The party was relaxing in the guild common room when a street kid comes in a hands a note to Zanaver, then mysteriously runs off without waiting for a tip. The note, hastily written by his CUS contact Turic, asks him to bring the party to an old abandoned church outside of town, and quickly.
When they arrive at the location of the church, they find that it sits in an old part of the forest, in the center of a clearing about 100 yards across, where almost nothing grows. The trees and bushes around the edge of the clearing are stunted and twisted. The church itself is obviously old and run down, but still structurally sound. Outside are two horses and a young CUS priest. He tells the party that Turic went inside about an hour ago, and told him to stay outside, no matter what he heard.
Venturing inside, the party finds the inside in as bad a shape as the outside. What is surprising is the descretion of the church. The murals on the walls have been painted over, at some points in blood, with images of torture, destruction, and demons. The altar has also been similarly defaced, and a statue of demon has replaced the icon of the previous deity. While none of the work is recent, the lurid scenes remind the PCs that the history of demonic rule still crops up in places.
A trail leads through the debris to a trapdoor in the floor, and the party cautiously ventures downward. Below they find an old priest’s chamber, with some grisly remains, including one still caught in an image of prayer. Two others seem to have died in their sleep, and a fourth is collapsed in a chair. However, as they close to investigate, some of the corpses come to life!
Battling a wraith and some zombies wouldn’t seem to difficult, and indeed, the wraith is bloodied fairly quickly. However, a trap is triggered, and poison gas fills most of the room, immobilizing some of the party and blocking vision. Taking advantage of the change in terrain, a ghoul joins the fight from a side room. The zombies are quickly forgotten as the party focuses on the main threat. The wraith, recognizable by a glowing crystal around his neck, finally goes down. The PCs turn to deal with the rest, but as Zanaver charges to help Kronin, who does he run into but the wraith, risen again!
When the wraith goes down for the final time, Kronin grabs for the gem, trying to separate it from the wraith. As he grabs it to throw it away, he gets a severe psychic and necrotic shock. He warns the rest of the party, so Aramil only attempts to pick it up telekinetically. However, she also receives a psychic and necrotic shock, dropping the crystal.
The zombies are dispatched quickly enough, despite their grabbiness. As the poison gas dissipates, the party heals their wounds and investigates the crystal. They determine that it has some kind of portal creation ability. However, as they watch, the ghost of Turic materializes. He tells them they have been led into a trap, and that he was duped into coming here. He watched as some adventurers from another continent, whom he was following, were slain by the wraith and the party’s previous nemesis, the shadar-kai chainfighter Eluron. Turic was then killed by Eluron, and the trap was laid for the party with his body as bait. However, with the death of the wraith, the crystal is out of control, and flinging the entire church and surrounding area into a realm of the dead known as the Shadowfell. The crystal must be destroyed, but they cannot do it at night. Only after the sun rises is the crystal safe to touch, and only in the light of the new-risen sun can it be destroyed. Meanhwile, the dead will be coming for them, Turic warns, and they are likely to be dead by dawn if they cannot find a way to ward off the waves of undead coming after them. Turic begins to fade away, but not before telling Zanaver that the olds gods are real, and that he has been chosen by the ruler of the Shadowfell, a deity known as the Raven Queen. His final words are, “We have done our job too well.”
Now the party prepares to fight their way to sunrise. They prepare to make their final stand in the priest’s chambers, taking confidence in the fact that the trapdoor from above limits the number of attackers that can come at them. But the chamber from where the ghoul appeared has a tunnel that leads to who-knows-where, and the party must guard themselves from that unknown.