First of all, this week’s roleplaying award goes to Alatariel; that low Charisma score means that she doesn’t spend much time talking, but when she does, Lauren’s always in character and on her toes. Enjoy 60 XP. Oh, and remind me at our next session to check and see where everyone’s XP stands. Walt, by the way, gets 45 XP for helping against the zombies, even though Charlie wasn’t there and nobody got past the third undead. I felt generous. If you ever get past the corridor, you’ll get the other 45 XP each.
After taking a few days of rest, the party assembles, arms themselves and heads back to the tomb. On their way down from the keep, a woman accosts them, the Count’s daughter. She seems curious about the women traveling with the party; is it usual, she asks, for elves to venture thus so far from home? And how is it, for a woman, living a life of violence? (“Do many women approach you like this?” asks Kaeleria. “Some,” says Alatariel, “but they don’t usually ask so nicely.”) Her curiosity apparently satisfied, she wishes them luck and returns to the top of the keep.
Back in the tomb, little seems to have changed. Walt, warded by Thorar’s “Hide from Undead” spell, travels down the narrow corridor with a torch and emerges pursued by the zombies. He has time to report seeing a large door, bearing the old version of the crest of Gothtan, just as the Count described it. Preparing for the zombies, the party piles a wall of coffin lids in front of the door, then fans out behind it.
As before, ranged weapons have little effect on the corpses. Melee does little better: Thorar’s warhammer hits home a few times, but with little effect. The walking dead still stand, a dull red glow in their eyes and melting flesh dripping through their now ragged clothing. One falls over the barrier, pushed by the two behind it; Keary pins it against the wall and plucks one of the glowing stones from its eye sockets! The creature immediately slumps, as if its death had nearly caught up with it, but it still struggles.
Meanwhile, Thorar and Alatariel block the other zombies from crossing the coffin barrier, until they push it other, narrowly missing Thorar. Sadly, another narrow miss does not come down in his favor: swinging over his head in close quarters, Alatariel nearly kills him with a mistaken blow of her greatsword. Moments later, the closest zombie grabs him and savages his neck with its teeth. He blacks out.
Alatariel immediately grabs him and heads out of the dungeon. Kaeleria, realizing that the situation is more dire than she’d thought, lets fly a few Magic Missiles, killing two of the zombies; all who can walk flee before the third zombie can more than make it down the staircase.
Back at the keep, the party begs some horses from the Count to ride to the nearest town, where they think they can find a cleric. He lends them two; Kaeleria and Kaery ride in search of the church of St. Cuthbert that reports place less than a day’s ride away.
In the next town, they find the church. Hearing their story, and being familiar already with the unholiness working within the Count’s tomb, the priest within gladly gives them a flask full of blessed water. He also tells them that its holy power will melt the flesh of the undead, driving out the energies that keep their desecrated corpse-bodies intact. Keary asks after healing potions; the priest replies that although he has brewed a few, they are costly to produce and he cannot sell them – even to a fellow devotee of the great Saint – for fewer than fifty gold coins. Someday, the rivers will run for you with healing potions. Someday.
A splash of holy water on Thorar’s wound doesn’t seem to make a change, so they keep the rest as a weapon against the undead. After a day of rest, and having encouraged Thorar to spend his time healing and casting Bless Water, they plan to go into the tomb once more and clear it out.
By the way, Rob: casting Bless Water requires 25 gold coins’ worth of powdered silver (five pounds!), which is consumed in the casting. That priest let you kids have quite a deal. Decide for yourself whether it’s worth preparing more than the one flask.