn’t for Polaris’ skills in diplomacy, the argument may have gotten much more heated than it was.
Wasting no more time, the companions open the double doors to the next room. A stench of death fills this room, along with an acrid chemical scent. Liquids of various colors bubble and steam in bottles and tubes scattered across three large tables. An enormous zombie, apparently the animated corpse of an ogre, looms in front of a bookcase in an alcove, and two skeletons animated by necromantic magic stand around the central table. Barely glancing up from whatever experiment is consuming his attention at the table, a gaunt human dressed in dark robes with a medallion around his neck must be the necromancer you seek, the mysterious rider who commanded the attack on Traevus’s wagon. “Dispose of them,” he growls, and his undead servants turn toward the companions. Black Rabbit perceives that the necromancer is bending over a small open box on the table in front of him—-a box that looks like the one Traevus has asked the companions to retrieve.
The necromancer casts death burst, giving aid to his undead creations, and turns his attention back to what he was doing. Kerplaaak rushes for the necromancer, Malareth, and breaths a stream of fire onto him and one of the skeletons. Unfortunately, the necromancer ducks behind the table, but he still manages to damage the skeleton as potions on the nearby table explode in flames. The skeleton focuses its attention on Kerplaaak, as the hulking ogre zombie squeezes past some nearby tables to engage Polaris and Black Rabbit, who are still standing in the doorway. They retreat out of reach of the zombie, who is fortunately limited in mobility due to its size. Now out of reach of the zombie, hey hammer away at it with everything at their disposal. Being flanked by the skeleton and zombie, kerplaaak focuses his attention on the greater threat—-the ogre zombie. Meanwhile, bear attempts to help kerplaaak by attacking the skeleton nearest him. Kerplaaak “the zombie slayer” is very skillful when it comes to battling zombies, but even he can’t avoid the attacks from this hulking beast. One hit sends Kerplaaak clear across the room, stunning him. Kerplaaak tells his companions that he doesn’t’ think he can take another hit like that, but still charges forward again after the creature. Black Rabbit and Polaris double their attacks, bolts striking the creature’s head, and clouds of daggers striking the creature from every direction, finally the companions unified efforts are paying off, as the hulking beast stumbles, giving Kerpaaak the chance he was looking for, as he vaults off a nearby chair, his falchion gripped downward with both hands, he brings it down on top of the foul creatures head, using his strength to twist and drive his falchion further into its body. Jumping off its body, the creature falls with a thud.
Unfortunately, the bear wasn’t having as much luck on his front. It was busy taking the brunt of the skeleton’s and necromancer’s attack, and is now immobilized by Malareth’s ray of immobilization. The bear collapses, unconscious, as the companions turn their attention towards their three remaining foes. One of the remaining skeletons charges for the companions surrounding the zombie’s corpse, but Black Rabbit shouts to the others to focus on the necromancer, as he will focus on this skeleton. Polaris is first to attack the necromancer, finally learning the best way to use her spells, and casts burning hands on the Malareth and the skeleton, followed by thunderwave. Kerplaaak attempts to charge forward, but is immobilized in place by Malareth. He takes the opportunity to use a healing surge to regain some hit points. With another clap of thunder, Polaris succeeds in taking out the skeleton, and moves forward to heal the bear with her waterskin filled with water from the healing pools. Unfortunately, the bear again takes the brunt of the necromancer’s attack and falls over unconscious. However, this has allowed Kerplaaak to free himself, and he proceeds to jump up on a nearby table. Running towards Malareth, he jumps off the table and attacks him. The necromancer takes a deep slash from his sword, but continues his assault on the companions, and manages to once again immobilize Kerplaaak. Black Rabbit’s crossbow bolts are having no effect on the skeleton, and he decides to focus his attention on the necromancer. After seeing Kerplaaak jump off the table, he takes careful aim on the distracted Malareth, letting loose a well placed bolt that find home right between the eyes of Malareth. As the lights leave the dark necromancer’s eyes, the skeleton attacking Black Rabbit collapses into a pile of bones.