Camp broke in the cavern and the party’s attention turned to the declining passage to the north. Following it down, the chill became even more apparent by the frost forming on the walls and in their breath. The passageway gave way to a large chamber decorated with a large statue of a heavily armored humanoid. One hand of the statue was firmly clenched in a fist at its side while the other hand was reaching skyward. Cracks of light broke through the ceiling and walls, focused on and illuminating the statue.
Stranger still were the bones that littered the stone floor, as when the heroes approached the bones arose and surged at them. Dread accosted the party. How is it that the dead still walk? The true threat, however, was revealed when the skeletons engaged the party, as the white dragon emerged from a southern alcove.
The dragon let loose a breath colder than ice, dousing several of the members in a freezing, searing mist which was curiously similar to the hurled ice ball of the kobold priest. The party’s focus was quickly turned towards the new threat and they struck fast and they struck fiercely. Through their combined efforts, the young dragon offered a dying shriek while it was dispatched, and the remaining skeletons soon followed.
Their attention turned to the intriguing statue, whose wrists were adorned with strange markings. Searching the chamber, it was discovered that the dragon was studying the steel guardian, as the undecipherable etchings were duplicated in several parchments. After thorough examination, Pok and Tratlin were able to discern that The Below houses a similar statue. This only added to the questions, not the answers. Satisfied, the party began to depart the excavation site.
Upon reaching the pit, the cavern groaned and shook from below. Returning to the deep chamber, they were surprised to discover a large hole in the wall where several cracks had weakened the foundation. The statue was gone!
The chase was on for the statue’s abductor as the heroes rushed out the newly formed exit. The adjacent forest proved to be a challenging obstacle, even for the trained rangers Pok and Panwood. Freudenthas even managed to fall into a large pit, and a wrong turn brought the group face to face with an enormous (and angry) bear.
Eventually, the forest gave way to a clearing which housed another excavation site. However, this dig was much newer, and the ground appeared to be clawed out, as was evident by the markings and a rotted finger found amidst the dirt. Large footprints, that were assumed to match the statue’s, were placed in front of a 5 foot deep pit. No other signs of the statue were present until the party managed to look skyward, where the statue was stationary, a heavy chain wrapped around its waist.
Searching for a means upward, Brador searched the surrounding trees. It was then where the twisted, grotesque humanoid attacked with a groan and a swipe of rotting flesh. The zombies were upon them.
The dead clawed, moaned, grabbed, and bit at their prey. Amidst the chaos, a giant zombie burst through the forest and slammed into Makarius, knocking him to the ground with a hollow “Thud!” In response to seeing his companion being run to the ground, Brador sprung into action. His mordenkrad was instantly turned into a device of destruction, slamming into dead flesh, and eventually connecting with the hulking zombie’s skull with a sickening crack. The huge zombie fell lifeless for a second time in its existence and the rest of the undead were no match for the surge of morale that followed.
Once dispatched and their wounds healed, the group’s eyes turned upwards. The statue was once again gone, this time with no tracks or hint of which direction it escaped to.