An update of the party’s actions since the last post.
The party concluded its affairs in and around the village and made its way to Thorskald’s Wall, where dwarves sit in expectant watch over the lands of the north. The commander there was of Baelin’s Hold, and glad to see the party, since the party had ingratiated itself to Baelin’s Hold with its activities beneath the Eel’s Head Brewery. The party was asked to investigate an outpost north of the wall, as the dwarves stationed there failed to return to the wall at their appointed time. Upon reaching the outpost, the party found the place in ruin, as well as evidence of death and destruction at the hands of cultists of the Horned God. Dead dwarves had been stripped, mutilated, and placed in blasphemous positions in the lower level of the outpost. The party cleared the outpost of enemies and reported back to Thorskald’s Wall.
The dwarves on Thorskald’s Wall were grim in the face of the news, and sent for aid to reinforce the wall and repopulate the outpost. The party decided to travel to Baelin’s Hold for a rest, and they were warmly received there, outfitted, and sent on their way. At Baelin’s Hold, the Rune Caster, Moradin, joined the group.
The party resolved to seek out the island shown in the map they found outside Botkinburg some weeks early, and so headed for the river city of Fissigart, one of the largest cities of the northern realms. While waiting there for a ship to Raelsport, from whence they could gain passage south in search of the island, the party was contact by Father Amdahl, high priest of the Temple of Odin. He knew the party by reputation and asked for their help.
The party agreed to meet with Father Amdahl at the Temple, and while there were introduced to lower-level priests of the temple, as well as Amdahl’s niece, Tyra, who handled the Church’s accounts. Father Amdahl informed the party of a series of grave robberies in and around the city. He had been unable to convince the city Guard to look into these robberies as preparations for an upcoming festival occupied all of Guard’s time.
The party investigated the grave robberies and learned of a witch trial ten years prior, after which five local witches were beheaded. The bodies were entombed in an abandoned underground outpost that had not been used since the great war. The party also learned that a ghostly woman was seen around some of the pilfered graves, and a young child claimed to have seen one of the dead walking under its own power.
Electing to investigate the tomb where the witches were buried, the party headed out of town. They discovered the tomb had been recently used by goblins, but these goblins had been displaced by a ‘witch woman’ who was busy making ‘grey women’ within the depths of the compound. The party found that these “grey women” were the remains of the witches who had been executed after the famous trial, and they had since been reanimated. Though five witches were executed in the trial, the party found evidence of only four bodies in the outpost.
Returning to the city, the party spoke with Father Amdahl and learned that the fifth witch, and leader of the coven, had been Father Amdahl’s own sister, mother to Tyra, who he took in after her mother’s death. The group also uncovered evidence linking Tyra to the grave robberies, as well as a map in Tyra’s room marking an entrance into the city’s sewer. A young woman named Ava joined the group at this point.
The party entered the sewer and, after most had taken a swim in the filthy waters, made their way into an underground hideout where they confronted Tyra. To the surprise of the group, Tyra proved to be a more than capable wizard, and only some last-minute reticence on her part prevented the death of at least some of the party members.
Tyra escaped and the party returned to Father Amdahl with vague notions that Tyra was attempting to raise her slain mother. Father Amdahl traced Tyra to a vague location to the north and asked that the party retrieve her, showing her mercy if possible.
The group spoke with the commander of the Guard, Julian Helstrom, whom the party had met earlier, and learned that an abandoned fortress, Fort Rhyker, was situated on a rocky outcropping north of the city. The group surmised that Tyra was heading there, and Helstrom asked that they follow her, find out what she was about, and then report back.
The party trailed Tyra to Fort Rhyker, where they found that she was creating an army of undead from the remains of a tremendous battle fought outside the Fort during the great war. They confronted Tyra again and managed to entangle her in a net. With a word, however, she vanished. The party returned to the city and reported to Father Amdahl and Commander Helstrom that an undead army might be set to march on the city during the evening of the festival. Helstrom informed the party that his preparations were being met with stiff resistance from the highest levels of power in the city, and the party guessed that this might be the work of Ulfass Borloch, now city Magistrate and former prosecutor of the coven of witches. Why Borloch would seek to hinder the party (and thereby ensure Tyra’s success) was not clear.
On the night of the festival, as the city teemed with people dressed in the costumes of the dead, an undead army rose from the river to storm the Temple of Odin. The party ran through the chaos, helping citizens and making their way to the Temple. There, Tyra animated her mother, who emerged from her crypt with a large, thin-bladed, black sword in hand. Tyra took this with a look of triumph.
The triumph was short-lived, as a strange figure in robes appeared behind Tyra and stabbed her. She pitched forward, losing her grasp on the sword, but was not killed. The sword clattered to the ground near Ava, who picked it up. Both Tyra and the strange wizard demanded the sword, each presenting arguments as to why they should receive it.
In the end, Ava gave the sword to Tyra, who took to the skies while skeletons swarmed around the strange wizard and members of the party. As she left, true to her word, Tyra dispelled the animation of the skeletons, and a littering of bones was left in the city. The strange wizard was gone.
Father Amdahl again tried to trace his niece, and this time found that she had fled far to the southwest. Nothing was known in that region other than swampland, though the party learned that an elven temple of Cedrus existed there at the time of the great war, and it was reknown for having special magical properties that were used to heal people. The party concluded that Tyra was headed for the temple to attempt to restore her mother to life.
Helstrom arranged passage to Raelsport on a military ship, and from there the party set out into the swamp south, seeking out the temple. They came across a swampie outpost where humans and goblins lived together in peace, and met an elderly goblin named Tork, who claimed to have seen the temple and agreed to guide the party to it.