While traveling to Blackwall Keep, the party encountered a merchant named Reginald Finn. Finn and his daughter, Anara Finn, had been traveling to Blackwall Keep and other Cairn Hills outposts, when their group was set upon by bandits. The only survivors were Finn, Anara, and a couple of guards named Paul and Cat. Finn, noting that some of the party were dressed as members of the Cairn Hills Militia, offered to pay the party to serve as his temporary guard, just as far as Blackwall Keep. They accepted.
Along the way, Finn had made plans for an overnight detour to a lodge where he had stayed as a boy. The party stayed in the barn, keeping watch over the horses and wagons. During the night, Berik Ironfist overheard Anara and Paul sneaking off into the forest, enjoying each other’s company. Their laughter turned to screams before long, however, and when the party investigated, they found Paul’s headless body, muddy footprints leading away from the scene, and no sign of Anara.
While most of the party began following the trail immediately, Cat, who took his role as guard of Finn’s goods seriously, went to check with Finn to see if he should pursue the man’s missing daughter. As it turned out, Finn cared more for his daughter’s welfare than for two wagons full of goods, and Cat rejoined the group.
The trail led to a cave opening by the river. When the party entered the cave, they found themselves face to face with more than twenty undead creatures – zombies, skeletons, and a ghoul, all female. Fortunately, Berik was able to call upon Moradin to turn most of the undead, and the party was able to finish off the rest.
As they continued deeper into the cave, the party found a trap. Cat, attempting to fill the role of party thief, tried to disarm the trap and failed miserably, nearly dying in the process.
Shortly afterward, the party found a large cavern. Anara was there, held in a bamboo cage set atop a pentagram. She was guarded by zombies, and was resisting attempts to make her eat a bowl of rotten flesh. Some of the turned undead were also here, as was a hulking undead monster whose face was concealed by a greathelm and who wielded a giant falchion. The party defeated the monster and his minions, though the fight was not without cost. Donal Stonehaven nearly died, though he recovered quickly, and Olaf Olafsson lost a hand to the monster’s sword. Surprisingly, none of Keyrock of the Cave People’s dogs were killed in the fight.
As they returned to the lodge, the party encountered Ephraim again, who informed them that the monster would return unless they broke the curse. To do this, they needed to destroy the monster’s body and return the pieces to his grave, and a woman needed to deliver the final strike. The party decided to follow through with this, and Anara was happy to help destroy the monster who had kidnapped and tortured her; however, as they attempted to break the curse, a wraith appeared, attacking and screaming, “Leave my boy alone! He’s a good boy! He punishes those wicked whores!”
Again, victory came with a price. The party defeated the wraith and broke the curse. However, the wraith’s energy drain took the lives of Reginald Finn and Cat, and seriously hurt Feredir, robbing him of all of his hard-earned experience.
After the curse was broken, the party was granted two boons. First, Ephraim offered them his old adventuring gear. While he would now be free to leave Crystal Lake, he decided he’s too old to start over again. Second, Anara announced that she would be taking over her father’s business for now, and if the remaining party will help her reach Blackwall Keep safely, she will give them half the profits from the remaining goods.
PC XP: 1,003
Henchmen XP: 501
PC Gold: 1,379 (don’t forget to pay your henchmen)
Items from Ephraim: Leather Armor +1, Potion of healing, Rope of climbing