Tuleo and Makon traveled far away from Gothmagog after drought and coming war made it inhospitable. Jela, a crazed zealot of Thogro, hustled research showing a discrepancy in scripture signalling the end of the world hustled towards Baffram to prove it, considering his mission validated by the presence of Tuleo, Son of Thogro. Vani, a Ghim in a viking helmet and wielding hammers, was looking for a good place to build a fort.
They were aboard the cargo ship Vixen, captained by Bellowave, a kiskov, for a month. The Vixen was to resupply at Alan’s Port, then sail on to Yoria.
Their plan was to follow the River Road from Alan’s Port to the Hylar Trade Route, all the way to the other side of the island. On the Lucid Coast, get to the port city Vasiara, and get a ship to Pembriss, then on to Baffram.
A Pleasant Walking Tour
They landed in Alan’s Port and rather than finding lodging, they pushed on, sleeping by the side of the road. For several days they traveled up the River Road, surprised by how plump and happy the people seemed to be, a bit worried by the local lack of suspicion. They followed the road past the farms above the portage of Corona, and Jela insisted on paying respects in the Geldurk temple on the island there (the War Spike.) Meanwhile, as always, Tuleo had to fend off a crowd that wanted to bask in his presence while Vani grumped in the background.
They pushed on past Corona, overnighting with a nice family, Horace and Wilma Krum and their 6 children. The next day, they traveled past the end of the farmland, to the bottom of the last portage between them and Prosperity, the town on the trade route.
Mid-morning they saw something streak out of the sky, far to the south, and a minute later they felt a shudder like an earthquake. They continued on to the portage.
They met ten cavalry soldiers who were at the base of the portage, because of reports of activity from shokoro in the area. A vigorous debate about what the sign in the sky could mean was in process; one theory was a dragon.
They had a pleasant afternoon, where Makon asked about the three kinds of shokoro around the island, the dwarf refused to ride a horse, Tuleo inspired a soldier to gift him with a horse, and Jela converted one of the dimmer soldiers to be a firm new believer in Thogro.
The cavalry did not post watch, trusting their horses to rouse them. The more suspicious adventurers still posted watch, and in the wee hours, as Vani went to wake Makon, spectral riders approached. The adventurers reacted faster than the cavalry, but a couple of the riders raced through the camp hacking away, cutting down the soldiers with injuries (only one fatal, but seven more injured.)
The adventurers disarmed and battered one, but it twisted impossibly, summoned its chilly scimitar through the air to its hand,and raced into the night.
Shaken, the camp tried to organize itself and tend to the wounded.
As Jela was building a cairn over the dead soldier, it reared up and clutched at his throat; his only weapon was his prayer book with its metal binding and corners, and he battered the body down.
The injured were getting worse, dying, and the earliest deaths were starting to lurch up to life. They built a pyre, pulling the 2 least wounded aside as Tuleo speared the reset to death and decapitated them, piling corpses and heads in the fire as the horrified and sickened others looked on.
They decided to ride back to Corona, where the Geldurk clerics of the War Spike might be able to help.
They stopped by the Krum family holding, to see if they wanted to go to Corona too; the homesteads appeared locked down, but there were a number of dead roaming the fields. A pack of fast-moving recent undead assaulted them, and they hewed the creatures down.
They persuaded the Krum family to come along, doubling or tripling up on horses (some were children.) They rode on with desperate speed, and only the last one in line (one of the two remaining soldiers) was pulled down by the dead as they raced away.
They pushed the suffering horses through the last paces to cross the bridge onto Corona; a bad sign, the bridge to the island was not barricaded. They reached the war stable, but it appeared all those still healthy had pulled back into a tower, shooting anything that came close.
Persuading the tower occupants to open up while fighting off the enthusiastic dead was a challenge, but they crammed their horses in, and headed to the roof to talk to Captain Canton. He explained how their leader had taken the rest of the force out to restore order, and had not been heard from.
They hit upon a plan to get to the boats on the west side of the island to go where the riders likely didn’t go (unless they swam.) But first, to retake the compound. As Tuleo scouted by flying, noting the War Spike was still defended,and there was house fighting all through the island, Jela inspired the troops in the tower to fight.
If the adventurers could get to the gate and close it, then the troops would be willing to clear undead from the rest of the compound, so they had a secure area.
Battle of the Gate
As Makon fired on the undead with musket and pistols, Tuleo flew above them firing down like a homicidal cupid. Vani stood at the top of the ladder up Makon’s shooting post, defending it, as Tuleo carried the shrieking and frothing zealot to the gate; the undead shrank back from the words of power the zealot spewed, and together, the zealot and the son of Thogro shoved the massive gate shut, blocking the way so more undead could not run in.
Then it was down to battering waves of undead, and firing into the rest, and before long the adventurers had cleared the gate area.
Tuleo flew them across the river one by one, then they proceeded up to Spur Camp, where they found a fortified blacksmith shop. The owner, Hotch, ahd a small anvil on a pole as a weapon; they had defeated the dead that clawed their way out of the cemetery and shuffled this way, much weaker than the fresh ones on Corona.
After spending the night in the blacksmith fort, they continued on up the spur, intent on getting to the lake on the other side of the mountains and going for help. Instead of going through the mountain pass, Tuleo carried them over one by one, and they made it out of the valley of death.