Path to Gladstocke’s
As the adventurers awoke in the manor they knew this day would be very important to their task. Not much was known what happened in the cemetery outside the city. All the group was aware of was that the name of the cemetery was Gladstocke’s, it was about half a day’s march from Abadon and that strange occurances were taking place there.
With tensions rising in their hearts Raiza the rogue, Irieela female half-elf monk of Irori, Hexar the halfling fey sorcerer, Carrion the tiefling ranger and the newly met half-ogre Decius set off to the place of their deployment in the morning. They’ve been travelling east and the weather seemed to favour the travelers with a pleasant breeze elevating their spirits. However after a few hours of road the pleasant breeze suddenly started to turn into a cool wind which kept blowing faster and cooler until it finally began to freeze the group’s skin, chilling the bone. As the travelers looked up to the sky they were flabbergasted seeing snowflakes fall frm the sky. It soon became clear that against all logic a snowstorm was coming down on the adventurers. Raiza immediately searched his backpack for a warm winter’s blanket that he was carrying. He quickly hurled up into the blanket and urged the party to move through the blizzard. The storm kept on pilling pressure onto the travelers and Hexar and Decius, being unused to cold weather, suffered a frostbite. Yet the adventurers were unmoved by nature’s fury as they pressed on bravely. Suddenly, Irieella’s elven eyes spotted an abandoned dwelling in the distance. Shelter offered a good alternative to blistering cold of the outside and the party decided to enter the dwelling. The doors were unlocked, but what raised even more suspicion was a burning furnace inside. Suspicions aside the house was a perfect place to wait out the blizzard. It was a simple building. The sole furnace, a few chairs scattered accross the floor, a shaky door to the only room and a holey carpet suggested that the building was abandoned years ago. Carrion decided to take a peek into the lone room. What he discovered was a dead body lying unpurposely on a bed. Carrion quickly recognised the man. It was none other than the merchant the group parted just a day ago. The mercenaries gathered around the body trying to determine cause of person’s death, but they were unable to find any signs of wounds, cuts or bruises. Decius then suggested going inside to look for tracks. Seven pairs of feet imprints were found on the snow. Five of them belonged to the party and were recent, while the remaining two were not as fresh. It was clear that two men must have entered the house, but only one of them left.
The idea of an assassin was unsettling for the adventurers and it was decided to take watches in shifts while the rest of the party rests. As bedrolls were rolled onto the floor Irieella took up the first watch. She sat on a chair, watching her surroundings. However, the desire to sleep began to overpower her as the half-elf rested her head on the back of the chair. She fell asleep. The adventurers woke up in the morning, confused to why they weren’t woken up. Irieella was ashamed, though no one expressed hostility. A few akward looks later the party packed up and moved outside. It was the strangest thing when they stepped outside. There was not a single trace of snow or humidity. Carrion tried to make the sense of all of this, but his knowledge of the land left him puzzled. There simply was not supposed to be snow in Abadon this time of year. Skahen by recent events the adventurers pressed on.
They’ve quickly reached Gladstocke’s cemetery. The cemetery stood in dry, desolate plains. It seemed old, barely mended, the stone walls around it were becoming obsolete. A tall shadowly figure of a mausoleum rose beyond the horizon overlooking the cemetery itself. Architecture of the mausoleum seemed particulary unorthodox, but none of the party had any interest in investigating the tower’s engineering.
The front gate of the cemetery were locked. An old man was siting on a chair outside his shack. Further away from him was a campfire with two armed men around it. They were clearly from the militia. The travelers approached the old man and asked what he was doing here. The elder told them that he was the gravekeeper of Gladstocke’s. When Decius asked about the rumors of strange happenings he told the group that the locals were hearing strange moan-like noises from the graveyard’s direction at night. The gravekeeper insisted on them being the walking dead, but no one would believe him, thinking his mind was lost to old age. He also mentioned that the militia used to run patrols around the cemetery, but they’ve stopped them recently. The adventurers announced that they were sent by Lord Henry Conner to dispose of Gladstocke’s problem, but the gravekeeper was unmoved. He knew nothing about such business and refused to let young, healthy men like themselves get their lives thrown away. Decius attempted to scare the gravekeeper into unlocking the gate, but the effort only infuriated him into calling them names. When asked as to why would the militia do that the old man pointed to the more prominent man by the campfire and said that they would have to ask the captain himself. The party approached the militia captain who was eyeing Carrion suspiciously and questioned him about recent events. The captain explained that militia used to patrol the perimeter of the cemetery, but since one man has gone missing the patrols were cancelled as they’ve become too dangerous for militia to handle. The party again asked if they could enter. “I would gladly send in anyone with a sword, but it is the gravekeeper who decides when the gates are opened and locked. We are here merely to protect him” – was the captain’s reply. Seeing few alternatives the adventurers decided on quick action. Decius stood back against the cemetery’s wall while Irieella jumped onto his shoulders and climbed over the stone wall into the graveyard. It was pitch-dark on the other side, since the moon was hidden by clouds, though dim lighting could be seen spreading from the militia’s created campfire illiuminating the gate from the distance. Irieella did her best at moving in the dark, making her way towards the gate. When she reached it, she saw the gates open. Raiza walked right through, jokingly saying that the gates were open all along while putting his thieves tool’s into his backpack. With the gravekeeper shouting at the guards to stop the intruders, the rest of the adventurers hurried right through. The young militia man attempted to chase, but his captain held him in place, saying it was a dangerous area to go in.
The party assembled themselves inside the cemetery, lit their torches and began to move forward. Raiza and Irieella were on the front with Hexar in the middle, Carrion and Decius overwatching the side. The cemetery looked even worse from the inside. The gravestones were misplaced, bushes uncut and overgrown. The chaos increased when moving further from the gate. The adventurers were rather careless, or brave, as some would say, as they stepped onto bones of one of the remains. The pile of bones suddenly stirred, rose up to take on a human shape. It’s long, bony fingers reached out to claw at the living. Three skeletons formed and surprised the adventurers, but that wasn’t enough to take them down. Irieella did a tremendous job fighting the skeletons, bashing their skulls with her fists and legs, redeeming herself from previous failure. However, the sounds of battle attracted other prey. From behind a corner a walking corpse appeard. This walking corpse wore only a few soiled rags, it’s flesh rotting off it’s bones as it stumbled forward, arms outstretched. The party fought ferociously but the number of their opponents kept on growing as they moved towards the open gate of the inner yard. Carrion noticed that skeletons next to the gate were squaring off with the zombies and made the conclusion that someone has to be controlling them. The party entered the ongoing battle. Decius and Irieella started taking large amounts of punishment. Desperate, Raiza ran into the inner yard and saw a mysterious looking man in white robes, pacing around a campfire. Raiza gave a shout to the man to come to an aid. The man in white robes seemed reluctant to help, but he lent a hand regardless. With combined efforts the zombies were finally overcome, even though Decius, Hexar and Irieella were knocked unconcious.
The mysterious man introduced himself as Geoffrey Abadon-Ashe and even though the party never took big interest in finding more about Geoffrey himself they were extremely interested in his activities. Geoffrey spoke up with arrogance and confidence – a snob of highest caliber. The wizard shared that his studies led him to believe that there was a powerful artifact entombed here. He arrived at Gladstocke’s finding the cemetery infected with zombies and skeletons. He then explained that he used some of the skeletons to combat the zombies and was able to proceed up to the inner yard, but even he was unable to get past the heavily reinforced door of the mausoleum. Raiza suggested that the artifact was the cause of all of this, but Geoffrey didn’t make immediate connection. However he told that he would be able to remove the curse from the item, would it be the source of evil power fueling the zombies. Raiza said he could bypass the lock and the men then shook hands with Geoffrey and agreed to further their goals together.