In the Valley of the Dead: Game Report 38

Stilgar, Rexor and Einar returned to Vanessa’s Lament with the corpse of the sorcerer general. After telling Akbar of their deeds and who the corpse had been in life, they set to interrogating the dead. They even considered using the rod of resurrection to merely bring the general back from the land of the dead but they noticed his body had numerous magical tattoos preventing this. They settled instead to use the power of the Shadow Staff to speak with the dead.

With a sharp strike of the staff on the floor of his laboratory Akbar asked, “Is there infighting among the generals?”

The dead one spoke, “There is rivalry.”

Akbar frowned and said, “Who will take over the army now that you are gone?”

“The general that the emperor selects to replace me,” said the corpse.

Stilgar rolled his eyes. Akbar asked, “How many soldiers has the emperor sent to invade the west?”

“Tens of thousands,” said the corpse as the power compelling its response failed.

“We must be swift and bring as many troops as we can to the pass,” said Stilgar and all the Kompanions agreed.

Unfortunately, time is not on the side of the Kompanions. It would take a month for the various emissaries to meet at Vanessa’s Lament to discuss an alliance against the armies of the Shadow Lord. Given that it was middle of winter, moving troops and supplies would take several months more. The Pass of the Dead though freezing cold was dry and clear of snow. If the Shadow Lord’s forces could defeat the army of the undead there, it would be in place to begin its conquest in the spring.

The Kompanions decided that the best use of their time was for Akbar to begin constructing a teleport portal near Castle Fuligin. When the armies of Kaladonia were ready to move they could be deployed directly to the point of attack instead of marching for a month or more. It would take two weeks for Akbar to construct each side of the portal. He teleported the Kompanions and Einar to the castle. There they spoke to Mithos the death knight and find out the situation. The dead had driven the army back about half way through the pass. However, the imperial forces had built a wall across the pass. It was guarded by fifty men on top with specially made crossbows. They shoot sling bullets instead of arrows and are much more effective against the dead than arrows. Their tower was back behind the wall. The enemy camp was secure and well guarded. A further development was more worrying. The necromantic energy that had previously reanimated every dead warrior in the valley was now dissipated. What had protected the pass for centuries was the never ending supply of undead fighters for Mithos to call on. Now that this energy was gone, the death knight had only those undead which currently existed and those he could create himself. A defensive stand off was the result. Until the new general and his staff arrived, the army would regroup, rearm and prepare for their next push.

Stilgar, Rexor and Einar flew into the pass on their carpet as Akbar set to work on the portal. They did a recon from above to avoid missile fire or magic. Stilgar was trying to work out a way they could use stealth to sneak into the camp and destroy the store of firewood that had been carted in. It is terribly cold in the pass and there is nothing to subsist on. There are no animals, no plants and not even a splinter of a dead tree. The power of the Shadow Staff had killed everything in the pass and sterilized it for centuries. Everything the army needed had to be carted in. If the Kompanions could destroy the wood supply, some of the soldiers would freeze to death from the cold. As Stilgar pondered, Rexor grew impatient, for he wished to find out how the great siege tower moved without the power of ox or horse. Hoping to get inside the tower to destroy whatever mechanism made such a thing possible, Rexor used his armor to shift into the ethereal plane and flew to the tower. In the ethereal, the tower shimmered with magical power.

From top to bottom, glyphs and symbols of power glowed along the surface of the tower. Rexor drew up his great axe and chopped at one of the symbols on the tower. A single sweet tone as if from a great gong rang out. Stilgar and Einar heard the tone in the prime and so did the emperor’s troops. The guard on the wall redoubled their vigilance and officers emerged from their tents to see what was the matter. In the ethereal four demonic guardians in the form of a gorilla with bat wings and cloven feet appeared and surrounded Rexor. The battle lust was upon him and he drew his blades to fight the beasts. They attacked, rending with their claws and biting with their fangs. Rexor sent one back to the abyss with his swords as they gated a vulture headed demon in to help with the fight. The battle raged back and forth and Rexor was able to destroy another but his situation was getting precarious. He flew away and shifted back into the prime as he retreated. Unfortunately, he had shifted well in range of the crossbowmen on the wall blocking the pass. They fired at him and wounded him severely, nearly killing him. Einar swooped down on the carpet to recover his stricken friend. Rexor suddenly felt weighted down and could only move half the distance he normally could. It was as if he had an anvil in his belt pouch.

Moving slowly, the crossbowmen had a chance at another volley when Einar arrived to rescue him. Few hit but it was enough that Einar decided that they had enough for the day and would need to back off. The Kompanions withdrew a few miles back into the valley and made camp so that Rexor’s ioun stone could would have time to heal him and they could plan and execute another raid, hopefully with better results.

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