At the tournament, Union of Schek competitors told of undead being active on the great road near the old elven college. They implied that the lich known to inhabit the college is becoming more active, so a band of adventurers decided to gather at Confluence and go to the college to try to find the lich’s weakness before it attacks:
- Rovert (TrS): Level 19 Human Necromancer (Level 4 Tower)
- Huge Skeletal Wolf
- Drej, Level 5 Psuedodragon Familiar
- Conan (MiM): Level 12 Elf Vampire Magic-user
- Skarr, Level 6 Hawk Familiar
- Randall (HuS): Level 9/4 Human Druid/Alchemist (Level 3 Druid Grove)
- Oliver, Level 7 Winged Fox Companion
- Gerald, Level 1 Ogre Alchemist
They set out from Confluence the morning of the 21st, opting to follow the West Confluence River directly to the college. They pass through Kite and by the God of Knowledge dam and make good enough time to camp at the old blight, which they find the Nekolyns have finished clearing and have replanted with trees. Randall spends some time examining the forest restoration and finds the hatch locked and labeled with “dangerous creatures from the deep below.”
During the night, the familiars and the treant keep watch. Drej catches sight of some movement over near the altar left by the Nekolyn camp and investigates, finding an eviscerated possum freshly deposited there. Drej doesn’t see this as a reason to wake his master and doesn’t tell them about it until the morning.
Randall speaks to a tree and they soon learn that some kobolds came and dropped the possum there. Deciding they need to confront the perpetrators of this heinous desecration, they track them back the way they came, using various means to cross the river and follow them all the way to the tower the worshipers of the God of Knowledge have on the hill over his cave.
They knock on the tower and manage to speak to the lizardfolk in charge, who accepts their claim and agrees to talk to the pranksters. After a few jabs at the party, he takes his leave of them to visit the God of Knowledge and they decline to join him. They head back up the river, having lost more than a day as they make camp down stream from the blight again.
On the 23rd, they are able to arrive at the great road in the early afternoon with no further incident. At the road, they intend to cross the road and the river at once by passing over the wide bridge, but they see a cart coming from the west and withdraw to the forest and have Skarr fly over to watch the cart pass. Rather than passing, it turns north off the road right before the bridge and Skarr loses sight of it in the trees. They decide to give wherever it went a wide berth and cross the river by their own means again (turning into birds, bats, using the floating carpet, etc.) to cross the great road further east.
They soon find the old road to the college among the trees and follow it to the bridge, where they kill a bugbear watching them and make camp in the failing light. Leaving Gerald, the treant, and the wolf skeleton to guard the camp, they continue up the road to the crossroads leading to the gate near the library. They have decided, using Rovert’s map of the campus, to investigate the triangular building in the northeast corner, so they head toward it through the woods using animal forms, invisibility, and muffling spells. They see bugbears camped guarding the gate near this building, so they teleport through the fence and make their way to the nearest entrance, finding it is an archway through the building to the courtyard, but has doors on either side into the building itself.
They enter the southern doors, lighting a lantern and sweeping the long, wide room full of long tables (a study hall), they find abandoned books and bags from the distant past all covered with a thick layer of dust. While Rovert picks through the books, the others find some coins and other knickknacks, as well as some student ID cards still in good condition. Rovert is afflicted with a rot grub from his bag of books, but deals with it with his powerful magic.
They round the corner and see that the study hall continues. As they continue to pick through the leavings of this room, Conan is stabbed by a bugbear climbing through the window. He quickly kills it, but they see others approaching with torches across the courtyard. They hide and wait to ambush them, killing them quickly and looting them to find a horn Rovert assesses has magic to summon undead to it. They finish sweeping the room and climb the stairs to the next floor where they find classrooms. The books and writing on the boards indicate that the rooms are used for teaching literature, but they do come across some more coinage and a bag full of potions abandoned in one of the rooms.
In the 6th room they search, they hear a voice that they soon learn is coming from a mirror. The mirror contains the soul of a scholar of non-elven literature, preserved in order to keep teaching long after they would have died. Though they try to explain that the elves have been wiped out, they run into the problem that such mirror can’t easily learn new things and the mirror (Perlë Pëshpëritje) suffers extreme short term memory loss and they find themselves repeating things. It doesn’t take them long to claim they will be moving her to a new office before leaving her to sleep again.
As they continue, they come to a lounge with windows overlooking the courtyard and the outside of the building, as well as stairs up to the next floor and a hall continuing past the archway they are surely above. As Randall loots, he looks out the window into the courtyard and sees more bugbears. They have clearly seen them (what with their lantern lighting the windows up) and rush toward the doors below, though two sling stones, wounding Conan.
Rovert retaliates, quickly killing the slingers while Randall leaps down to the courtyard (feather fall robe) to confront them and Conan takes bat form to follow him down. Rovert runs to the stairs to come to Randall’s aide while he is soon surrounded. He fights with Bron’s dagger and gets a reprieve when it unexpectedly turns him invisible. When Rovert arrives, he first knocks down a leader bugbear in the rear. He isn’t dead, but he seems enough that way that Rovert runs past him). As the fallen bugbear sounds his horn, Rovert casts a pair of death bursts to kill all of the bugbears around Randall (his magic boots help him get clear of the worst of the blast) and Conan kills the horn blowing bugbear. Knowing undead will soon be upon them, they quickly loot the fallen, especially two of the horns, and flee the school by animal forms, invisibility, and teleportation. Rovert, who has to flee on foot, sees the undead arriving including ogres apparently of some magical nature.
While Rovert runs haphazardly through the dark woods, the others arrive ahead of him at the camp to find Gerald sleeping and bound with a number of orcs and goblins having joined the camp. The one on watch doesn’t speak elvish, but quickly moves to wake another while Randall goes to release Gerald. Gerald informs him that he volunteered to be tied so they wouldn’t be afraid. They soon learn that the representatives of Schek Degrik have been here negotiating with the lich to stay away from the great road in exchange for old bodies dug from elven graveyards. They doubt the party’s activities in the night will damage their treaty, but they admit they may blame the Valefolk for the intrusion and promise plans to better prevent it in the future.
In any case, they recommend fleeing to the south of the great road and go with the party to ensure they do so. Once there, the party finally sleeps before heading back to the Vale. They arrive in Kite on the 25th as the light fails and camp their before returning to their respective strongholds.
They wondered why bugbears kept showing up, but what did they expect walking around the opposite half of the building from where they’re garrisoned with a light on? Of course, they didn’t encounter the garrison, so they don’t know that. Too much looting, too little reconnaissance.