A group of shambling forms can be seen amongst the trees. Everyone tries to be quiet.
There’s a feeling of death in the air. Ahead there’s a handful of shapes in the trees, lurching about. There’s a pool of noxious-looking water behind the figures.
Enna steals forward, stepping lightly across the forest floor. She sees a dozen undead flitting between the trees. Some look zombie-like, others ghoul-like. Some of the zombies look elven, with chainmail and longswords. They are dread zombie knights. Other undead look like goblins.
The area she is walking towards stinks of death and decay.
Enna goes back and tells the group what she has seen. Maurg wants to creep up on these things and surprise them. The party sneaks forward silently. The undead are arranged in a loose horseshoe ahead of them. One of the ghouls is whispering, nastily. Another seems to stink of gas.
Ilwyn realizes the goblin hordes are infected with some kind of dark undead energy and prepares to attack. The heroes charge in.
Naram’s anomaly kills one one of the zombie goblin horde. Maurg blows her battle-horn, creating a thunder that kills another of the goblins. Enna shoots the ghoul whisperer and it shrieks in return.
Haleth rushes forward and draws the ghoul whisperer out, where he can swing at it. Ilwyn is charged by a goblin ghoul. It bites him and immobilises him with toxin. Another goblin charges Enna, biting and immobilising her.
The stench ghoul charges Haleth.
In spite of being immobilized, Enna teleports away from the goblin ghoul and fires off a number of arrows. However only one hits its mark, bloodying the whispering ghoul. The monster grabs Ilwyn and starts to gnaw on him.
Naram’s dream form is summoned and strikes out at the dread knights. Maurg launches a thunder strike against a goblin ghoul, taking it down. Haleth is surrounded by ghouls, dazed and immobilized by their poisonous attacks.
Now Enna launches a hammering volley at the whispering ghoul, which injures it badly and knocks it down. This breaks its grasp on Ilwyn. The monster shrieks at Enna, filling her with such fear that she panics.
Naram uses his void shard to draw the remaining ghouls together. Maurg begins a goblin war chant. The magical healing energies envelop a dread knight. Ilwyn finally cuts down the ghoul whisperer.
One of the elf knights steps through the feywild and appears next to Enna. Enna is horrified. She avoids the oncoming dread knight by stepping through the Feywild herself and launching a hindering shot at the knight’s legs to slow it. The other dread knight now steps through the feywild to harass Enna.
Maurg comes to help, flanking the dread knight. Enna takes down one of the dread knights with a radiant arrow, realising that its holy power has unknitted the undead creature, ensuring it would never rise again.
Naram disheartens the stench ghoul, weakening its attacks. Maurg manoeuvres around the dread zombie elf knight but misses with its attack. Ilwyn strikes the knight, hurting it, followed by Enna shooting a radiant arrow at the knight, damaging the undead creature even more.
Haleth stomps on the stench ghoul, taunting it. ’I’m not sure what’s worse, you or Ilwyn!’ he shouts.
The knight strikes back at Ilwyn, dazing him. Naram finishes the knight off with psychic power.
Maurg runs at the Stench Ghoul and attacks it, knocking it down. The ghoul picks itself up and lashes out at Haleth, dealing a fearsome bite to the warrior. Enna launches a radiant arrow at the ghoul and it shrieks as the holy missile strikes and burns its skin.
The last zombie elf knight seems to recover, its dark soul returning to the body and reanimating it. It gets up and charges Naram. Naram shardswarms, moving away. He blasts the knight with magic and it collapses, its soul howling away. But the shardmind believes that the knight is still not down for good. It will take holy energy to undo this monster.
The stench ghouls attacks Haleth but misses. Enna shoots at the knight’s corpse, blessing the arrow with radiant energy as she shoots. The elf watches as the body shudders and seems to exhale, giving up the ghost for good.
Maurg is steadily beating down the stench ghoul. It is still able to strike out at Haleth, biting him and injecting him with venom. Ilwyn tries to attack the ghoul but the stench of the thing makes his eyes water and he misses. Enna uses another arrow to cut the ghoul down. Everyone can now take a moment to rest.
Enna feels they are being watched.
There is a sound of running feet, and the smell of rotting and decaying ghouls, as if the party has drawn attention to themselves.
The group decides to try and hide. Ilwyn and Enna manage to direct everyone to a temporary hiding place as figures flit past.
Maurg believes these woods are haunted. Enna thinks there is a large group of undead coming at the group from many directions.
Naram suggests Ilwyn set up a trap with the remaining supply of radiant oil. Then Enna and Naram try to figure out where the enemies are coming from, but fail.
Ilwyn doesn’t think he has time to set up a trap, so the party decides to run for it. The wails of the ghouls are very unnerving. Enna in particular is very scared by the massed army of undead.
The group tries to run to safety. Haleth has to shake the increasingly scared Enna into running.
Naram is also having trouble keeping up with the rest. A ghoul, close behind, manages to touch him and leach some strength away. It takes Haleth to drag Naram away from the ghoul. The party runs, pursued by great numbers of shrieking ghouls, too many to fight. The noise seems to attract even more attention from an army of undead in the forest.
At this point Ilwyn decides to slip away from the party and hide. He is skilful at concealing himself and soon feels safe, but he is now on his own. The rest of the party notices his disappearance and think that the gblin has deserted them.
Naram summons his dream form and tries to use it as a decoy, which works briefly. But then the party has to cut their way through a handful of zombies n.
Enna spots some paths and manages to find a clear route trough the undead. As they run Maurg sings a song to keep the party cheered. Naram calms the group down. They are still surrounded by hundred of ghouls and zombies. Trapped in the woods.
It’s important to keep moving.
A mysterious twig lands on the path ahead of them. It draws zombies to it. They scent the air, sniffing for the party but are distracted, allowing the heroes to slip past.
The area ahead rises slightly with stone ledges and thicker vegetation. Enna tries to lead the group to the safety of cover but the group is exhausted and cannot draw clear.
Enna figures that if the group start a landslide of some boulders they can crush some of their pursuers. Naram summons a voidshard. Its explosion starts an avalanche that rolls towards the undead. The leading figures in the wave are crushed, but one hurls a dagger that hits Enna, wounding her a little.
Maurg reckons that the elf’s blood will attract attention from the zombies. So Enna must stop and patch herself up. Enna thinks she detects Ilwyn nearby. She says something out loud about the ‘traitor goblin’.
The party heads toward the high ground. They see a clearing ahead, containing a large, black pillar. Naram detects a shriek in his head as they approach the pillar. He feels the power of the shard within it.
He notices that the undead don’t seem to be approaching the pillar. The group walks closer to the pillar.
Maurg rushes forward and grabs the obelisk. There is a flash that blows her away from the pillar. She topples, unconscious.
Naram detects shard power in the artefact. He senses hundreds of souls in torment in the obelisk. Naram doesn’t like the presence of corrupted shard power and wants to cleanse it.
Maurg has been overcome by dark energy and is possessed by souls rushing through her. Then she comes around. She notices a pair of black wings tatooed on her arm in necrotic fire.
Naram tries to contact the souls in the pillar but feels his life energy being sucked away. Naram manages to release some of the souls. They provide the energy that animates the undead and releasing them causes many of the zombies to collapse, with peace creeping across their faces. The group is safer, but Naram is worn out by the mental effort.
Ilwyn is seen to march into the clearing with his dagger out.
Enna challenges the cowardly goblin and taunts him. He tells the goblin he’s not fit to rule the goblin tribe.
Ilwyn replies: ‘You don’t know what those wretched souls have been through, what they have suffered, a true leader must know this.’
Enna responds: ‘You only care about yourself and saving your own hide.’
Ilwyn tries to put his blood on the pillar, cutting himself. He insists he should become the leader of the goblin tribe. Enna mocks the goblin at his.
‘I said this is none of your business, elf’ shouts Ilwyn. Then he shoots a glance at Maurg. ‘Now step away from the pillar!’
Maurg replies: ‘I am bigger and the rightful leader.’
Ilwyn, his voice full of spite and venom, says: ‘I am smarter and a true friend to the goblin horde!’
Maurg Stoneshanks steps next to the pillar. Ilwyn steps closer still, and brandishes his dagger towards Maurg’.
‘I am a true leader,’ says Maurg, ‘I can inspire my people to greatness!’
Ilwyn spits: ’I’ll spill your blood on this pillar, goblin scum!’
Maurg laughs. ‘Ha! You have not passed the test! Only I have the tattoo!’
‘I need no ink or scar on my skin,’ shouts Ilwyn. ‘My blood is my proof that I am a righteous leader!’
‘This mark is magical!’ screams Maurg.
Enna nods her head. ‘Custom is that the leaders are anointed by magic!’
‘And what would you know of custom elf?’ sneers Ilwyn.
‘He is an upstart!’ says Maurg, slyly. Ilwyn bristles at this.
‘Maurg where were you when the goblins were being enslaved by the drow, you were stuck in a prison cowering. Is that a way for a leader to behave?’
‘My companions were weak,’ says Maurg. ‘I could not hide behind them as you do your companions. And I did not steal off and run away into the forest as you did just now!’
‘I was not saving my neck, I had to communicate with the undead!’ flaps the perturbed goblin.
‘You left your friends to fend for themselves,’ states Maurg, contemptuously.
Maurg tries to fight Ilwyn and the two goblins push backwards and forwards. There’s a scuffle and Haleth has to step in to try and break them apart.
Naram continues his work at releasing the souls. The pillar seems to give off a concussion wave. Its energy is spent. The black colour fades to a grey and the pillar cracks. The remaining undead all collapse to the ground. The dark energy is gone.
Enna realizes that the pillar was what tattoos the goblin leaders. Maurg was tattooed but Ilwyn did not receive the mark and so cannot become leader of the goblins. At this realisation she continues to mock Ilwyn.
However, something has happened to the goblin. The group notice that Ilwyn now seems to be part shadow. Everyone is unnerved by this.
The party begins to walk away with Maurg and lwyn squabbling. they walk up into the mountains and see the occasional dead umber hulk. They trudge through the ice and they climb into the windy heights. The area seems increasingly remote.
They hear angry shouts on the wind. Large humanoid creatures charge out of the wind at the party.