As the group readies their gear and prepare to set out for Lance Rock, Dashtan is approached by Thaladen. He requests Dashtan accompany him to their room, a request to which he reluctantly acquiesces. Once they are alone Thaladen wishes his brother good luck and hopes they will see each other again. He then presents Dashtan with a gift, a pair of masterfully crafted adamantine khopeshs. Dashtan is taken aback as he never expected such a kind act from his normally pompous and flippant brother. He attempts to hug Thaladen, who less than kindly refuses. Lord Thann also has well wishes for his youngest son, but ruins the gesture when he whispers an off color comment about Asha.
Meanwhile in the stable Haul struggles with his horse, who refuses to let him mount it. Rath notices him struggling and approaches asking the horse why he refuses to let Haul ride him. The horse explains, rather gruffly, that Haul’s thighs are cold and he requires a blanket…and some apples, soaked in rum. Rath tells Haul of his horses demands. The sorcerer quickly fetches a blanket from the stablemaster, whom Haul promptly intimidates when the little man demands payment. The horse mollified, for now, allows him to mount up and the group heads south towards the stone monument.
As the group nears they Dashtan and Haul spot what appears to be a scarecrow in the middle of the tall grass. As they get closer they can tell it is actually the corpse of a man who has been erected on a post like a scarecrow. A sign around his neck bears the message.
lest you catch
the disfiguring plague
that afflicts me!
The Lord of Lance Rock
After a brief debate the group decides to continue on to Lance Rock. Ikki arrives first, quickly finding a hastily covered cave entrance. The group arrives and begins to file inside when it becomes apparent that Ikki is freaked out at the prospect of being in such tight confines. Haul ventures deeper into the cave finding the corpse of a man dressed only in ragged breeches. As he bends down to inspect the body it suddenly stirs violently swinging its stiff arm at him. The group rushes forth to lend Haul aid in dispatching the undead creature. Asha returns to Ikki with Rath and the pair try to coax the aarakocra into the cave to no avail.
Rath has an epiphany, digging around in his satchel he produces a teapot and some herbs he carries with him. He explains that he will brew a tea that can be used to calm Ikki’s anxiety. The brew smells rank and doesn’t taste much better but with in a matter of minutes Ikki is much less nervous and willing to enter the cave.
The group follows the cave until it opens into a large chamber, torches blazing. A large flat stone with dark stains coloring its top sits in the center of the room. Most of the group stops short trying to detect any signs of life or movement. Rath however, continues itno the chamber undeterred. As he takes three steps into the chamber rocks suddenly come crashing down on him from overhead, two zombies landing beside him ready to attack. The adventures quickly take their undead assailants down. A brief check of Rath finds he is alive but unconscious. As the group inspects the chamber Dashtan hoists Rath up to ledge and leaves him there for safe keeping.
The group winds there way deeper into the cavern they encounter yet more zombies. These zombies however are dressed bizarrely, one in a bear suit, another in a frilly dress and wig with makeup, and a third wearing the countenance of a jester. Haul leading the group quickly launches a ball of dark energy at the “bear”. Emilianna who is near the rear of the group scrambles between the imposing sorcerer’s legs and fires an arrow into the “lady.” Ikki, who was also bringing up the rear hurls a dart a the jester that flies wide before running along the heads of the group and using Haul’s head as a vault to smash the jester with a devastating kick. The “bear” advances and attempts to claw at Haul, the “lady” unable to get around the “bear” flails its arms impotently, and the jester tries to execute a silly jump before attacking that snaps its leg sending it crashing to the floor. Dashtan slides around Haul and slices the leg off the “bear” toppling it to the ground. Asha fires a bolt of fire that misses the lady. Haul infuriated at his companions climbing on him like a tree, stands back and allows his compatriots to finish off their zombie assailants.
As the battle concludes they search the chamber and find two exits, Haul can hear a quite talking coming from the southwestern passage and pursues it immediately, the group hot on his heals. He enters a small room in which sit two iron chests, he readies to open one but Asha calls for him to stop. Haul proceeds at which point rocks tumble from a head crevice in the ceiling and a shrill voice shouts “You dare to pit yourselves against the Lord of Lance Rock? Death is your reward!” The remaining party crowds into the room and upon further investigation the discover a peephole on the southern wall.
The group backtracks and takes the other narrow passage and enter a large chamber where a hooded figure toils with a bone needle and thread. The room is filled with three stone tables, baskets of amputated body parts, and counter holding saws, knives, and other tools. Four skeletons guard a wide stairwell on the western wall. Emilianna deftly sneaks up behind the hooded figure, grabbing him and placing a blade to his neck. The hooded figure groans revealing itself as a zombie and she quickly slits its throat. Dashtan springs into action and attacks the hooded zombie knocking it over Emilianna and onto the floor. Five hands emerge from the baskets and launch themselves at Em and Dashtan. With the aid of their companions the hands are quickly destroyed.
Emilianna fires an arrow at one of the skeleton guards launching them into action. The group makes short work of their assailants but not without sustaining a few injuries of their own. Our adventurers head up the stairs.
They enter a long oval chamber, the walls covered by purple draperies. In the middle of the room sits a pedestal made from humanoid arms sown together. The hands cradle a glowing orb and above it floats a stylized eye.
Haul spots the Gray Man they encountered in Triboar who holds up his clawed hand and points at one curtain in particular. Haul advances upon it throwing back the thick curtain he finds a huddled little man who immediately begins shrieking at them. Haul and Ikki both slap him around before Dashtan attempts to reason with him, then he vanishes.
Emilianna not wanting to touch the orb fires an arrow at it knocking it off the pedestal. A scream of “NO!” elicits from behind one of the draperies and the filthy little man rushes out charging for the globe. Ikki attempts to bar his path but the little man in his fit of rage throws the bird person out of his path. Asha however brings him up short with a shoulder check. He pleads with them but his shrieks only cause Haul to knock him unconscious.
Haul sets fire to anything that will burn and the group makes a hasty exit, but not before retrieving Rath. They ride back to the scarecrow and rouse the little man and attempt to extort a confession out of him. They quickly realize he is quite mad and has been robbing local cemeteries for his minions. The tie him up and take him back to Red Larch where they turn him over to Harburk and in form him of his crimes. The group heads back to the Swinging Sword to see to Rath and rest up so they can continue their investigation fresh the following day.