At long last, our adventurers had culled the goblin horde. And yet, the goblins continued to fight, unwilling to surrender after their pitiful attack. In all likelihood, peace between the party and goblins was nearly in order. The Chieftain of the goblins died, his corpse having vanished, unrecovered after a particularly nasty fireball from the mouth of Argent. Their new chieftain, although foreign in name and strange in decorum seemed to be more willing to negotiate than the last messenger.
Together, the leaders of both factions sat beside a cozy fire in the largest tent the goblinoids could muster. The evening had gone well in large part, the party only having drank almost all the alcohol the goblinoids had left. The party and the goblinoid chieftain deliberated together, and as Ave Legio, Gato Thundercloud of the Mountain Tree and Drakenai the Dwarf, actually a short half-orc/half-drow, wandered out of the tent together, a strange sound filled the ravaged, misty landscape. The scene they strode by could be described as beautiful. The moonlight shattered into the fog at curious angles, bending the light into shades of rusty and earthy tones. As they made their way across the remains of the goblinoid village, they spoke of whether they could trust the strange new chieftains words. They were divided on the issue, but it seemed the goblins grievances may yet be buriable.
Ave Legio and Gato Thundercloud drew their weapons, and Drakenai started speaking a language more ancient than even the Tabaxi beside him. The strange sound grew still louder. More familiar sounds of goblinoid chatter erupted a few meters in front of the friends as goblin-sling rocks whizzed by their heads. Ave Legio rushed into dense darkness, shouting as his blade flared with magical light, “More goblins, we were set up!” Gato Thundercloud rushed in to join her stalwart friend, her trident ready for its next victims. Drakenai frowned. His incantation was still drawing its power in, and the disturbing noise didn’t seem to be coming from the goblin attack.
What treachery is this?
A zombified goblin lunged out of the darkness at Drakenai, it was a familiar face, though much rotted from the decay of death. “Kroggabis!?”
The recently deceased chieftain of the goblins tried to bite down on Drakenai’s free arm, but his esoteric spellcraft knew its mark and otherworldly tendrils tore into Kroggabis’ putrid flesh. The reek of the zombie-goblin nearly made Drakenai vomit. The zombified Kroggabis lay on the ground, dead yet again. Even so, something felt off.
Argent burst from the tent, appearing as the balding wizard he used often when he needed a disguise. Negative energy filled the air.
“Could it be?” the dragon said, tugging his silver beard.
“What is it?” asked Sylvia “Claws” Bundy as she stepped out of the tent and drew her shortbow.
Argent’s eyes tighten with a focus beyond any mortals comprehension, and he spoke with a passion equal to his knowledge. “Before you or Drakenai were even born, there was a mildly dangerous and relevant necromancer that frequently terrorized the Chestnut Knights and even aspired to wipe the Titian Kingdoms off the map. He never succeeded, but rumors were that he died in recent years. His activities had largely ceased after his last squabble. But, this energy, it can only be him!”
Sylvia Bundy loosed an arrow at the first zombie-goblin to emerge from the thick fog.
She asked, “Who is it?”
“Ah, I know him by another name, the Persona Non Grata.”
They followed the source of dark psychic energy to a dilapidated village. Broken windmills and poorly tended wild tulips sprung out from the low hills that surrounded the once thriving land. Wisps of fog skittered and whirled across the muddy ground.
The party came prepared. Necromancy was not to be trifled with. Although not especially dangerous magic, it’d been known to run amok from time to time and any conflict to slay Mordant may very well stretch into weeks, months, or even years. It had already been two weeks since the run in with Kroggabis’s reanimated corpse and they’d met their fare share of zombies along the way. Drakenai seemed to be their target, and he had taken the brunt of their assaults but slain every undead along the way with meticulous efficiency. Their two comrades, Sir Newton Irenic and Sir Feroxeous.
“It's great to fight alongside you again, old friend. It's been years." Gato said.
Sir Newton Irenic stood nearly seven feet tall. The red haired veteran stretched his well toned arms against his claymore. He smiled, certainty the sole expression on his stubbled face, "When order is threatened, I answer. My vow is to wipe chaos from our plane forever."
The copper Dragonborn beside him, Sir Feroxeous, smiled toothily. "Not to mention that bastard messed with Drakenai.” He patted his friend on the shoulder.
"Yeah, the zombies keep showing up at my doorstep. Normally it wouldn't be an issue..." the warlock smiled with murder in his eyes as he spoke.
"But the horde has grown stronger," Ave Legio said, pointing toward the figures in the distance, gathered in front of the remains of a temple.
“I was going to say it’s been four months already,” the half orc chuckled.
“Adminimus above, are you serious?” Ave shook his head in disdain.
“To be fair, the initial attacks were so wimpy I didn’t even realize it was necromancy. A few highwaymen tried to waylay me, I figured it was just the regular sort of banditry...” Drakenai pointed to the symbol on his shoulder, the sign of his patrons -- the Wolf and Dragon, and continued “...but then just before I slew them, they started making disgusting gurgling noises and said I stole their insignia. I figured it was just a curious death rattle and finished them off.”
“But when I trailed Mordant to his hideaway here I learned the truth. He’s gone mad, obsessed over his own gods and a need for goblin worship. He’s bribing them, but I don’t know to what end,” Sylvia said. She gestured to the grizzled veteran, “I followed Mordant through the of Coralica where I ran into our friend, he was already on his way to strike down the necromancer.”
Sir Newton nodded. "Indeed, Mordant has been raiding my lands graveyards to bolster his forces. To think we were once allies and friends.”
“Not to mention he attacked my people not many moons ago as well,” the towering Sir Feroxeous said.
“We about ready?” Argent said, attempting to lay flat to hide his enormous frame.
“Can’t we take a long rest first?”
The temple’s protectors were former villagers, no issue for the combined might of our heroes and their valiant allies. They descended swiftly into the crypt, the new arrivals leading the charge, following the stench of Mordant’s magic with their holy might… [To be continued...]