With gifts from Stonewatch, the group seeks out the Empyrean Tower in hope that the Antiquarians may know the cause of these unnatural disturbances. They soon find that the road they must travel is beset with the dead.
The night following the house fire proves to be an enjoyable one. Jarl Halvar throws a feast in the adventuring party’s honor bestowing them with gifts—some seeming to be magical in nature. The jarl also toasts to their bravery and kind deeds before allowing the townfolk and the adventurers to return to celebrating.
As the feasting continues, a rowdy trio and a quiet wood-elf enter the great hall, bearing the signs of being out at sea. The threesome joins the happy fray, while the elf attaches himself to a drink and a back wall. Thyra recognizes one of them to be Kyra, an elvish taught human fighter. The adventurers welcome the trio over to sit with them. They all introduce themselves: Cana, a halfing dressed in dark clothes and Gertrude, a bard half-elf wearing a red scarf. The original party invites the travelers to join their party as they plan to make the journey to the Emperyean Tower.
The following morning, a few members of the party go to talk to the elven stranger while the rest of the party secures passage with the ship that Cana, Kyra, and Gertrude came to Stonewatch on. The stranger introduces himself as Catharas and he explains why he traveled all the way to Stonewatch. He tells them that he has come to on a mission from his village on the subject of the people there being harrassed by black corrupt beings. The group connects the pieces to find that it is the same infection our party had witnessed in the wolves and the one-armed man. Catharas is simply seeking information on how to stop this evilness from completely ravaging his home.
Those members of the party tell him that they are also seeking information about the oily substance, along with the glowing wellspring and that he was welcome to join our party to visit the Antiquarians. The party lets Jarl Halvar know where they are heading and promise to return with information to help protect the town of Stonewatch from other dangers. The rest of the party manages to safely gain passage aboard the merchant ship. The ship left the harbor and the now larger party starts their long journey.
During one night on the ship, a strange boat appears as a small dot in the distance. It slowly comes directly at the merchant ship. The crew that still remains awake, goes below decks to get the rest of the crew that had gone to bed earlier, only to find them in a comatose state in their hammocks. The mysterious boat draws nearer, no ripples of its arrival visible on the sea.
When the boat came to the side of the merchant ship, several shambling men covered head to toe in seaweed jump on deck. The party of adventurers waste no time in dispatching the undead creatures which Ghesh determines as rana draugr. He says that they were once seafaring men that had drowned and had been forced to haunt the salty waters.
Eventually the merchant ship reaches the poor and rustic community of Oxmoor. Thyra helps purify all their food and drink so that it would last the approaching winter. The party doesn’t tarry long in the tiny village as they still have a ways to go until they reach the Antiquarians.
A day later while traveling on the main road which was heading in the upward slope of a hill, Krusk identifies canine tracks on the ground leading off into the nearby forest and tells the rest of the party to keep their eyes peeled for possible dangers. That night the party takes watches and sleeps soundly, no signs of any threats.
The following day proves to have more activity. As the party continues up the hillside, they see a pack of shuffling humanoids in sackcloth that were avoiding the main road. The party hides behind trees and the underbrush so that the group of oddly proportioned people don’t see them. As the party watches the humanoids pass by, they seemed to double in numbers of well over a dozen. Thyra stealthes closer to get a better look at them despite the protests of her companions. She uses the Detect Evil and Good spell to discover that all the members of the army were undead—and evil.
(added by noreeneb20)