Journey to Fate’s doorstep: Fort Morninglord

Swarms of undead circle around the Drow’s Bane as they stand in a protective line surrounding Talestra and the palace guards; she squeaks in fear as she prepares to teleport herself and the guards out of danger. The Drow’s Bane hack, slash and spell the swarms as a flash of light sparkles behind them, sending Talestra and the palace guards home.

The swarms are not your average skeleton or zombie mob but Mordrock and Royce do eventually turn some to flee in fear towards the river. Naismith sees across the field a robed figure kneeling in prayer unaffected by the surrounding undead battling soldiers and paladins. When he focuses on the figure more closely, he sees symbols of Orcus all over the robe causing Naismith to knock an arrow and fire. The arrow flies through the air and perfectly connects with the kneeling figure, who turns his head to the sky, mutters something to far away to hear and then slumps over dead.

The body begins to pulsate, convulse and breakdown. Naismith can hear the bones breaking turning the body from humanoid to black goo in seconds; the goo spreads out across the field in an oval and begins to glow. Just as Nong hacks the last undead of a swarm, a giant black hand emerges from the goo, then a second, followed by a huge head. A creature fifteen feet tall climbs out of the portal; its body a sucking void of blackness consuming everything near it; the undead feel invigorated as the creature comes onto the battlefield, its attention drawn toward the Drow’s Bane.

The party tries to stay a good distance from the huge creature due to its dark aura. They eventually take it down at the cost of its dangerous attacks reducing each of their life, possibly permanently, by the damage each suffers. When the huge creature disintegrates, the remaining undead scatter and flee; the sky that was strangely overcast for mid-day, begins to dissipate allowing rays of sunshine to penetrate through.

The party is relieved the tide has turned for the better and begin to heal themselves, however they realize their healing spells are failing except for Mordrock’s Mass Heal during the battle; even Nong’s ability to heal himself does only a fraction of the true affect. A stout bushy red haired dwarf in full plate mail limps toward them; the symbol of Lathander brightly displayed across his armor. He approaches the Drow’s Bane with a stern look on his face but when he recognizes the symbols of Tempest and Kelemvor, he relaxes a bit. “You are a gift from the gods to have arrived just in time! My name is Elric, the Commander of the Dawnwatchers,” he explains. “Please, join me back at Omenhale for drink and conversation on why you are here, now.” Royce describes his father to Elric and asks the dwarf if he’s seen him. “We did our best to rescue crew from that ship over there,” he points toward the river where a ship has run onto the bank; supplies and dead bodies litter the ground around it. “We are tending to many wounded inside Omenhale, maybe your father is inside,” as Elric begins to limp toward Omenhale, an outpost several hundred feet away from Fort Morninglord.

The Drows’ Bane follow Elric into Omenhale; the inside consists of tents and a bonfire with several wounded circling it for warmth. Soldiers tend to the wounded while others drag or carry more in from the field. Elric looks at Royce, points toward the bonfire and then says, “I’ll be in here, come in when you are ready to talk,” and moves toward the mess tent. Royce inspects the people circling the bonfire looking for a familiar face.

“Mmm..Mordrock, is that you?” a voice calls from the ground.
Mordrock looks around and fixes his gaze on a wounded soldier, “Kilven?”
“Yes, it’s me old friend from eons ago,” Kilven smiles and reaches up to grasp Mordrock’s hand.
Mordrock crouches down and hugs the half elf, “What brought you to this place from the days of being a Mintarn mercenary sellsword with me?”
“Lathander called to me and I answered his call…ended up here after I left Mintarn a few years after you departed.”
Mordrock can see Kilven is in a lot of pain with bandages covering several deep gashes across his body. Mordrock attempts to heal him but the healing spells do not take.
“It’s okay…this is happening all over the place…the wounded are not healing…some are even dying,” whispers Kilven as he shifts his body, grimacing from the pain.

Royce inspects the wounded and sees a familiar face among them. He moves quickly to stand in front of his father. “Thank Tempest you are alive, I came as quickly as possible,” as Royce kneels down and cradles his father’s head. Royce examines his father and sees the left foot is missing, several deep wounds appear along his legs and lower torso; his father has lost a lot of blood and is very pale. Royce’s father opens his eyes, recognizes his son and begins to smile as a tear rolls down his eye. “Tempest have faith in me now!” gasps Royce as he lays his father down, stands up and looks to the heavens. He spreads his hands out and casts Mass Heal; rays of light shoot from his hands across the wounded, instantly healing everyone around the bonfire. Royce’s father’s foot grows back as the gashes across his body close up too.

There is a momentary silence in the outpost as bystanders stare in shock as Royce’s healing magic works! Royce looks down and breathes a sigh of relief as he sees his father’s face filled once again, with the color of life.

Nong stares at Royce from the entrance of Omenhale and decides to walk onto the field to avoid the wand messing with the wounded or spoiling the soldier’s food and drink. Royce, Naismith and Mordrock move into the mess tent to speak with Elric. The conversation with Elric reaffirms the Fort Morninglord history that Lady Silverhand described to them as they departed Waterdeep. Elric also describes how a few nights ago, patrolling Dawnwatchers noticed a small group of people somehow entered the boarded up fort, while a few others stayed outside. The patrol did not pursue but continued to observe this strange behavior from a safe distance. The following evening the undead poured out of Fort Morninglord at the same time a cargo ship from Elturel was on the river sailing south; the undead attacked the ship causing the Dawnwatchers to respond. During the battle, the paladins and clerics noticed their healing spells were ineffective and many would not survive the onslaught as a result.

The party can see that Elric is very concerned the undead will return tonight, like they have done the past two nights, and the remaining standing soldiers are not enough to resist the impact. Royce, Naimsith and Mordorck step aside to discuss the situation in private, paying attention to their discovery of a priest of Orcus on the battlefield and the healing issue. They agree the best thing they can do for these people, is to investigate Fort Morninglord the next morning. For tonight’s safety, Royce has an idea.

Royce spends an hour casting Temple of the Gods on the field between Omenhale and Fort Morninglord, in order to provide excellent protection for the evening’s rest. A large temple dedicated to Tempest appears; the temple is a shining beacon of hope for the living! Everyone spends the remainder of the daylight migrating into the temple for the night’s rest. Bowman station themselves across the temple’s elevations ready to decimate anything unliving that spills out of Fort Morninglord. Mordrock and Nong decide to return to the Ethereal plane to rest but spend time examining what the fort looks like from this plane. As they drift around the outside of it, they cannot see into the fort beyond the outer walls; something is blocking their vision to see into the fortress.

In spite of the deathly howls and screams at the temple’s walls all night long, the Dawnwatchers, their wounded guests and the Drow’s Bane do manage to rest and recover. The next day, the party gathers their belongings, says good bye to loved ones and friends and journeys to the entrance of Fort Morninglord; they tread past last night’s scores of undead bodies as they make their way to the front doors.

With an inhale of breadth, Nong grabs the doors and opens them; the doors swing open appearing almost weightless when the party feels a rush of cold air hit their faces and suck them into darkness.