With daybreak, the heroes and Amberly Guilford tended their wounds and pondered next steps. The arrogant knight offered only one option. “We strike them at their heart,” he said. “Kill them all and end it.” The companions agreed that a direct attack upon the creatures during the day was a reasonable approach, but they refused to help until Guilford told them all he knew.
Guilford finally relented and confessed that a travelling tiefling sold him a map which was supposed to lead to the fabled treasure of the first necromancer, Lykandyr the Fetid. Thirsty for adventure, Guilford greedily bought the map and with the help of his Reeve, Gol Overfall set out and dug into an old barrow on the outskirts of Appleton. After the unearthed cave seemed to exhale a long held breath, the undead emerged, dragging Overfall into the dark depths. Guilford escaped but he swore to make things right.
Eldarion asked Guilford if the tiefling who sold him the map wore an eye patch. Amberly eyed the fighter suspiciously and answered yes. The heroes agreed that the map seller was likely Ahjahn who was now a revenant of Fyrus, a powerful undead dragonborn who was challenging the Raven Queen for supremacy of the dead. The treasure was a lie and the tiefling simply tricked the ambitious knight into releasing an evil power.
Edward Belljar and Gwen Cuthbert thanked the heroes for keeping them alive through the night. They confessed they were not warriors and declined to join the assault on the zombies’ nest. Instead they offered to return to Silver Hill and talk to Tymon Hunubutu about getting more elixir prepared. Gwen prayed for their protection, and the heroes noted that her prayer seemed to carry some power.
The heroes and Guilford equipped themselves and set off for the barrow. The cave was filthy with mud and human remains. A voice called out to Galendan from the darkness, a voice that only he could hear. “Galendan,” it whispered. “At last you have come to join us.” Galendan was taken aback but offered no response. The voice continued, “Fyrus has chosen you. You will be his. You are acquainted with death, and so you are acquainted with him. Come to me and you will taste death in its fullness and take your mantle as the Hunter’s Blade.” Galendan felt an attack on his will and a compulsion to run to the darkness, run to the voice but he fought against the voice and stood his ground. The voice seemed unimpressed, “You resist now, but you cannot escape your destiny. He grows stronger day by day, and in this tomb his eyes are fixed upon you.”
Inside the barrow the heroes found many sarcophagi, cramped chambers, and shards from ancient broken pottery. Long dead tiefling skeletons laid in the sacrophagi, but before the adventurers could inspect someone called out to them from a nearby chamber. Guilford recognized the man as Graham Givens, the owner of the Cider House, only it was clear the man was one of the zombies now. Givens offered the heroes a deal. He would let them leave unharmed if they handed over Galendan. The heroes were perplexed by the offer since Galendan said nothing of the voice and they asked the zombie why he would ask for the eladrin rogue. Givens responded, “Fyrus has chosen him to become his blade. His silent and swift deliverer of death to those who would stand in his way. The Hunter’s Blade will topple kingdoms.” The heroes looked to Galendan who revealed nothing as he was still resisting the urge to run into the dark’s embrace. The heroes moved in to attack. Givens made a motion and the tiefling skeletons arose and joined him in battle. The heroes handled their foes fairly easily but were surprised and concerned at how adept a recent turned zombie like Givens had been.
The heroes discovered a small side passage that led to a toppled broken statue of the Raven Queen. It was hard to identify at first because it had been smashed to rubble. A faint light emanated from the debris and slowly coalesced into a phantom bearing the likeness of their old companion Valez Du’Urth. He spoke to them, “Friends, I bring news from the Raven Queen. She was once worshiped here, long ago, but enough power remains that I can deliver this short message. She has not yet lost her throne, but much rests on your shoulders. You must find ”/wikis/menzo" class=“wiki-page-link”>Menzo. He has more dragon eggs that need bonded masters. War is coming. Perhaps the final war." He seemed to want to say more, but faded away.
The next chamber in the barrow was quite large in comparison to the more prevalent cramped disjointed passages. In the chamber was another recently-turned zombie and four large glass vats full of green liquid. Inside each vat were human corpses. One had wings, another long claws, another that blinked in and out of view, and fourth that appeared relatively normal. The newer zombie greeted Amberly with a sneer and said, “Lord Guilford, back so soon? How fortunate. The master requires more flesh.”
Amberly told the heroes that this was his Reeve, Gol Overfall. He asked the zombie how he could throw his lot in with these monsters and Overfall replied, “Lykandyr was no threat to anyone until we came in and freed him to satisfy your ambition. There are some who would call you the monster.” Guilford was shaken by those words, but all the more resolute to end the zombie scourge, including his former friend. But before they could attack, Overfall uttered a few words and the rod he was carrying glowed a sickly green before shooting tendrils of light to each vat, breaking the glass and freeing the monstrosities inside. This fight was very difficult with the mutated zombies surprising the heroes with their newfound tricks, but the heroes prevailed.
The heroes could see that only two chambers remained. The next room they entered was considerably colder and upon entering it they heard a sorrowful moaning. Hovering in the air was a ghostly Elven maiden, hideous in appearance. She looked at them as if expecting their arrival and greeted them with a terrible cry that brought them to their knees. Two suits of armor in the room sprung to life and engaged in battle with the shaken heroes. During the combat, Galendan was once more assaulted by the voice and this time he was too weary from battle to stand against it. He found himself leaving his companions to fight the banshee and running into the dark chamber beyond. The battle with the banshee and living armor was a long one, but the heroes were victorious, the only casualty appearing to be the missing Galendan.
In the final room they found Galendan. He was strapped to a stone slab inside a vat submerged in the green fluid they had seen in a previous chamber. They attempted to call out to him but a hunched figure wrapped in bandages cut them off. “You’ve killed the Cryptmother,” he said. “She was my first and my favorite. After you suffer I will make you my new works of art.” He smiled a terrible smile and a giant corpse which seemed to be made from multiple human corpses arose from a nearby slab and attacked the heroes.
During the battle Galendan once more received the offer to stand by the side of Fyrus and become the Hunter’s Blade. The offer promised power and strength beyond anything the eladrin could imagine, but more than that it offered a purpose and sense of belonging. He found it incredibly alluring, but before he could accept his companions shouts reached him. They reminded him of who he was and what he meant to them. That he built a legacy fighting the monsters and protecting the innocent. Even Amberly pleaded with the Eladrin to fight the darkness. But it wasn’t quite enough. The power was so great. Just before he was about to commit himself to the darkness, Eldarion spoke out and said, “When I saved your life you told me that you owed me yours. Did you mean that?” The rogue hesitated, but he did remember, and now his half-elf friend was calling in the debt. The pull of Fyrus was broken and Galendan broke free of his bindings and planted his knife in the dark heart of the incredulous Lykandyr.
With the necromancer dead once more, the barrow fell into a peaceful silence. Galendan thanked his friends for fighting for him and told them that while near death he experienced a vision of the Shadowfell. Fyrus had gathered his own undead dragons and was finding riders for them. War indeed was coming.
The heroes returned to Silver Hill to rest up before deciding on next steps. Would they return to Mocklyn as the King requested to serve as his ambassadors to the mysterious Inaulian Empire or would they travel to Fernwall to visit their dragons and ask Zalthannus if she can point them in the direction of Menzo?