After spending a couple of weeks at Brightstone Keep (our heroes’ home), they set off for Brindol. Serim Selduzar told them that Astinus the Chronicler had once lived there and wrote histories about the region. His house would be a good place to check for information on the Markelhays’ history in Brindol.
After several days of travel, the heroes found themselves on a narrow trail that cut through a forest. The sun was sinking low, and they began to wonder where they should settle for the night, when they met a kind old woman coming the other direction. She invited them to stay at her house for the night and exchanged pleasantries with them as she led them there. When they arrived at her quaint cottage, she invited them in, but asked Tyria to help her gather some eggs for dinner. When Tyria complied, the door latched shut on the other heroes, and the old woman turned into her true form, a death hag.
As Tyria Mithlass fended off the hungry fiend, Kael burst through the wooden door in one charge, but was stung by a poisoned needle in the process. The ensuing battle was difficult, but the heroes eventually defeated the hag. As soon as she was dead, the quaint cottage and stables faded and overgrown ruins replaced them. Humanoid remains were scattered all over the place, as well as old weapons and armor. There was little of value to be found, until they uncovered a remarkable longbow with the name Relentless etched into the handle. It was perfect for Tyria.
After spending the night, the heroes continued on their journey and met with no other misfortune for the next three days. Finally, they could see Brindol in the distance. On their way to the city, they passed some farmers working in a field who were able to provide some basic information about the city, though none of them knew anything of great detail. They knew that something horrible had happened there long ago, and they believed the Markelhays were the cause. They also warned that no one who entered the city ever came back out.
Undeterred, the heroes continued on to the town. They were able to secure a couple of rafts that brought them across the river, and they landed at Brindol Square. It was the middle of the day, and no signs of life could be seen in the city. It had obviously been long abandoned.
As they started down a side street on their way to Astinus the Chronicler’s house, they noticed movement off to their left. A being was coming their way from a shadowed alley. Then the moans began. What happened to Brindol suddenly became clear. The town had been ravaged by a zombie plague.
After a brief altercation with a small group of zombies, the heroes made it to a nearby rooftop. Luckily, no one had been bitten. However, the moans and commotion were drawing other zombies to their location. The next couple of hours consisted of the heroes moving from roof to roof, firing at whatever zombies they could catch in their line of sight. One of the buildings they happened upon was Wind and Wood Provisioners. Finding it empty, they were able to loot a fair amount of gold and valuables. Eventually, they came to Astinus’s house.
In order to make it inside, they were forced to run across a large open area, which provoked some attacks by a few zombies. But once again, the heroes were lucky enough to avoid being bitten.
Inside, they found the remains of several citizens on the third floor. It was obvious that they had starved to death, never finding a way past the zombies. They also found the last entries Astinus made in his History of Brindol. It was clear that this new information made the Markelhay family look bad, but the heroes reasoned that this was still old news — events of things that happened generations ago. It didn’t necessarily mean that the current Lord Markelhay was involved in any evil.
After taking an extended rest and waiting for the zombie crowds to dissipate, the heroes crept out onto the roof and started making their way toward Brindol University, where they thought they might find a portal. However, before they could get far, they came upon a mage who seemed to have control of the zombies. He was searching for the heroes, and when he sensed Niir’s presence, he called out a greeting. He said his name was Faust and that he had been trapped here years ago by a group of wizards. They had devised an ingenious trap — he could only leave if he was accompanied by other living beings. And since Brindol had no more living beings…
The heroes could sense that he was powerful and evil, but they felt they had no choice but to accept his request and let him travel with them. In exchange, he escorted them through the city to Brindol University. From there, they all teleported to Septarch’s Tower in Fallcrest. In preparation for their arrival, Niir had telepathically informed Aughran and Kaltis that they would be coming, so the two wizards were waiting for them when they arrived.
Niir insisted that Faust stay for a while, but Faust was equally insistent that he needed to be on his way. He had earlier hinted at going to Hammerfast, so the heroes assumed that was his destination.
Once he left, the heroes paid a visit to Serim Selduzar to pass on their new information and to collect the remaining 2000gp he owed them. Selduzar seemed surprised and disheartened by the information, but once again suggested that they begin seriously considering a move against the Markelhays. The heroes disagreed. They simply felt that the evidence so far was circumstantial, and not enough to start a coup over. Selduzar was obviously angry, and they all left on tense terms. Afterward, Niir told Kaltis to keep an eye on Selduzar and report anything suspicious.
It seems as though tensions are mounting, though there’s currently no sign of danger within Fallcrest. Only time will tell what lies in store…