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Of Black Crows and Curses

12884, Spring

We have come to our camp after a long and perilous trek across the mountains near Valadin's only to find a curse upon the land, and all who live there. Mendenton and the surrounding area is overcome by some curse. The men left in our camp carry the taint of evil on them. All our priest friends were slain, their bodies flayed alive... it is difficult to say more. Tadgh, Therod, Henonon and I sent their shattered bodies to the flames of Lathidus. It seems the only people to trust are the four of us. Sadly, we were forced to kill most of the remaining soldiers and Sabatan, who was so far gone as to attack us.
    We travel to the castle today to find out more of the goings-on. On the way we find Azrim still alive, though diseased. He hid with several farmers and beggars from town in the wilderness. We took them into our camp to feed and care for them. Azrim tells us what he knows. His house was burned down and he was attacked by an undead wraith. These things were not the strangest, as he told us of a black carriage came to town several weeks ago. The carriage rode right through the gates, as if a ghost. This carriage fits the description of something that Tadhg and I met in the woods north of Mendenton on our way to Luln. Something that Tadhg saw in the carriage made Tadhg go insane, and he could not remember anything to tell us.
    Azrim gives us each a gift and several potions to aide in our quest to rid the town of this curse. To Therod received a ring of climbing. Tadhg received a relic in the shape of a statue of a man that bears a large shield. Azrim does not know the full powers of the relic. He does say that it provides a great protection from evil, the dead and undead. To me he gives a stack of the finest vellum. He says that he cannot determine the nature of the magic these sheets posses, and since I practice a different sort of magic, that perhaps they will be useful to me.
    On our way back to the castle, Tadhg and Henonon stay in the trees away from the castle, while Therod and I sneak towards it. The only thing that meets us are the crows looking down from the battlements and crenelations. Therod offers to carry me across the moat water with the use of his water cloak. Then he uses the power of the ring to climb the walls, while carrying me below him on a length of rope. The castle appears deserted. We managed to make entrance in a high tower window, only to find the lower doors heavily barred from inside. We make our way to the second floor of the keep, and I use Therod's bow to transport myself through the iron window bars into the guard room. Therod hitches a team of horses from the stables to the bars of this second story guard room. The horses ripped off a section of the wall, and this allowed us to enter further. At this point, we return to the outer wall and hail Tadhg and Henonon to join us. They make their way across and climb up. Through the powers of Lathidus Tadhg makes his way through the stone of the walls and we enter the keep proper. Inside we find the leftovers of a feast, but no people. Through the help of a dog that Therod talks to, we find the children of Sir Nossant alive. They lead us to Padrey, the stable boy. We decide to not push further, but to return to camp with the children and rest up. We found sign of a very large bird's foot print, and a large black feather. We can only imagine what these are from.
    After lowering the children to the ground, Henonon and Tadhg get them across the moat. Therod and I are taking our time, and keeping watch on the outer walls. Therod spots figures lurking at the edge of the woods. Soon after a group of humanoids shambles out of the woods and towards the children. Therod confirms they are undead and begins a volley of arrows. I joined him with a fireball at the largest group of them. After a harrowing chase of the zombies after the children and us after them, the children are safe again. We have no further incident on the way home. We get the children rested and fed, and learn what they have to say. They explain that a large carriage came two weeks ago to the castle and a feast was had that evening, the children were not allowed to eat any of the food. The next day they woke up and there were only crows, and no people. Days before the carriage arrived there were meetings with people from town each night, except for the night before the carriage arrived.
    We decide to investigate the town. Making our way without incident puts us at ease for a bit, but we round the bend to the town gates and see nothing but crows atop the walls. We are met with only children at the gates, these children are confirmed to have a taint of evil, only a slight one, by Tadhg. They let us in and we ignore them for the most part. Staying along the walls in case we need to make a quick escape, we make our way closer to the Temple of Arden, where we hope to find some help. It is just the four of us, and we long to have our comrades with us. We find the temple abandoned and desecrated. No sign of any holy symbols remain, and no sign of life. I found a cat hiding in the main worship area, and Therod asked it questions. The cat did not know much, other than the children came and removed several items from here. Always golden or silvery items. Talk from others from our camp that we took in talked of strange things happening at the town hall, so we decided to go there next. We found the place all locked up, so we decided to make entrance from above, but end up falling through the domed roof into a chaotic mass of children and crow-men. A battle ensued and we learned of the vicious crow-men and more of death. A mage was among the warriors, and he hit us with a tendril staff that sapped our life from us...
    Henonon, our brave sergeant, was killed today by a most despicable creature. The battles today were long and hard against the crow-men that curse the town of Mendenton. An evil mage type among them used a black staff to entangle us with dark tendrils that drained the life from us. A lightning bolt from the evil mage seared through Tadgh and into Henonon, who was seriously wounded, and sadly, did not survive the blast. The mage dash from our grasp, but through the fleet-footed ness of Therod, he met his physical end at the hands of Therod's last lightning seed. I now wield the staff against our foes in hopes it will serve us well.
    We brought Henonon to rest in our Vault for the time. On the way back to camp, Tadhg receives a vision of a divine messenger from Lathidus. There is a hope to end the curse that Mendenton has befallen. We must gather two relics and perform the cleansing ritual in the town hall. A silver dagger and a silver cup are the objects we need. The next day we begin our search at the Temple of Chishleen.
    The town is much the same, empty of much life except for tired children. Upon arriving at the temple we find that the tide is high, which means we must walk through the surf to reach the temple. Half-way through the surf, we are attacked by sea-bloated zombies. After fighting our way into the temple, we swing the doors behind us. The zombies appear to be re-animating, so we make our searching quick, Therod holds the door, and Tadhg and I run through the inner chambers looking for keys to the locked doors. There are several doors that are locked, and I find one of the doors has a magical ward placed upon it. After a successful dispelling of the ward, we set Jack, our trusty Earth Elemental, to the task of beating down the metal door. We find that this chamber must be Staron's (the priest of this temple) private quarters. Inside we find keys to the other rooms, personal vestments and a set of silverware and silver cup. We hope that this cup is the one we seek. We exit through the open skylight in the main worship chamber and leap off the backside onto the boardwalk. Dark shapes in the water seem to be all around, so we quickly head back into town. On our way out of town we find a woman being dragged by children Tadhg and I come to throw the children off of her, and Therod spied a dark figure in the alley. We capture the dark figure, which turns out to be a crow-man. The woman runs up to Tadhg, thinking he is Sir Nossant, and she his lady. I feel sad for her state of mind and hope I will never know what she is going through.
    After a quick trip back to camp to talk to Azrim about the items needed for the cleaning, he mentions that he had a mithral dagger, but is not sure if it is the one needed. We return to town to Azrim's place. Approaching cautiously, we notice a ghostly shape wandering the burnt-out husk of Azrim's house. A blast of a well placed fireball from me, and we hope this takes care of that ghost. After a close-call with a falling wall while searching we found a box of silverware, and hiding inside is a mithral dagger which Tadhg takes. Children from town come up to investigate the explosion and I give them a magical rest. Back to camp we go, and Tadhg tells us we need to build a statue for the ceremony...
    ... After defeating the evil that resided in the dungeon of Sir Nossant's castle, we took it's vile heart to the town hall where Tadhg performed the ceremony of cleansing. A pure beam of sunlight poured down onto Tadhg and the messenger told us of the good we had done.