Falco returns and reports what he sees. The group quickly assumes and agrees that the yellow-eyed, ashen-faced man must be Thom’s companion, Meechum. The party chooses to retreat as quietly as they can deeper into the vault and away from the tense scene, but something gives away their position.
“Who is there, my love?” Meechum asks Thom loudly in the darkness. “What new friends have you made?”
The party regrets not taking a long rest as they have expended Hit Points, Features, Spells and Actions that would surely come in handy right about now! They take up defensive positions at the entrance to the vaults primary workshops and wait for trouble.
The wait is not a long one! Freshly murdered men, now undead, shamble around the corner and through the archway. Though they wear weapons at their belts they do not use them and instead shuffle forward into battle intent on dispatching the party with clawed hands and gnashing teeth!
The first wave of attackers is handled well. Brother Amaar stands in full view just inside the antechamber to lure attackers in while Baragon and Essoq conceal themselves at either end of the arch to cut down invaders as they pass. The dead begin to pile up!
But then a new enemy springs through the arch! It is Meechum, and he moves with a vicious quickness and continence that chills the soul. This is no mere man that threatens them!
Brother Amaar seems to recognize this new threat. “A Ghoul!” he shouts. “Do not let it touch you!”
From there the fight goes very poorly for the adventurers. Both Melamber and Falco are brought down by brutal attacks from Meechum and his dark blade. Baragon is forced to leave Essoq alone at the arch in order to assist Brother Amaar in combat with the cackling fiend!
In the end Meechum is finally laid low. Brother Amaar rushes to aid the fallen while Essoq finishes the last of the attacking dead men at the arch.
As it turns out, Melamber was only paralyzed and she quickly recovers, but Falco was in very real danger of perishing from his wounds. He is revived however, and weak though he is he has wits enough to try to account for Meechum’s dark blade in the aftermath… but it is nowhere to be seen! A search of the body and room is conducted but nothing is found save the once needed key to the fallen portcullis that might still bar the exit.
“We must away,” warns Melamber. “If The Azure Guard is indeed coming for us we dare not be found inside the forbidden archive!”
The wounded and battered party cautiously returns to the bound Thom, still alive and cowering within the magic circle. They free him and make for the exit, now in possession of TWO keys, and so finally pass the fallen portcullis.
They are at last outside! But before they can take the stairs contention shatters the group!
Shadows have grown long and the day is nearly done. Melamber breaks down the passage of time since the magic seals were broken and the danger of The Azure Guard capturing them. This sparks a turmoil of debate within the group.
Melamber: “We should flee!”
Falco: “That solves nothing. They will track us.”
Baragon: “I am a wanted man; I cannot be captured!”
Falco: “What he said.”
Essoq: “We can take them!”
Brother Amaar: “We have done nothing wrong!”
Melamber: “But Thom has! The Azure Guard is famous for ‘Guilt by Association’ verdicts!”
Falco: “Then we kill him. (To Thom) No offense.”
Brother Amaar: “No! He must stand trial in The Township of Oakmaul for his role in the deaths of six good men!” (+xp Lawful Good roleplay!)
Essoq: “Dudes! We can take them!”
In the end it is decided that the party should make with all due speed for Oakmaul in the hopes of one of the city officials vouching for their conduct and the decisions that lead them into the Forbidden Archives of Tal Ziel. If they can make it there they may have a chance at appeasing the magistrate. If they are caught on the road they might be turned to ash!
And so they set out as the sun sets below the mountains. Deep into the night they push on under the light of the near-full moon, starting at every sound in the dark!
At long last they see the orange glow of Oakmaul in the valley below. Dirty, wounded and exhausted the party returns with Thom in chains to face the people’s justice. It is nearly dawn and once Thom is handed over to Sheriff Grahm Aerlim, everyone retires to a much needed long rest at The Horse and Toad.
Game Session Ends