Welcome to the Northern Reach! Join us in following an adventuring party through the eyes of their Wizard, Trilith, as they investigate strange lights on a nearby island. Click here to read the backstories of the party!
The first draft of Trilith’s report to High Magus Rurik Vikstrom of the Council of Fortitude
To the honorable High Magus Vikstorm,
The findings of our expedition are dire in the extreme. A magic-user, or magic-users, of extraordinary power, are currently creating an army of undead but two hours from our shore on Jolnir. I urge swift and decisive action to destroy this threat before it grows yet more powerful or attacks our cities.
As directed, on Oathday, 26th of Winterwane, 1267 I journeyed with a cleric of Pelor, a paladin of Hieroneous, and an Elven ranger to investigate the fort on Jolnir. Capt. Solberg Berentsson was efficient and swift in getting us to the island despite the high seas. Because of the rough coast to the north, we disembarked on the southeast side of the island and made our way inland to reach the fort.
We soon encountered a handful of kobolds, and were in the process of dispatching them when set upon by a group of four skeletons. The cleric Geldion was instrumental, turning 3 to dust, allowing us to destroy the fourth. His magic is compelling, powerful.
Alas, it is not his own but his gods. Still, it must be an amazing feeling to channel that much divinity. I’m sorry to say, my Disrupt Undead spell was ineffectual. I hope to find a way to practice this art, though that may be difficult without an undead subject.
We could not determine the age of the skeletons, but ascertained that their equipment is being kept in good repair. Which begs the question, by whom? The skeletons had come from the west, not the north, but as we later learned, groups of four undead patrol the island regularly.
In the center of the island, we encountered a bugbear zombie. Judging from the purification, it died quite some time ago. It was a foul, disgusting creature that we destroyed, but not without considerable injury to our ranger and paladin—and this from a creature using only its fists. I’m loathed to imagine what would have happened had it been armed with swords as the skeletons were. Antinua’s sword and Geldion’s mace cut the thing down. Our cleric was again instrumental in restoring our companions. His magic is impressive.
We continued on toward the fort, but soon caught sight of another patrol of four skeletons. These were dragging the dead Kobolds from our first encounter toward the fort. Whether the kobolds were destined to be food for some unknown creature are were to be raised as yet more soldiers I can’t say. But it seems clear whoever is responsible is denuding the island of its inhabitants.
As we had yet to achieve our goal of surveying the fort, and time was running short, we decided not to engage the new skeletal patrol but followed it to the clearing before the structure.
Whoever is occupying the fort has not put any resources into repairing the walls. We could clearly see the destruction wrought by the attack so long ago. Which at least means the walls could be easily breached. Much of the equipment used for the attack, trebuchet, catapults, remain moldering where they were abandoned but none appeared to be in usable condition. The gate stood open and it is unclear if it is currently capable of being closed. The walls, where not destroyed, were guarded by skeletons and kobold zombies. This is perhaps where the newly slain kobolds are destined.
Most disturbingly, our paladin spotted a dark-robed figure that seemed to be human, in the courtyard. It appeared to be assessing a large, skeletal, winged creature that was flapping its bare-boned wings trying to take flight. What new horror could this be? Is there some magic that would allow such a creature to fly? If this necromancer or dark cleric has discovered such a thing, our situation is more dire than I can imagine.
As we were surveying the fort, we spotted yet another group of four skeletons patrolling to the east. As we were short on time, we did not learn the exact timing or routes of the patrols, but we believe there were at least five patrols active at the time. How many more undead yet lurk behind the fort walls? And, how much power does it take to control so many undead at one time? That feat alone is astonishing and terrifying.
Fearing detection, and out of time, we made our way back toward the rendezvous point. We discovered another patrol between ourselves and the boat and engaged them. My burning hands spell and the paladin’s sword did some damage, but it was the cleric again who won the day, blasting them all to dust with a prayer to Pelor.
We took to the boat with all haste, spotting yet more undead on the way. Some large undead creature hurled a spear that cracked our hull, and with the storm moving in, it was a harrowing trip back with our valuable trove of information. Capt. Berentsson relayed that he and his men had seen two patrols of skeletons as they waited for us. He was brave to remain until our return. There’s no way to know if these were the same that we encountered or yet more skeletons.
Our recommendation would be to send as large a force as possible and as soon as possible to destroy this menace. Certainly, the proliferation of undead in the same location as last time cannot be a coincidence. It must be determined if there is something about this island or something in the fort that is aiding the strength of whatever dark magic users are inhabiting it. Whatever force is sent should, from my observations, include as many clerics as possible. Geldion was by far the most effective member of our party against this particular threat.
I felt my own contributions were limited. I would like to have done more, and I urge you again to allow me to complete the ritual to gain a familiar. A raven would have allowed me to survey the fort from above and give you a more complete picture of the forces arrayed against us. I fail to understand why I have been denied my request
except sheer cussedness and pigheadedness.
I want to commend my companions for their valor and skill on a much more difficult mission than any of us had imagined. I am available anytime to answer questions or elaborate on my statement and I await your orders.
Your dutiful initiate,