Pushing south and east across the plains, the heroes came across an abandoned ferry house called Nettle’s Crossing…
The burned out structure was little more then a few blackened beams, but a well worn path (leading to the south) led to the rivers edge. A thick, sagging rope hung across the river and a weathered signpost titled precariously over the water reading “Nettle’s Crossing – 5 coppers – ring bell for service.” Moments after Naram rang the bell the heroes spotted a rotting body climbing from the rubble downstream. Reeking of rotten meat and wielding a dripping ranseur the undead creature cried out: “You are not my tormentors. Throw the Stag Lord’s body into the river that I may look upon his death, or join me instead.”
Naram, urged on by his dedication to slay risen dead however, pushed his comrades to fight the creature rather then retreat. The hellish creature eventually left the confines of the water to seek out Naram, as the holy cleric blasted the undead with divine magic. Striking at Naram with his claws, the cleric felt an unnatural cold settle over his body as part of the beast’s personal nightmare became his own. While the creature was finally reduced to a puddle of water (even its ranseur seem to dissolve on the final blow), a cold blight had crept into merry cleric and his world began to gradually dim.
Keeping to the western edge of the Shrike, the companions continued to push south and eventually came upon graying hulk of a sycamore tree clinging precariously to its last years of life. Visible over a mil away, Oewyn’s scouting revealed it was likely the location of a band of malicious mites that infest the region.
Searching amongst the base of the tree, the companions managed to discover a secret entrance hidden amongst the ancient roots. A dark, root infested passage dropped 10 feet down into the darkness before connecting to a labyrinth of small caves. As suspected, the caves turned out to be the home of a mite clans and there centipede companions. Fighting their way through the choked caverns, the heroes were forced to squat down as they moved as the small denizens chambers were not designed for larger inhabitants. During their exploration of the mite caves, the heroes managed to find and free a kobold named Mimmek. Mimmek, a member of the local Sootscale clan, explained that he was the sole survivor of a war band sent to reclaim their holy statue which had been stolen by the Mites. While not considered a traditionally good race, the actions and words of Mimmek appeared to ring true and the party agreed to arm the little kobold.
Now a party of five, the companions pushed descended deeper into the depths of the mite caves. Finally reaching a deep root choked chasm, the heroes light source illuminated a massive hulking creature rising from the depths of chasm. A huge whiptail centipede squeezed sluggishly through the claustrophobic passageway, reaching out with snapping incisors and a slashing tail to attack the companions. As Naram and Serrka fell back, Oewyn drew his bow and begin firing arrows into the titanic creature. Hassan, having left his tower shield with the horses in hopes of gaining some additional maneuverability in the cramped caverns, was snatched up mid charge to the massive centipede. His comrades watched in horror as the creatures jaws cleaved through this armor, rending the fighter in two before their very eyes. Moments later, the titanic creature crashed to the floor in a hail of arrows, bolts and magic.
Saddened at the lost of their comrade and clinging to Naram’s suggestion that resurrection of Hassan might be possible back in Loudwater, the heroes gathered the fallen fighter’s remains and began a harrowing dash west in hopes of saving their lost friend.
Bypassing Oleg’s Rest, the companions followed the road west to Loudwater. Riding without rest, they eventually passed through the gates of the city and made for the gilded gates of House Helbrester. Ellarian, a powerful cleric of Torm and aunt to the slain Hassan, greeted the companions. Stunned by the travesty of her nephew’s death, but determined to save him she took his corpse into the sanctuary of Torm within the house and immediately commenced two day ritual designed to spin the fighter’s soul back into his shattered form. With the assistance of Naram, several house clerics, and number of relics from the chapel’s treasury, Ellarian was able to restore the fighter’s life.
Ellarian’s joy at her success in restoring her nephew was balanced by harsh words to Hassan about personal choices (i.e. the perilous life of an adventurer) at the expense of his families’ peace of mind. While grateful for the efforts his family and friends had gone through to give him a second chance, Hassan’s desire for a life greater then parties and ceremony, had him pushing for a return to the road within hours of rising from the chapel’s ceremonial chamber.
After gathering their supplies and receiving a gift of healing scrolls from Ellarian, the band once more departed the walled sanctuary of Loudwater and headed east to Oleg’s Rest and adventure.