26th Kaldezeit IC 2522
Their Drakwald guide, Wolfhart Reise, decides he has done quite enough and informs the adventurers he will meet them later outside, if they survive what they are getting into. After some nervous preparations, the adventurers slowly shove the stone lid of the sarcophagus and peer inside—it is empty, but a narrow, roughly excavated tunnel leads down and into the hard clay of the hillside. Lavarar volunteers to take point, and with a torch held out in front of him and a rope tied to his foot, hops into the sarcophagus and squeezes full-length into the tunnel. After some minutes of squirming through the claustrophobic passage, fighting down the urge to panic and no doubt permanently affected by the experience, he emerges though a grill into the floor of a small, dark cell and is hit by a melange of horrible smells—decay, excrement, dirt and rot. Looking through a grill in the cell door he sees a vaulted, smoky underground chamber lit by a central fire around which three hunched, cloaked figures are gathered.
His companions follow, beginning with Fatuus, who unfortunately cannot brave the tight space of the tunnel and begins to panic, screaming as he finally struggles out the other end. This alerts the cloaked figures, who turn to reveal diseased and pock-marked faces and lunge towards the cell with rusty swords and flaming torches brandished. The first pulls open the door and strikes at Lavarar with his flaming brand as the other adventurers emerge through the tunnel.
Other doors in the central chamber open and a melee ensues between the adventurers and five of the diseased men and their robed leader. A sixth man runs for a pair of double doors, opens them and invites in a group of six ghouls—crooked, skinny, misshapen humans with feral eyes, sharpened fangs and hands and fingers that have stiffened and hardened, with fingernails growing into great tough talons which constantly secrete viscous black venom—who join the battle.
After a viscious melee the adventurers are victorious and the rabid men and ghouls lying in various pieces upon the flagstones. The adventurers search the various rooms, finding an antechamber beyond the double doors that leads out into the fresh dawn light, revealing the chambers to be those of an ancient barrow. Other, ransacked and collapsed barrows are scattered over the large clearing.
In the ghoul’s antechamber they find gnawed bones and a rag doll. In the other rooms, they find various cultist personal items, and a letter to a certain Jurgen—probably the robed leader—revealing that a cultist group worshipping Nurgle—The Three Moons—is in Marienburg attempting to track down this Child of the prophecy and enslave him to their master.
At the end of the main chamber is another pair of double doors inscribed with the three circles of Nurgle. Beyond these the adventurers find a horrific ‘altar’ of rotting bodies over which floats a flame-like apparition that looks disturbingly like vomit. The adventurers attempt to displace the altar with a grappling hook but the ‘flame’ is seemingly strengthened—eventually they light a tapestry, throw it into the room and burn everything. An otherworldly howl comes from beyond the doors as they do so. The adventurers rush out of the barrow as it collapses around them.
27th Kaldezeit IC 2522
After resting, exhausted, in the clearing, as duCourt returns to the monastery to discover Wolfhart Reise gone, the adventurers spend a day at the ruins prior to moving on the next morning. Since all their food had been spoiled by Fatuus’s misfiring spell, duCourt goes into the forest to find some food and to the surprise of all manages to track and kill a deer.
28th Kaldezeit IC 2522
Refreshed, the adventurers set off south along the overgrown path leading from the monastery. After a few hours walking they come across five bloated, rotting corpses hanging by ropes from a tree. These they cut down and cover with tree branches by the roadside. Later still, they hear a voice up ahead crying “Help, in the name of Shallya!” They hide in the undergrowth and soon a middle-aged peasant with painful swellings around his mouth staggers up the road, clearly feverish and in the last stages of some horrible disease. Lavarar is the first to step out and shoot a crossbow bolt into the man, followed by a magic dart from Fitzue. Despite his piteous pleadings for help—punctuated by violent sneezes which spray pus over a wide area—he is soon shot down by the adventurers, and given a wide berth as they continue on down the road.
By the evening they emerge from the forest, unnerved by rustlings in the trees and the sense of being watched, and look down a hill to the village of Besdahl. They find an inn—The Shining Griffon—and talk briefly with the cheerful innkeeper, who gets them pots of Besdahl Dark, some of his famous hammer-shaped sausages on a bed of twin-tailed comet-shaped mash, and prepares rooms for the party.
The adventurers visit the small temples of Sigmar and Shallya in the town, which appear to be run by an old husband and wife—the Guffs—who, while friendly (the predictable comment about the elf’s ears generates the usual sigh from duCourt) have little information or help to offer. Though they do learn that a middle-aged villager who likes to go hunting occasionally on the outskirts of the Drakwald hasn’t been seen for a few days …
29th Kaldezeit IC 2522
The next morning the adventurers head off on the road to Mittelweg, which they reach after a day of walking.
30th Kaldezeit IC 2522
Just before Delberz in the late afternoon, the adventurers come across the aftermath of a clash between beastmen and two travellers. Three dead beastmen, one dead horse and one dead man lie in the road. A wet cough alerts them to a second man lying propped up against a tree, bleeding to death with a dead beastman beside him. His name is Jost Wechsler and he and his brother were on their way to the next village to see their mother for her birthday.
The adventurers manage to bring him back from the brink of death, and take him and the body of his brother (Lavarar suggest dragging it along the road, and when the others protest he clarifies “face up, face up!”) to their mother’s house. When they get there Frau Wechsler is grateful and gives them each a hand-embroidered hankerchief.
At the stables, they soon discover that Reise has beaten them to it and taken their horses. After a minor altercation with the stabler, who seems unrepentant, they go to find rooms for the night. After avoiding The Leaning Rooms—the innkeeper looks wistfully at them from the doorway as they pass—they choose The Yellow Cup.
The adventurers head down to the docks to see if they can book passage down the River Delb and eventually to Altdorf.