Roaka's Log, Mirtul the 18th
Mirtul, Day 18 (1479 DR)
The mushroom that I ate in the cave caused me to hallucinate all morning. It’s a good thing I only took a single bite. Even experts in mushroom identification like myself can be wrong sometimes, which is why (I am reminded) experienced rangers occasionally succumb to poisoning, as I have.
Nevertheless, I scouted the valley. The place is crawling with undead, and I had to avoid several patrols. I assessed that we would need to get through one major encampment before making it to the main group, where I saw living prisoners being held.
We managed to sneak down towards the group of undead I had found, and even the dwarf managed to keep his armor from making too much of a racket. Surprising our enemies was a nice change of pace. We got the undead to come at us in a fairly large group, which allowed Sunset to call on the power of her deity to great effect. She raised her spear above her head and called out a holy word, and literally vaporized four zombies with radiant light! Between Sunset’s holy power and Caelynna’s swaths of fiery havoc, we cleared them out quickly. Much to my dismay, Captain Ramsay and Welurd Smith were among the undead. May they rest better, now.
In a clearing a little ways away, we discovered something interesting: a halfling prisoner, with all of her weapons and equipment still on her! We freed her, and heard how she had been captured. There is something unnatural about her – she is, apparently, half-vampire, and was raised by goblins. I’ve heard that halflings are prone to storytelling and thievery, and I think that the latter of these two assertions may be true, but I’m also inclined to believe that she is what she says she is. Her skin is too pale, and her eyes are disturbing. After a quick discussion we decided to allow her to accompany us. She seems keen to put the undead in their proper place at least, though her motivation seems to be treasure rather than good-will. Her name is Kat.
After freeing Kat, we ambushed the main group of undead. It was quite a fight! There was a necromancer wight, capable of bringing destroyed undead back into the battle, but he was no match to our focused attacks, and I took his head off with my left claw. We freed around 50 prisoners in a nearby locked building. Cilma Loreweaver was among these prisoners. She told us that the undead had been transporting them into some other caves on the opposite side of the valley, and that most of the village had already been taken that way. They assured us that their small group would be safe enough till we returned, so we immediately set out to the undead caverns.
Our first obstacle was a magically locked door. Rather than opening it with my fist, we decided to look for a key. I searched through some side tunnels till I came to an underground river, at which point I got everyone to come with me. Ahn swam upstream and found a bridge, and he tied a rope to it in case we need a quick escape. We crossed the river, and I found a black torch-like rod that looked like it would fit the sconce on the wall next to the magically locked door. Prying free the rod created quite a clatter, and bats and screaming mushrooms woke up, but we got back to the river and waited them out.
The rod unlocked the door, and on the other side was a bride (over the river) being guarded by undead dogs, some zombies, and some smaller undead fluff-balls (that nevertheless seemed to hit quite hard). Sunsetmoon vaporized many of the evil things, and also knocked several into the river to be swept away.
We decided to take the left of three passages – the one most traveled. A small set of child’s footprints led down the middle passage. At the end of the passage we chose we came to a room with several undead have a conversation with a being in a brazier. I am somewhat unsure of their names – one was possibly called Kevin, and another Muskrat. They were difficult to hear over the crackling fire.
Though we did not ambush this group, we laid waste to them. There was a large pit in the middle of the room that I quickly crossed, and others in the group also took running leaps across it, allowing us to flank our enemies. When the dust had cleared, we had destroyed a vampire and at least 5 other major undead creatures. A few others came at us from behind, but by the time they joined the fray they were just in time to be destroyed themselves. We found a couple hundred villages being kept prisoner in a locked cavern a little further along, as well as a pile of treasure, no doubt collected from their victims.
As an epilogue to this long day, there is still a small boy, lost in the tunnels. Of course, we know the tunnel he went down, having previously seen his footprints. Also, the large pentagram in the other room is indicative of a dark magic ritual, and the villagers said that the undead had been sending groups of them through a portal. Do we rest now, or search for the boy first? I hate to leave a youngster lost in the darkeness!