While Saeldur had approached stealthily ahead of the main party, the rest of the heroes were somewhat less quiet. Their unsubtle approach gave the goblins enough warning to launch a hurried ambush.
A hail of arrows burst from the trees, injuring several of the party. Still, the group comprised doughty heroes and they quickly leapt to the attack. In short order, the goblins were dead or fleeing and the party were triumphant. Of their almost dozen foes, only three survived to flee into the surrounding woods.
Examining the corpses, Bodrum noted all the goblins bore shields with large notches cut out of them. Harald remembered the Cloven Shield goblins were known to lurk in the woods. At this revelation, Ozloc dredged up memories of the goblins who crept past the party’s camp the previous night. Their shields had been intact and bore some kind of circular sigil. He couldn’t remember exactly what it depicted but his vague description of a circular device led Harald to postulate the goblins might have belonged to the Weeping Moon or Gut Munchers tribes—two other local tribes.
Having looted the dead of their meagre coins which—miracle among miracles—included a few gold crowns the party continued north toward the ruined monastery.
The sun blazed high in the summer sky when the party reached a large, barren clearing nestled between two hills. Another pathway led away from the blasted clearing in the general direction of the monastery. Before the party could proceed in that direction, however, Saeldur, spotted some strange white stones glimmering in the noonday light. The stones stood across the clearing amid the shadows cast by a hoary stand of gnarled trees.
Remembering their orog friend’s warning about the dangers of the white stones—that dead men dwelled beneath them—the party immediately headed in that direction. The clearing was wide and devoid of cover so Saeldur swung around in the forest’s fringes while the rest of the party surged forward.
Reaching the stones—which were clearly grave markers—Harald used his divine powers to ascertain the presence of evil. Several of the graves were open and the thick cloying brambles, thistles and other noisome growths indicated this was a place of foul deeds and corruption. While Harald’s initial investigation revealed no danger, when he focused his attentions on the lurking shadows under the trees he detected a half-dozen skulking undead.
The party surged forward again—all except Ozloc who cleverly and bravely secured the rear in a style reminiscent of a certain legendary pirate captain—to engage the foul unliving blasphemies lurking in the woods. The creatures—thin and emaciated—lured some of the more hot-headed party into the shadows clustering among the trees before leaping into action. In short order, Gromm and Harald were injured while several of the undead were quickly slain…