The rest of the crew set off to the safehouse:
The group leaves Nikolai to his beastly feast, not knowing if they can help him or how they would. Cyrell stays briefly to keep an eye on him and make sure he’s not in any imminent danger,
but soon realizes that Nikolai should be able to handle himself with this group and that he shouldn’t fall too far behind the rest of the party, so he scurries along to catch up.
The party stays on the path of the faerie dust, and it leads them to a small town. All the
villagers act very strangely, almost vacant in their interactions with the party and with one another.
While Daniria is investigating the oddities of the town, she finds a drunkard and begins asking him
questions. He tells her this is a dead place, and that the group does not want to be here when the bell strikes twice. When she pushes him further, an arrow suddenly strikes him in the chest. None of the townsfolk seem to notice, or if they do they don’t care to acknowledge it.
For whom the bell tolls:
The group pokes around the bell tower, and the rest of town, but to no avail and decides to depart and follow the faerie dust. As they’re about to depart, The Bell at the top of the tower tolls twice and they find the faerie dust continues along across a chasm at the edge of town. This chasm sees to continue around the entire town and a strange dusk falls.
Curiosity, a desire to right the wrongness of this place, or fear for what happens after the bell tolls, whatever it is they decide to turn back. They try to get into the bell tower by
way of strength, but soon realize that is a futile effort.
As they look around, they find the villagers all standing up and moving towards them, ominously and slowly their skin sloughing off and moaning.
The group and the zombie villagers engage with one another. The dragonborn begin bashing in heads, Daniria lets loose with crossbow, and a new stranger comes out swinging with a long spiked chain.
Cyrell mosies into town humming some tune about Buttercup, and how the damned faerie built up their hopes and then let them down. The group proceeds to make pretty easy work of the small zombie horde and their undead piggies, except for one swine zombie that gives Balasar all he can handle for a moment.
Into the tower:
Daniria and Cyrell, seeing the battle well attended to, begin searching the village for a way into the tower, while the stranger climbs into a second floor window to reconnoiter.
Daniria finds a mysterious key in a pouch in the inn, and thinks it may unlock the tower. After searching the rest of the surrounding shoppes and buildings, Cyrell finds the key that actually unlocks the tower, but not before Daniria uses the wrong key and gets a shocking rejection. He then
regroups with the rest of the party and they prepare to enter the bell tower.
From the rogue’s recon, the party knows to expect five zombies on the first floor, and more on the third. They quickly dispatch the first group, and loot the bottom floor, finding two casks of fine
wine, some food items, and a grate that theoretically leads down into the sewer system.
As they close the entrance door, however, it becomes a solid wall behind them, meaning the grate is the only exit.
They stealthily move up to the second floor, finding three bed chambers and a number of bookshelves housing tomes of illegible scratches. In one of the rooms, a zombie with a terrible stench pops out and lays into Daniria, but the rest of the party steps in and cuts it down, causing it to burst into a gory explosion of entrails.
In the bed chambers, they find three chests, two of which are relatively empty, and a third which holds a ruby, a golden cup, and finely made clothing. The rogue dons the clothing, and Cyrell tucks away the ruby and golden cup for later inspection. Cyrell also takes the book from the third room, as it stood out as the only book on that particular bookshelf.
There is a large spider in the middle room, but it is curled up on the floor and the group decides to leave it alone. They burn away most of its webs to try to search the room, but at first
glance, it is pretty much empty aside from its furnishings, so they move on.
The group then readies and moves up to the third floor. Here, there is a large hole in the floor, and a handful of zombies awaiting their arrival. Again, they cut through the undead with relative ease, and quietly search for the way up to the fourth and final floor of the tower.
The way up must be past a door with a spiderweb-looking key symbol on it, but they don’t see that key anywhere, so Cyrell tries to pick the door and succeeds.
Again the group readies for combat on the staircase, and Ishmer leads the way up. As he reaches the top, he sees three skeletons in fine priests’ robes across the open-air bell floor, and one skeleton in
ornate priests’ robes and enveloped in slime.
He rushes over and begins to work on the slime-covered skeleton, while the rest of the
group takes to the others. None of the four skeletons even begin to get an attack off before they are all dispersed. Ishmer’s fire breath and Balasar’s insistence on throwing things over the edge do in the
ornate jelly skeleton (jelleton?), and Cyrell’s new spell, Heath’s undead turning, and contributions from the rest of the party destroy the three others.
Daniria steps over to a cabinet and finds a mechanism for ringing the bell, but doesn’t want to ring it before the party has a chance to discuss the implications of that. Cyrell and the rogue move downstairs and exit through a second-floor window to go find the skeletons and loot them. They take the three
fine robes, two maces with some sort of magic about them, the ornate robes from the other, and its magical scepter.
While searching the ornate robes, Cyrell finds a letter that identifies them as priests of the Raven Queen, explains (at least somewhat) the situation that led to the undeadifying of the town, and pleads for its finders to fix the problem. It speaks of a mechanism to ring the bell, but perhaps not
the one that they had already found as it says the lever is in the priest’s study.
Did the tower house his study, or is that somewhere else altogether? What will actually happen when the bell is rung? What would “fixing” the town actually do to it? Would that close the chasm and allow them
to continue on to the supposed faerie safehouse? Who was the mysterious archer that shot down the only person in the town who actually gave the group information? Who rang the bell the first
time? Is Nikolai going to be okay at the creature feast? And where the hell is Xandril with their escape key?
And so it continues: