Moments after reappearing in the cathedral, a low rumble transmitted up through boots to throb eardrums. The green fire was gone from pentagram carved into the basalt floor, now no more than a grave marker to the sacrificial elven cleric in some unreachable realm. Suddenly, the scene jerked sideways, then snapped back, then jerked in the opposite direction. A slab of plaster the size of a buckler plummeted from the ceiling, exploding into a cloud of dust.
Aderian dashed toward the two great entrance doors, crashing into it shoulder-first. It held. Outside, iron spikes meant to prevent the escape of monsters now seemingly trapped them inside what might soon become a rude funeral pyramid of rubble. Ferris, the nimble thief, glided towards stained glass windows high above his head, stepped up on the armrest of a pew and leaped up the wall. Momentarily, he perched at the window ledge and began bashing at panels of colored glass.
The last elf of Rellora’s band turned to the back of the church and sprinted for the stairs from where they descended. Tienarth, the elf who gave his name to these very raiders, carved sparkling figures in the air and spoke an incomprehensible verse. Energy surged amongst his companions and the pace of time seemed to slow.
Up at the window, Ferris knocked out a man-sized hole. The building creaked with continued shaking. The entire collection of glass and lead collapsed outward into the graveyard beside the cathedral. Ferris dove from the window and tumbled into a roll, unhurt.
Inside, Aderian gave up trying to bash open the door and followed Tienarth and the Gourk up the roof. The three of them carefully picked over the steep roof, now losing tiles rapidly. Red clay tiles shot down the incline, diving into the hard ground 30 feet below. Another violent jerk opened up a hole beneath Gourk who tumbled back into the church, landing with a crunch. Meanwhile, Ghevont threw his own considerable bulk against the doors, splintering the lower half as they were forced past the iron spikes.
Tienarth carefully descended the rope at the front of the edifice, followed by Aderian. The elf mage considered a rescue of his fellow elf, but as quickly as the intention began to energize limbs, a greater force rocked the cathedral one last time. The entire roof tumbled inward, chased by the walls that each stacked upon each other. The adventurers turned from a great exhaust of dust.
Wasting no time, they ran for the gap in the walls over which they entered the compound. The earthquake subsided and the walls around the churchyard still stood. No undead were seen. They scrambled over the gash in the wall to find the miserable donkey left behind. It’s dried skin stretched over bone as if it had died many weeks before, left to rot.
Retracing their path from before, they circled wide of the city proper, watching for packs of undead hunters, finally camping a mile south of the town. There they made a camp, chewed sturdy rations and contemplated next actions. The halfling Longstream, whose nature was to wander and return without explanation, was once again gone. He’d left via the same portal in that hellish world of Haderax and perhaps returned to some unknown area nearby rather than the church.
After a night of undisturbed sleep, they rubbed away the dust of repose from their eyes which soon turned back to the Tosasth. The steeple of the cathedral no longer stood on the far hill, but most of the building could still be seen standing. Conversation turned to the homestead left behind months ago. Who tended to the sheep? Azrak surely remained there, though his powerful axe-swings would be a welcome addition now, especially with Longstream’s location unknown.
Also at issue was the duty owed to Lah. Did he intend only for the closure of the portal? Would he require the complete purification of Tosasth which likely still teemed with evil spirits? The consensus formed that regardless of the wishes of the church, they knew of vast treasures via those tomes found outlining final estates of rich Tosasth nobles. Their lamentations turned towards a wish for those books, useful clues, and for Azrak.
A loud splat turned heads to view Azrak standing in a puddle of black goo, his stubby arms wrapped around those very books. Now their spirits were lifted and they could only feel sure that heading back into the city would produce rewards immeasurable.
Battle in the Streets
They marched directly into the city over the same road, past the blacksmith formerly explored. Between the many ruined building and bare foundations they found another business, a bakery. A few feeble zombies were cut down and a small fortune of coins were examined but then discarded as insignificant. They explored a few residences that gave up few monsters or treasure.
Moving farther into the city down the main road, they spied ghouls approaching from before them and skeletons from behind. Ghevont held his holy symbol to the skeletons who all fled. The ghouls galloped towards. Aderian and Ferris aimed bows, holding fire until foes came within range.
Tienarth timed the production of a wall of fire that blanketed a column of ghouls in destructive flames. Even those near the intense heat suffered, and all that did not incinerate fled to side streets. The fighters rushed to engage with arms and all were destroyed in short order.
- Treasure: none
- Kills – 3,385 XP
- 7 Zombies 525 XP
- 9 Ghouls 900 XP
- 10 Ghasts 1,250 XP
- 3 Skeletons 75 XP
- 6 Gellybones 450 XP
- 5 Skeletal Flayers 185 XP
- Tienarth/Tre – avoid combat – 684 XP
- Ferris/Henry – climbing – 751 XP
- Ghevont/Jeff – smite undead – 751 XP
- Aderian/Jason – fight – 751 XP
- Azrak/Nick – fight – 684 XP
- Virtues: none
- Vices: none