The players broke camp at dawn and headed south for the White Tree. As our adventurers approached, they saw the once small graveyard that now stretched for miles past the cemetaries original border. Ramshackle fences denote each hurried expansion. New crypts brake free from the ground at regular intervals, creating the only sound in this haunted place, as the adventurers meandered their way along the ancient broken cobblestones.
The Longstriders part ways at the first Graveyard gate, which were torn asunder as if by some herculean force. One-Eye slipped a scrap of paper with a hand-drawn map to the Longstrider Winter Camp to Ryn, who quickly pocketed the precious item. The young hunters bid reluctant farewells, casting long looks at the dark graveyard as they passed, and Shaky pulled Cylis aside and exchanged a few words before pulling his Feathered Serpent away, along the twisting road that skirts the cemetery border.
Heavy blue mist clung to the stifling cemetery air, obscuring vision as the adventurers passed the broken gates. Phil put his tracking skills to work, revealing recent evidence of battle between Orcish Raiders and the Undead. Ryn followed these with trepidation, as the fellowship scanned row upon row of headstones for any sign of movement.
The Cerulean mist grew thicker as the group followed the Northern animal tracks deeper within the Cemetery, and soon they came upon the border between the new Orcish graves and the assortment of foreign crypts that had sprouted from the ground, mysterious mausoleums seemingly transported from other worlds. Here the adventurers found the corpses of the Northern Raiders mounts, and signs of pitched battle between the Orcish Reavers and a host of dessicated corpses, torn to grisly bits during the melee. While their mounts were summarily slaughtered, the Orcs themselves appeared to have been dragged deeper within the Cemetery, into the maddening maze of mausoleums that had sprung up around the White Tree. The players found remains of three different creatures among the corpses, Hyena-vipers, Tusk-rats, and a single Smolderscale Drake.
Animated corpses burst from the sodden ground the moment our heroes crossed the threshold of the old graveyard; dessicated Orcish zombies clawed through the soft ground, shambling towards the group with murderous intent. They were joined by smoldering skeletons, souls incinerated by the Smolderdrakes, restless spirits forever filled with burning rage over their untimely deaths.
The group steeled themselves, gathered their will, and prepared for the onslaught, as dozens of the undead swarmed upon them. Phil drew his bow, while Ryn called upon the Fury of the Ancients, growing to mountainous size. The savage Lobex charged through the milling mass of zombies, crushing them beneath his massive fists. Cylis summoned forth a shadowy protector from the mist, who positioned himself between the walking dead and his vaporous master.
The shambling horde proved little match for our heroes, though each charred skeleton that fell exploded into fiery shards, burning any unlucky enough to share close proximity. For each that fell, two more clawed there way above ground, and the group began searching the shadows, for sign of escape. Cylis spied a dark figure, hiding at the edge of the battlefield, a fresh corpse seemingly possessed by the undead. This cadaver bore markings of the Laughing Serpents, though he watched the proceedings with an imperious air, and the glowing eyes of a Spectre.
Cylis caught the creature unaware, summoning a giant shadow-elemental who surprised the corpse, catching the spectre and holding it fast in it’s massive vaporous fists. Ryn and Phil redoubled their efforts, fighting back the zombie horde, as Cylis attempted to parley with the captured ghost, whose glowing eyes portrayed more intelligence than any of the corpses seen here-to-fore. A few brief words awoke the spectre as if from a dream; the creature seemed astonished as to the presence of these foreigners, and seemed surprised that they were not more Northern Raiders. As the spirit regained it’s senses, the shambling corpses lost their will to fight, and slowly returned to their graves.
The possessed Laughing Serpent introduced himself as Kurtog The Fist, a renowned warrior and son of Warchief Rusk. Kurtog had died during The War of The Clans, and had returned as a spirit following his interment beneath the White Tree. Kurtog informed the group that he was one of many spirits awakened by the Northern Reavers, spirits who were provoked by the presence of these Orcish Invaders, and who were bound by their fateful deaths to forever haunt this forsaken place. These were the souls of the Leapers tribal council, killed by treachery before the War, and they had taken the bodies of the Northern Orcs as their own, one by one. Now his father held the few remaining Northern survivors in preparation for a blood sacrifice, payment to awaken an ancient power brought to this place in a crypt from another world.
Once the group ensured Kurtog of their intent, the body-snatcher confided in the players, admitting his fear that his father might have gone too far in awakening an ancient mysterious power. Kurtog dismissed his army of the dead, and lead the players to the base of the White Tree…