A week had past without further sign or lead to Jemrand’s whereabouts. We sent word to our allies in other factions and even revisited the ambush location to try find any clue we might have missed but to no avail. Even our new companion Almaran the mystic was at a loss, unable to see a Now where our friend could be found. I would be dishonest if the loss of first Palomar and now Jemrand did not have a demoralizing effect on Khaine and myself and we got lost in ourselves for a time. Khaine spending long hours with his blade and I working with Moonshadow who had now grown to the size of a riding horse. A size that gave many in the camp some discomfort.
During this time it seemed that Lord Primerose had given us our space. This was after a less than empathic comment to the loss of our companion. Without Jemrand the haughty noble seemed to be pressuring and arguing with Nik a lot more. Oddly it was hearing some of the aftermath that sparked us back to life. We had a job to do. The loss of companions on such an important and dangerous endeavor is sadly to be expected and we could not loose more time to our grief.
With renewed determination we set out once more into the city heading first to see Osond and Cassandra in the Artist District as it add been several days since we spoke. Only a few minutes pass that district’s borders and we are alerted by sounds of something moving through the brush.
Dressed in torn and ragged adventures clothing with leaves and cobwebs clinging to her long matted hair and hooded cloak, this half-elven woman comes stumbling from the undergrowth like a started animal. At first she seemed like she might bolt upon spotting us but instead runs to me as if seeking my protection. We take up defensive positions is preparing for her pursuers and still eying her suspiciously. After a few tense moments it was clear there were no threats in the area so we turned our attention to wild eyed girl.
Bedraggled and covered in small cuts and bruises, it was unclear she was able to understand us. It was Grune that checked her and noted she was under some malady that was effecting her mind. If we wanted answers we would first need to cure her of this condition. During his examination of her I spied a tattoo of the Farstrider Society on her left forearm but knew she was not part of our camp. Further some of her wounds seemed old. Who is this feeble-minded creature? What happened to her?
We spend the day there while the healers check her and females clean her. It is nearing dusk when Grune finds and informs us that they had identified what was wrong with her and with a scroll of Heal, cured the woman of a number of mental conditions. She was now cleared head and able to speak. As we got up from the campfire to follow Grune a scream was heard off in the distant and then another closer to us.
Figures began to lumber into view and at first I thought it was another raid be the Fallen, but the stench of decay indicated an undead assault. Slithering on rotting tails and decaying scales were groups of undead Aspari emerged! Chaos and death in their wake.
With the lives if innocent villagers at stake I quickly mounted Moonshadow and as one we rushed in to face these undead foes. My companions not far behind. However ever these undead where more powerful than those I had faced before. They were included wights and a mummy among them. Their stares and stench could paralysis a defender, leaving them helpless to claw and bite of the undead. Several of the villagers fell, and I was close as well, before we turned the tide, thanks largely to Khaine’s devastating attacks and Almaran’s well placed spells and summoned positive energy elemental.
The assault was city wide but slowly began to falter as the defenders pushed back and destroyed the undead from a distance with bow and spell. It was said that the Radiant Muse herself had joined the battle and met out terrible carnage on the attackers throughout the city.
Feeling that there might be a connection we sought out the stranger in hopes of getting answers. What we learned still rocks me to the core. The woman’s name was Julivar, and she spun a tale that spanned months of travel which lead her to two different Aspari underground cities. One still sleeping, yet another very much awake. The later is where her mentor Eano Kline and other Farstryders were being held captive. A city possibly below our very feet and assessable through a magic portal in a vault here in this district. She also shared that the Aspari were aligned with Minotaurs and possibly other legendary races. The undead we faced she believes followed her from the portal once this side of Underearth. She does not remember where the portal or vault is but perhaps retracing her steps will reveal something.
Our heads spund with these revelations. We had assumed that there were only a handful of Aspari, remnants of a dying race, seeking to wreak havoc in our world. Now we learn that what we face is far more grave. That we face a true world altering invasion by an enemy I can’t help but hate from the very center of my being. We left Julivar to rest as we planned our next.
After much discussion it was decided to instead follow the tracks of the undead. It is unknown how long the Farstryder wandered so the undead might have made a more direct path to the this part of the city. We follow the tracks that night which lead deeper into the district and to a large manor house the elves believed to be haunted and thus avoided. Now knowing where were are to go we set up perimeter guards and we get some rest. For at first light, we will see just what lies in that darkened manor.
It was early morning when we arrived at the estate. The sun was still low in the sky keeping this part of the city still in the shadows of the caldera walls. The morning mist hung heavy in the air and it was easy to see how the superstitious would think this place haunted. The undead tracks we followed lead directly here and we saw other older tracks leading here as well. Having an idea of what we faced our casters were able to properly prepare for this specific attack and Grune ask his god to hide us from the view of the undead. We then entered the manor tripping a simple Alarm spell which alerted those inside that someone was at the door.
We pressed against the walls as the sound of foot steps was heard approaching and a small horde of undead moved out to create any visitors. Clearly we were in the right spot. Due to the spell they did not see us but nor could we advance further without revealing ourselves. So with a nod to one another we began the fight in the foyer dropping the horde as quickly as possible. The zombies quickly dispatched we then faced the intelligent undead made up of a cyclops brute wight and several ghast. Their master, an undead Aspari Necromancy could taunts to us from deeper within the manor hidden from view.
We were pinned for while and could not got clear to move in as one. Changing combatants I engaged a ghast freeing Khaine to try and take the fight to the Necromancer. I told Grune and Al to keep an eye on my friend while I protected our flank. I lost sight of the fighting but heard sound of combat and casting echo off the stone walls. I could see Grune flinch in pain briefly and new Khaine had take damage. I faced the last ghast but it was cunning, it kept pulling back drawing me away from my companions. I could not leave it as it had eyes for the healer and mystic, but nor was I able to finish it quickly. All the while another round of spells and swings could be heard behind me.
Finally I hear Khaine shout in triumph which cause the ghast to look in his direction, I used that distraction to step in and finished the wretched thing.
The battle was won, but to our disappointment there was neither Vault nor Portal here. This treat was ended but our search would need to continue.