Because of their valiant efforts against the frenzied drakes, the Ruby Tower Syndicate were the first people thought of by the locals of Padwick when mysterious happenings began around a small Ghost Hold to the north of the village.
The Hold, a ruined temple to a forgotten god, had lain vacant for many years, but lately some village trappers had noticed eerie lights and unsettling shadows around the place at twilight. As only a lackwit would see such occurrences in the Realms and not deduce a sinister development, the townsfolk sent another message to the Ruby Tower to alert them to a possible situation.
Because the arcane segment of the team was occupied with studies and rituals, the martial members of the group set off on an exploratory sortie. Along the way they encountered two haughty women, an eladrin and a genasi, who were apparently seeking either treasure or adventure at the same hold. The Ruby Tower party, feeling no camaraderie with the pair, fell back as the ladies spurred their mounts to a trot.
Upon reaching the Ghost Hold, Morrigan discovered the women’s horses tethered to a dangling gate and proceeded to move them a short distance away as a joke or possibly a statement. (It is hard to tell with drow.)
Sneaking around to the graveyard behind the ruin, the party then discovered that the place was indeed full of undead horrors! But even without the aid of magic, Queris, Morrigan, Lacey, and Dangorin were able to send a number of shambling corpses back to their resting places in the earth.
They then decided to venture into the old temple itself, from which a deep thrumming noise had begun to emanate. Inside, they found the eladrin and genasi cowering before a number of gravel elementals that had apparently spilled forth from the shimmering portal in the center of the room. One of the elementals loosed a spray of gravel at the pair, knocking them unconscious before turning its attention on the Ruby Tower party.
After dispatching the elemental threat, the party learned that the genasi woman had conjured the portal using an experimental ritual, but had been unable to bind the summoned creatures to her will. She and the cleric pouted and bickered as they limped out of the temple, presumably to return to town to lick their wounds.
The Ruby Tower trio then decided to descend a dark stairway leading into the temple basement. After dispatching a few guard zombies, Morrigan crept ahead using her dark elf guile, hoping to learn something of the foes they faced. What she learned was that a shadowy figure had bound a large number of tough-looking undead to his thrall and was now performing some sort of ritual in the basement library.
Deciding to effect a tactical retreat to replenish their energy reserves, the party moved back to their horses and started to make camp. Unfortunately for them, a pack of wolves decided it was dinnertime rather than bedtime, and a fierce melee ensued. After putting down the beasts, the sharp-eared warlord Queris noted the sound of many shuffling feet and undead moaning coming from the road nearby.
Unwilling to risk discovery by the zombie horde, the party mounted up and rode back to the relative safety of Padwick, where they sent word to the Ruby Tower that reinforcements were sorely needed.