> Chronicles > Book 1 – Part 2

Book 1 – Crypt of the Steadfast Flame
Part 2 – The Crypt of Dartron


  • Chapter 4: Inside the Crypt, Day Two
  • Chapter 5: Return to Darford

See also: Adventure Log > Session 2, 2013-02-08.

Chapter 4: Inside the Crypt, Day Two

Shadowy Shapes

Before descending to a deeper level of the crypt, they returned to the room filled with smoke. They entered and found the smoke still there. Though not as bad as the day before, it was still quite harsh – their eyes watered and breathing was difficult. In the center of the broad chamber the remains of a small fire smoldered, letting off the plume of oily smoke. It appeared to be fed by a heap of burning gear, debris, and more than a few bones. The fire cast a flickering light across the walls of the room, partially obscured by the veil of smoke.

Within a few seconds they were attacked by a “shadow” humanoid. When it struck them, its negative energy drained their strength away, but their attempts to strike back just passed through its shadowy form without harm. Sensing that the shadow could not be harmed, except perhaps by magical means, Kyran and Yriadel acted swiftly.

“Kavvála Vlímaton,” called Kyran, and a stygian missile of magical energy burst from his fingertip and blasted a hole through the shadow’s chest. Though the shadow reformed quickly, it was obviously damaged from Kyran’s mystical attack. Next Kyran chanted “Kavvála Oplo,” and his sword began to glow with an obsidian enchantment as he advanced toward the shadow.

In the meantime, Yriadel was quick to react with similar magical resourcefulness. “FREYJA SKÁDE” she intoned, while she boldly displayed her carved wood symbol of a falcon. Dazzling gold swirls of sparkling energy encircled the shadow, and her allies witnessed their enemy begin to dissipate.

Kyran swung with his enchanted blade and though the blade passed through the shadowy figure, the damage was visible, and it gave out a fading cry as its disembodied form evaporated into the smoky room.

After defeating the shadow, Yriadel cast another spell – “FREYJA SKAPE VANN” – she chanted, and a small rain cloud appeared above the fire pit. Tiny gold sparks glistened about the edges of the miniature cloud, like tiny bolts of lightning, then rain poured from the cloud and extinguished the smoldering fire within the pit.

Minutes later, after the smoke had cleared enough to see better and breathe more comfortably, they searched the room. They discerned that this room was intended to be used by visitors to light a fire and keep warm. Although nearly everything was burned beyond use, they found enough evidence to suspect that at least two of their fellow villagers had died here and their corpses had been thrown into the fire. Among the charred rubble they found two items of use: a scorched key and a dagger. The dagger appeared to be completely unharmed by the fire. Kyran’s eyes turned black, as he concentrated and inspected the dagger, confirming that it was magical and perhaps resistant to fire. Li-Al Saar, who always preferred to use a dagger in combat, asked to hold on to it and the party agreed.


They made their way to the stairs and carefully descended. At the bottom was a circular chamber with three passageways leading from it. In the center was a small stone pedestal. The sound of dripping water could be heard coming from the eastern passageway, while the stench of rot emanated from the west.

The floor beheld an inscription spiraling out from the pillar and written in Angarian. It read: “To the south you might take your ease, to rest and reflect on Dartron’s deeds. To the east lies the wheel, to open the gate. To the west is the resting place of Dartron, hero of Willow Dale.”

They approached the west corridor, and the stench of rot grew stronger the closer they got to its mouth, but nothing could be seen nor heard from that direction. They checked the south, but nothing could be seen nor heard from that direction either. They approached the east passage, and in addition to the sound of dripping water, they detected a strange echoing gurgle, though it was relatively faint.

As they investigated the east passage further they found that it began to slope down a bit after leaving the circular chamber and that water had collected in the corridor, growing deeper as it continued. This appeared to be the source of the dripping noise, as the ceiling was leaking in many places.


Azure Fungus
The eastern passage split into another corridor which traveled north and south, then each turned east again. They moved in the southern direction and as it turned east the water became deeper and completely covered the floor. The hall opened into a room, whose floor was also completely submerged in water. A strange blue fungus covered the walls, ceiling, and pillars of the waterlogged chamber. The wispy strands of the fungus stretched out from the wall like roots dangling in the air, twitching and swaying in an unseen breeze. Floating in the water were four decaying corpses—three large rats and one giant frog—with strange burn marks all over their bodies. Sensing impending danger if they dared wade into the room, they backtracked northward.

Angry Frogs
After the north passage turned east, it ended in a door. As they approached the door, the water in the passageway grew deeper, eventually reaching a depth of just over 2 feet. At the end of the corridor the wooden door was swollen, barely contained by its decaying frame. They listened at the door and could hear the faint sound of frogs croaking. Not unusual given the sodden environment. The door was obviously swollen with water and it was difficult to open. With enough effort, they were able to pull it from its frame.

They entered the room. It was filled with water, probably as deep as the outside corridor. The chamber was in an advanced state of decay, with a gaping hole in the ceiling that admitted a constant trickle of water. Three stone sarcophagi were in the room, almost completely covered in a thick carpet of moss and fungus. A giant frog sat atop the center sarcophagus and it hungrily attacked them.

The water was about 3 feet deep, so it significantly hindered their movement. As Dodge tried to wade around the first sarcophagus, a second giant frog emerged from the water and attacked him. Likewise, Magna encountered the same fate against a third frog as he attempted to maneuver around the other end of the sarcophagus. Glenlivet leapt atop the sarcophagus so he could attack the frogs with his scimitar. Without receiving any critical wounds, the team defeated the frogs, then began to investigate the soggy room.

Stuffed into a nest at the end of the chamber was the mostly devoured corpse of a human man. Yriadel deduced that the corpse was about 3 months old – perhaps one of the bandits. On the man’s right hand they found a ring made of gold and set with a single aquamarine. Tied to his belt was a pouch that contained 24 gold coins, identical to those found on the corpse beside the Gray Lake.

Wheel and Woe
Near the southeast corner of the chamber there was another swollen door, barely contained by its decaying frame. They were able to pull it from its frame and continued south through a flooded passageway. The passage opened into a large chamber that was partially flooded, with the south end just barely rising out of the stagnant water. A large wheel was set into the floor of the dry area, attached to chains that rose up into the ceiling. A thick layer of slick, black mold covered the carvings on the walls. Upon entering the room, six skeletons rose up from hiding just below the surface of the water and attacked.

The skeletons surged upon the group before they could fully enter the room, so Dodge, who was in the front, took the brunt of the damage. By now they were experienced in dealing with these hideous attackers, so they were able to destroy them without serious injury. Luckily, after the room’s defenders were defeated, they took the time to prod the floor as they waded through the stagnant water towards the wheel. By doing so, they safely discovered a large pit in the center of the room, with a narrow stone bridge that crossed it in the middle. As they cautiously crossed the bridge, they detected movement deep within the water of on each side. Danger lurked below, which they knew they just narrowly escaped by using their astute tactics. Oh, if they had fallen in!

They safely reached the dry area and inspected the large wheel. At first, they suspected a trap, but then they remembered the inscription in the circular chamber. “To the east lies the wheel, to open the gate.” They surmised that this must be the wheel that would open a gate to somewhere, so they tried to turn it. First, counter clockwise – but it would not budge. Then, clockwise – with each rotation they could sense a great weight being lifted and a click as if some device held the weight in check. After three rotations, it would no longer budge. Satisfied that they had accomplished the goal of the inscription, they made their way back to the circular chamber.

Chamber of Rest
They negotiated back to the circular chamber, then ventured south. The short passageway took a bend west before ending in a small chamber dominated on the far side by a silver fountain quietly burbling perfectly clear water. An inscription above the fountain read “Dartron’s legacy lives on with his people. Drink and be refreshed.” There was a small stone bench along each of the north and south walls. Yriadel, her hair giving off a soft gold light, concentrated on the fountain and confirmed it was both magical and benevolent. So here they briefly rested, drinking from the fountain (which did make them feel refreshed) and ate from some of their trail rations.


First Catacomb
They rose to their feet and continued their search within the crypt, this time down the west corridor, suffering though the stench of rot and dreading the discovery of its source. The corridor opened up into a winding catacomb. The walls were skillfully carved with deep recesses where bodies might have once lain. All that remained now were cobwebs, dust, and the tattered remains of ancient clothing. The stench of rotting flesh was overpowering here, but the source was still not evident. Seconds after they entered the room, four zombies moved out of hiding and began to attack.

Despite their gruesome appearance, the zombies were not impossible to destroy. They had poor reflexes and seemed to move much slower than the skeleton opponents, but their stench was unbearable. However, each time a zombie landed a blow, the victim could not help but worry that they were exposed to some horrible plague. Even worse, as they destroyed each zombie, it exploded in a burst of rotting, infected flesh that covered everyone in its vicinity.

Once the zombies were defeated, they inspected their remains and deduced that they were probably only a few months old and their tattered clothing was similar to that worn by the bandit near Gray Lake and the body in the area with the giant frogs. Then they carefully inspected the catacomb and discovered a recess in the southeast corner of the room. Within the recess, sitting atop a large bloodstain, was a backpack which apparently belonged to one of the bandits. The pack held some rotten rations, a map detailing the area and pointing out the entrance to the crypt, a pouch with 13 shillings, and a small handbill of a type typically found posted in taverns. Although faded, the handbill clearly read as a notice of employment, telling all those interested to meet at “Logmaðr’s Lament.” Yriadel, who had recently left Linwich, recognized this to be a popular bar in that town. The handbill did not mention a time, date, or who the employer might be.

Reflections of Terror
A door amidst the south wall opened into a long chamber, divided by a shallow reflecting pool, from one end to the other. The water looked cloudy and stagnant. What must have once been marvelous murals covering both walls were now scorched and ruined, the original subject lost in the destruction.

As they entered the room, they could not help but catch a glimpse of themselves in the reflecting pool. Strangely, a couple of them saw a horrid, rotting reflection that slowly turned to murder the others in the room. The vision filled them with fear and they fled, screaming, toward the entrance of the dungeon. Yriadel chased them down and successfully softened their fear so they could continue the quest.

The passageway leading out of the chamber to the south appeared to normally be blocked by a heavy iron portcullis, which was now raised into the ceiling above. They theorized that this was the gate mentioned in the inscription in the circular chamber. “To the east lies the wheel, to open the gate.” And that they had fortuitously bypassed this great obstacle by turning the wheel in the chamber with the submerged pit.

Second Catacomb
This chamber was similar to the catacomb before – it had a number of recesses carved into the walls to house the deceased – but there was a fissure in the ceiling. Hanging from the ceiling around the fissure were hundreds of bats. They had to creep very carefully and silently to pass through this room without stirring the swarm of bats.

Guardian Statues

They passed through a hallway, opened the door at its end, then walked into a huge room. The vaulted ceiling of the vast chamber showed significant signs of damage, with numerous cracks along its surface. In the center of the room, a 10-foot-wide bridge crossed a deep chasm. On the other side, a pair of stone statues watched over the end of the bridge in front of a set of grand brass double doors. The statues depicted villagers holding shields and spears.

When they got about half way across the bridge, the statues suddenly moved forward on hidden wheels, slamming all the way to the north side of the bridge. Within seconds, the statues returned to their starting position, guarding the south end of the bridge. The young heroes were knocked backwards and suffered painful bruises. They were quite fortunate they were not knocked into the deadly pit – a 40-foot fall that would have likely been fatal!

To bypass the trap, they hatched a dangerous and clever plan. While Glenlivet stood ready, another volunteer went half way across the bridge to trigger the trap. When the statues came rushing forward, Glenlivet successfully grabbed ahold of one of them and rode it back to the south side. After the action had settled, he cautiously climbed off, down to solid ground, and let out a sigh of relief that he did not trigger any other trap. Next, he tied a rope to the sturdy double doors and tossed the end across the pit. The remaining members of the team were then able to rappel down into the pit and climb out the other side.

Dartron’s Tomb

They pushed the wide brass doors and they swung open on silent hinges to reveal a vast crypt. Tall pillars marched across the chamber, ending at a dais on the far side, on which was set a large stone sarcophagus. A light emanated from a torch mounted above the sarcophagus, flickering with a pale golden fire. (Perhaps this was the eternal flame which they sought!) The sarcophagus was open, and the lid was lying next to it. A single form lay along the other side of the coffin, a small human in tattered clothing, who appeared to be asleep or unconscious.

As they entered the chamber, a dry, mirthless laugh could be heard from the dark recesses of the tomb. “So, Dartron’s heroes have come to fight me again. You will make fine minions in my army of the dead. Come and meet your fate.” With that, a wicked-looking skeleton strode into view on the far side of the room, wearing polished mail and brandishing a cruel sword in both hands. A cold blue flame burned in its empty eye sockets.

“This must be the ‘dead one who speaks’, whom Sidric was ranting about”, said Kyran. “I shall destroy him.”

“Dartron’s heroes? Come to fight me again? Maybe he is referring to our fallen friends, Hrothgar and Sturm,” pondered Dodge. “Avenge them!” he shouted, and the team charged down the stairs toward their evil adversary. Before they covered even two steps, four skeletons emerged from hiding spots behind different pillars. The group had run right into a trap and were now surrounded and outflanked by evil undead.

Despite the situation, they did not panic. Magna unleashed deadly arrows against the skeletons, while Yríadel cast a spell, glowing with a brilliant gold light, a light which had obvious damaging effect upon the skeletons. Li-Al Saar moved stealthily through the fray to position himself for a counter flank. Kyran uttered a mystic phrase and eerie black missiles shot from his finger and exploded against a skeleton, then he advanced with determination, sword in hand.

Dodge and Glenlivet attacked from the point, trading feints and blows with the skeletal champion. Glenlivet received a telling blow, knocking him down and out of the battle. Next, Li-Al attacked from behind, but the evil one countered successfully, delivering a bloody wound. Though the melee was close, eventually all the skeletons were crushed into fragments, and Dodge dealt a final killing blow against the main skeleton – its blue famed eye sockets were extinguished.

Breena Rescued
Magna watched guardedly over the room, arrow nocked on bow, while Yriadel tended to the wounds of Glenlivet, Li-Al and Dodge. Kyran approached the sarcophagus and the figure lying beside it. The form beside the tomb was in fact a beautiful young woman, sprawled upon the steps of the dais, whose clothing was torn and tattered by what he suspected was a struggle against skeletons. Though she was marred by wounds and caked with blood and dirt, he recognized Breena, sister of Sidric. She appeared to be alive but unconscious.

Kryan motioned for the team to join him, and they quickly rushed over. With a gentle touch from Yriadel, Breena’s wounds began to heal and she gradually gained consciousness. Initially frightened, she relaxed when she recognized Dodge and his friends. Glenlivet – who rarely removed his cloak, preferring to keep his appearance hidden – knelt beside her and gently wrapped the shivering young victim in his warm cloak. They provided her with food and water, and in no time the brave young beauty was revealing all that she knew.

“We had managed to prepare a number of the chambers with harmless ‘traps’ when we were about to stop working for the day. Col and Dewydd went to warm up in the room with the fire pit. Sidric and Waldrik were finishing up in the room with the maze of pit traps. Sturm, Hrothgar and I were resting in the entrance hall. Suddenly we were attacked by a frightening horde of skeletons. We put up a fight, but Sturm and Hrothgar were struck down and I was captured by a skeletal knight – who called himself Wotan. He dragged me down into these chambers and held me here, questioning me until I passed out. I remember no more. How long have I been down here? Have you seen my brother Sidric?”

“Be comforted, Breena”, urged Yriadel, “your brother is safe. He is barricaded in a supply room on the level above us, and he waits for your rescue.”

“By Odin’s Spear, thank you,” replied Breena. “I am so relieved to hear that he is still alive. I would like to speak with him as soon as possible. And what about Dewydd, Waldrik and Col?”

“I am sorry to say, we found the body of Waldrik, and we fear that Dewydd and Col are dead too, their bodies thrown into the fire pit.” With that news, they could see that Breena wanted to break down and cry, but she put on a brave face and rose to her feet, ready to go to her brother.

“Breena,” Glenlivet asked soberly, “did you see any others in the crypt? Bandits from a foreign land, perhaps.”

“No, I saw no other men, and know nothing about any bandits, but I did hear Sturm and Hrothgar mention that it appeared someone else had been here recently.”

Dartron Speaks
The questioning session now over, they turned their attention to the sarcophagus – its stone lid lying adjacent. The torch above it gave off a flickering light. Inside, the body of Dartron was intact, save for the broken links of a chain that lie around his neck—the medallion it once held was missing. The body was dressed in resplendent scale mail, and a beautiful longsword lay resting on his chest. Curiously, this sacred corpse appeared to be the only area not defiled by Wotan and his minions.

Excited that they had reached the culmination of their quest, but equally dispirited by all the tragedy that had occurred, they solemnly waited as Dodge retracted the lantern from his pack. Then he stepped forward with the lantern, letting it catch the flame from the torch and transfer the Steadfast Flame. When the flame jumped from torch to lantern, a spirit rose up from the body of Dartron.

“Greetings, young heroes!” the spirit exclaimed, obviously the benevolent presence of Dartron. “I thank you for putting an end to Wotan, the skeletal knight. For your valiant efforts, I grant you these items.”

The ghost of Dartron reached into his sarcophagus and produced several items, giving them to the young group. First, a cloth sack about 2 feet by 4 feet in size, a finely crafted battleaxe bearing a Dagaz rune, and a small, transparent gem, blue-green in color. Then, he plucked six scales from his armor and handed one to each of the heroes. The scales were silver, warm to the touch, and inscribed with the sigil of Dartron.

“These scales will grant you my boon in your hour of need,” he explained. “But heed my warning. Take nothing else from these crypts or you will be set upon by a powerful curse. I know not the specific power of the curse, I know only that it was placed here during a visit years ago by the great elven sorcerer, Zarathos Myrguth Abraxas, with intent to prevent looters from removing any treasure.”

“Kind sir, we thank you for your generosity”, stated Kyran, who had already sensed great magical power in all the artifacts.

“And would you be so kind to explain to us what mysterious incident has occurred here, and who was Wotan?” added Magna.

“Indeed,” answered Dartron. “About 3 months ago, a group of bandit mercenaries broke into this crypt to loot it. When they broke open the sarcophagus containing Wotan’s body and they removed the amulet from around his neck, his foul spirit stirred from its slumber, rising as a terrible skeletal knight. His necromantic energy burst outward and shook this level of the crypt like an earthquake, damaging many chambers, and animating all the corpses as terrible undead. Later, Wotan held court over his minions, right here in front of my sarcophagus, plotting to spread his power throughout Willow Dale. He mistakenly assumed that the grave robbers were sent from Darford to plunder his crypt. So he captured Breena and held her as a hostage to learn about what has happened in the past 80 years.”

“I had known Wotan for many years. We met during the final adventure of the great By-Tor Brigade. We had journeyed to Avernus, the First Plane of Hell, to rescue Regnilznum, the son of Aráganus, Lord of Uller’s Keep. The group also included the great water wizard Zarnkeez Wave-Wielder and the famous elven guardian Geldron, Wielder of Gorauk. The elven sorcerer Zarathos Myrguth Abraxas accompanied us, along with his bodyguard Wotan.
Though it disgusts me to admit this, Wotan and I became friends and adventuring companions after that quest. After a few enterprises together, we split ways after acquiring a great deal of treasure.

“Years later Wotan returned, leading a band of dangerous mercenaries and attacking my village. He swore that I had cheated him after our last quest, but this is not true. We divided our treasures evenly, and I believe his mind had become corrupted by something evil we encountered.”

“I know nothing about the bandits trespassing within this crypt. But I do know they only stole the amulets with which Wotan and I were buried. These amulets are part of a key that opens up the great treasure vault we plundered so long ago. I remember little about the vault itself, but I do remember that the amulet points the way to the vault if it is reassembled from its three component parts. The last part was given to Írimë, an elven sorceress that was part of our group.”

Lineage Revealed
“Ah, those were happy times before Wotan ruined our peace. I had married Lesseth, a beautiful elf maiden whom I met during my days adventuring. Together we were raising our son Dargoth, who was still a very young man, when I was killed in the battle with Wotan.

“Wait! Dargoth, you say?” interjected Glenlivet with surprise. “That was the name of my father, and he was the leader of Darford before he was killed. My foster parents never told me of my heritage. Is it possible I am your grandson?”

“My… my grandson?” Dartron stuttered, with a shocked expression. But his attitude quickly changed. He acted both apologetic at his reaction and proud of his heroic grandson. “Well, it may be possible, young warrior. You do possess some physical traits that resemble both my lovely elven wife Lesseth and our half-elf son Dargoth. But I am mystified by your color. Do you suffer from a hex?”

“No sir”, answered Glenlivet respectfully. “I am an albino, which I inherited through my mother Glenna, from my grandmother Arragwen. Do you know of them?”

“Alas, I know nothing of your mother or her lineage. I was removed violently from this world before Dargoth grew into manhood and took a wife.”

Suddenly his attention was drawn to Yriadel, standing next to Glenlivet. “You, little one,” he stated with curiosity, “you display a striking similarity to Emilia, daughter of Aráganus. Are you a descendant? And does the line of Aráganus still rule at Uller’s Keep?”

“Why, no, sir,” she answered politely, “I have never heard of Emilia, and my parents are Yngvar and Thyri of Darford. I do not know what house rules over Uller’s Keep, which we now call Ullester.”

“Very well,” he responded disappointedly. Then his expression turned distant as he started to fade. “I am sorry. I am being called away. Thank you again for bravely defeating Wotan…”

Villagers’ Crypt
Now that the danger and excitement had passed, they decided to inspect the remainder of the crypt for damages before gathering Sidric and returning to Darford. The crypt to the east was the resting place for a number of villagers, each one entombed inside a stone sarcophagus. Unlike Dartron, none of them appeared to be disturbed. Breena explained that this side crypt was used by the villagers to inter the prominent folk from the village who died in the battle against Wotan. They recognized a couple names, like Braggi and Guthr.

Raiders’ Crypt
The crypt to the west contained the resting place for some of the raiders that attacked Dartron so many years ago. The central sarcophagus had been disturbed, its lid lying broken on the ground in front of it. The corpse of a masked man lay beside it.

Curious, they inspected the corpse and noticed it was wearing gray robes and an iron mask that covered its face. The stench of rot hung heavy around it. Yriadel could tell that he died about 3 months ago from strangulation. The robe and mask were also clues that this man was a follower of Pharazimir, the living god, whose cults had recently sprung up all around the Hwychwood region. Among his belongings they found a few items of interest: a map leading to the crypt (along with a note that read, “The amulets are entombed with Dartron and Wotan”); a thin wooden wand, about 9 inches long; a pair of metal arm guards; a hollow mithral tube about 1 foot long; and 354 newly minted gold shillings. Kyran confirmed that the wand, bracers and tube (actually a chime) were all magic.

Finally, the party worked their way back up to the first level and retrieved Sidric. He was thrilled to see Breena again and seemed to have restored most (but not all) of his sanity.

Chapter 5: Return to Darford

See Emilia Play

Everyone was in a somber mood as they began the journey back to Darford. During a break in the day’s traveling, in the warmth of the afternoon, Sidric drifted off into a nap. When he awoke, he sat up, stared into the trees and said, “Do you see her? She is so beautiful.”

They all looked about, but no one could see what he was referring to. Frustrated, he stood up and pointed into the dense foliage. “Do you not see her? She wears a gown that touches the ground.” Then he smiled and said, “She says her name is Emilia.”

Again, no one could see anything, and the men alertly picked up their weapons, wondering if they were being visited by a spirit, or if Sidric was having crazy illusions – speaking in riddles.

Poor Sidric continued, “See her now? She is gazing through the trees in sorrow, with hardly a sound till tomorrow.” With tears in his eyes, he said, “Soon after dark, Emilia cries.” He bowed his head as if to indicate his vision had ended, then he muttered “She floats on a river forever and ever.”

Confused, and a little worried, they quickly picked up their gear and continued swiftly on their path towards Darford. Most of them were deep in thought after this encounter. Yriadel was the most troubled, and questions swirled through her mind. “Who was Emilia”, she wondered, “and why did Sidric mention her name or think that he saw a vision bearing that name? And if he did in fact see her, was it the same Emilia Arágansdottir to which the spirit of Dartron referred? How could that be? Sidric was not in the presence of Dartron when Emilia was mentioned.” Fully distracted, she plodded along the path, following her loyal friends as they marched south.

Grungy Goblins

Early during the second day of their return trip, Glenlivet and Yriadel had started to lag behind and were jogging to catch up to the main group. The rest of the group had stopped to wait. Dodge was casually telling a joke to Li-Al, who took the opportunity to sit and rest for a minute. Kyran stopped and was adjusting the laces of his boot, listening in on the joke. Magna had dropped a vial from his pack and was looking for it, assisted by Breena (“leave no trace”, Magna had insisted). Sidric stood on alert with his crossbow.

Suddenly they were caught by surprise, ambushed by a group of goblins with violence in their minds. Sidric took quick aim and killed one goblin before they engaged the group, but the humans were outnumbered. However, the goblins soon regretted their choice of victims, and despite the element of surprise, the men of Darford prevailed over all nine of the goblins without casualty.

The Walls of Darford

When the group first came into view of Darford, Sidric recited a strange poem.

Home again
I like to be here
When I can

When I come home
Cold and tired
It’s good to warm my bones
Beside the fire

A few minutes later, when the tower lookout saw the group arriving, he signaled the bells to toll. When Sidric heard the bell tolling, he recited another poem. Or was it a continuation of the earlier poem?…

Far away
Across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell

When the group finally returned to Darford, they found a celebration underway in their honor. Reeve Ulfrid was there to greet them at the gates, but his joy at their return quickly turned to horror when he found out what had happened. The news quickly spread throughout town and the harvest celebration turned melancholy.

The folk did not blame the youngsters for what happened, and most were rather grateful that the menace was ended. The grand feast was still held in their honor, but it was not the same as it was in previous years. This year, many were drinking to help forget that they had lost friends and loved ones. Plans were made to return to the crypt and bury the slain townsfolk.

Zombie Rot

The morning after the group returned to Darford, both Glenlivet and Li-Al Saar awoke feeling unusually tired and nauseous. They were unable to leave their rooms for breakfast and grew increasingly weak throughout the day.

Alrica, in a coquettish mood, presented a tray of comestibles to their rooms at midday. Disappointed that her pleasant smile and precocious demeanor did not roust them from bed, she inquired about their condition. Never one to mind her own business, she meandered to the temple and told Yríadel about the situation.

Alarmed, Yríadel arrived in haste to their rooms, worried about their well-being, and quickly diagnosed they were suffering from Zombie Rot. She administered to them, using both her trained skill at healing and her divine power to enhance their resistance. As the aid from Yríadel’s powers emanated from their bodies, Alrica watched in awe as sparkles of golden glitterdust radiated above their supine forms.

On the second day, Yríadel provided the same succor, and though Li-Al seemed to recover, Glenlivet took a turn for the worse, weakening even further as the evening approached. The next day, Li-Al was indeed fully recovered, but Glenlivet showed no improvement in health. Again Yríadel administered her assistance, yet he seemed to neither worsen nor improve.

On the fourth day, although Yríadel assisted with her healing touch and magical strength, Glenlivet suffered more and appeared visibly weaker. Realizing that if Glenlivet were to meet death from the disease that he would rise as a Plague Zombie, she engaged the assistance of Ranulf, the town’s cleric. Ranulf agreed with her assessment, and acknowledged that he had a scroll that might provide a cure, though at the cost of 37 Nobles to his temple.

However, on the fifth and sixth days, her beneficial contributions seemed to provide the added strength Glenlivet needed, and they finally rejected the disease from his system. The expensive cure from Ranulf would not be necessary. Within a few days of rest, his constitution was restored to normal.


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