Winterhaven, Day 7 (campaign day 12)
The characters leave their hiding place and prepare to head back to the stairs down that they earlier passed over. When they passed back through the entry room to the Keep, they notice a humanoid figure hidden in the shadows behind one of the columns. Parin moved around the area, and got a bead on the hidden figure. Loosing his missile, he sneak attacks the figure causing it to cry out in pain that "the goblins have found me and killed me, and I haven't yet found Remmeke." Remmeke recognizes the voice as that of Samuel, the gate guard. Rushing forward, Varrin stabilizes the wounded guard. Samuel then relates that he came to the ruined keep, looking for Remmeke and his friends, even though the townspeople told him they would be dead. The village's own dead have risen from their graves and attacked the town, and Samuel risked his life by running to the keep to bring back the adventurers, only to be nearly slain by a "goblin." The party makes haste to the graveyard.
At the graveyard, they find a horde of skeletal archers, a massive undead hound, and Ninaran, the elven huntress who claims to have raised them all. A blue magical circle pulses outside of one mausoleum, and the dead attack. The fight goes well for the characters, even though they find themselves chasing undead all over the graveyard. They finally corner Ninaran at the graveyard fence, and when she climbs over the fence to escape, Parin implaes her on his dagger through the fence. On her person, they find a note written to her by Kalarel that instructs her on how to perform the ritual to raise the undead and gives the order to finish the adventurers for good. It also gives the pass phrase to the lower levels of the keep:
I received your report on the adventurers. Next time you see them, put an end to their meddling. Mix the blood of ten people with the elixir my messenger brings. Then trace the following pattern on the ground of a graveyard and pour the liquid into the lines. That should supply you with a force to thwart them. I'm very close to completion; see that I'm not interrupted. As you already know, if you do come to the second level of the keep, the pass phrase is "From the ground, some magic was found."
The party heads to Winterhaven to make sure that the town is safe, and they find the guards battered but victorious. Bairwin Wildarson, owner of The Grande Shoppe, pulls Remmeke aside and tells him that he's impressed by the party's growth since their early defeat at the hands of the kobolds. When they get done with their current mission, he has some business in The Seven-Pillared Hall that he would like them to attend to.
The party, although somewhat exhausted from their battle, head back to the keep and down the stairs. There they find a number of hobgoblins guarding the way into the rest of the dungeon. The hobgoblins demand to know the pass phrase, and the characters gladly supply the phrase from the note. Then Balgaron, the fat goblin who had escaped death the day before with the group, stepped from the shadows and laughed, "That's the false pass code! It means they've killed Ninaran, and besides these are the same ones who tried to kill me yesterday." The lead hobgoblin laughs and tells his troops to move in and show these goblins "how the big boys get things done." In the ensuing melee, the party – mainly Parin and Remmeke – narrowly avoid death a number of times. They finally defeat the hobgoblins, the goblins, and the pet spider. Battered once again, they head back to their hiding place, hoping that the creatures who walked by their room the night before remain as unobservant as they have been….