Eberron - Dreams of Xen'drik

Stormreach - Resentful Dead

The next day, Ral decided to visit the Giants of Rusheme, and Malaxder and Anton decided to accompany him. Walking through the Grindstone district, the three of them overheard a group of the Swords of Karrn discussing some kind of problem happening in the district. Malaxder stopped them and offered to give what aid he could, but he was rudely rebuffed by the leader of the patrol, who informed him it was a Karrnathi problem and none of their business. Mal shrugged off the man’s rudeness, and the three of them continued on to their destination among the giants.
Later that evening, a House courier arrived at Erel’s Emporium with a message for Mal from a nobleman named Major Boyd Leonus. The Major invited the group of them to his home, on the condition that they be discreet about the problems that Grindstone was having. The group followed the Major’s instructions, and arrived at his manor home in the Karrnathi district escorted by a group of The Swords of Karrn. Entering the estate, they found that Karrnathi undead soldiers patrolled the grounds, although the gate guards were living humans. Inside the estate, more undead stood guard, tucked away from sight, no doubt to avoid offending or upsetting the citizens of Stormreach.
Escorted upstairs by Lt Barren, the Major’s assistant, they finally met with the Major himself – a large middle aged man, dressed in a an officers uniform. He offered the group a libation, and sat down to explain the situation to them: He and his men were in Stormreach in pursuit of a dangerous war criminal from the Last War: a necromancer named Jolan Tankran.
Jolan was responsible for many of the atrocities visited on the enemies of Karrnath during the Last War, and when the war was over he refused to cease his necromantic experiments. When he was finally caught, he used his knowledge of magic and his many undead monsters to escape into the Karrnathi countryside, where Major Leonus and his unit have pursued him ever since. They finally tracked him down in Stormreach, where it seems he has been continuing his experiments. The current problem is a plague that Jolan has released into the city, one that slays it’s victims and reanimates them as zombies. The zombies then spread the plague to victims they attack, making it a potential disaster in a small city like Stormreach. The Major said that Jolan had taken refuge in the tunnels beneath the city, making it very difficult for he and his men to track him down and capture him. Lacking the manpower to explore the tunnels, the Major was forced to rely on the group to bring Jolan back out.
He insisted that Jolan be brought out alive, so that he could be taken back to Karrnath to stand trial for his crimes. The group agreed, and the Major informed them of the last place the zombies had been seen in Stormreach, a crack in the walls that led to the catacombs below. The group decided to rest for the night and recover their strength before entering the tunnels. Back at their home, Ral told the group he did not trust the Major, and he felt that he was unnatural somehow. Mal joking suggested that perhaps he was a vampire, and Ral’s face paled. Ral & Tierel decided to stay behind the next day and see what information they could dig up on the Major, while the rest of the group journeyed into the sewers to track down the necromancer.
The next day, Shackleton, Anton, Baph and Mal made their way down into the tunnels beneath the city. Traveling for some time, they wandered into several dead ends and switchbacks in the maze-like tunnels, and in one were ambushed by a group of cannibalistic ghouls. Some of the tunnels were rough hewn-stone, while others were clearly shaped and worked into rooms and tunnels.
Tiring of attacks from the undead, Anton cast hide from undead, and they made their way deeper into the catacombs. In one room, they found themselves suddenly surrounded by plague zombies, a large group of them shambling through. Each of them stayed as still as possible, hoping not to touch any of the undead and break the spell protecting them The zombies shambled dangerously close to them, nearly touching Baph, but in the end they continued past the group and on into the tunnels.
Pressing on into the depths, they finally came across a doorway in the wall with a curious sign: “The Home of Jolan Tankran.” Why Jolan would clearly label his home was a mystery to them, but they entered carefully and began exploring. Entering a short way into the catacombs, they were set upon by terrible undead constructs, whose teeth and claws were shaped from black ice, and who drained the life from the victims they bit. With the help of Anton’s holy power, they destroyed the undead and continued exploring the tomb.
Finally, they came across a room with several plague zombies strapped to the walls, chained so that they could not attack but still quite active. In the room beyond, they saw the necromancer bent over another form strapped to a table. They remembered that the Major had warned them that Jolan was a dangerous necromancer, and he had advised them not to let him speak, but to attack him immediately. Malaxder prepared a counterspell in case he attempted to cast, and the group entered the room.
Jolan looked up from his work, but rather than attacking immediately he asked them who they were, and what they were doing there. When the group explained, he sighed resignedly and asked that before they drag him off, he be allowed to try and heal the victim he was working with. As Malaxder moved closer, he realized that the “victim” strapped to the table was not human but a plague zombie, and Jolan’s was casting protective and cleansing spells, not curses. Mal agreed to let him finish, and clearly observed Jolan cast remove curse.
The spell did not have the effect he had hoped for however, and the zombie simply died on the table. Mal asked Jolan what was really going on, and he gladly explained: He really was a Karrnathi necromancer from the Last War, and he really had created a great many undead soldiers during that time. He continued his work after the war in secret, mostly due to pressure from a cabal of Karrnathi officers who felt that the war was not over and Karrnath needed to continue being prepared for the inevitable conflict. However, when the cabal of officers was discovered they pinned their crimes on Jolan, and betrayed his location to the King’s Inquisitors. When the inquisitors attacks, Jolan fled into the countryside. Rather than admit their guilt, the officers pinned all their crimes on him, and a few more besides. Jolan traveled incognito as long as possible, but when he heard that the zombie plague was loose in Stormreach, he journeyed here to try and unravel it, recognizing it as a doomsday weapon developed during the war to loose in case of Karrnath’s defeat.
Leonus was not only a member of that cabal, Jolan informed them he was also a vampire, and a powerful one at that. The Major had sent another group of adventurers to find him before, and Jolan was able to bribe them off with what supplies he had left. However, he now had nothing left with which to bribe the group, and had long ago sworn he would never take another life, having seen far too much death during the Last War. Shackleton was enraged at having been duped by the Major, and the group agreed that they were tired of being pawns. Jolan told them that if they were willing to help him, the group of them together might stand a chance of defeating the Major and his vampire spawn. They readily agreed, and made their way out of the tunnels to confront Leonus.
Meanwhile, back on the surface Tierel spent some time monitoring the entrance to the ruins. Sitting and watching carefully, she managed to spot someone else doing the same thing. The man was wearing a dark colored Karrnathi uniform, and was hidden in a slightly less effective spot. Tierel easily snuck up behind him, putting her dagger to his throat. She tersely asked him what he was doing there, but he vanished rather suddenly into a puff of mist, leaving her holding her knife alone in the alleyway. Not long after, the others emerged from the depths with a disguised Jolan with them. Tierel joined them and they made their way to the house to gather Ral in preparation for the confrontation with Major Leonus. Informing Ral of the truth of the major, they steeled themselves for the battle and made their way to the Major’s mansion in Grindstone.
Arriving there, they were welcomed in by the Major’s men, and brought into the same waiting room where they had met before. Through gritted teeth, the Major informed Jolan he would now be punished for his crimes. Jolan responded that he could do as he wished, but it would not bring the Major’s son back. The Major turned then, his eyes glowing red with rage, and finally revealed his undead nature. Anton immediately attempted to turn him, but the Major vanished suddenly from where he was standing, and several vampire soldiers appeared and the battle was joined.
Anton channeled holy power while Malaxder and Jolan cast their best defensive spells. Tierel and Shackleton tried to flank their attackers, while Ral used psionic power to fling rays of fire at the undead surrounding them. One of Ral’s rays went astray, and the floor beneath them began to smolder and burn. Beating back the vampire spawn, the group began to make their way down the stairs to the ground floor, fighting off skeletal soldiers and vampire spawn all the way. While the house burned down around them, the group fought their way to the front door, only to find the Major himself blocking their exit at the end. However, even his vampiric strength was no match for their combined might, and his physical form was broken, forcing him to retreat in mist form and flee the battle.
The group gathered what little they could from the wreckage of the burning house and fled into the night, hoping that the Swords of Karrn would not pursue them. In the following days, it seemed the Swords had not noticed them entering the Major’s house, and the fire was dismissed as an accident. According to reports from Grindstone, no bodies were found in the wreckage, and the Major was considered to have disappeared mysteriously. The group decided to give Jolan shelter with them, and Malaxder asked him to aid Andraste in tracking down Fury. Given Jolan’s degree of magical knowledge, he would be a great boon to her, and she could help keep him safe from any more vampiric retaliation.

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