Despite the noise and carnage of the previous week’s fight, the entire thing had lasted just under a minute in terms of time elapsed. Perhaps it wasn’t such a surprise then when the adventurers realised that they could still hear the sounds of metal on glass and stone from further north within the quarry. After a few moments to apply healing spells and resupply from the camp’s armoury, they continued to explore.
They very quickly discovered the source of the noise. Two large stone buildings had survived more or less intact where the wooden framed village had burned. On one side of the road was a chapel, dedicated to the Sovereign Host. On the other side of the road was the House Cannith refinery. This is where much of the distinctive red marble used in all Cannith buildings used to come from, carved into building blocks and statuary by the same dwarven artisans whose twisted bodies had been reanimated to fight them.
The party decided to scout around the two buildings, having noticed at least one more zombie carrying debris out of the refinery. At the back of the chapel they found the graveyard, where zombies had been set to work disinterring the dead. The zombies moved to attack. At the same time, scouting around the refinery revealed more zombies, still intent on excavating the ruins. These too moved to attack. The adventurers were caught between the creatures, and so prepared to defend themselves.
In last week’s session Quilynn, the halfling cleric, had successfully turned most of the undead that were fighting alongside the soldiers, so the warriors hadn’t really had a chance to appreciate how resilient these foes were. The glass still coating the dwarven zombies gave them an extra layer of protection that blunted their attacks, and while slow their flailing fists hit hard when they connected. The cleric managed to get into a central position to try and drive away the undead with her faith, and at first it seemed to work. The adventurers began to relax, and then something counter-turned the zombies, sending them straight back.
The fighters continued to pound away at their opponents, and a feeling of dread began to permeate the battlefield. The more spell-learned among them recognised it as the effects of a desecration spell that opened a link to negative energies. These reinforced the zombies, making them harder to banish through faith and making them fight harder. More zombies emerged from the refinery, making it a fight on three sides. Keil, the shifter druid tried to get closer to the refinery, but a wave of fear overcame him, making him flee for his life, carrying Quilynn with him. The rest of the zombies were quickly despatched after Koff used a scythe he had appropriated from the camp to land critical blows that cleaved the attacking creatures apart.
A silence fell, with no sign of who or what had been bolstering the undead forces, so the decision was quickly made to approach the refinery first. A hail of crossbow bolts from within the building announced the presence of more soldiers. Using a smokestick to cover their advance, the adventurers fought their way in and defeated them, but not before something within the smoke used the opportunity to reach out and burn a ghastly handprint into Gear – the faithful wolf companion to Ruin. It didn’t kill Gear, but it was a very serious wound. As the smoke cleared, the adventurers found themselves alone with the bodies of five dead soldiers – one of them obviously their leader from her battle prowess and the quality of her gear – but no sign of whatever had been tormenting them.
Aware that their time here was probably limited, they began to investigate the refinery for the clues they had been told would be here. Something that would lead them to the abandoned Cannith research laboratory and the schema that so many people seemed determined to find.