The group convened near the underground city again, except for Enyel. Enyel decided to check up on King Arthemius’s lead about undead disappearing into the nearby tunnel systems. After 15 minutes of waiting, the rest of the group figured they should look for him, much to Elric’s chagrin.
With his Orlan luck, Enyel quickly stumbled upon on a group of vagrant hobgoblins, with something much more ominous – an owlbear. With a lung full of airs, and assisted by a splendid singing voice, Enyel shrieked. His fearful yelped reverberated through all the caverns, and his companions made haste.
Enyel had a hard time avoiding the clubbing blows of one of the hobgoblins, but a well-placed Firebolt distracted him enough for the others to intervene in time. In the commotion, the Owlbear lost its restraints and inflicted crimson gashes on both the Paladin, Ra’el and the capable fighter, Thorood. The skirmish lasted for a while longer, but eventually, together, they managed to finish off the Hobgoblins and Owlbear without issue.
They patched themselves up and continued with the task at hand: supervising the mining operations and stop any potential interruptions from Brutus and his lot.
The group managed to cross a rope bridge, even though it wobbled extensively under the weight of the Kaessar, Ra’el. Without the clever thinking of Thorood and the preparedness of Elric, Ra’el may have tried crossing a bridge too far. After the successful crossing, their little investigation within the mining operations of the City Below began. The passing of time was difficult to follow in the cavernous depths, but it seems that the operation had come to a complete standstill.
In an area further ahead, they found a skeleton stuck in a cage above a door.
“Hello,” it said, causing a sudden stir within the group. It proclaimed it was the guard and that he couldn’t let anyone in. Enyel, always quick-on-his-feet offered that they arrived under the orders of King Arthemius upon which the caged skeleton quickly shared that they had stopped working due to an evil presence — the numerous undead were afraid of a spectral apparition. A ghost.
The irony of it all had the fellowship in stitches for a minute or so, until they finally met with the Foreman. Bolstered by their many successes, they exclaimed they would take care of the ghost so that mining the adamantine could resume.
They were told the ghost was roaming the excavation area. This particular area was crowded with tracks, empty and loaded carts, spines of metal chains hung about from the pitch black cavern’s ceiling – motionless. Elric could not feel any magic in the area, but Ra’el sensed there was something unnatural around this place. Perhaps a good guess based on the piles of bones and rotten flesh scattered around like sacrifices in a strange ritual.
That’s when – darting from the rock’s wall – a spirit dashed, with piercing screams, towards the form of Elric.
“Get out!” the apparition screamed at Elric. Thorood, his sword lined with silver, quickly intervened wounding the phantom. Enyel, too, tried. Ra’El and Elric proved more useful as one used his powers and the other his magic to keep the howling apparition at bay. The ghost fled.
Not soon after, a large force gathered by Brutus invaded the area – much to Elric’s surprise. He thought they had a different agreement. To not endanger his companions, he revealed himself to the group of undead and explained he was with Brutus as well. The malicious undead chattered excitingly, and they announced that the invasion of the Kingdom was underway, as well. Uncertain, the group returned to King Arthemius’s halls.
In the City Below, there wasn’t much chaos as expected. Instead, Brutus and a large group were battering the keep’s gates while the King was taunting them. Meanwhile, the Priests of Cernunnos descended from a rickety elevator attached to a system of chains that led down the area. They hopped off to one of the rooftops and Ra’el quickly joined up with them. It seems that he was in favour of the ritual.
Elric worried that his plans were headed awry, he shot a fireball at the others. Wide-eyed, Enyel took the brunt of the blast and got knocked out. Thorood, survived the initial blast and Yorick, one of the Priesthood, flung a potion at him. He contemplated abandoning the Crimson Vigil then and there, gripped with fear by Elric’s sudden betrayal.
Ra’el protected the Highpriest to continue the ritual with an artefact called the Eye of Cernunnos. A mirror-esque item. At the zenith of the ritual, wraiths arrived from unknown parts, rushing into the undead denizens. As the ghosts past through the unlife bodies, they sagged and collapsed – piles of hapless bones and rotten meat. It appeared that unlife was merely a spirit possessing a deceased host.
Thorood finally made his decision and rushed to Elric. Elric managed to evade most of Thorood’s attempts to cut through his body, but all Elric could do with his unleashed magic was keep the enraged Fighter at bay. The ritual complete and the attention of the Crimson Vigil on him, Elric withdrew. He vanished in an instant to a place the Crimson Vigil knew not where
Through dazed vision, Enyel saw that Elric was enveloped by a spirit as well. A being wrought in flame.