The Broken Crown

Episode 5

from Salzar's Journal

My companions decided to approach Rellis’ camp with torches lit. When we were close enough, he reacted fast and readied his weapon despite appearing half asleep. The orc from our earlier travels was here, playing his dulcimer.

After listening to him drone on for quite the monologue, I deciphered that he has been building an army of thugs from the town. This quickly turned out to be unimportant, however, as the orcs had crushed that army with relative ease.
We had agreed to help the Duke find the carriage so we kept true to our word. Nightfall was eventful with the smell of rotting flesh and the sound of a scream. I was not amused.

When we woke in the morning, Rellis admitted surprise about the sword that I had. The plot thickened considerably as we headed towards the billowing smoke of the carriage and he indicated that it was, in fact, an illusion – just as I had previously assumed.
At this point, wolves attacked us. They assaulted us from the remains of the carriage and at first looked like they might best us… but a little encouragement from me allowed my companions to eventually fight properly. I believe Enna is quite like one of those goblin sharks that likes hunting already-bleeding prey as she made certain to kill most of the wolves while my other companions fought a little more defensively.
Rellis told us that he believed the carriage was a trap, set up by someone who wanted the blame firmly on Asker for the kidnapping. He then wisely suggested to us that we should report back to the Lord Protector and give a status update.

Wrenn managed to wrangle a raven, sending off a letter I wrote to the Lord Protector. We intended to head back, but first made passage towards the pine forest where the undead were said to roam.

It’s about here that I decided the orcs must have a mage. A powerful mage, strong enough to make illusions (like the smoke) last forever. They also might be raising the dead to fight for them.

We came across an old road leading North-South. I recognised that a fishing village was to the South, perhaps a day ride. To the north we discovered an abandoned mine, not Dwarven in design. The stench was terrible. I suspected zombies.

We took the mineshaft down while the others argued about lanterns, and then we had an argument about which way to go. Wrenn and myself wanted to go left (always left in a maze, of course), but the others wanted to investigate in random directions. Fortunately we decided on a coin toss, and Wrenn cheated, allowing us to go left.

The path went on for quite some time but we then came across a large ooze-like creature. The tactical Dragonborn managed to slay it with holy fire and I collected a sample of the ooze.

We took various paths, but then we discovered five zombies and a cultist! The cultist was knocked unconscious by a well-placed blow by the orc and then I quickly (and single-handedly) dispatched the zombies.
There was an altar in the room with a pentacrux and a symbol of Nerull. Atop sat a black onyx with another symbol in. We found several notes and had an interesting (but brief) conversation with the acolyte, named Remus. He was a ‘follower of the faith’ and had culled an initiate to create the zombies. He kept stating “he must rise”, clearly referring to Nerull.

Unfortunately, Wrenn slit his throat before the acolyte could tell me how to read the language… but I shall spend some time trying to decipher this now.

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