VI XVII – The Return of the Jedi Zhentarim”
Retiring to their room at Auntie Nonnie’s in Llorkh, our heroes’ were surprised to awaken in a dank underground chamber, lit only by the glowing runes on the floor below them. A quick check confirmed that they had all their equipment and also a scroll sealed with the mark of the Iron Circle.
Wrynn opened it, revealing a note from Nazin Redthorn, leader of the Iron Circle. “My apologies for tricking you into this situation, but I couldn’t take the risk that you would refuse. When you awake you will be inside the Tower of Green Flame. The place is overrun with terrible undead and has been a terror to our town for some time. Former members of the Zhentarim occupation force fled here when Netherese forces arrived to destroy them, but the strange magic of the tower turned their underground temple to haven for the undead. Any treasure you may find you are welcome to, we ask only that you put an end to whatever keeps reviving these unholy creatures.”
Ignoring the darkened corridor beyond the curtain to the west the party opened a door eastward and entered a chamber as Father Tully activated a Sunrod to drive back the dark. The chamber was clean and free of the carrion smell that permeated the previous room. A sense of peace and well-being surrounded them. A faint red glow from under the western door lured the party onwards.
Opening the door the heroes found a metal urn filled with fire casting patterns of flickering shadows around the room momentarily distracting them as a trio of shambling zombies moved to attack. The undead minions were swiftly dealt with and Wrynn investigated the urn, discovering the contents to be everburning embers from the Elemental Chaos.
Continuing westward the party entered a room that may have once been a laboratory of some kind. Several mouldering books remained on the shelves and a handful of vials lay on the central workbench. A large group of zombies shuffled into action, accompanied by a trio of others still clad in military uniforms. From their fighting ability it soon became apparent that the well armed undead retained more than a little of their former prowess. Eventually the heroes overcame all of the foes and upon searching the room found the books too decayed to be of use, and the vials to contain what appeared to be various necrotic based items. Li investigated the chest, finding it contained a sum of gold coins and a bejewelled belt.
The only exit from the room led south, as they entered a short corridor they could see that it opened into a larger chamber. The lighting from which cast shadows as hidden figures moved around. Summoning her stealth Li wrapped herself in shadows and was able to conceal her in plain sight in the middle of the room. As she took in her surroundings she realised there were numerous undead, then all cognizant thought left her as a wave of evil energy from the altar swept over her, robbing her of her will. As her companions began to enter the room they were shocked, not by the undead awaiting them but by the crossbow shot from Li! Battle was joined as the undead moved to intercept the heroes. Assuming the undead in the robes had magically controlled his companion, Garusk bravely charged down the room, taking multiple hits from the zombie soldiers as he went. As the party fought on Li regained her will and began to attempt to prevent the altar from affecting her or her companions again. As the rest of the heroes continued to battle the zombie priests of Cyric used their unhallowed magic, and the robed wight channelled his necrotic powers, immobilizing Garusk. Recovering from the magical assault the mighty goliath used his fury and beat the mage to the ground, as the combined might of Father Tully’sradiant magic and Fargrim’s dwarven stubbornness saw them through. When the last of their enemies fell lifeless (so to speak) to the floor, our heroes retraced their route back to the peaceful room to recuperate.
Upon waking they felt invigorated and ventured south into what looked like a storeroom of some sort, guarded by two more of the soldier zombies. Even though the undead shrugged off a couple of mortal blows the heroes overcame them. A quick search of the crates revealed mouldy food packets, iron chain and some surprising clean water.
The corridor beyond was empty, or so they thought at first, then what looked like a wall detached itself from the gloom. A huge zombie ogre blocked the far end of the corridor, but despite its size it proved only a minor inconvenience. The door previously hidden behind the putrefying behemoth led back into the chamber with the alter to Cyric, Fargrim and Garusk could hear the sound of chanting coming from within and without pausing Fargrim charged in. He was shocked to find that the undead soldiers, priests and mage had arisen again but before he could react, the insidious energy of the reactivated altar washed over him and the mage’s magic bolt immobilized him.
The heroes were bottlenecked in the chamber entrance by the undead and were hard pressed from the start. The battle wasn’t made any easier when the priest’s used their prayers to make the heroes attack themselves. As the heroes began to make headway with two of the zombie soldiers laid to rest once more, the mage-wight poured forth necrotic energy, bringing one of his fallen comrades back into the fray. Father Tully called upon Silvanus and blasted the undead with his gods holy radiance, as Garusk and Fargrim continued to pound on them and Li used precision strikes to take down one of the priests, returning him to his dark gods embrace once more.
As the last of the foul creatures fell to the ground the altar pulsed again, its magic causing Fargrim to strike out at the nearby Garusk, but some semblance of his will must have stayed his hand as the blow fell short. Li, with Wrynn’s assistance disabled the altar once again, and then the party set about smashing the unholy relic to pieces.