Dawn came bringing a close to many a nightmare. Wraith, seemingly shaken by his dream, went for a short walk with Sauveli, creating conversation about the odd wormwood trees of the forest. The branches and bark look sickly and deformed.
After the group packed up camp and mounted their friendly mounts. They headed off following the road north west. Small white snowflakes danced on the air and Gilwen looked about her with acknowledgment to the changing of the seasons. ‘One more season come to past’ Gilwen thought to herself as the sound of horse hooves from in front of her caught her attention. She warned the rest of her party as they rounded a corner and spotted the caravan moving their way.
Two horse drawn carts progressed towards them followed and surrounded by individuals baring the symbols and regalia of the Raven Queen. Sauveli motioned for the rest of the party to direct their horses off to the side allowing the caravan to progress between them and the wormwood forest, there fore giving them way on the road. Sitting in the first cart are three elders (women of the Raven Queen) and a young albino girl.
Krifo managed to address the party, very bluntly, about why they were moving the remnants in the rear cart, which is a covered funeral progression of sorts. The women in the front of the party tell the group that the remains are of Sir Maligant (spelling! and perhaps what we learned off the history check? I don’t remember and it would be something that Kevin asked) and that they were being moved to their final resting place.
Suddenly a large flock of crows erupt from the wood and soar over head, warning the two parties that they were about to be joined and it was unlikely by a friendly force. Several tieflings and other humanoids became visible from the thick forest, some bearing axes swords or staffs. Gilwen attempted to ask the aggressors what they wanted however with a “Get away and you won’t get hurt!” the fighting commenced. It was apparent to the party that the third party had one main target, which was the covered funeral cart however the magic wielders also seemed unhappy at the presence of the albino.
Illyana managed to convince one wizard (woman) to surrender through an amazing bluff while Sauveli gets caught up in scuffle with a tiefling and is for a time left blinded. After picking off the band of tieflings and humans one by one the sound of large wings could be heard approaching from over the wood. A hippogryph joined the fray, a powerful looking necromancer riding upon its back. The hippogryph swoops in and manages to sink its talons into the roof of the now damaged caravan, scooping up the remains of Sir Malegant’s coffin and attempts to get altitude. Before it can get away a few well placed arrows from Gilwen as well as some curses from Wraith and Illyana the hippogryph dies, sending the necromancer, who looks strangely familiar to Illyana (from her ‘dream’), to the hard unforgiving ground. Prior to the death of his stead Illyana and the necromancer had had ‘words’, rather shouting, and his name had been discovered as Volkanth. holding Illyana’s boyfriend!!!
Remaining prone, Volkanth manages to slip a bit of something from the remains of Sir Malegant, most likely bone, into a cylinder which then vanishes into thin air. Though he and his remaining 3 comrades attempt to high tail it through the woods the adventurers catch up to him and capture him along with two others (one who had surrendered to Illyana’s wrath, and a ‘pirate’ (don’t remember who he was) as well as one ‘wizard’ who was really Wraith in disguise). After removing Volkanth’s weapons and binding his hands, along with the other prisoners, Illyana talks with the three women from the first cart. Sister Naenia is anxious but thankful for the protection. The surviving pilgrims pick up the remains of Sir Malegant’s bones. They are traveling as a pilgrimage to bury him so he can not be released with a ceremony. Reincarnate. When Naenia is told that Volcanth had indeed sent a bit of remains off to who knows where she begs the party to retrieve the container and prevent them from attempting what they plan to do with it. She also asks for the party to swear fidelity to the Raven Queen in their attempts at their quest. Sauveli talks to the young albino.
Sauveli acquires a +2 Life drinker Long sword at Volkanth’s expense. Hagan acquires a throwing shield and Wraith, who is still counted among the prisoners, will eventually receive a Staff of Ruin.
Once the band decides to aid the religious pilgrims (and attempt to save Illyana’s boyfriend) Illyana angrily questions the captives. She manages to pertain the basic information of which direction to follow before Hagan angrily spears Volkanth to a twisted worm wood tree for the crows. Gilwen, who had been plucking feathers from the hippogryph, hacks off a bit for Fluffy before joining the party as they head down the barely existent path with the ‘pirate’ and the wizard in tow, the two of them leading the way.
The trees were tight together, making it impossible to ride the mounts as the party pressed onward. Gilwen smells the faint smell of pipe smoke and attempts to signal the party that there is some one in front of them, waiting in ambush most likely.
Breaking momentarily from the wooded path a frozen river lies in their wake and greeted on the far side are large boulders along with enemies, no doubt from the caverns/tunnels where Volkanth and his horde had come from. A battle ensued rather quickly, with Wraith still posing as one of their own, managing to get in their ranks and slew a few of them. Psychiatric attacks as well as flying fire filled the air as ranged attacks flew over the strikers heads. Zombies joined the ranks of the fight where blood had been spilled upon the ice. The group tiredly fought on, already spent on their previous encounter they managed to eliminate most of the threat and run after the remaining two or three individuals. Krifo gets a sliver from the worm wood trees as he swings in pursuit.
After locating the face shaped entrance the group decides to rest for the night before heading in, feeling it would be better to go in with pistons fully firing since they would already know they were coming.
The troop of adventurers head near a half mile into the woods down wind of the entrance and light a controlled campfire and build a small raised platform for sleep.
During the first watch Gilwen and Hagan soon learned that blood mixed with wormwood created phantom identicals of those whose blood had been spilled when they spotted Volcanth and Krifo amongst the Bone shard skeletons that surrounded them. They had had a slight warning from the sound of Krifo’s traps being sprung. Six skeletons attack the exhausted party and eventually they are able to go back to sleep but not before they suffer a few major bows from the attack as well as watching Wraith fall from a tree as well as the sight of a flaming minotaur.