Feldard was up and on watch when the scream sounded and the sound of it chilled the dwarf to the core, as he gripped his axe tightly – half expecting horrors beyond imaging to suddenly descend apon them. The scream was humanoid of that he was certain.
Feldard looked to elf, knowing that the sound would have woken the light sleeper. “How far do you guess it to be?”
The dwarf frowned trying to determine the direction of the scream – part of him wanting to seek out it’s source to give aid, but knowing that from the sound he would not arrive in time to help.
At the sound of the scream, Ludo was instantly awake. He was always a light sleeper and this empty land with its barren landscape and cold frigid air was making him nervous. Within the moonlight he watched his companions in turn, he could tell they were uncertain what was out there. He couldn’t tell how far away or even in from what direction the scream had emanated. “Well, we know something is out there now, which is a good thing isn’t it?” he left the question hanging in the still night air. He laid down back into his bedroll, and placed his sword at his side. The night was going to be long.
“We have no choice”, Hasan contributed reluctantly. We must discover what lies there.
Ludo reluctantly got up and expertly packed his bedroll, prepared to follow Hasan into the still night. “Hasan this is fool’s errand, we have no idea what we are walking into”. With his sword drawn he followed Hasan across the moonlit landscape.
Maruc was drowsy. “What’s going on?” he mumbled trying to shake the sleep from his head. He looked over a Miklos, still snoring. “Wake up wizard.” he booted the recumbent form of the mage.
“A scream. From over yonder.” Feldard pointed eastward. “Hard to pin point it though its echoing around the valley. I could be miles away.”
Maruc thought a moment. “Hasan seems to be confident we’ll find something, but its not in the direction we were going. Are you sure it wasn’t the scream of an un-quiet spirit? Designed to lure us to a unearthly grave?”
“Normal rules do not govern within these encircling mountains. We must be on our guard and trust to nothing.”
Maruc hefted on his armour and shield. “Hasan has never led us astray before and we might learn something of value. My opinion is we investigate. At the very least we should not split up. There is safety ion numbers as they say.”
Allowing Hasan a few moments to orient himself Maruc followed a few paces behind.
“The lightstones, Miklos” said Hasan as he grabbed for the be-dwoemered rocks.
“Heh!” complained Miklos as he registered the blow. “One more like that and I’ll leave you dangling in a cocoon on sticky silk!” Hasan looked at him expectantly. “What?” Miklos snapped shortly. “Oh, Light-stones. One second.” He rooted around in his pack and passed one to the elf then watched him stalk off silently.
“More excitement? What is it this time?” asked the mage.
“A scream according to Feldard.” chimed in Maruc, grinning, “And I didn’t kick you that hard. Hasan thinks he knows where it came from. You joining us or do you fancy being left here?”
Stephan sputtered awake hearing “..you fancy being left here?” Taking short but deep breaths he almost panicked seeing the party nearly ready to depart. Without asking, he bundled his rain-damp things, trying to catch up with his comrades.
“A scream? Was it a wildcat? A woman? Can’t the elf see in the dark?”
He readied his sword and shield and assumed a stealth march gait.
“This reminds me of the Battle of Fenmoor. We had to march two days in a drizzle. Hate being wet so much. Mud. Cold. Ugh.”
Miklos glanced around the uninviting landscape. “Give me a second to get organized.” He pulled his bedroll together and hurried after the group.
Brandishing his lit stone, the elf led the party toward the sound they had heard.
Except for the scream, the night had been unnervingly quiet and still, and now it was once again. It was difficult to know the distance or even precise direction of the scream, given the acoustics of the valley walls.
The group got a closer look at some of the dim shapes that had been moving around them. Hasan had the keenest night vision of all, and what he saw chilled him to the bone. The valley was practically crawling with undead. Yet, they did not move to attack, but rather retreated as they were approached.
Suddenly, Feldard’s boot slipped, and he momentarily lost his footing. His armor clanked loudly as he recovered his balance. Hasan’s eyes darted around to watch for any threat of attack from the restless dead. The distant shadowy figures that walked the valley continued to pay no attention to them, save for trying to stay out of their way.
The dwarf looked down to examine the ground, and saw a trail of slime that continued for a few yards and then petered out.