Fighting for hearth and Home and Book?

Crannoch returns after two months hunting in the wilds north of the monastery to find his friends besieged by zombies and expecting an attack by Tal-Lorren any moment. He is surprised at the developments in his absence. Crannoch sets about familiarising himself with the alterations and begins training with Vestorius and Pidmerion in an attempt to boost his constitution and dexterity. The following evening a dark storm brews quickly across the lake and moves towards the monastery. Crannoch’s training is cut short as instead of shuffling aimlessly around the threshold of the monastery, the undead former villagers move in concert towards the main buildings. They are not quick or sentient in any sense that the companions recognise.

The group react quickly with volleys of arrows aimed into the shuffling mass. The creatures offer no defence or resistance as they move inexorably towards the portcullis. The carnage is savage as volley after volley of arrows find their mark. Pidmerion initiates his fire mines he planted earlier despatching a dozen of the mindless creatures. However, the zombies have a significant numerical advantage and they reach the portcullis and begin to lift it all the time taking casualties. Simultaneously, Pidmerion sees a portion of darkness detach itself from the oncoming storm and move autonomously toward the base of the tower. To his horror he realises this is creature that he has faced before and nearly lost his life to. He desperately tries to ignite the fire rune on his rapier as he knows that this is the only way to vanquish the thing.

Meanwhile the zombies lift the portcullis enough to allow two to move towards the main door. At this point Crannoch makes a tactical error and rushes to engage them while Vestorius has ascended to the murder holes with the two ladies to pour alcohol on to the intruders. Balked at his opportunity Vestorius swears profusely and rushes to get Crannoch out of the line of fire. At this point the party are astonished when the main doors are blown off their hinges by what can only be a magical attack.

Meanwhile, Pidmerion watches in anxious anticipation as the blackness creeps up from the lake towards his window. Brandishing his flaming rapier, he fires a ball of fire at the creature which flinches and diminishes with contact with the flame. However, the darkness still advances and it is only when it reaches the window and pours in like liquid night does Pidmerion unleash the full force of his magic and vanquishes the creature with devastating passes from his now white hot rapier.

The party work fast to account for all their number and to effect a makeshift repair to the main door. They lash a few of the zombie carcasses to the portcullis as a warning. Vestorius closes the portcullis. Inside they calm down after their exertions only for Vestorius and Shynken to be attacked by assassins who were invisible until the point of initiation. Vestorius takes a nasty wound to his leg and Shynken sustains wounds to her abdomen and leg. One of the assassins has twinned daggers and the other a long sword.  These are more proficient fighters than any the party have previously faced and they are pushed back initially. The three friends soon work out a successful strategy and by concentrating their efforts on a single opponent they wear the swordsman down until eventually he misses a vital parry and is injured in the right arm. Seizing on this advantage the friends press home their advantage inflicting several minor wounds which cumulatively exhaust the swordsman until inevitably the coup de grace is delivered by Crannoch. They then turn their attentions to the knife wielder whose twin daggers offer an effective defence against the combined attacks of the party. However, his resolve is weakened by Pidmerion’s use of the magical flame at his command and as he ducks and weaves out of the flame he is injured in the leg. This is the sign that the friends need. They redouble their efforts and a series of blows to the lower abdomen and upper legs causes the end of the knifeman.

The three companions look to their wounds and those of Shynken while setting out the equipment of the assassins. As they inventory leather armour of superior quality, daggers and throwing knives they hear laughter resonating around the tower. They stop cold as the voice taunts them telling them that they will all die in sleep if they don’t surrender the book. The disembodied voice claims that there are still more assassins invisible in the monastery waiting for the signal to attack.

Pidmerion and Crannoch decide that there is no time like the present and start to work their way down the monastery. Vestorius remains upstairs with the women to continue his healing of wounds. They do not find anybody but there is a growing sense of magic and danger as they descend the tower. As they reach the ground floor where the majority of their supplies are there is an immense sense of magic. The party advance with trepidation only for an invisible assassin to strike at Pidmerion. While he takes a wound in the arm Pidemrion and Crannoch have an effective strategy in place and engage the assassin forcing him backwards. Desperate to find some kind of escape the assassin forgoes his attacks to seek a bolt hole. He finds the door to the passageway to the altar room and bolts down it. Pidmerion incants an earth rune and seals the door over with rock effectively burying the assassin alive. They return upstairs aware that they have divided their force and that there may still be dangers present. They return to Vestorius and the women to stand guard through the remainder of the night in an attempt to gain some rest and respite in order to take the fight to the enemy the following morning.