Nim, Theren and Rudy made quick plans as they healed up from their initial fight with the Black Petal and her undead escort. When they teleported back into the room the marrowshriek skeleton they had destroyed still lay on the floor but Uthrid and the enemies remaining were not to be seen. The spectral tendrils immediately wafted from the floor and tried to attack. With some luck from Nim, Theren avoided the tendrils and moved away from the teleportation circle – to the right side of the room. The boneclaw was creeping around the curved wall in the center of the room. As it charged Theren, the elf fired his bow. He hit and the boneclaw attacked with his long arms and claws. After firing, Theren shifted and a marrowshriek skeleton appeared from where he had stood invisible. Theren shifted away from it but was dazed when the creature shrieked. Another marrowshriek skeleton appeared on the other side of the teleportation circle and dazed Nim when he shrieked and then grabbed him. Nim broke free and Rudy followed Theren. Theren and Rudy were clear of the spectral tendrils. Theren charged past the boneclaw and was clawed again. Beyond the boneclaw he saw the Black Petal standing by a large stone sarcophogus. Rudy and Nim battled the marrowshriek skeletons. The boneclaw and Black Petal harrassed Theren. A marrowshriek skeleton fell as the battle raged and all the party members had moved closer to the sarcophogus on which the Black Petal now stood. All party members had been wounded by the undead to varying degree. Nim hit the Black Petal with two spells and Theren added an arrow. She was bloodied. Suddenly the entire tower shook as if from a strong quake in the earth. The Black Petal had been thrown against the wall by Nim’s spell. She teleported across the room and ran for the teleportation circle and left the room. The adventurers took down the last two undead and Theren threw open the sarcophogus. Inside lay Uthrid nearly dead. He was stripped down to his small clothes, all his possessions were gone. The tower continued to shake and the party felt vertigo. Rudy healed Uthrid and the fighter awoke with serious distress. He babbled about a succubus and a black army but soon shouted, “The tower is sinking into the ground!” The party ran to the teleportation circle. They were assaulted by the spectral tendrils but managed to make it to the circle and escaped the room. They ran to the spiral stairs s the tower continued to shake. In the stairwell the could hear water rushing in below. They ran to the private chambers – the only room with a window in the tower. They burst through the door and saw that the window was at ground level. They only had a few seconds to escape. Theren and Rudy took damage getting out the window but they all got out alive. Outside there was no sight of their horses or The Black Petal. A large army was gathered on the other side of the tower, waiting for it to sink back into the ground so they could march. Hoping they hadn’t been seen, the adventurers ran into the woods and took cover. Uthrid then had a chance to tell them about a dreamlike vision he had while unconscious.
Uthrid was sitting at a table in the grand hall of a Keep. He was discussing books with two men and a woman. One man he recognized as Jonathan Steward. He looked very old. He was wearing only his underclothes as were the other two people who were middle aged but not familiar to Uthrid. Uthrid felt confused and uncomfortable. He was not sure what had been going on for the last few minutes. He was frustrated because he was not familiar with the books the other three were speaking of and he had nothing to offer to the conversation. As Uthrid’s attention was drawn to a window in the room that overlooked the grounds he heard the woman addressed as “Crysilla” and the man as “Jobeck”.
A dark figure stood by the window with its back to Uthrid. Shadows moved outside the window and Uthrid saw dark figures moving around campsites picking up and readying to move. Uthrid felt a dark figure stading by him and it seemed he had moved to stand by the window. He saw undead soldiers (wraiths) shouting orders at humans, goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears as the campsites converged into an army getting ready to march. In the distance, Uthrid saw the Bloodstone Tower jutting from the ground between the two hills. He saw mist drifting up from the cracks in the earth. He could not remember how he got past the tower but he must have been inside the Steward Keep. He didn’t remember what had happened to Rudy, Theren and Nim. Uthrid wanted to act but his arms and legs would not cooperate. He felt like he was in a confined space.
“The Book of Ao?” he heard asked behind him and he turned to look at the three people at the table. He did not actually feel his neck move or his body turn but his eyes turned in the direction of the table. The three people no longer sat at the table. Jonathan, Crysilla and Jobeck lied in plain wooden coffins in front of the table with a copper piece placed over each of their eyes. A woman stood behind the table. She was the one who spoke.
“Yes, that is what some call it,” a cold steely voice came from the dark preseance beside Uthrid, “just ask him about the book he took from Nevern. Where did he put it?”
Uthrid was confronted by two creatures. They took up his complete vision yet he could only look at one of them at a time – like they were at opposite ends of a corridor and Uthrid stood in the middle. They seemed so close to him yet so far from one another. One was Driedel. The lich stared with a glowing yellow light from the otherwise empty sockets that peered from below a great helmet carved to look like a basilisk. An amulet hung around its neck. The other was a naked, voluptuous, black-haired woman. Bat wings sprouted from her back and her face was adorned with horns and fangs. Uthrid had seen her before. She was the succubus from Fort Dolor. As he looked at her he imagined that Driedel’s icy fingers were about to drop onto the center of his back and when he glanced quickly at Driedel the world swayed giving him a nauseous feeling and as he gazed into Driedel’s skull he imagined the devils fangs about to sink into his neck.
Driedel began to question Uthrid about the whereabouts of THE BOOK while the succubus tried to dominate him and make him answer truthfully.
Uthrid became dominated and told Driedel that the book was given to Lord Perrobin Harvest of Spearpoint.
Much to Uthrid’s dismay, the events about THE BOOK, Perry Barefoot, and Uthrid’s father and brothers streamed from his lips in great detail.
Uthrid was not sure what he had revealed but knew it was far too much. Driedel was satisfied and conversed with the succubus as if Uthrid was not there.
DRIEDEL: Well done. That was almost too easy.
SUCCUBUS: The brawny ones usually are. They have their uses though. I wouldn’t mind getting this one in the flesh – along with his friends.
DRIEDEL: Once you break through you are welcome to come back here and dig up what’s left of them. I’m done with this place.
DRIEDEL: You’ve been more than compensated for your trouble, however. The black army will march to the eastern gate. That will catch them by surprise and as soon as their attention is distracted, the Iron General will crash through their gate. Your Red Army will find little resistance before they get their chance to raise hell with the dragonborn.
The succubus collected the coins from the eyes of the three dead people. As Driedel moved to the door to the Keep the ground trembled. The black army stood ready to leave and the Bloodstone Tower began sinking back into the ground. Uthrid’s world faded to black. The next thing he knew Rudy was waking him and they needed to get out of the tower.
The fear inspiring mist cleared as the tower slipped into the ground and the ground closed back up. The black army began to march. The wraith soldiers directed the others. The adventurers moved as quickly as they could back toward the road where Coarsus Durgin waited with ten Bridgeblock soldiers. They arrived a few moments before the black army and alerted the soldiers. Coarsus ordered two of his men to give Rudy and Theren their horses. Nim rode with one of them while Theren ran ahead scouting the road back toward Bridgeblock. Coarsus Durgin and his soldiers rode to warn Cheap Whiskey of the black army. Coarsus would reach the fort called the Frontier Gate before he reached Cheap Whiskey. He hoped he could gather some men there and at the least slow up the black army while other rode on to Cheap Whiskey to alert Courses brother- the Captain of Cheap Whiskey.
Nim prepared some Sending rituals while he rode. He sent word to the elders in the Harken Forest, to Makkus Day and to Finji and Nino Zookwicket who were spies working for him in Bridgeblock. Coarsus gave the adventurers a letter and told them to give it to his family. Fort Durgin would be the first place they came to along the road. The letter told his family that they could trust the adventurers.