Buried Secrets

Chapter 4: Duel at Dawn

At the end of the last session, the PCs had retrieved Princess Yelena‘s body and buried it on the outskirts of the forest, releasing her spirit. The session ended on a cliffhanger as the reanimated corpses of Yelena’s traitorous bodyguards closed in on the heroes.

Elzin took the brunt of the damage between an assault from a Chillborn Zombie and the area attacks of her “”/characters/ragnar" class=“wiki-content-link”>allies." A second wave of skeleton reinforcements arrived mid-battle, but the party weathered the storm without casualties.

Afterwards, the team returned to the small village of Sunvale, where they had left their employer Casinal while sidetracked by Yelena. Unfortunately he did not fare well in their absence. A group of savage monsters attacked the inn he was staying at, taking several prisoners and killing many others. Casinal was one of the casualties. Upon investigating the grisly scene, Ragnar concluded that the attackers were extraplanar creatures with ties to the Far Plane. The party also discovered that one victim had been killed by a slit throat instead of the monstrous wounds that the other villagers suffered. While interviewing the feverish bartender, Ellzin learned that Casinal had been arguing with a cloaked figure over a small pouch shortly before the inn was attacked.

The party now plans to track the marauders and save their victims. Meanwhile, Wrathy has accepted a special request from an elderly warlock, and learned more about his own debt to the mysterious Lord of Mirrors…

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Chapter 3: Dark Forest

Previously, the heroes had recovered the remains of the Princess Yelena from the ettercap lair beneath the Grasping Oak. They now had to bring the body back to their old camp site where they first met the Princess’ shade.

When they arrived at the camp site, they realized something strange had occurred. One of the trees had bark that was scaly like a reptile’s skin. As they examined this phenomenon they were surrounded by a number of large snakes and a hooded figure. As the figure ordered the snakes to attack, the tree came alive and joined its foul kin.

The heroes dealt with the corrupted tree and the snakes without too much trouble, but the hooded figure escaped. With the campsite secure, they now only had to wait for Yelena.

Shortly before dawn Yelena and her ghostly retinue appeared. She thanked the heroes, and told them to keep the key that was with the body, as it was the key to her lost dowry chest. She also offered her magical diadem. She told them that she and her betrayer guards could now rest. But while their spirits departed, the bodies of the guards retained too much Necromantic corruption, and the shambling dead advanced on the heroes as the sun rose…

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Chapter 2: Royal Ghosts

The party continued to trek through the Forest of Woe as caravan guards for the merchant Casinal. A chance encounter with the wandering spectre of the Princess Yelena has led them to unravel one of the many mysteries surrounding the Forest of Woe. The heroes questioned the spirit, who recounted how her guards abandoned her in a cold winter to freeze to death. She was able to describe a distinctive tree that she had hidden in the roots of, until something grabbed her from beneath the tree.

Travelling to the nearby town of Sunvale, the heroes decided to follow up on Yelena’s story. They found out that the tree was known to locals as the Grasping Oak, and had once been a monster lair. It was cleansed and sealed years ago by a member of Batal’s order, the Sons of the Dragon. Wrathy asked about the traps they found in the forest; he was told about Gregor, a local trapper whose son had died at the claws of a werewolf pack. Gregor was desperately trying to capture the pack members, and his traps were a danger to everyone. Meanwhile, the party has gained an ally in the Elven wanderer Kelsis, who hopes to retake his homeland from the evil that has befallen it.

The heroes entered the Grasping Oak to find Yelena’s body, lost decades before. There they fought hideous spider creatures that had spawned since the lair was cleansed. The creatures were defeated and the Princess’ skeleton recovered.

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Chapter 1: Caravan Guards

Chapter 1: Caravan Guards

The session opens with three mercenaries being interviewed for a job. They are our heroes: Wrathy, Elzin and Batal. They are being interviewed by Tarek to guard a merchant wagon for his frequent employer Casinal. Tarek and his warforged partner 137 cannot escort the Casinal themselves as they are currently commissioned to assist the explorer Paitus in his quest to discover the legendary Tomb of the Bandit Knight.

Despite questionable performance in the interview, and an attempt by Paitus to recruit the heroes for his own expedition, Casinal and the party leave later that day. Normally they would use the primary highway that skirts the old Eladain Wood, now known as the Forest of Woe. However, the highway has been shut down: the Imperial Skyknights have placed the nearby community of Moonshire under quarantine after it was struck by a meteorite two nights before. Casinal instead chooses a road that passes through the Eladain Wood, better known know as the Forest of Woe, so that they can make a stop-over in his home of Crescent Hollow within 3 days.

As they travel deeper into the forest, the party discovers a tainted grove. Here they are ambushed by a pair of phase spiders and two grotesquely-mutated gnolls. One gnoll has a elongated, snake-like neck whereas the other’s left arm has been replaced by a mass of tentacles!

The horses are startled when the phase spiders literally pop in front of them and break away from their harnesses. The party eventually defeats the creatures, although Casinal offers little aid in the battle. During the fight Wrathy channels a source of tainted magic he detects in a nearby pool of water. While this magic enhances his attacks, he vomits a thick, viscous black liquid after the fight ends.

With the foes vanquished, the party finds a magical holy symbol within the pool of water. They then prepare to find their horses and explore this nightmarish forest…

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