Entry Six

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Midnight – Somewhere in the swamp North of Corvis

The four of us are wet, cold muddy and most of all, exhausted, but we cannot stop to rest for surely evil dogs our every step. While the swamp is no more forgiving to our pursuers than it is to us, they possess something we do not – the untiring determination of an undead army. We are making haste back to Corvis to warn them of an impending undead invasion that is being orchestrated by Alexia. While we have surely slowed down the invasion by destroying the bridge across the chasm, they will surely find a way around of rebuild and be on their way but alas, I am getting ahead of myself.

Five days ago, my fellow investigators and myself has just returned from Widowers Wood where we had discovered that someone had broken into the burial chamber of the Corvis Coven and animated their bodies before leaving with them. In their stead were left several undead guards who all bore the symbols Alexia was putting on her experiments. Upon arriving back in Corvis we were approached by guards who informed us that Captain Helstrom was looking for us and he wanted to meet us down at a seedy bar down on the waterfront. When we met with him, he was not wearing his customary armor or arms, however, he did have several off duty guardsmen with him who were also attempting to blend in with the sullen locals that occupied this dredge. Helstom told us that his men had been tracking Alexia and she was sighted making trips to an area to the Northwest, past Widowers Woods and the tomb. The men lost sight of her but it is assumed that she was heading towards Fort Ryker. None of the men that had been sent to investigate have been seen since. He asked us to investigate the Fort and see what Alexia was up to. Naturally we accepted as this was vital to our investigation and potentially to the safety of the entire area. While Helstrom could not offer us a reward for our service, not that we would have accepted, he did have two kegs of blasting powder we could use should we need it, as well as a pistol for our Dwarven friend, although it had to be returned. Additionally, he gave each of us a writ that we could present to various shop keepers in the area to ensure that we received the lowest price possible on any supplies we might need.

We needed supplies if this mission was to be a success so I immediately headed over to Cornby’s Alchemical shop to see about procuring some healing potions for our journey. The power of Markus to heal is great but it is finite and it’s better to be safe than sorry. We purchased a total of three healing potions at a cost of 120 gp. While we secured provisions for our journey Duren decided to scout the road ahead and meet us near the fort. We agreed and bid him a safe journey.

With food, horses and other provisions secured, the three of us left Corvis and headed Northwest through the Widowers Wood towards the long abandoned fort. The journey was expected to take us about four days and was uneventful for the most part. I say “most part” because just after breaking camp on the second day we heard a rustling commotion in the forest. It was moving towards us rather quickly so we dismounted our horses and prepared to confront whatever it was that was charging towards us. It took only moments before the foliage in front of us burst apart, only to be replaced with two rotting corpses, their eyes glowing with hate. In my years of training in the military, I had been warned of such creatures – swamp shamblers. Undead zombies that attack anything and everything they can, whose victims shortly rise as shamblers themselves.

Wasting not a moment, the three of us sprang into action and hacked away at these vile abominations of nature. With shield in hand, I confronted the first of the beasts and cut deeply into it with my brothers Battleblade. In a flash, Kah was at my side and laid into the beast with a blurred flurry of elbows, fists and knees while Stringer slipped into the swamp to flank the creatures. The creatures fought back against Kah and I with mighty blows from their hammer-like fists. I was able to deflect the attacks with my shield while Kah nimbly dodged them. In moments, the first of the beasts fell and we set upon the second one as a volley of crossbow bolts slammed into its side. Sword, fist and bolts quickly reduced the remaining creature to shreds.

With the battle finished, we mounted our horses and pressed onward towards the fort. Just before dusk, we found a small cave close to the fort that would sever as our camp while we made our stealthy approach to the fort. With the horses secured, we set off to scout the area. When we were about a mile or so from the fort, we crested a small hill and were able to make out the fort in the valley below. It was ancient and consisted of a large gate house which was connected to the main fort by a large drawbridge that crossed the large chasm between the two structures. Between us and the gate house stood a mile of open terrain which… well open except for the hundreds of skeletons that were digging in the earth for several hundred yards around the gatehouse. They were digging up the bones of long fallen soldiers and loading them into carts which were then pulled by a team of skeletal horses into the keep. Most of the digging was taking place quite a ways away from the gate house so we made a plan to sneak around the skeletons to an open area of road between the skeletons and gate house where we would be able to sneak aboard one of the wagons and ride into the keep.

The plan worked perfectly and within moments we were inside the gatehouse. We snuck out of the wagon and searched the gatehouse, which turned out to be a fairly large, three story structure. The main entrance area was filled with skeletal workers who worked tirelessly to unload the carts of bones. We can only surmise that Alexia is planning to use these long forgotten skeletons to fill the ranks of a skeletal army. There are two bridges spanning the deep gorge between the gatehouse and main fort. After a quick scouting mission, our worst fears were confirmed – Alexia had amassed a massive army of undead in the main fort and was in the process of creating more. Corvis and the whole region, was in grave danger. After a quick discussion we agreed that the explosives we had could take out a large number of the skeletons, but not all of them and they would very quickly be upon us before we could warn Corvis. Thus, our best course of action was to blow the bridges between the gatehouse and the main fort in an effort to slow down the army and give us time to warn the city and prepare for the inevitable invasion. Stringer, being the expert engineer he is, rigged up the explosives and such that the explosion would take out the gate house supports for both bridges. We lit the fuses and made a hasty retreat back to the camp as the explosion tore through the cold night air.

After a mad dash long into the night, we are taking a quick break to ensure the horses can make the entire journey before we set off again. I only hope that Markus is on our side and we are able to give Corvis enough of a warning.

Mark Markus protect me,

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Entry Six

Myths & Gears Pyrik