Having dealt with the terror of the giant spider, the group opted to avoid the ravine, and return to an unexplored portion of the cavern complex closer to the exit. Kyr’s keen senses detected sounds of armed and armored opponents, the group burst in on a handful of hobgoblins. As archers fired at them from cover and others charged with swords, the apparent leader of this band uttered some black magic and fired a ray of sickly energy at the heroes. No sooner had the spell been cast than the runes along the cavern walls flared to life, and a hideous screaming sounded from deeper in the caves.
The hobgoblins, already suffering losses at the hands of the heroes, had seen enough. Wide-eyed in terror, they began to flee, and while the party considered these new developments, the awful screams of the dying reached them from the hallway. Before they could follow their opponents’ example and run from the place, a half dozen walking dead, dressed in ancient armor, set upon them. Overcoming their momentary terror, the heroes rallied to defeat the unliving foes and exited to find the remains of the hobgoblins that had fled the battle. While some argued that discretion was the better part of valor, others feared that if they did not deal with any remaining undead, they would not be able to successfully extract the caravan’s goods from the caverns.
Having grudgingly decided to cross the ravine and investigate the source of the undead, the group worked out a method to get a rope across to allow them easier passage. Beyond the ravine, they discovered a chamber with more of the undead. Having dispatched the immediate threat, they investigated and found some sort of dark ritual magic circle, in which a desiccated heart was pierced to the floor with a pair of daggers. On an ancient altar, a leather-bound book covered with the same strange markings as the runes on the walls rested. When Gustavus went to retrieve it, a jolt of dark power coursed up his arm. Carefully wrapping the book in a blanket, he stuck it in his pack to consult with Mogroith upon their return to the village.
With no more hostile foes assailing them, the group was able to gather the stolen caravan goods and retreat from the cavern. As night fell, they made camp at the wrecked wagons. The next morning, Biran set out with Brunhild to go fetch more wagons from the dwarven stronghold, reclaim their gear, and carry their dead under the mountain to be interred.