The party trudged north through the Cinderlands, wading through drifts of ash, cinders stinging their exposed skin. They slogged through a oily swamp, and as they reached the twisted trees of the far side, were attacked for the first time by the strange undead of the area, Lantern Jacks.
After a short battle with the Jacks, the party learned that in order to effectively fell the creatures, their skulls needed to be broken, releasing the violet light that filled them to dissipate in the open air.
They made their way further north, towards the small village of Droma. They take rooms at the village’s small inn and rest for the evening. Their rest is broken by a scream in the night, and they rush outside to find the village under attack by more Lantern Jacks, lead by a strange creature known as a Cinderwight.
After aiding the villagers in the defense of their town, they return to their beds and sleep fitfully for the remainder of the evening. The following morning, they seek out the village elder, Elder Graham. Graham knows a little of Mordan, and makes mention of the Order of the White Wyvern. He directs the party to seek out the Order’s abandoned meeting hall in the ruins of Passwall, only an hour’s ride east of Droma, where they might find more information about the Order and the last days of Faradrim.
The party purchases horses from the small hosteler near the inn, and ride out towards the ruins. On the way they encounter a small group of skeletal goblins, animated by the same violet fire as the undead that attacked them in the swamps and breached the palisades of Droma.
In the early afternoon, the party reached Passwall.
“The trees thin as you approach the forest’s edge, and across a broad, muddy field stubbled with yellow grasses, you can see the ruins of Passwall ahead of you. Long abandoned, the stone structures have crumbled and weathered, and you step across a long line of broken stone that may have been a wall long ago, or the foundation of some grand building. Towards the center of the ruins, buildings still stand, roofless, with partially collapsed walls. Shoddily constructed wooden pallisades have been erected in the narrow alleys between the remaining structures and the windows have been blocked with criss-crossing splintered planks, creating a crude but effective wall around the village square, the only visible entrance being a narrow gate set into a long stetch of rough log pallisade at the southern side of the square, battered and hanging ajar. Skeletal heads are piked at intervals along the walls, bleached white by the sun, strung with leathery tendon. The black silohuettes of carrion birds wheel overhead in the grey afternoon sky.”
The fortified square appears to have been converted into a makeshift camp by a tribe of goblins, though many of the goblin huts within the crude walls are heavily damaged. The party is attacked by another group of goblin Jacks, leading them to believe that the goblins suffered an attack similar to the one faced by Droma, and recently.
In one of the intact goblin huts, the party discovers Deego, the sole survivor of the attack on the village by the ‘glowskulls’. The question him about the ruins, hoping for information leading them towards the Order’s lost meeting hall. He makes mention of a ‘white monster room’ accessible through the ruined city’s sewers, and after being bribed with food, agrees to lead the party through the tunnels.
They make their way through the crumbling passageways, negotiating treacherous walkways and elaborate drainage systems. They battle an otyugh and are separated at one point by a collapsing floor. They finally reach the ‘white monster room’, bloodied and weary, after several hours.
“Dominating the center of the room is a large statue of a wyvern, carved from some gritty once-white stone, now grey with age and slick with green brown algae. Decayed and water damaged tapestries hang unevenly on the walls, their designs long faded and illegible.”
They discover the skeletal corpses of several men and dwarves seated around a long, low table, and a large book, bound in cracked ancient leather. Garran touches the book, and is immediately stricken by a strange seizure of sorts. A spirit remains, guarding the knowledge held within the ledger’s pages. He manages to convince the spirit that he is not an agent of Mordan, and in fact, seeks a means to destroy the evil spreading again from the Cinderlands. The spirit guarding the tome grants him the ability to read and speak the lost language of Faradrim. So gifted, the seizure subsides, though he is left unconscious.
The party makes their way back through the sewers of Passwall, this time carrying an unconscious halfling. Upon reaching the surface, they rest in the failing afternoon sun, and Garran regains his senses. As the night begins to fall, Deego notices spots of violet light appearing among the ruined buildings outside of the goblin palisade.
The party rushes to close the gates and readies themselves for the attack. Deego leads them to a machine, built by his ostracized and eccentric father, that may aid them in holding back the rapidly converging horde – a small, steam powered catapult of sorts.Garran and Deego manage to get the small machine running, and with Brutus tossing them up armloads of debris and buckets of coals from the firepit, they begin to bombard the Jacks as Adarra, Mariss, and Mo the Grand hold the gates.
The siege breaks only as dawn drew near, and with half the ruins alight from errant catapult shots, the Jacks retreated into the darkness. The party rests, and saddle their horses for the return trip to Droma, leaving a proud Deego the default king of the southern goblin tribes.