I have not written in some time because I have been quite busy looking up the history of the town of Col-Fen, the area where Baron Zardi’s sources told us that Denal’s grave would be found. A brief summary: When we returned to the Dragon’s Breath Inn a few days ago, we met with Baron Zardi via magic orb. We told him about the map and what I had translated. He thanked us and said he would have others investigate the matter further. In the mean time, we could go down the river to where he supposed the treasure would be. We made our journey, found the cavern with the treasure where we also found a deceased paladin and two nasty spiders. The paladin turned out to be Ganilar, our farmer’s uncle. He was carrying a sword and an amulet, which were of no interest to me, but Nicodemus quickly became enamored with the sword while Alain took the amulet. The spiders gave us a bit of trouble, but we were able to overcome them. Afterward, Feydreth said he had better check both of the chests in the cave for traps before we opened them. I also suspected that he wished to be the first to grab what he could out of them, but I consented along with the others. He opened the first quite easily and began to eagerly dig through, completely destroying the fragile old books that it contained. I must admit I was somewhat miffed at him for this. They may have been too old to have been handled with even the gentlest of care, so I may not have been able to make anything out of them anyway, but I would have liked to try. His rough handling didn’t give me any chance at all. The second chest had an old rusted lock, which none of our big, strong men could manage to break, so I froze it off. It contained a large amount of gold, although half of it turned out to be counterfeit.
Upon our return, Baron Zardi told us what his sources had found, mainly that the final word that I was unsure of on the back of the map was indeed “key” but could also mean “skull” and Denal’s grave would be found at theGraveyard of Col Fen, which was destroyed some time ago, but the new village of Nenlast had been built on top of it. At this point, our armorer, Argos Stoneheart , asked Nicodemus if he could look at his sword, he was reluctant, as he had already become quite attached to it, I had watched him as he had seemed to be talking and listening to it on our return journey, but he consented. Argos was then able to determine that the sword’s name is Valor, and it has a curse upon it. The only way to break it is to do with it what it’s original owner could not: defend a noble’s life. Of course Nicodemus is sure that this sword is tied to his destiny and he will be the one to break the curse. I would be more careful if I were him, though. I’m sure all of its previous owners thought the same thing…
That night we stayed at the inn and I must admit to playing a bit of a trick on Feydreth by turning his quarters cold. I was annoyed at him for tearing through those books. Alain was with me…he was a little bit drunk, which made my stealthy maneuver not so stealthy as he was laughing and stumbling down the hall. That one drinks a bit much for a cleric, but I find him fun to be around. He didn’t do so well during our first couple of battles, but he was humble and had a good sense of humor about it. Not at all like Mr. Holier-Than-Thou Paladin who keeps asking Dara and me, “Don’t I look hot with my new flaming sword?”
During the next few days I studied the history of Col-Fen while we traveled, finding that it used to be home to a temple in which many loathsome rituals were performed involving the undead. When it was destroyed, there were many magical seals placed in order to keep to keep those powers at rest. However, that was some time ago and I had a feeling new evil was afoot. I told my companions of these things. Alain and Dara spent much time preparing, as did I, but Nicodemus and Feydreth seemed too busy harassing each other to do so.
Upon arriving at Nenlast we found that, indeed, there had been undead activity, with some of villagers going missing. We followed the trail to the graveyard, where we first heard a woman scream from inside one of the crypts. Upon entering, we found found the woman and her baby, along with several undead beings. Alain and Dara showed their skill in this battle: he using his holy powers with great skill and she blasting a pale reaver to bits. All I really recall of the others in this battle was Feydreth trying to do an acrobatic leap onto a sarcophagus and slipping off. After we finished off the undead, we questioned the woman, who was too hysterical to tell us much. She just wanted to know where her husband and father were. As we had no idea at that point, I simply escorted her to safety. When I returned I found the others examining the sarcophagus. There was nothing particularly special about it, just some magical wards meant to keep the dead at rest.
We then went to examine the middle of the three crypts. As we entered we found two bodies, killed by the undead. Our party was overcome with grief at this. Alain said some words to ensure that these would stay at rest and not be turned the same as the hideous creatures that destroyed them, while Nicodemus swore vengeance for them. In the back, there was a cold wind coming from behind some doors-doors that were meant to stay closed. As we descended into the darkness behind these doors, I cast a lighting spell as Alain threw a suntorch into the back corner, revealing several undead, including two ghouls who were performing a ritual in the back on a still-alive man. There was an onyx skull emitting a purple glow and a bowl of blood at his head and the ghouls were chanting in a language none of us could understand. In the other corner was a dark wizard hovering over some kind of misty portal. There wasn’t much time to take everything in before he spoke in a strange language, ordering the undead to attack us, but I did notice that he was wearing some kind of triangular pendant.
In this battle, Dara and Alain once again showed their great skill, while Nicodemus and Feydreth, both seemed to be having trouble. They did destroy the two zombies in the front with ease, but those were so terribly rotted, it didn’t take much. I tried to move toward the back as quickly as possible while still helping my companions in order to get a better look at the dark wizard and to remove the ritual items. My plan was to use my mage hand to remove the skull and bring it to myself, thereby disrupting the ritual while retaining the skull to see if I could determine anything about it. But before I could, Feydreth rushed to the back and knocked it and the bowl of blood off the sarcophagus, shattering the skull. The dark wizard then disappeared along with the portal. I have to admit, I was quite frustrated with him for this and I let it show. I know that he was only trying to stop the ritual from proceeding in order to save the man, but I can’t help but feel that I would have stopped it while being able to determine more about the skull and the wizard.
In any case, we defeated the undead creatures and the man was saved, which is the most important thing. I shouldn’t have given Feydreth such a hard time about the skull. Both he and Nicodemus were more subdued after this battle. Perhaps they will spend less time badgering each other and more time focusing on the tasks at hand in the future. I gathered up the pieces of the skull and examined them afterwards, but could determine nothing about it. The image of the mysterious dark wizard haunts me. Who is he and what is he up to? Could this have something to do with the omen at my birth? Only time will tell.