City Of The Dead

(Partially taken from Lawrence Watt-Evans' "The Book of Silence" novel)
About two weeks after the battle with the demon wasps (Swarm), the party arrives at the edge of the Hammered Lands. They follow their directions across the ash plains and come to an old city, miraculously mostly intact, other than the damage of a millenium of weather. The party leaves their horses in a vacant building and heads towards the center of town, trying to find the royal chapel.

Once they enter town, they are attacked by zombies with glowing red eyes. Kiriana turns several and the party slays many with spells and blades. But they realize the town is filled with hundreds of zombies or more and that their horses are unprotected. They fight their way back to the horses and retreat from the town. The zombies do not follow them outside the gates of the city.

The party withdraws and rethinks. Antonio and Kiriana will ride through town and try to draw off the zombies. Fenric and Ulayoth will cast Fly on themselves, Jozan and Cyrus and fly to the central castle. Antonio and Kiriana ride around town, drawing bunches of zombies after them. Several times they are trapped and must fight their way through. Finally, they activate Jozan's Pennant of Protection from Evil and flee the city.

The search team flies to the remnants of the castle and Fenric spots a set of stairs leading into the dungeons. They enter and Jozan casts Locate Object and leads the way to the Book of Silence. They come to an antechamber with a black ebony door, emblazoned with a golden symbol. When Cyrus goes to examine it, he is paralyzed. Fenric releases him with a Dispel Magic spell, then uses Knock to open the door from a distance. The next room is filled with treasures: coins and jewelry, a short sword, a long bow, a shield, suits of leather and chain on stands, a spell book and a small wood box containing a ring. On a gold reading stand is the Book of Silence. Jozan approaches it, but is mesmerized by the shifting colors. Cyrus pulls out a sack and closes his eyes, Ulayoth talks him to the pedestal so he can cover the book and break its spell on Jozan. They take the book and treasures and flee. Leaving the dungeons, they encounter a group of zombies, Fenric Summons a half dozen giant beetles. They fight their way clear to the surface, recast their Fly spells and rejoin Kiriana and Antonio at camp.

With their quest completed, they take the long road back to Skelleth, arriving in late Fall. The Forgotten King accepts the book and tells them they have one last task to complete to be free of their bargain with him. They must accompany him to Dusarra and assist him in his ritual. He will give them five days to rest. They spend the time resupplying and examining the magic items they recovered. Then they set out on the road again. The Forgotten King rides no horse, but walks quickly and without tiring. The party leaves him behind on horseback, but he catches up and passes them at their rest stops.

They arrive at the gates of Dusarra, and the guards approach to question them. Struck by the appearance of the legendary Forgotten King, they fall back in panic. The Forgotten King leads them through the town, people flee from his path. They enter the temple of the God Who Must Not Be Named and are greeted by the lesser priest/caretaker. At the altar, the Forgotten King opens the Book of Silence. the lesser priest brings forth a box, from it the Forgotten King takes a clear mask and puts it on. He begins to chant his ritual while the party watches. Cyrus is struck with the certainty that the Forgotten King's ritual will end the world, everyone will die. He draws Obextalea and runs the Forgotten King through the chest. The sword passes through his body with ease and disembowels him. Cyrus is struck by the horror and suffers a moment of temporary insanity that does some permanent harm to him (he lost a point of Wisdom for getting a "1" on his save). The Forgotten King seems to shrink and fade away at the same time, then disappears and Obextalea glows, then disintegrates in Cyrus' hand. A wave of magic sweeps through them, stunning them. Jozan, Kiriana and Ulayoth faint. The rest of the party shakes off the stun. The lesser priest is dead, the altar, book and mask are gone. They decide to carry their unconscious comrades out to their horses and flee the city.

When they arrive at their previous campsite, it takes hours for the stricken members to recover. Kiriana has lost her paladin abilities, Jozan and Ulayoth's powers are drained. It takes several hours more for their powers to begin to recover and for Kiriana to regain her abilities. With the Forgotten King gone, they are free of their bargain. With no reason to return to Skelleth, they instead plan a course to Verella to return to the lands they know.

Quotes and smart remarks
Matt "I wasn't drunk last night, I was roleplaying my character."
Matt had borrowed Jim's Leatherman to use the screwdriver to fix his glasses:
Matt: "Oh my God, it's a perfect fit!"
Mike: "That's what she said!"