Cast: Bronan, Dellin, Izzy, Archibald, and Ranthin
NPCs: Guy Margeaux (new), and Bill, Bronan’s Mule. Also, Handsome the Crow, of course!
With the Ogre dead, Archibald decides he wants the head to prove the existence of Ogres. Dellin wants some of the caustic blood, and Bronan wants one of the tusks. They all manage to get what they want and then (later) burn the rest of the corpse.
They explored the ruined fort, heading for the Chapel to find any signs of Guy Margeaux and/or the missive that Archibald was charged with returning to Father Burkholt of the 3rd most impressive temple in Nuln. Bronan and Izzy loot soldiers for weapons and armor, they find the blacksmith’s shop and some cool metal tongs, which Izzy takes a fancy to. They also bring the horses and mules into the remains of the stables across the square from the chapel. Handsome is placed in his cage within pecking distance of a corpse, because he’s hungry. Also, Archibald sends one of the messenger pigeons with a short report back to the temple at Nuln.
Ranthin notices that the small graveyard next to the chapel has dug up plots by some head stones. Archibald notices that there was some sort of last ditch defense in front of the chapel, with almost a dozen corpses littering the stairs and entry areas. A few are Imperial soldiers of the Grey Mountain Company. But a disturbing number, around six or seven, appear to be Brettonian Soldiers that have been dead for quite a bit longer than a few days.
The group investigates the ruined chapel, noting the alter has been desecrated with human feces and blood painted in obscene pictures. They investigate the Chaplain’s offices and find two torn pages with cryptic writing on them, written in an archaic dialect of the classical language. Archibald identifies them as being heretical and also notices a few drops of blood on them. He stashes them carefully in his tunic. Then the crew notices a secret door behind a book case, a half-door that opens into a ladder well going down some 30 feet.
The characters, after making some preparations, go down the ladder. Bronan returned to the horses briefly to get some rope and other things. Handsome squaks something about " ’ware the walking dead", “nightfall approaches”, and then “beetle! Hungry!” This is a bit disturbing to Bronan, and he releases Handsome from his cage, and the crow flies away.
Back in the tunnel beneath the chapel…There’s a short hallway with a reinforced door. Izzy chops down the door and kicks it open. Archibald behind him, and Dellin bringing up the rear. Izzy is faced with a half-dozen angry, well-armed, and apparently already-dead Brettonian soldiers. Izzy steels his courage and charges in to the attack. Archibald gets a look at the rotting horrors and makes a run for it, back up the ladder to safety. The walking dead briefly surround Izzy, but with a fancy footwork maneuver, he manages to break free and makes a controlled retreat back up the ladder. Three of the dead soldiers follow, but are mowed down by Ranthin’s deadly arrows and Dellin’s sharp-shooting crossbow. Archibald, having recovered his composure, dumps lantern oil down the hole and burns the dead soldiers. Although they were incapacitated from the ranged weapons, they were nonetheless still wriggling around. The fire burns especially quickly and Archibald has a vision of luminous radiance empowering him to walk bravely in the “Order of the traveling flame wot doth illuminate shadows made and secrets kept!”
After the fire burns out, the crew heads back down and back into the room beyond the now ruined doorway. The rest of the walking dead are waiting, and a melee ensues. A figure in religious vestments stands behind the dead soldiers and mutters unholy incantations. Dellin is struck with violent illness, dry heaving and unable to fight. Izzy, Archibald, and Bronan are more than up for the task, however, and Ranthin uses his extreme skills to make crazy shots into the melee. The dead are once again dispatched, but the unholy priest has fled up another ladder well on the other side of the room. Bronan follows, chopping through another short doorway and pushing aside some shelving blocking the doorway. The party emerges from this ladder well into another ruined building in the fort, and quickly rush outside to the square. The priest is galloping away on one of their mounts!
Ranthin takes a shot and scores a critical hit on the fleeing priest’s head. With uncanny skill, and perhaps a bit of overdue luck, Ranthin’s arrow manages to turn sideways at the last minute, smacking into the priests temple and knocking him from the horse without killing him. (Seriously…no DM intervention there…it’s what came up on the critical hit +4 to the head chart that Ranthin rolled…stunned for d10 rounds…)
Bronan has long since realized that the unholy priest is none other than Guy Margeaux. Archibald’s zealotry blinds him to that fact, but he is stopped from executing the man by Bronan and the others, and the situation is made clear. Dellin goes to retrieve the horses, notices that the second pigeon cage is empty. He is also more than a bit put out by the fact that Handsome was set loose by Bronan.
The priest is manacled and tied up to a pack horse. The twice-dead soldiers in front of the chapel are burned. The characters leave the fort before sun down and head back up the trail to their original camp a mile or two away. Handsome is awaiting them there, eating a beetle it found under a stone. Guy Margeaux is questioned. The story is pieced together as follows:
The Grey Mountain Company, lead by the Black Knights, attacked the fort without provocation. The battle raged for a day or so, and when it was obvious they’d be overrun, Guy Margeaux took desperate action. He claims to be a good man and a servant of the light, yet he invoked necromantic spells to raise dead soldiers from the graveyard to protect the chapel, himself, and some important secret that he’d not reveal. He claims his actions were to protect the order of civilization, and is shocked at the treachery of the Empire, that they’d provoke a war with Brettonia by this attack, and so obviously cavort with the “Ruinous Powers.” He is also shocked and revolted at the atrocities committed by the Black Knights during the battle. He’s been hiding in the secret storage room below the chapel, and would have left sooner, but an Ogre arrived and there were no horses remaining to allow him to flee effectively.
Dellin uses the secret phrase and gives Handsome a message for the Lanky Man. Handsome flies away.
Thus ends the fourth session of Chapter 2. Characters each gain 150 xp. No direct monetary rewards, but the loot recovered from the battle will probably bring gold on the under-markets of Nuln.