Following their return to Saltmarsh and their small shopping spree the companions set about meeting with Eva Oweland and Aubreck for their reward.
The councilwoman meets them at the Mariners guildhall, News is passed on confirming their “issue” had been addressed simply and she need not worry herself about Webb any further. Gratefully she encourages the group to wait for Aubrecks arrival.
He finally turns up, eager for news of his cargo and the group do not disappoint him. They reunite him with his magical chest, which he manages to open with a whispered word. Joyously discovering the contents to be undisturbed.
Aubreck removes two bags from the chest and hands them both to the group, revealing them to be filled with 1000 platinum each, Hobbes eyes almost pop trying to get a glimpse into the chest, he estimates their payment is about 5% of the value of the chests contents.
Their new patron promises if they ever need his assistance they are to ask, he will move whatever he can to assist them in thanks for their rescuing his assets.
Shortly afterwards as they are wandering around the town the priest Wellgar seeks the group, he explains their companion Balthazar has failed to return from a mission he had accepted on behalf of the town of Elmsthorpe. He is anxious as with two weeks having passed with no word, he is concerned the Paladin is in trouble.
It doesn’t take long for the group to agree to assist but at a cost, the priest agrees his order will arrange for a payment to be made. As such he tells them where to find some horses for hire and how to get to the village of Elmsthorpe. He tells them to look for Lord Hardacre and also explains he is very keen to see the return of his horse Jubilee, unharmed!
The group collect the horses, and head east. On horseback it doesn’t take long before they find themselves deep in an uncomfortably dense mist.
By the time they arrive in the town they come across quickly across a group of skeletons which were clawing at a buildings door and windows, opting to distract them, Missy steps forward and uses her ability to turn undead, all four of the creatures flee.
They knock on the door asking if anyone is in there discovering Balthazar holed up with a woman called Alice and her son, Avery. He explains he’s been doing his best to keep the villagers safe and didn’t feel he could leave them.
Balthazar explains he’d been with Lord Hardacre but hadn’t really gotten to the bottom of the problem, Hardacres son had died and his wife had gotten herself heavily involved in the local church, until suddenly the dead began rising, their Dwarvern priest Caedhir and his Lady Herzeloyde disappeared. At that point, with the dead in the streets that’s when Lord Hardacre sent for Welgar’s assistance
It doesn’t take long before the scratching at the door and window returns. Realising the Skeletons have come back the group plot to open their door to encourage the creatures in one at a time which would allow them to deal with them one at a time.
Their plan seems to work well they open the door, one enters, and they quickly work together to destroy it. As they look out into the streets, they see another four skeletons and three zombie’s making their way towards the property slowly. As the group prepare to exit and take the fight to them another creature glides through the wall.
With no chance to react it wails horrifyingly at them causing almost all present to recoil in fear. It then attacks Alice and drains the life from her in front of her child. Acting to defend the youngster Urko takes the child behind him and despite the fear they manage to deal with the screaming dead woman.
Eventually Missy used her ability to Turn Undead a second time and every creature fled, giving them an opportunity to make a run for it, taking the chance they left, Balthazar directed them through the mist to the tavern he’d visited before.
Introducing everyone to Clive and the locals, they were able to pass Avery in to their care for now. They discussed ways forward and Balthazar explains he’d visited the local church but found nothing. However the group decided they wanted to take a second look.
Making their way to the church without difficulty they discovered three spirits floating around the church aisle, though the beings seem to ignore the party initially. Making their way into the presbytery the group search through the area believing it unlikely Balthazar should have found nothing helpful the first time.
On the bookshelves they find some paperwork which refers to a temple of rebirth, belonging to an organisation, it appears is linked to the church.
Missy also locates a small gem which radiates a green glow, unable to identify it, she does sense it emanates some kind of necromatic magic. However, when they leave the presbytery the spirits seem agitated and follow them, though they do not initially appear to attack. Deciding the creatures are attracted to them gem they throw it inside Missy’s bag of holding.
That action seems to calm them somewhat as they stop following the companions. Taking this new information they head back to meet Lionel Hardacre, finding the lords Stable, they leave their rented Horses there with Jubilee and Balthazar’s Elk who remain in good condition.
After this they enter the lords mansion, where Lionel remains reluctant to allow the other villagers to join him in his home. They discuss their findings and he confirms since the loss of his son, his wife had been very busy with the church until her disappearance.
They mentioned finding some paperwork about the Temple of Rebirth, he’s able to say the local church is dedicated to the Wavemother which to his knowledge is unrelated. But he’s aware there was an ancient temple somewhere to the north of the village. Though he can’t be specific he believes it has been abandoned for over two hundred years.
Lionel is defensive towards the suggestions his is somehow involved in a cult, knowing nothing of the matter. He claims his wife was driven wild with the loss of their son. As the remains of the day draw to a close they are left needing to make a decision about what to do next.