Shades of Shadora

Lair of the Zombie Lord
Zombie Lord Dresden falls under the assault

The warriors pursued the Zombie Lord around the last turn in the tunnel. His back was against the wall, but he was not out of tricks. Before the fighters could close on him, he conjured a pair of doom guards, demonic warriors in black plate. The doom guards conjured up a few minions that appeared amidst the party and the battle was on. The zombie lord revealed and gloated over his plan to bury the party with him and turn them into his undead slaves. Simon wasn’t impressed and he and Trish pressed the assault and destroyed the doom guards. The Zombie Lord drew a wands of earthquakes and collapsed the tunnel behind the party.

Wallac had just run back to check on Prospero as the tunnel collapsed behind him. The fighting had drawn Jarvus the Medic away from Prospero and as he made his way to the warriors, he found the ceiling falling on his head and had to sprint and dive for safety. Grimclaw and Windtorn finished off the demon spawn and went to help Simon and Trish put the zombie lord down. Together they made short work of him while suffering a few minor wounds. They were however completely trapped deep underground.

Meanwhile, Prospero and the scouts found themselves engaged with the remainder of the undead forces in the crypt. The ghouls and skeletons were no match for the mighty rains of stone and flying iron spikes that Prospero threw against them. One of the scouts fell and did not rise again. Prospero burrowed into the chamber of the trapped warriors and cast his burrow power upon them to get them to safety.

Discouraged by his inability to open Mnordren’s Tomb, Prospero set the party to searching the side crypts. The party split and found a number of empty crypts from which many of the mummies had come. They also found a large store of Journeyman treasures and artifacts.

One team ventured into a chamber that contained Mnordren’s Mount. It must have been a large dragon, but was now reduced to a mindless undead skeleton. The party crashed into it and destroyed it quickly. Trish collected a bunch of knuckle bones for a necklace. Trish also took the dragon’s saddle which was of amazing quality.

The party gathered what loot they could and fled the tunnels. The retreated back to their camp which they had left a few short hours ago. A watch was set up and the remainder of the party collapsed into their blankets for the much needed rest.

Mnordren the Hunter
Does a journeyman sleep in this ancient tomb?

Walac found himself in the hot seat once again as the party rapidly decided that the burglar would do a fine job of scouting out the dark staircase. Grimclaw padded along behind him as they wound down the deep, endless stair relying on their dark sense to guide their footsteps. As Walac reached the bottom of the stair, he felt Grimclaw tugging him backwards by his tunic. When they had both retreated a few turns Grimclaw whispered, “Cushna. I smell them. They are too dangerous for us little friend.” Walac still hadn’t gotten used to the panther calling him “little friend”, his ears kept hearing “little snack” or “tasty morsel” or sometimes just “dinner”.

Grimclaw used his link to his master to relay to what they had found and Prospero explained to the others. Simon and Windtorn knew there had to be ghouls down there as they had not killed nearly enough compared with the numbers that attacked the camp. Now they had to deal with Cushna in the confined space of a spiral stair.

“Cushna, why did it have to be Cushna?” moaned Simon. Trish wondered aloud at this and Simon explained that Cushna were chaotic horrors that took the form of fire breathing, berserk, rabid dogs. Not hard to kill if you could get close and strike first. That was usually the hard part.

Simon unslung his backpack and dumped the contents on the floor of the tower. Out rolled the 18 grenades Two Feathers had left for him at the dwarf camp. “Maybe these could get us in. It would be noisy, so they would know we were there, but it might take out a few up front.”

As a javelineer, Wintorn volunteered to toss the grenades. Simon had the party gather up handfuls of the journeyman candles to use for light and to light the grenades. Their plan in place the party made the descent into the zombie lord’s lair.

The Zombie Lord's Lair

At the bottom of the stair, two cushna died instantly from the first grenade volley. Two more fell under the blade of Trish and Simon. Journeyman candles were scattered across the floor to provide small pools of light for the warriors to see their foes. In an instant, the cushna were dead, but the dark lair held more surprises. Ghouls and mummies poured into the landing area from adjoining chambers as the zombie lord cast his vile sorcery from afar. Another grenade helped the cause as party continued to grind through the undead minions.

The zombie lord fled down an excavated tunnel awakening zombears, skeletons and a bone gollem in his wake. “Where is he getting all this power?” mused Prospero. The answer was forthcoming as the party pushed into the main chamber of the lair.

The bulk of the warriors fled after the zombie lord as Prospero, Jarvus and the scouts stayed behind to study the signs and portents in this chamber. Prospero found a number of freshly discarded potion flasks and a quick taste told him the answer to his question. “Mana restoring potions. Let’s hope he’s out.” He also discovered a number of inscriptions in this chamber along with what appeared to be a locked door of some strange metal he could not identify.

Above the strange door were the words “Here lies Mnordren the Hunter – his heart corrupted his flesh asleep and his mind awaiting.” “Hmm, definitely 7th century script. Awaiting what I wonder?” Prospero and Jarvus found all manner or conjuration and invocation trappings in the chamber and the strange door bore many claw and burn marks from chaotic horrors conjured to try and breach the seal. “We need to destroy these vile trappings, lest some other chaotic creature makes use of them.” Jarvus and the scouts set about the task as Prospero walked back into the stair chamber to look over the doorways of the other side chambers. “Have a care master Prospero. There may be other villains about.” cautioned the scout Thordan.

“Good advice friend Thordan. I just want to see if the other chambers have inscriptions and it looks like they do.” The left chamber read “Trusted Companions of Mnordren the Hunter – corrupt and irredeemable.” While the right one read “Servants of Mnordren the Hunter – sinners and liars all.”

“This is become quite the mystery! Now, lets see about opening this door.”

“Are you mad Prospero?” exclaimed Jarvus, “Have the fear spells addled your wits? This a door that is want to be closed for good!”

While Prospero and Jarvus argued over the merits of opening the obstinate door, the warrior’s pursuit of the Zombie Lord continued down the dark tunnels. They came upon a huge bone pile and scattered it with a grenade lest any more skeletons should seek to rise from it. The tunnel that they made their way down was crudely hewn and fresh. Their pursuit led them into a pool of shadow that Simon recognized as a shade. Windtorn quickly dispatched it with a lightning bolt, but it’s inky darkness was hiding a swarm of possessed zombies that came at the party from all angles climbing the walls and ceilings like deranged spiders.

The zombie lord remained just a tunnel turn ahead of the party. What surprises awaited them around the next corner…

The Zombie Lord's Library
At least one Zombie Lord survived the Journeyman catacombs.

Walac climbed the tower once more and found a small band of ghouls guarding a trap door in the tower’s roof. Trish and Windtorn set about hacking their your way through the tower’s stout wooden front door while Walac and Simon scaled the tower and dispatched the ghouls.

When the tower door was thrown open, you saw a well lit room that was once a Journeyman library of some sort. Prospero’s blood went cold, not from the skeletons and Lazuri zombies that barred the way into the tower, but from the fact that he recognized their dark master lurking in the stairway. It was one of the Zombie Lords that had accompanied the God’s Age lich Ahn-Denair in his hunt for the Thicket’s power source in the Journeyman catacombs!

Prospero didn’t have time to dwell and launched an hail of stones on the heads of the skeletons and zombies. The zombie lord answered back with his own spell and the defenders found themselves gripped by an unnatural horror that sent Trish and Grimclaw fleeing from the battle.

The party continued to slowly push their way through the zombie lord’s undead horde as he continued to pump unholy power into his minions to give them the strength to hold the line. Meanwhile Simon and Walac methodically picked apart the undead archers on the stair providing much needed support to the beleaguered and bewildered attackers in the door way.

As Simon gained the ground floor of the tower, the zombie lord fled into an underground chamber leaving his minions to effectively cover his escape. Prospero continued to pummel the skeletons with stones as Simon helped break the log jam by attacking the zombies from behind.

Soon, the enemy lay dead, this time for good, but Simon and Trish both received grievous wounds.
Jarvus set to work and got them patched up while Walac and Prospero worked on the locked door behind which the zombie lord had fled. Prospero recited the history of 10th century Journeyman security measures as Walac worked the lock’s mechanisms. When Prospero finally paused for breath, Walac was able to concentrate long enough to spring the lock. The door opened onto the landing of a spiral stair that descended down into pitch black darkness.

Those not involved in the healing or burglarizing, searched the tower. Most of the documents had been ruined by the leaking roof, but the scouts found a hand written note and a few tomes. They also discovered that the candles lighting the tower were of Journeyman make (late 9th century according to Prospero) and could not be extinguished by normal means.

Simon deciphered the note to read:

“Lord Dresden, our cause is not yet lost! Raise an army and join us in the Witchbog, spinward of the Vale of Spiders. You may begin your army with these messengers.” ~ Lord Igmar

Prospero looked over the tomes and found that one would teach the reader the Succor spell while the other was named “The Torn Veil” and bore the markings of chaos and madness. Trish, now restored to fighting form, noticed that one of the lazuri zombies wore a strange glove with runic markings. Trying it on she found her sword both lighter and quicker – a useful relic indeed!.

The parted decided that a thorough search would have to wait. They gathered up handfuls of the journeyman candles to light their way and began their descent into the silent, black, earth.

Night Visitors
A band of ghouls out looking for fresh meat for their evil master.

You traveled the entire day, which was unseasonable hot, via the game trails in the Thicket. You stopped to water the horses often and to climb a tree and get your bearings. You journey is mostly uneventful and you notice that the thicket is much quieter than normal. Many of the game trails are starting to overgrow from disuse. First the bugs, and now the game. What is driving these creatures before it?

You settle in for the night along a shallow creek in the lee of a small hill with the horses picketed along a nearby grove of trees. Prospero and Arghmon notice that the mana flow in this area is higher than normal. After setting up a watch rotation, you stoke the fire and turn in.

The quiet of the night is broken on the second watch by the whining of the horses and you investigate to find a band of ghouls is making off with most of your horses! A skirmish ensues but the ghouls are more interested in the horses than wanting to stay and fight a bunch of armed warriors.

The ghouls make the river and succeed in making off with half of your horses. As you patch up your wounded and poisoned friends the Summerford scouts track your quarry to the ruin of an ancient tower about a mark spinward.

With the aid of the scouts your crept up on the guards and laid them low without them raising the alarm. A quick scout of the area showed a small tower and courtyard with only 1 obvious way in – the front door.

The Lir, Walac, effortlessly scampered up the side of the tower with the hope of of getting in via the roof, but soon found that he had agitated a huge nest of vile blood crows. Walac exited the tower in a rush as hordes of the fearsome birds poured down upon the party. Prospero blasted their nest and eliminated the threat. Windtorn and Trish decided that it was time to go berserk and charge in the front door. Trish led the way and ran into hand to hand combat with a strange hooded figure that reeked of death. She batter him mercilessly, but he stumbled close enough to the tower door for his allies inside to grab him and pull him inside – slamming and barring the door behind him. You mopped up the the ghouls in the courtyard and turn to find two bone gollems forming from two nearby bone piles. You easily dispatched using the strength of your numbers and then turned to address the problem of getting into the tower…

Preparing for War
Some of the thicket homesteaders have not come in to the safety of Summerford
  • Campaign Date: 1/13/7551, Season of Winds Rise, Growth Week, Dirt’s Day
  • Location: Tangle Thicket, Farm Region and Summerford
  • Time of Day: Late Afternoon (Hour of the Ox )
  • Weather: Cool, 65°, overcast, 15-20 mph wind.

Bone weary, you drag yourselves from the Wilds into the Farm region of the thicket. Small settlements dot this area and the homesteaders are all friendly and helpful. After asking directions you find yourselves on the trail to the Summerford Bridge. You can’t help but wonder what the Lazuri have planned for these poor farmers and homesteaders You decide that your first stop should be to discuss what you have learned about the enemy forces with Guard Captain Robart.

Discussions with Captain Robart revealed:
  • 2 Feathers came by earlier and Robart had to go into the thicket to talk with him as he would not enter the city
    • 2 Feathers assured him that the Yatahay would send warriors within the week after they had returned the Gardener to the elves.
    • 2 Feathers was also confident that the Gardener will convince the elves to send aid
    • With 2 Feathers help Robart’s scouts created a map to the last known location of the Lazuri camp
  • Robart is convinced that the Lazuri will strike soon while the dragon and the thicket are weak
  • Summerford is building a wooden palisade around the temple area
    • The Air Temple appears to be important to the Lazuri’s plans so Robart has posted guards
  • Summerford sent runners out into the Farm to gather the thicket settlers into the city proper
    • The town has erected tents and makeshift barracks for the homesteaders
    • There are still a few of the steads deeper in that are unaccounted for
  • Robart has called up the militia but it will take them a few days to assemble.
  • Robart plans to send his scouts to spy on the enemy camp and assess the force that the Lazuri plan to array against the city.
    • He is short handed and could use the PC’s help to scout.

The party agreed to help Robart out. They recharged a few matrices, did a little fruitless research on the Ring of Velu, paid their tab at the Adventures Guild where they spent the night, and then headed for the Summerford bridge to meet up with the scouts at first light.

There they were surprised to see that Robart had provided good horses and good companions. Windtorn the Wanderer and Jarvus the Medic had agreed to help the 4 scouts that Robart had rounded up. Robart handed Simon a pair of precious healing potions and asked if they could travel first to a small cluster of cabins deep in the thicket Farm that had not checked in yet. They agreed and set out in the early morning light.

  • Campaign Date: 1/14/7551, Season of Winds Rise, Growth Week, Light’s Day
  • Location: Tangle Thicket – Border of Farm and Wilds regions
  • Time of Day: Late Morning, hour of the Dove
  • Weather: Unseasonably hot, 80°, clear skies, no wind.

The party located the village after half a day’s travel and met with Garth, the village leader. They found out that the village had received the word to evacuate but did not think the situation serious enough to heed the warning. In the middle of a heated debate on the danger of staying put, a horde of giant insects exploded from the surrounding forest and erupted from a long dormant ruin on the edge of the village.

The party quickly dispatched the bugs and then had no trouble convincing the villagers to vacate. They sent one of the scouts along as an escort to make sure the dozen or so settlers made it to Summerford safely. Garth gratefully offer up his cabin to the party to bunk in for the night and they took him up on his offer. Windtorn wondered aloud at what could have driven the bugs from their homes.

While the group was preparing dinner, Prospero and Jarvus explored the village’s ruins. Prospero easily identified them as early Journeyman circa 1200 and had convinced himself that there was nothing to learn here when he noticed a glint in the newly disturbed earth. Some quick digging yielded a copper box containing 5 vials. Three had shattered over the centuries but two still remained intact. The dark liquid inside the surviving vials seemed to shift in color from green to blue to violet. Curiosity got the best of Prospero and he opened one vial for Jarvus to test for poison. After some quick taste analysis Jarvus said that it wasn’t poison and probably wouldn’t kill you to drink it – if indeed it was a potion…

Dwarven Aftermath
The dragon has been freed, but at what cost?

As the last dwarf fell you breathe a huge sigh of relief. It is over. The liche, the dwarves, the lazuri. It is all over. Perhaps now there would be a chance to rest. It seems like you have been fighting forever.

You cast the vile net off of the dragon and fling it into the chasm. Sickened and horrified at the thought that such a thing could be made. If someone wants it now, they would have to seek it out in the thicket. Within days it will disappear under a thick tangle of vines and brambles and be hidden beneath a blanket of verdant green. Let them search as they may, no one will ever find it. The Yatahay walk among the fallen to make sure that any who know of this place do not live to tell their tale.

Ormayaru stirs slowly as he shakes off the effects of the partially complete Enthrall ritual. He eyes stare dimly at you but you see no recognition there. Only feral, animal hunger. His great lips curl back in a snarl that reveals his fangs.

“Ormayaru ! It is Prospero and Arghmon, children of earth and fire! Don’t you remember?” cries Prospero

A flicker of recognition flashes in his eyes and he raises his head above the party. “Children of the elements. Why is that familiar to me?” Suddenly he moans a long sad note and lays his head on the ground. “Nooooooo! It is gone. Thousands of years of memories, all gone. I cannot remember what I was before I came to the Thicket. Those foul creatures have stripped it from me!” With a angry bellow he breathes out a gust of acidic gas and lays waste to a huge swath of the thicket and the corpses of the dwarves. Before you can stop him, he runs off in the direction of the journeyman catacombs.

At that moment, Brenna-orm steps from the thicket into the clearing with two of his braves towing the Gardener in a litter. “Let the dragon be my brothers. I heard his words and he will need time to deal with the grave sin these dwarves have committed against him. Wait until he seeks you out. In the mean time we have work to do!”

The Yatahay help you get the second truck rolling and you slowly lever it over the lip of the chasm to join it’s infernal companion. You also dump the large pieces of the air copter into the chasm. The whole time your minds keep turning back to the dragon. You worry about his recovery and feel helpless about his plight.

The yatahay break out simple food and eat without interest as Brenna nurses the Gardener to his feet. The Gardener approaches and Lasheur jumps to his feet and bows deeply. Simon rises behind him and also bows.

“It is good to see you up and about my lord. How may I serve you?”

“It is I who must serve you Lasheur. You and Simon fought bravely for me, the dragon and the Thicket itself. Such bravery will not go unrewarded. I noticed you stacking the dwarven gear. A fine bounty no doubt, but such pillaging is beneath you and Simon. We will gift that gear to the Yatahay. It will sustain them through many a hard winter. I had the Yatahay descend back into the catacombs and rescue what gear they could from my bodyguards. You and Simon are welcome to whatever you can use. The rest I will return to their families. Additionally, Lasheur I require the use of you bow, there a few improvements I would sing into it.”

The Yatahay lay the gear bundles at your feet and you suddenly feel a touch of shame. “Do not feel ashamed. I assure you those elves would want their gear to be used by warriors such as yourselves.” You rummage through the gear and find:

  1. 40 “Troll Killer” Arrows ( +1 Damage, AP 2 )
  2. Superb Leather Armor ( 2 sets )
  3. Superb Chain Coif/Hood ( 2 )
  4. A Pair of copper bracers that will increase the Armor in your arms by 1. They are covered with odd runes related to the cult of Bandar ( Arax T’ha matrices for “Roll with Punch” and “Prescient Defense” )

You gather up your kingly gifts and thank the Gardener profusely. You notice that the Yatahay have also received some better arrows and a few elf bows blessed by the Gardener to allow them to work for the Yatahay. The Gardener smiles as he watches them dance around like children with new toys. He pulls Lasheur aside.

“It’s not much, but I sang what traits into the bow as I could in my weakened state. Take it with my thanks. He hands you the bow and it looks as though it has been remade by master craftsmen.

  1. The Gardener sings Strength, Range and Precision into your Elf Bow making it Superb quality: Range 20/40/80, +1 Shooting, +1 Damage

You and Simon glance at each other and smile. Simon calls to Lasheur, “The next time Lord Igmar rears his ugly, scaly head, he is in for one nasty surprise!”

“Aye friend Simon, a few troll killers to the brain-pan should should convince him that his fixation on me is truly unhealthy!”

You laugh a moment and then notice that the wizards are missing. Brenna notices your worried looks, “He called for them my brothers. You have nothing to fear. They are with the dragon now – or what’s left of him.”

Prospero and Arghmon heard the summons in their mind and made their way to the dragon’s hideaway. You found him resting with his head on his massive taloned claws.

“I remember you Prospero. I remember you Arghmon. I also remember that I was a teacher long, long ago. I have a few things to teach you quickly before they fade from my memory. That accursed net continues to rob me of my memories though its effects are tapering off. It will not rob me of everything that I once was. Stand before me and stare into my eyes.”

You approach him and peer into the vastness of those wise and fearless eyes and feel his mind invade your own. At first it is too much, even in his weakened state he could crush your will with a stray thought. No wonder the Journeymen achieved the heights of wonder if they had teachers like this. Ormayaru’s heavy thoughts retreat to the boundaries and you feel yourself able to breath again.

“Yes, good. I know these minds, not like those from so long ago that I barely remember, mere shadows, but the paths are familiar. I will make a few adjustments…”

You think to protest but your concerns are brushed aside as you would swat a gnat. You are not in control here. You are casual observer with no part to play but to watch.

“Ha, this is not sorcery as I once taught it, this is all wrong. No bother, I can fix this…” You feel as if your mind is being read like a scroll and large parts of what you know are being scratched out and re-written by the hand of a master poet…

“Your connection to the mana flow is too weak, you must always be running out of power. Let’s open up that conduit. Yes this will be much better…” You feel you mind being pried open like someone levering their thumbs into the core of an orange to open up its flower…

You awake to find yourselves sprawled on the floor of the cavern. Sometime during the process you must have fainted.

“I could have done more but you probably would have gone insane.”

  1. You both gain the Improved Wizard Edge and the Power Surge Edge.

You have both done me a great service and while I am but a mere shadow of myself, you need only call and I will come as long as you are within the Thicket. Go now, return to your friends, I have much to contemplate.”

You leave the dragon and rejoin the party as it is packing up to leave. Brenna and the Yatahay will take the Gardener to Woodfort so that he may rejoin the elves. Brenna points down the path of destruction that the dwarves cared through the thicket.

“You way lies down this path to the city of Summerford. Tell their leaders what you learned here. We encountered many camps of evil things gathering in the thicket as I am told you did also. Though we destroyed or scattered the bulk of these, I fear that there may be more about. With both the dragon and the Gardener weakened, the thicket will have to tend to itself. Without its vibrant brambles to impede them, I’m afraid our enemies will be free to move against us. They are greatly weakened, but so are we. Stay vigilant my brothers.”

You clasp forearms in the Yatahay way and they dissolve into the thicket. You trudge along the dwarven trail for a few miles and come to what must have been their base camp. The Yatahay slaughtered, scalped and stripped any that were here and you pass through leaving the corpses for the carrion birds and the camp for the thicket. At the edge of the camp you spy a cleverly hidden stack of crates. There is a note pinned to the top of the boxes with a Yatahay arrow. It says simply, “For my brothers – 2 Feather.”

The three crates contain 6 dwarven grenades each. One box is marked with a cloud, one with a lightning bolt, and one with a skull. Simon hefts one of the grenades and smiles, “You gotta love those Yatahay…”

Dragon Enslaved
The party must free the dragon Ormayaru from the dwarves

The Party escaped from the catacombs only to emerge into a new nightmare. The dragon Ormayaru has been captured and the dwarves are dragging him through the thicket with their infernal machines.

Prospero drank the gardener’s mana potion, wrapped the insubstantiabilty cloak around Arghmon, and burrowed at great speed to the dragon’s side. While underground, he sent his double to the bridge to destroy it prior to the steam tractor getting across.

Prospero pulled the cloak from Arghmon and laid his body upon one of the dragon’s great haunches. Prospero was momentarily stunned when he realized the dragon was under an enchanted net designed to entrall the dragon. Prospero wrapped the insubstantiabilty cloak around the main hitch to disconned the dragon from the steam tractor.

The double conjured a gnome and it quickly hammered the bridge to pieces sending the tractor tumbling into the chasm. The cloak was lost, but Prospero considered it a small price to pay. Some of the dwarves on the battle platform leaped to safety and made ready to retaliate.

The yatahay sprung their ambush on the mercenaries that had crossed the bridge and quickly cut them to pieces.

The Ring of Velu

Lord Igmar has fled and his last Lt. lies dying on the cavern floor. As you watch, you see him shaking with laughter. With blood dripping from his smashed maw he croaks out to you.

“Ha! You think you have won! You may have taken this day. You may even drive us from the thicket, but the war is already lost. For we still hold the Ring of Velu and with it we smash Thenga Velu and burn this realm to ash.”

The Battle at the Arch

You dispatch the last of what you hope is the main force using up a fair share of your newly replenished mana and peer down the passage way from when you heard the explosions. The scene before you is staggering as you gaze in wonder at the awesome energies at play before you.

Journeyman Catacombs
The part descends into the bowels of a lost city in a desperate race to stop the lich and his allies.

The party fought their way through the tunnels and stopped the lich Ahn-Denar and the Lazuri rune lord Lord Igmar Warmsand. A dying Lazuri mentioned that the Empire had the Ring of Velu – but no one, not even the gardener had heard of it.


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