Alodia arrived in the tiny settlement of Ironthorpe, stop-off point for those headed to the Deephold iron mines.
In the local inn, The Beggar’s Cellar, she met the innkeeper, Arlent Bene. Inquiring about news related to the Goblin Mob, Bene pointed her to Belia, a Halfling farmer, and resident of Ironthorpe.
Belia explained that her livestock were being slaughtered each night, and she was desperate to discover the cause. She agreed to share any knowledge she might have, if Alodia was willing to help.
Having agreed to help the harassed Halfling, Alodia sought lodgings at the inn. Arlent Bene was initially difficult, proposing to charge an extortionate amount to the half-elf in need of a place to stay. Eventually, he relented, offering to cover Alodia’s room and board, if she agreed to clear the rat infestation from his cellar.
Agreeing the help with the infestation, Alodia descended into the inn’s cellar. Closing the cellar door behind her, she was greeted by the sight of a writhing mat of rats on the cellar floor. Descending the old, wooden stairs, she lost her footing, and tumbled down the last few steps, landing on her face. As she tried to catch her breath, she was assaulted by an ungodly stench, and nearly lost her lunch.
Regaining her composure, Alodia stood, and surveyed the room. Noticing a crack in the back wall of the cellar, she investigated it as the possible source of the rat infestation. Prying open the crack with her crowbar, she was almost overrun by a trio of zombified dire rats. These undead triplets were no doubt related to the stench, and were put down in short order at the edge of Alodia’s greatsword.
Crawling through the now enlarged crack, Alodia was surprised by more undead vermin — skeletal dire rats. These creatures, faster and deadlier than their zombie cousins, proved to be an even match for Alodia, and forced her to retreat.
Safe from the gnashing teeth of the skeletal rats, Alodia informed Arlent Bene that the magnitude of his problem was greater than he had assumed. Bene confessed that the inn had been an unlucky purchase for him, and that these undead horrors could possibly be linked. His only good luck since opening the inn had been in his gambling. Bene suggested that Alodia consult the village cleric, Garvin Forth, about the best way to handle the undead in the cellar.
Making her way to the chapel of Erastil across from the inn, Alodia was greeted by Silvian Harald, an acolyte of Erastil, and cleric in training. She informed Alodia that Garvin Forth was away on church business, and would not return for a week. Seeing Alodia’s dishevelled state, she offered to tend to the half-elf’s wounds. While healing Alodia’s wounds, Silvian noticed that the wounds were infected, and promised to deal with the infection the following day, before the symptoms would appear.
Alodia’s cuts and bruised sufficiently tended to, Silvian searched for information on combating the undead in her master’s library. After a time, she was able to learn that undead skeletons were susceptible to blows from heavy, bludgeoning weapons.
Alodia returned to the inn, with the acolyte in tow. She asked Arlent Bene for the use of any bludgeoning weapon he could muster, and he presented her with a club, and buckler. Attempting to recruit fighting men to help her, she acquired the services of the mercenary Saxon. The tall, uncouth human accompanied her to the basement, and together they smashed the skeletal rats that bested Alodia alone.
Pushing past the broken shards of the skeletal rats, the pair uncovered a burial chamber, and were immediately assaulted by the ragged, animated skeletons of four humanoid warriors. In the fray, Saxon was badly wounded by a blow from a skeleton’s clawed hand. His carelessness in combat had come back to bite him, and he collapsed to the ground unconscious. Left alone, and in poor condition herself, Alodia had to face down the last, chittering, grasping skeleton. With a mighty blow from her club, she crushed the skeleton’s skull, releasing whatever foul energy animated the monster, and the lifeless bones fell to the floor with a crash.
Surveying the burial chamber uncovered several valuable items on the alter at the centre of the room. Set into the far wall of the chamber was an imposing black oak door. Scooping the treasures into her backpack, Alodia returned to the inn proper, and requested the aid of the acolyte in dealing with the injured Saxon.
After the acolyte and Saxon’s mercenary comrade-in-arms had whisked him away to the chapel for treatment, Alodia and Arlent Bene inspected the chamber. Bene proposed sealing up the chamber until Garvin Forth’s return, and suggested that Alodia seek the help of his son in appraising any jewels she found, and the local wizard, for help identifying any possibly magical items. Bene suggested that Alodia shouldn’t mention that she had made Bene’s acquaintance.
In the inn’s kitchen, Arlent’s son, Jonty Bene, introduced himself, and appraised the jewels Alodia had recovered from the tomb.