Splinters of faith

Them be some dangerous bats
Seriously? Bats?!?

After resting up yet again, the party descended back into the dungeon looking for loot, zombies, and maybe even something besides potatos to eat.  

The team decided to hook right upon entering the dungeon this time, wanting to steer clear of the big ugly they had previously seen down the other tunnel.  They were quickly greeted by another trio of zombies.  Luckily, our heroes seemed to have started learning to work as a team and the undead were quickly cut down.  Grut took a hit, but luckily his pal Thrandall was nearby to heal him.  

After battle, they proceeded to the next door and found some other type of undead inside.  Fortunately (and much to the chagrin of certain DMs), this monstrosity was cut down before it could lay a finger on the anybody.  Grut and Cher took up defensive positions outside the door and Iona fired a flaming crossbow bolt into the room, severely injuring the undead.  Grut and Cher then cut it down as it exited the room.  Iona decided to dig deep inside the cadaver and found an emerald.

On the inside of this door was tan inscription

"In the halls of eight disciplines, perfection freely offered."

The party was feeling very highly of themselves after their last victory and they proceeded to the next room.  Inside, the floor and ceiling seemed to be alive with movement.  Against his better judgement, Grut decided to leave the door open and allow what was within to come to them.  The party was quickly overrun by undead bats and rats.  Cher and Grut were able to cut down the seething pile of undead rats, but the bats seemed to cause trouble for everyone.  Cher quickly decided to lure the bats back into the room, then escaped as Grut slammed the door back shut.  The party then retreated back to town to regroup.

After a night's rest (and more potatos), the party decended once again into the darkness, steering clear of the bat room.  They decided to give the next door a try and found two more of the non-zombies (identified instead as ghouls) inside.  These were also cut down with little difficulty.

Inside, the party found another inscription on the door, but Iona was too weary from the difficult battles to be able to interpret the readings.  The party decided once again to regroup in town and pool their resource for their next forray into the dungeon.

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They found Undead 'Chicken-Snatchers'

Exhausted from the previous encounter, the party heads back to town with the wagon and one of the ruffians tied in the back.  They speak with Almery, informing the priest that the 'fox' problem has been solved, to which he awards them with a bushel of potatoes and some vinegared eggs.  After resting at the old inn, the party decides to investigate what precisely the ruffians were guarding.  

With Grut leading the way, followed by Cher, Thrandal, and Iona, the party enters a tunnel dug into the hill.  As they approach bend downwards, Grut suddenly looses his footing and slides rapidly down the rest of the way.  The tunnel had been greased for some reason.  Cher, Thrandel and Iona managed to maintain their footing on the way down, and encountered a happy unhurt Grut at the bottom.

The party had arrived at a circular room.  The entrance behind them appeared that it had been hewn out of the rock, whist on the other side of the room was a door lying on the ground off its hinges.  The walls were adorned with various symbols, all crafted out of skulls and thigh bones.  Finally, there was a curious green flame brazier hanging in the center of the room, granting light.  As they pass the doorway, Iona reads some writing on the door, which says "Forged first in Dargath's fires".

The adjacent room turns out to be a long curving corridor, with pillars following its length.  The party encounters another door to the left, only this one is stuck in place.  Both Grut and Cher attempt to open the door, but it fails to even budge at their attempts.  Thrandel, fed up with their attempts, tries to open it himself.  He succeeds in leveraging his entire body, and opens the door so forcefully that the door strikes Iona as it opens.  Immediately bones start spilling into the corridor, and the party sees a room not unlike the first they entered, only filled with bones.  Grut decides to peruse the room, and finds amongst the chaff a purple potion.  Cher tastes the potion, and quickly deduces that it is a potion of Bull's Strength.  Grut seems pleased with this discovery, and saves the potion for later.

As they exit the room the party encounters a pack of zombies.  This fight does not go well.  Iona, in casting Color Spray on the zombies, discovers the hard way that zombies are rather resilient to mind altering affects.  She later finds more success just burning the zombies.  Cher fails twice to cut the zombies, despite successfully striking them with her swords.  Grut proceeds to rage and hew through the zombies with his flaming sword.  During the fight both Iona goes down, and Thrandel barely manages to keep the party afloat with a series of Cure Light Wounds.  Eventually, exhausted and battered, the party finds themselves the victors in the encounter, and quickly retreat to rest and recuperate.

The next day, now a bit demoralized that a pack of three zombies would cause them so much grief, the party returns to the underground structure.  The party passes by the door Thrandel threw open the day prior, and come upon an open doorway on their left.  As soon as they caught sight of it, another pack of zombies shambled forward, threatening to gnaw on their flesh.  Grut storms forward at the zombies, while Cher decides to peek inside the room.  She witnesses a horror atop a throne of bones, and proceeds to close the door and hold it tight.  Shortly thereafter a shadow drops from the ceiling and attempts to siphon Iona's strength.  The party manages to dispatch the zombies and the shade easily, though they decide to take a respite before investigating the figure behind the now sealed room. 

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They found the chickens

Iona detected magic and located tablet hidden under the rug in Almery's house.  'Take heed, for undying iniquity rests within these walls. Upon this site the scepter of united faith fulfilled destiny. The dead priest, Akruel, shall rule no longer. We, the faiths of the world, place this stone so none shall ever forget the bloodshed. Take heed, lest evil awaken!'

The party realizing they're fatigued and hungry headed back down and got a meal from the only store in town.  Next they found the inn locked up.  They went back to Almery to see if he knew of a place to sleep.  Almery unlocked the inn and allowed them to sleep.

After getting some sleep (mid-afternoon) the party got up and went for another meal.  Next they decided to retrace the events of the night before and found the footsteps in the daylight.  They followed them east out of town till they headed south.  Another set of smaller prints were found as they headed into the forest, they pressed on following the larger footsteps.

The trail rounded the hill, heading south in the forest, the trail then lead them west.  They located what looked to be a camp with 2 oxen a cart, and a horse nearby, but no owners.  

As they got closer they ran into 4 ruffians carrying crowbars and heading toward them telling them to leave.   Grut readied an action. The party warned the ruffians to stop advancing, the ruffians continued.  In response Iona shot a warning shot. The ruffians continued forward slowly.  The party continued to ready themselves.  Then the ruffians began rushing Grut whom was in front.  Grut caught the first one as he charged him.  The ruffian took a hit across the chest and continued to hit Grut.  As the ruffian hit Grut, he fell to the floor bleeding.  The next ruffian also charged Grut and hit him knocking him.  The other 2 ruffians also moved in.  One of them engaged Cher and hit her after her readied strike lightly landed on the ruffian.  Iona then proceeded to teach the ruffian the joys of burning hands.  Next a new assailant appeared from hiding to stab Thrandel.  The other ruffian still on Grut hit him one more time to drop him to the ground.

Thrandel stepped back and casted Cure light wounds on himself. Iona turned to help Thrandel by casting color spray knocking the assailant out.  Cher downed the ruffian on her with a final strike.  The ruffian standing over Grut moved over to attack Cher, but missed.  Thrandel then moved over to Grut and cured his wounds.  Grut being a little disgruntled from his defeat then, from a prone position, went into a rage.  As his body tensed, his great sword light up in flame, he struck the ruffian standing over him.  He cut the ruffian rupturing the abdominal cavity, split him in half and burnt his corpse to a crisp.

Cher got out her rope and moved next to the unconscious assailant. Iona moved to the assailant and removed his weapon and other effects in case he woke up.  Thrandel and Grut began lifting the coin purses of the ruffians.  Cher tied up the assailant. Next Cher got the assailants rope and tied him up again, and then removed her nice silk rope from the assailant.

Examining the campsite they found the remains of many chickens.  The assailant woke up and they began questioning him.  They were hired to guard the entrance to a tunnel under the hill.

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It started with a chicken

Cher Locke Holmes and Grut signed onto a merchant caravan for work.  Coincidentally so did Thrandel as a healer.  

As they travelled one of the wagons had a wheel shatter. With no spares the three trekked 2 miles to the nearest town. Cher had Grut carry Thrandel by the scruff of the collar to make better time. 

They arrived in Lessef a small village with 25 people. All of the townsfolk are old with weathered faces. As they entered the town they heard someone yell about a fox stealing another chicken. 

Meanwhile in the only store/ bar in town, Iona ordered a drink. Iona overheard two of the locals talking about the chickens. She asked about the chickens to find out a fox had been stealing them and that there is a reward of a bushel of potatoes and a jar of pickled eggs. And was told to inquire about the current traps with Almery the cleric at the top of the hill. As Iona left the store she ran into Cher, Grut, and Thrandel. They joined up and went up the hill and met Almery.

Searching where the chickens were, the group was unable to find any other tracks than chicken tracks. Thrandel spoke with the chickens only to find out they thought the darkness was stealing their brethren. One of Almery'so children asked Iona if she had seen someone matching a sketch  he carried with him. Iona had not and told him so. The group decided to hide and see if they could capture the thief. They heard the their but the thief also detected them and ran. The group gave chase only to lose the trail. They decided to go back and continue to stand watch. No chickens were taken that night. 

The next morning they went back up the hill, Iona detected magic in the house Almery was staying.

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