Nightfall in Brelindia

4 - The Hill's Heart

The evils at the root of Bone Hill are laid bare, and some hope besides.

As the group rests for the night, Baden notes a faint green light coming from the exterior tower, but it fades after a few minutes. After an early breakfast, the group descends again into the lower caverns. They cut into one of the locked doors, the one with a faint sense of impending evil, and discover in the corridor beyond a secret door and more undead guardians. Two zombies seeping with some sort of alchemical fluid are in the vanguard, under the direction of a pair of undead wizards (later revealed to be Cavredd and Iosli Mardrake). It’s a tight squeeze in the corridor, with the zombies tying up the axe-wielders (and exploding in horrible gouts of fluid when destroyed) as the revivified arcanists cut deep wounds with acid and cold.

Pulling back for a moment — the secret door seems to be the source of the evil miasma — the group opens the other locked door in the nearby cavern, which fills with daylight and warmth. Baden and Abbron succumb to a glamour that compels them to enter a nearby study and take their ease. Honora and Diedra resist and join them. The study has many books, a comfortable bed and a skeleton chained to the wall. Honora notices that it seems to be intelligent but not malevolent, and frees it; the ensuing interrogation reveals something of the backstory of the Mardrakes and the keep. During the course of the “conversation,” Ainlocke reveals a useful treasure to the group (a mug, platter and pitcher enchanted to provide fine nourishment), and Honora smashes the glyph enspelling the Amaelite and the stormwalker. Baden uses Iosli’s orb to lay Ainlocke to rest, and Diedra buries the remains with Chaneth’s power.

Steeling themselves, the group then passes through the secret door. Stairs lead down to a desecrated cavern. The Wraith challenges them here — notably, it wears a tabard that shows the two-headed Madrest panther with one head severed and a snake’s head growing from the stump. Two mummified bog-things come to the wraith’s aid, and it also calls shades from its sword during the fight. The necrotic power is almost overwhelming — almost. Finally the wraith of Tor Skalane falls, and the group claims the spoils from its lair before retreating to less unholy ground.

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Barastrondo

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