A quarter mile outside of Lance Rock the land is eerily quite, more so than it would be in these winter months. There are no squawking of snow birds or the crunching of leaves by squirrels making their last forages before the bitter cold sets in. Not one trace of life marks the area. It is nothing but dead silence.
As Balasar and myself move closer we see the enormous land mark out in the distance. But the size is not what draws my attention, the creek before it does. For as far as we can see it is frozen solid.
Our horses become uneasy as we trot down the slope toward the creek. Not wanting to spook them, we back track a few dozen yards and head out on foot. Just within bow shot we can see why the water is froze solid.
Glaring out of a icy geyser is that wretched black skull. All around it are fish, some decayed to skeletons while others remain preserved, trapped within their frozen prison. The sight makes my skin crawl. Closing my eyes, the nausea washes over me. With a flash of yellow I am remind of the pain and fear of coming into contact with it. With Balasar at my side I place a hand on his shoulders to balance myself.
The paladin scolds himself for not coming back. Though understandable I remind him to not be so harsh on himself. With everything we were caught in it was easy to forget something so small. I reassure him all we need to do is take the cursed skull away from here and by summer all should be blooming and bright once more.
Again, Balasar stands firm on his beliefs. It is easy to tell he feels the evil here, reassuring himself by pointing out that the cave radiates with the strong aura as much as the area outside. He gives no doubts that we need to check within.
Not wanting to waste anymore time around the black skull as need, we quickly chip the ice away around it. Taking every precautions not to touch the thing, we wrap the paladin’s cloak tightly around it before placing it in his pack.
Quick stepping ahead I take the lead into the darkness of the cave mouth, posting up against the unusually frigid walls to let my eyes adjust to the dark. Within the smell is horrid as if meat had spoiled in the summer heat. It does not take long to locate the source. I hear them before they show themselves, the shuffling feet of the undead.
Slowly moving in for an ambush I signal to Balasar that there are two up ahead. As he marches forward to draw their attention, the slaying of the living dead brings a smirk to my lips. It reminds me of all the good we heroes of Red Larch had done with defeating Novak and The Restless Hand’s undead hordes.
It reassures me the peace that I have earned is well deserved.