With the foul root pod vanquished the party has time to explore the small cavern. The shallow pool that was near the root pod holds a man-sized form with slightly porcine features. Camille realizes that it is G’Narsh at the bottom of the pool. With some help from Pock and Hukule she retrieves the previously expired half-orc ranger from the glowing pool that was apparently regenerating him for some abominable purpose.
While Camille ministers to G’Narsh, Boraheen and Roland engage in a serious conference. All are surprised when a dubious halfling in black leather armor emerges from the underground river holding the bitter end of a rope. Boraheen and Roland shout exclamations to their respective gods in thanks, grab the halfling’s rope and pull themselves back through the underground river. The determined warriors mistakenly allow the rope to become unsecure as the halfling observes his rope return in one large heap carried back by the swift current.
The halfling, Fallcrest. Although his motives appear to be more mercenary than altruistic he seems none the less capable. An assassin by trade, Hinao proclaims that his particular skill-set may be of practical use to the party., proclaims that, he too, was besought by Nimozaran to seek a way to end the aberrant threat to
The revived G’Narsh recounts that he knows that Malareth is still alive. While “dead” G’Narsh was somehow connected to the aberrantly tainted life forms and to undead creatures as well. G’Narsh knows that they must press on and destroy Malareth’s evil once and for all.
The troop begins by moving toward the worked stone area to their west. The cavern gives way to a rubble strewn area that slopes down into a large worked room. Pock’s perceptive senses alert him to something behind a group of boulders in the room. G’Narsh, obviously fully recovered and as fearless (reckless) as ever, tosses a large stone over the boulders to alert whatever lies in wait. In response two draconic wisps rise above the boulders and cry in alarm. Their cry is answered by a throaty moan which is followed by a large erstwhile green dragon. The dragon, barely resembling its magnificence in life, shows itself to be no less menacing as it launches a bullying charge into G’Narsh toppling him to the ground. The dragon does not get to enjoy its victory for long as Hinao helps G’Narsh to his feet and the companions leap to the fray.
G’Narsh takes on the role of the party’s defender and stands toe to toe with the zombie dragon. The party directs all efforts to bring down the undead menace. The wisps terrorize the group and seem to make a special effort to attack Camille who succeeds in healing herself faster than the wisps can hurt her. Hinao uses his assassin abilities to teleport behind the Rotclaw zombie dragon and harry its hind end. Pock and Hukule launch magical assaults while G’Narsh’s twin hammers pound away at the foe. The Rotclaw does little damage before the concentrated barrage extinguishes the eldritch green light from its eyes.
With the Rotclaw dispatched the party focuses on the draconic wisps. The party laments the lack of a force attack that could do full damage to the insubstantial wisps. The healing done by Camile and the party’s ability to avoid solid hits wins the day. Soon after vanquishing one wisp the other, barley tangible wisp, flees the scene. A quick look around divulges nothing of value and the party continues on to the area from whence emerged the Rotclaw.
The vigilant Pock notices something amiss with the dead end as they turn the corner. Pocks arcane abilities show a number of runes on the floor but he is unable to dismiss them. Hukule draws upon his warlock star pact reaching out with stellar energies to wrench the runes from the floor and dismiss them to the never-never. Instantly as the runes are gone the dead end disappears releasing a horrendous stench in a smaller room complete with a glowing sigil, ladder to the ceiling and a host of undead comprised of zombies in various stages of decay, humanoid wisps and foul zombie corruption corpses.
Pock takes command of the situation tossing a construct that dazes and restrains many of the undead for a short period. Hukule, G’Narsh and Hinao take the battle to the foe, their mighty blows dispelling zombie rotters and wisps with one hit. Several of the zombies prove tougher than the rotters and restrain the party from reaching the corruption corpses which stand in the sigil and manage to toss their foul motes with deadly accuracy. The fallen zombies refuse to remain down and rise again to surprise the group with attacks from the rear.
As the combatants approach the corruption corpses Pock warns his companions that something injurious happens when the corruption corpses are destroyed. Heedless of the warning, G’Narsh, in an effort to defend Camille, lays into both of the corruption corpses, dual hammers swinging. From a safe distance away Hukule executes a particularly well-placed shot into the center of one of the corpses. Pock’s warning proves true as the corpse explodes harmlessly covering G’Narsh in foul smelling offal but injuring Camille and the remaining corpse who explodes in turn further injuring Camile but again leaving G’Narsh unharmed.
Pock notices that the decaying remains of the corruption corpses each reveal a vile of Gravespawn Potion. Hinao investigates the ladder while the party tends to their wounds. The ladder leads to a small hallway that ends at a false wall. Hinao follows in the steps of G’Narsh and tosses a stone at the false wall ensuring that whatever was on the other side knows that Hinao and his strong companions are coming to cut them to ribbons.
Not wanting to disappoint, G’Narsh and Pock push open the false wall to reveal a laboratory with more wisps, zombies including some earlier acquaintances of Hukule and G’Narsh, Malareth and his hulking zombie. Although he still sports his mortal wounds from the recent battle, Malareth appears as vital as ever in his mage-wight form. The hulking zombie did not appear to receive any healing from the last battle and Hukule notes that it is as about as damaged as he saw it several hours ago. Malareth’s undead forces include four more of the humanoid wisps and two stout chillborn zombies.
True to his narcissistic nature Malareth begins to pontificate on his plans to further corrupt Fallcrest and invites the intrepid party to join him in immortality by drinking his proffered potion. Hinao, unafraid to banter with the powerful mage, takes the potion and hurls it at Malareth in protest. A battle ensues. The two chillborn zombies step forward swinging their arms to slam Pock and G’Narsh. Pock nimbly dodges but G’Narsh is hit and immobilized. Malareth moves forward releasing a burst of necrotic energy that steals some life from G’Narsh creating two more of the humanoid wisps. Pock and Camille take out the wisps while Hukule releases a blast that pushes back the chillborn zombies. Hinao takes advantage of an opening to strike out at Malareth with his sword. Hinao, through the use of his teleport ability, is undaunted by Malareth’s immobilizing attacks and returns to harry Malareth forcing him to strike out with melee attacks in lieu of blasting Hinao’s companions. Remembering the last encounter with Malareth, G’Narsh and Hukule ignore the chillborn and hulking zombies and put the pressure on Malareth. Pock follows suit and Hinao finishes Malareth in a devastating blow severing the head from the shoulders and the torso from the waist ensuring that this foe will never rise again.
Malareth’s malign essence flows from his shell to further empower the chillborn zombies energizing their aura of cold. Hinao is the first to fall as chillborn and zombie hulk overpower him. The heretofore uninjured Hukule becomes the next focus of the zombie onslaught and is rendered unconscious in the blast of one of the exploding aftermath of a chillborn zombie. Also dispatched in the blast is the zombie hulk who is survived by the unfraggable G’Narsh. Pock fails to dodge the remaining chillborn zombie and is rendered unconscious by an icy slam. Camille flees to the farthest corner of the room attempting to bring the might of the Raven Queen to bear on the zombie. Cornered and desperate, G’Narsh lands two solid blows with his magic hammers square into the zombie’s midsection. The zombie explodes in an icy blast and this time G’Narsh’s luck runs out and he too falls in the blast leaving a shattered but alive priestess of the Raven Queen to stabilize the party.
As Camille sets to the weary task of bringing her companions back to the land of the living she looks around noting the extensive library and Malareth’s laboratory of arcane implements. Can the party find the answers to the aberrant menace in Fallcrest? Are there useful treasures hidden among Malareth’s cache. Malareth is gone and the party’s debt is repaid!