Wherein the heroes find more danger in the Stargazer ruins.
The group rounds the corner to find Meander locked in an embrace with a ghostly apparition. He would be centered in the ruined chamber if it weren’t for the rubble filling half the room from the collapsed back wall. He is enthralled by the shadow of an seemingly attractive maiden.
After consulting his knowledge of the undead, Ember determines this is a shadow type, and boldly steps forward, commanding her to back away. She hesitates, and takes a step back from Meander, who seems befuddled and confused.
Spring seizes the moment of hesitation, and conjures a magic bolt, which streaks across the room and strikes the ghostly Consort in the thigh. She hisses and jerks back in pain, fading away to mists which drift to the floor and vanish.
The room appears to be relatively empty of valuables. This appears to be some sort of servants burial chamber. There are some shattered bones on the floor, which were likely from the overturned sarcophagus. Ember insists on putting to rest the dead, but agrees to wait until after the lumberjacks are saved after some convincing.
Meander begins to shake off the mesmerizing spell of the Consort after a few minutes. The group takes some time to recoup in the room next to the Consort’s chamber. Spring insists that the chamber is positioned on a magical nexus of energy flows and seems rather excited.
While the group is waiting, Broken sends his Shadow Spider up to visit the opposite chamber. In this room, there are burial places for several bodies, with armor and weapons.
The group begins discussing which direction to go, down the stairs or into the northern burial chamber. An insane cackle pierces the air from the eastern stairwell. Meander stands and insists that the group keep traveling to save the lumberjacks.
Meander goes over to the dark stairwell and casts his dark sight spell, causing his eyes to blacken and smoke. Meander creeps softly down the stairs. Spring follows a few steps behind, making little noise. As Meander steps into the room, a creature jumps out of hiding and attempts to claw him. Meander barely manages to dodge the Zombie Kobold’s sharp claws. He pulls out his Dwarven axe, spilling apparent darkness into the room, and lets the dark sight fade, returning the room to a warm glow emanating from the battle-axe. Meander quickly buries the axe into the thigh of the Zombie Kobold.
Spring stays still and quiet against one of the walls at the end of the stairwell. He spots another Zombie creep from the north to attack Meander from behind. The Zombie rakes his claws across Meander’s shoulders, but it doesn’t appear to pierce the plate armor.
The muffled sounds of combat can begin to be heard up the stairwell. Broken directs Stone Man to proceed down the stairs to help, while Ember, Broken and ToughBark try to position themselves to see what is going on downstairs. PayDay and the last Regulator stay relaxed behind.
Down below, a massive thundering from the stairwell startles Spring in action. He moves out his hiding spot and around the Zombies. Meander strikes again at the first Zombie with a blow to the left leg, knocking it off balance. Stone Man charges into the room from the stairwell, striking down through the Kobold Zombie at Meander’s back.
A barking cackle is heard from the far eastern stairwell, opposite the room, and Kobold Zombies pour out of alcoves in the north and south sides of the room. They shamble over to surround Spring and Meander, one reaching far enough to take a swipe at Meander’s stomach.
Meander looks over at Spring and says, “Hold on just a sec, I’ll make room for you to get out.” Spring looks nervously at the Meander and the numerous Zombies and their sharp claws and teeth. Spring, having just met these people, hesitates for a moment, as he feels exposed and would rather cast a spell.
Meander reacts a moment later, lunging out, grabbing the Zombie that had blocked Spring from behind. He pushes the Zombie slightly, then pulls back hard as it resists, heaving it into the air and over his shoulder. Spring takes the moment to step behind Meander and then begins to cast his spell.
A howl of pain comes from up the western stairwell. Meander looks over at Spring as clangs, grunts and other battle noises come from above. Up above, Ember stands eyes wide and jaw slack, as smoke curls around him. The flames having flashed with intense heat from the failed spell. Broken just finished casting a spell and he starts to direct objects to move around the room. ToughBark, watching the other three corridors, nocks a arrow and looses it at a figure marching from the burial chamber from the north. The arrow lodges into the chest of an undead warrior, clad in armor, sword and shield.
Pay Day jumps to attention as the Risen Knight rounds the corner. He stabs at the Knight, but the Knight seems unfazed. Pay Day seems shaken as his strongest attack did nothing to the warrior.
Tough Bark fires another arrow at the Knight, piercing its left foot and pinning it to the floor. The Knight struggles to move closer but seems unaware of the handicap.
Broken moves around to the southern end of the room, away from the approaching Knight. Shadows from the room beyond reveal other shapes approaching from the burial chamber. Three more Knights walk past the pinned Knight and into the room.
Pay Day backs away from the Knights, keeping on his toes and dodging blades. He barks a quick order at the Regulator lounging at the far west side of the room. Cowed, the Regulator moves over to one of the Knights and strikes, but as with Pay Day, the attacks bonus off the shield and armor. With his attention diverted for a moment, one of the Knights catches Pay Day from the side, as Pay Day raises his arms to deflect the flurry of attacks. It cuts a gash on his left arm.
Ember finally shakes off the dazed pain laced fog from the failed spell and being startled by the combat in the room, backs up to assess the situation. ToughBark turns to fire at the Knight approaching him. The arrow lodges into the warriors left leg. Broken, seeing the battle turning against them, mentally commands Stone Man to fall back and assist with the fight against the Risen Knights.
Meanwhile, down below, Spring gathers an intense, crackling ball of arcane energy in his hands, then with a gesture, he spreads it wide, forming a field of pure energy which surrounds him. Facing what must be a dozen Zombies, Meander steps up his attacks. He swings his axe through the two nearest Zombies, cleaving a gash in the first and burying the axe in the chest of the second. Stone Man reacts as well, swinging the stone great sword with vicious speed. He swings through one of the Zombie’s arms and deep into the stomach of another Zombie, felling both.
The Zombies attack Stone Man and Meander, they claw and bite, but they don’t appear to be able to get through Stone Man’s rocky surface, or Meander’s Dwarven plate mail.
Spring conjures a bolt of raw magical force and directs it into one of the Zombies. The bolt rips a chunk of flesh from the Zombie’s stomach and knocks it back a few steps, but it shambles back to Meander seemingly unhurt.
Meander swings at more Zombies, the ones behind pushing up and over to take the place of the fallen Zombie. He sweeps down hitting the arm of one and the leg of another, but unable to make a definitive strike.
Suddenly, Stone Man turns and sprints towards the stairs with incredible speed. He disappears like a landslide up the stairs and his footsteps boom to a sudden stop with the clashing sound of rock twisting metal. Meander and Spring look at each other. Meander says, “Don’t worry, I’m awesome at killing Zombies.”
Stone Man thunders up the stairs, ending his charge with a debilitating slash on one of the Knight’s arms, causing it to drop it’s shield.
Pay Day and the Regulator join attacks, with Pay Day managing to pierce through the Knight’s armor. The Regulator’s attacks still glance off the Knight’s armor.
Broken rests back against the wall, seemingly winded from spell casting. Tough Bark let’s fly another arrow, but this one glances off the breast plate of the Knight steadily walking towards him. Stone Man raises his sword and fells one of the Knights with a slash through its stomach. Broken begins casting another spell, while Ember takes out his holy symbol and steps forward boldly towards the Knights. With a resounding voice, he says to them, “I command you to return to your graves.” They pause, then turn to begin shambling back towards the burial chamber. Pay Day breathes a sigh of relief and takes a moment to rest.
Down below with the Zombie Kobolds, Spring seems disheartened and overwhelmed by the onslaught. He hangs back behind Meander, uncertain what to do. There are only five of the Zombies still attacking. There are at least five hacked and twitching on the floor. Meander sweeps wide with his next flurry of strikes, killing two Zombies with gapping wounds to the thigh and chest. He injures a third with a gash across its thigh.
The remaining three Zombies surround Meander, reaching out with their claws, but he keeps them from reaching his face with some effort. Their claws do very little through the heavy armor. Spring casts another magical force bolt, knocking one of the Zombies back, but the bolt seems to have little other effect. Meander strikes out at closer two Zombies, killing one with a blow through its arm and striking a heavy blow to the chest of another.
Spring tries to cast some sort of spell, but curses as it fizzles. Meander strikes at the two remaining Zombies, killing the closer one with a blow to the chest, and swinging around killing the second as it steps back up to strike him. Meander curses as he realizes that he has killed all the Zombies, garnering a quizzical look from Spring.
A series of sharp, commanding chitter-speak comes from the eastern stairwell. Meander pants for a moment trying to recuperate, but the sounds of battle are soon heard from up above. He jogs back over and up the stairs, Spring following close behind.
The group watches the Knights marching back towards the burial chamber with relief. Ember backs up, getting behind the warriors in the group. A commanding voice wafts up the eastern staircase, making the warriors stop. They turn slowly back towards the group, and begin the march back into the room. The nearest one reaches Stone Man and strikes, issuing sparks from metal traced across his chest.
Tough Bark aims a bit higher and lodges an arrow in the shoulder of one of the Knights. Stone Man knocks the shield aside and opens up the chest of the Risen Knight standing in front of him. Meander and Spring dash out of the stairway and look around. Spring conjures a bolt of magic and directs it at the Risen Knight approaching the Regulator. The bolt strikes its sword and knocks it to the floor nearby. The shimmering magic bubble surrounding Spring fades after the attack. Broken begins to animate objects, trying to strike one of the Knights with a dagger, but it bounces harmlessly off the shield.
Pay Day tried to anticipate the attack, but the Knight still managed to cut a stripe down his leg. The remaining Knight picks up his sword and strikes out at the Regulator, jabbing into his upper thigh. Ember begins to chant as he puts out his hands and a mottled glow begins to surround Pay Day.
Spring winces as he directs a larger force bolt at the nearest Knight. The magical bolt strikes the Risen Knight in the arm, dissipating and seeming to do little harm. Tough Bark strikes the Knight in the right hand, causing it to drop its sword. Meander swings out his battle axe, and strikes the Knight in the leg. Stone Man swings at the other Knight, striking it also in the leg. Both Knights manage to keep their feet. Ember finishes rearranges the glows surrounding Pay Day, which pulses with a bright light before fading. The gash down his leg scabs over as they watch and looks several days healed.
The two remaining Knights are now surrounded by the heroes. They are angling their best attacks to try to end the fight quickly.