When Undead Attack!
Cleric! Where’s The Cleric?!
It is decided that the group should hold off another day on their assault against the mountain stronghold, so that Wing can attempt to return Kosj to her previous, unlithified condition. It also gives them a chance to rest up before what is sure to be a harrowing fight against the undead with the keep. Memorizing his spells, Wing attempts to break the enchantment that has taken hold on Kosj, but it proves to be tough going and he is only able to defeat it on his third casting. She reanimates mid-shriek, and marvels at the new surroundings and people with her. Felina quickly reassures her that the new companions, Wing, Crowe, and Lena, are friends send along by Gelzar to help the quest. She is brought up to speed on recent events since her stoning, including the frost giants’ apparent betrayal of the truce. The rest of the day passes uneventfully, with Crowe foraging in the area to bring in some needed fresh food to supplement their hardtack.
In the next morn, Fergus discovers that one of Dorian’s men has taken a turn for the worse overnight, and is unlikely to survive without help. He decides to stay and watch over the soldier, though much to the disappointment of the group, now unsure of facing the unliving without the holy power of Heironeous to support them. In light of this change of roster, they begin planning a new course of attack, in hopes of bypassing some of the defenses and moving on quickly to their desired target, Eldora, somewhere deep in the fastness. Counting a pair of potions of flying magic amongst their assets as well as Wing’s flying boots, a daring aerial assault is conceived. Lena and Felina, the strongest of the bunch, will quaff the potions and carry their companions to the keep, hoping to land in the second courtyard and make entry with little fuss.
Heading back toward the fortress, they use Wing’s familiar Sky to get a little recon. Two undead giants lurk the main courtyard, and two derrow in the secondary. The gateways have been partially blocked and repaired during the down time. No matter, since they plan to skip past both. They decide to fly in on the high side of the castle, using the trees above as natural cover. Lena takes off first, carrying Kosj, followed by Wing, and then the Crowe-laden Felina. Their arrival in the airspace appears to go unnoticed by both the giants and derrow. Dropping in, Lena, Kosj, Felina, and Crowe make quick work of the unsuspecting derrow and the five move hastily inside.
Dark inside, except for what light spills in from the open doorway. The body of the slain spider-monster remains, beginning to putrefy. Felina sidles up to the narrow hallway leading off the entryway. She hears distant words, and perhaps the clop of hooves, but sees nothing. Keeping their light sources damped in hopes of maintain their surprise, the party begins to move slowly down the hallway. The noises sound closer, but they’re hard to pinpoint due to echoes. At a turn in the hall, Felina stops and signals for the group to hold. There is a door, which sudden opens and a spectre, derrow, and nightmare-riding simulacrum enter the hall. Almost simultaneously, two spectres, another derrow, and a second mounted simulacrum appear in the main entry and hall behind the party. A trap, and they walked into it just like good heroes should.
Both simulacra shoot black rays at the party, striking Lena and Felina. Felina shrugs it off, but Lena feels her vital forces draining. The spectres drift forward, ready to suck the essence from the living. Felina holds off the forward group, while Wing begins launching a magical assault at the rear, in hopes of clearing a path back to the main entry and the precious daylight there, reducing the simulacrum there to slag. Crowe stands against the two approaching spectres, knowing this is unlikely to go well for him. Their foul touch robs him of life-force, but he strikes back with his escrima sticks. Lena, Kosj, and Wing hold the middle, waiting for Felina to return to them, but more spectres, including that of a giant, come out of the walls, and Kosj too is drained. Fearing that all will be lost, Wing fires off his only spell for this contingency. He creates an anti-magic field around himself, causing the spectres to blink out of existence while in his vicinity. Protected by his spell, the party slowly works its way back to the front entry, stopping only when bathed in daylight.
Taking time to heal and assess their next move, they decide to try a different hallway, hoping that the spectres will leave them be. They find several more doorways, and choose one they hope will be on a path to Eldora. Opening it, they are met by two giants’ skeletons, animated and with some sort of snake-like creature living in the ribcages. Lena eagerly takes up the fight, with Felina close behind. The snakes shoot forth from the undead mouths, stinging the party with their shocking touch. Not wanting to give them many more chances to do that, the heroes quickly beat the horrid things into bone dust and pulp. Searching the room, a wand is discovered, as well as a quiver with an aura of magic.
Feeling weary after this encounter, the party begins to make their retreat from the keep. Wing, still loaded with damaging spells, convinces them to make a stop, and take on the giants in the courtyard, figuring that two less foes when returning will be so much the better. Working their way to one of the towers overlooking the courtyard, Wing begins the attack with a fireball in the giants’ midst. The rest of the party begins to rain arrows and stones at the giants, as the lumbering undead begin to retreat into a cave mouth opening on the courtyard. Wing, invisible and flying, maneuvers to try and get another shot in on them, when two boulders come flying from the cave, one in his direction and the other crashing into the tower, breaking off a crenellation and injuring Crowe and Kosj in the process. Lena and Felina rush down the tower, looking to engage the giants and hoping to draw them out of the cave. After a few more flung boulders, the giants emerge to fight their foes on the ground. With lightning, swords, and arrows from above, the undead hulks don’t last long, and, once downed, are beheaded to prevent them from being raised again. With the remainder of Wing’s spells, the group blasts its way out through the main gateway and returns to their cave, looking back on a day that went worse than hoped but better than it could have been. Sounds just about right for the adventurer’s life…