“The monastery. It’s on the cliff here. At the bend in the river outside Plainsworth.”
General Montsigaard sat up and pointed to a spot on the map an inch above your current marked position. The Legion’s commander was pale, haggard. The stump of his left leg was swathed in bandages, missing below the knee. A wound at his shoulder wouldn’t stop bleeding. A coughing fit wracked his body and only an iron will kept him upright on the cot after it subsided.
How is he still alive?
“Pay attention,” he snapped. “This is part of an old supply network, established in the event anything like this should ever happen. A series of caches hidden on the routes to Skydagger Keep. Not much, but enough to keep the army alive until it gets there.”
Nothing like this has ever happened, you think.
Spying the fortress’ marker nestled in the hand-drawn mountains in the upper right of the map, you realize it’s a Gods-damned long way from the west bank of the Tigeria across from burning Karlsburg. A tough march without a massive army in pursuit.
Montsigaard’s eyes fix yours. “Get to the monastery and secure those supplies. We need to strike back. Show this Cinder King we’re not dead yet. ”
“Do you understand?”
The battle is over. The war has just begun.
Karlsburg is still burning. The Cinder King’s army is just across the river, massing under the pall of corpse-stench and black smoke. Only the Tigeria’s waters separate you and the remnants of the Empire’s forces from defeat. Our heroes move out, hoping to find desperately needed supplies at the ruins of an ancient monastery.
A poor deployment roll put the party in open right outside the gate. While the site is not deserted as previously reported, fortunately none of the enemy spots them as they arrive.
Led by the Cleric Lazarus Stern, they advance through the main entrance. The Assassin sticks to the shadows, scales the crumbling wall, and sneaks through the woods toward the graveyard.
A small pack of Ghouls sees them and immediately charges, snarling, snapping, drooling like a pack of rabid hounds.
Lazarus meets their charge head on, swinging his mace and battering them with his shield, crushing skulls left and right. Unfortunately, their howls call more of the grave-defilers from the building’s shadowy interior.
Meanwhile, the Assassin spots three figures struggling in the graveyard. Encouraged by Stern’s prowess, he moves to investigate.
A monk is wrestling with a pair of undead among the gravestones. Former parishioners – if the freshly erupted earth nearby is any indication.
The Assassin comes to his aid and dispatches the zombies. Thankful, Brother Bertrand explains in hushed whispers he was fulfilling his annual duty to consecrate roadside shrines when he was attacked. He knows about the supplies as well as a sacred relic hidden in the monastery that might help the group, but he refuses to approach the old building until it’s safe.
“Not just ghouls. There’s something else in there, something foul. And big.”
Meanwhile, Lazarus Stern continues to lead the advance. The two mages (Matt’s Wizard and Other Pat’s Druid) assist with spells, John’s Ranger fires his bow, but Stern’s blessed mace does most of the talking.
Ghouls keep coming. Lazarus keeps swinging. The Druid summons his Timber Wolf familiar, the Wizard’s Lightning crackles and burns the air. The Ranger’s arrows hit their mark. Ghouls fall singly and in pairs. Two remain but the path to the monastery is clear.
The Assassin moves to warn his comrades but it’s too late – they cross the threshold and enter the ruins. There’s a roar, the fetid stench of blood and decay washes over them and something lumbers out from the shadows.
A bloated and grotesque fiend stomps across the cracked mosaic floor, slime drooling from the gaping maw in its chest. Claws reach out for a deadly embrace. Matt’s Druid quails but Lazarus stands firm.
The remaining Ghouls find their courage and attack the Ranger while the Timber Wolf joins the Cleric to face this hideous beast.
The battle rages back and forth. Stern’s shield blocks several near-crippling blows. The creature is wounded but regenerates by some foul art. Outside, the last of the corpse-eaters are dispatched. The Druid moves in to help Lazarus and his familiar. He entangles the unholy creature. Stern’s mace drops it to its knees, and with it down, the timber wolf dashes in to tear out its throat.
The Monastery is cleansed. The supplies are secure. The Legion will survive another day.