Dead By Dawn

The metal train pulled up to the house, ripped to shreds and splattered generously with demon blood. The guards quickly drew their weapons and dragged the group out of the train, which wasn’t unreasonable seeing as how the train left with a group of handcuffed prisoners, and arrived with a dead balgura and everyone hands free. Will tried to crack a joke to his captors, but was smashed into the ground and given a fierce punch to the jaw, silencing the young mage.

The guards led the group through the floating walkway into the floating house that they would be staying in until Brey decided what to do with them. They watched the party carefully, but let them move about on their own. Eventually the guards took up their stations outside, and the group took turns bathing. Much to the surprise of the party (and Kiris), Bardita struck quite an impressive figure when she wasn’t covered in chainmail and swords, opting to walk about the house naked after her bath. Jean-Loche and Will also bathed, although they drew far less attention than their feral bard ally. Null and Void sat in relative silence, and Kiris spent most of the night following Bardita around while her and Everdeen discussed their current situation.

As it grew darker, the group eventually gave up on thinking of a plan to escape their guarded floating house they were captive in, and opted to sleep instead. The sleep was uneventful, and they awoke only when the guards began shouting for them to get up and get outside. A new train had arrived, and they would be taken (and guarded this time) to Brey’s Courtroom, where they would be given their sentence for what he considered an attempted assassination. Knowing there was little they could do, the seven shuffled onto the train and rode to the courtroom in silence, figuring that an execution would be each of their fates. They were brought before King Brey in shackles, heavily guarded. He gave them their sentence: They would be taken by his ambassador back to Faerun, and would join her in checking in on a temple to Tiamat her group of templars had cleared a week before. Kiris would stay with Bray for the time being, and the two warforged, Null and Void, would be kept as bodyguards, as he had paid for their construction in the first place.

The party agreed, but not before some bickering between Jean-Loche and Bray, as Jean felt that Null was still a person, as he was a soul trapped inside a golem, not a warforged. However, he had little to bargain with and was in no position to make demands, and agreed to his terms. They were loaded into a Skyship, shackles removed, and began a two day journey back towards Faerun. The journey was uneventful, save that another two days were shaved off of Bardita’s contract with Will, and they soon arrived at the familiar town of Waterdeep. Waiting for them was Brey’s emissary, a familiar woman. His emissary was the paladin they had met at the Wizard Tower a few days before, Mazikeen. She was given the reason as to why they had been sent as prisoners to help her, and decided to take a neutral stance on whether or not she truly thought they had been in on the attempted assassination of Brey. She told them that the temple had been cleared out by her and a group of Paladins earlier, but that they needed to give it one last search before declaring it dealt with. She provided each of them with horses, and the group rode out, with Mazikeen using a divine steed that she summoned with a spell, leading out in front of the group.

It took nearly eight hours, but the group finally arrived at the temple. It was Dusk, with the sun setting in the background, as the group entered the crumbling stone temple, with Will commenting on the creepiness of the statue to Tiamat posed in the courtyard. The center of the temple was clear, but severely damaged. There was a single staircase winding down and leading to the basement, and they lined up and headed down, Will positive they would have to fight something.

And he was right. Three long-dead bodies sat cross legged in a strange rune inscribed on the ground, with one wearing a purple gem around his neck. The gem flashed a brilliant purple light, and the three corpses stood and charged the group. Jean and Mazikeen drew their swords and joined the battle, while Bardita used her new crossbow to open fire from afar and provide cover to Will who launched a volley of magic missiles and a single fireball. Everdeen summoned her spirit bear and let it rip apart one of the adventurers, using it’s magic to boost the strength of Jean who had been pinned to the wall by the corpse wearing the gem. The corpse raked a deep cut across Jean’s arm, and he felt a strange, magic poison take hold of him immediately, making nearly any wound he suffered unable to be healed until the poison wore off. They finished the fight, and Jean took the gem from the dead body, feeling a strong magical presence pulsating inside. It was necrotic in it’s power, and the group headed back upstairs while they decided what to do with it. On the way to the front door.. they stopped, and listened. The moaning and shuffling of the undead could be heard outside. They looked out, and each of them recoiled in horror: Zombies as far as the eye could see surrounded the temple, marching in a slow but steady tide towards the temple. Mazikeen guessed that the shard attracted undead at night, and that if they could hold out until sunrise, they’d live. And if they didn’t… well, they’d be dead by dawn.

Will began setting up what ritual glyphs he knew. Which was one. A pyromancy ward. He set up the wards with a piece of chalk along the inner wall of the windows, while Jean and Bardita boarded up doors and windows with spare pieces of wood. Everdeen prayed to the Demigod Elune for protection, which is who the temple used to belong to, and surprisingly found that the room was filled with less panic and more calm. However, eventually zombies began breaking through. A zombie dog viciously mauled Bardita, but was blown out the window by a powerful burst of wind from Everdeen. Will’s wards killed zombie after zombie, corpses piling up. Jean and Bardita fought side by side, taking down several zombies with their impressive swordsmanship and agility, and eventually fought their way to a lull in the combat.

Mazikeen was in fine shape, but both Bardita and Jean were severely injured, both nearly completely exhausted. Everdeen was able to use some of her primal magic to heal the wounds on Bardita, but Jean’s poison made it impossible to treat him on the fly. Even so, he kept in the battle, staying near Everdeen’s spirit bear for protection as the zombies made a stronger push into the building. Will’s wards began to fail, and he had to focus almost all of his attention on keeping them closed so that the group would not be overwhelmed. Zombies began to come from the ground underneath them, and Everdeen set a powerful burst of wind downward into the tunnel to keep them from approaching, slowly growing more frantic, and even having a zombie tear a chunk out of her (luckily, she could regrow it).

Jean was badly beaten, and covered in cuts and bruises, when a terrifying hobgoblin burst through a wall and slammed him into the ground. Bardita hummed a quick spell to boost Jean’s reflexes enough to protect him, and lunged at the Hobgoblin, but was quickly brought to her knees by a powerful swing of a club from the undead goblinoid. Will, exhausted, let his wards go, and the room began filling with zombies. Far more than they could possibly face. Mazikeen took down the Hobgoblin, and the group was slowly backed into a corner, fighting for their life, Jean and Bardita both close to death, when the sun rose from the mountains and into the sky.

The undead hoard collapsed in a shambling heap, unable to continue their push. With terrifying groans they died all around the party who was so close to death, revealing the miles of undead that were approaching. Off in the distance, the carcass of a dragon was visible. Ignoring the disgusting stench of rotting flesh, Will and Mazikeen ripped two teeth from the dragons mouth, with Will claiming they were important in several wizard rituals. Bardita and Jean were both heavily injured, and the walk back would take at least a day…

But at least they were free.



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