DM Post-Action Update -
The party awoke in the morning to strange note delivered to their secret hideout, giving only the location of a ship dock. When they investigated, they found an impressive riverboat to use as their new mobile base, but in the cargo area lay a pile of bodies. Stripping the corpses, they found a wealth of magical items and weapons, along with the keys to an eerily empty apothecary shop. Swallowing any qualms about the nature of their gift horse, they dumped the bodies in the river, sluiced down their new ship, and returned to their hideout.
Haunted by a vision of growing danger, Shaksa led the party to the Spiritwalker Caverns in the hills nearby. Along the way, the party encountered a wounded tabaxi acolyte. Attempting to provide him with aid, they came under fire from the woods nearby, black-fletched arrows slashing in and crippling them. Advancing through cover, Snog lept into a nearby hut and slew a tabaxi with a bow, only to discover that its body was held upright with lashings to appear a threat. A savage dire wombat, lured from its den by the pheramones of a rival male splashed on the party, distracted them with a rear attack as the sniper struck those in the lead. Unable to stop their advance, the assassin, a lithe female elf in red and black leather, escaped up the cliffside out of reach.
Licking their wounds, but now too worried to halt their march, the adventurers headed up the hills towards the caverns. Inside, they discovered a sinister figure in armor standing over the writhing unconscious form of B’Ruce. The surviving acolytes lay scattered through the chambers, covered in foul black dust. The sacred runes and energy crystals of the caverns were defaced and profaned, weakening the natural magics of the location. Charging to engage, they found their foe implacable and unshakable. Wraithworms, ensnaring the spirits of the fallen acolytes, cut off the party from behind as the Nightmare struggled through their charge to complete his ritual. Falling back, those who left the cavern entrance were driven back inside as cruel black-fletched arrows sliced into their ranks. Striking to finish the fallen shaman, the Nightmare killed B’Ruce brutally. Overcharging his new golem leg, Gnash shattered his body into immobility to drive the armored foe backwards over a hundred-foot cascade into the depths of the caverns. Bruised and severely weakened, the adventurers gathered their spirits, camping for the night in the haunted cavern, and trying to save the surviving acolytes. Shaksa took up B’Ruce’s Dreamwalker staff, and led the acolytes in performing the rituals of burial of their fallen brethren.