Though they may not realize it the group has stumbled upon long buried truths concerning the forgotten history of the world. Weighing the arcane information in The temple of two promises Lumiere pushes to consult his fellow elves but does not reveal to them the tablet. Watcher, concerned more with the Giant’s Wood then the elves she makes his own way to protect what he holds dear.
The elves express a possibility to recreate the miasma but do not seem confident. They are grateful nonetheless for the group finding out what had happened and clearing a way so they can come to a decision about what to do. They explain that the orcs are the Burntclaw Horde and war has plagued Whitecrown for centuries which provoked their creation of the miasma in the first place. Not sure what to do they scatter to the trees leaving to group to move on.
Supplies are needed and Lumiere wants to show Cyril the tablet. The town is tense after the development that occurred while the group was away. The Wizard spends a few days with it and divines its nature. It is a compass of sorts which leads to a cache of lost history relating to the temple they visited and the history of the world. He explains that the contact with tablet has allowed him to see hidden things beyond the world they know. That it points to long hidden truths. With Lumiere’s assistance they decipher a compass function which holds the inscription, ""Two answers lie within, one a promise, the second begins, the world asunder, the world laid whole, one the price, the other old.". Parts of the phrase are buttons in two different colors.
The development with Whitefield and Ten Hills causes jubilation and concern among the townfolk and party. The prisoners sent by Graysprout are given the choice to serve under the clergy to find their penance. All of which agree rather then facing the wrath of Garyson. And shortly after that resolution a rider pierces the Giant’s wood into Whitefield.
The man is slumped over a regal war steed, adorned in armor and religious,if not somewhat risque iconography. He is awoken after medical aid and introduces himself as Zachariah, Paladin of the churn of Shelyn. Handsome and a little dumb the knight is pleased to meet the group, who hides him momentarily. He is unsure how he got here having been wounded by orcs while investigating one of the destroyed towns nearest to the Horde. As the group ponders a direction to take Zachariah is happy to help until he meets back up with Whitecrown’s forces.
The path travels next to the Giant’s Wood and a half day north of Ten Hills at its closest to the town. The second night travelling is interrupted just after midnight. An assassin aligned with the Burntclaw Horde!
The rolling hills seem hide whispers of danger as they follow the direction of the tablet. Its possible anyone but Zachariah might have heard rumors of the Cyclops tribe that lives near the border of the Vast Despair. If not it is a startling encounter when they stumble into a pair of the settlements hunters stalking for food. It in the battle the group is grievously injured and Lumiere is slain beneath the blade of a Cyclopean axe-head.
The group lacking any other option brings the body back to Whitefield. Here Shepard Gerner is able to Raise Lumiere from the Dead. But his recovery will take weeks. While he begs his party to go on without them they refuse reassuring that without his mystical prowess they would not even know where to look.
While Lumiere recovers the group visits Ten Hills and the newly elected Mayor, Graysprout. Their reception is cool but unobstructed. They are given the run of High hill manor and the town. The Halflings give up some wealth and help rehabilitate the graves overgrown with time.
When the group returns to the place where they faced the Cyclops hunters they come across swathes of web with various desiccated animals hanging just above the corpses. From a hidden corner of the web a Giant Black Widow hurls her web at the potential meals.
it begins to rain. At first pleasant mid spring showers. Its makes it harder to build a fire but offers no other downside to the travelers. As the rolling hills begin to flatten before black soil the rain falls harder. A blanket of storm clouds blot out the sun making it hard for those without expanded senses to see in the increasingly dreary weather. Exploding from a field of dug up stumps is a huge boar with spear like tusks foaming at the mouth thundering toward the group.
The terrain is increasingly damp as the soil starts to turn to thick mud. The rain continues without any sign of letting up. The Giant’s Wood shrinks and disappears marking their passing the border from one land into the next. Boggy stench crawls toward the party and parts of the horizon are swallowed by pools of fetid water. The tablet holds a steady bearing clearly visible even in the wet. The person who named this place did an accurate job. Hearts sink as they endure the sight.
Shortly after entering the Vast Despair the group is greeting by some of the horrid native denizens. A flock of decomposed birds. Songs birds, sea birds, other types varying size and species descend on the group in a ravenous swarm. Hungrily pecking and biting as they hover.
The place seems treacherous to the living. Food is harder to forage here perhaps because of the large undead presence. Although it does not actively effect the party even cursory magical knowledge alerts one that the land here radiates underlying Negative energy influence. It is nearly a weeks travel from the border before they come across anything other then muck. City walls and dim torch lights call out from the rain. An inviting thing after all the trudging around they have endured.
The city is Coffinborne, the home of the Necropolitans. While they are surprised by the visitors they are not a hostile people. A copper penny a head is asked for as they enter and they are directed to a ramshackle inn, called Haign’s. Its small lacking many amenities but the owner seems happy for the new faces. The accommodations are really nothing more then some blankets near the hearth but Haign doesn’t charge more then a silver a night.
During the first night at Haign’s the group is visited by a Necropolitan named Cornelius. He introduces himself at the Lord of Coffinborne and is curious about the groups reason for travelling to their town. He is a grandfatherly figure whose easy nature sometimes makes it hard to remember his undead nature. He is happy to answer any questions the party has.
The tablet urges that the group makes its way north west from the settlement. Cordial warnings from the town are given. Almost as if to slow the group the town comes to offer wares and services it is easy to tell that they are worried about their living visitors. Nonetheless cobblers, scribes and merchants all take the time to come to Haign’s.
Outside the city walls the group feels eyes watching from the mist. The rain seems to have subsided and a thick fog has taken its place. Just before they make camp on the first night a band of feral undead charge out of the mist hungry for living flesh! Even after the enemies are struck down the shadows cast by their fire make nerve wracking shapes throughout the mist.
The tablet glows brighter as they approach until the blinding purple light fades away into the dull stone once a thatched tomb peeks out from the fog around the third day. Standing motionless next to the entrance door is an undead figure, leathery flesh barely clinging to dusty bones. Its moans in common so thick with some unknown accent that it makes it a task to understand it. “Entrance here is forbidden.”.
The guard and other security imply a greater desire to keep the resting dead sealed in then usual. The floor inside is slimy from the swamp seeping in bit by bit over the years. Five hall ways stretch out like spokes on a wheel. From one of the hall ways children’s laughter echoes.
The tomb is filled with cunning and dangerous undead not least of which is Belarius himself. All which seem to be guarding a manuscript penned by the scribe, the Eulogy Archive. Through their telepathic link Lumiere’s sheath comments at the book, “The chronicle of my birth…”.