The old white-bearded hunter Trapper John enters, covered in scratches and bony shards. He reports that the Empress Cairn west of Highstar Lake has been broken into, he followed tracks and when he entered he was attacked by exploding skeletons. He asks Lirael, his old friend Dunstan, and Palias to check it out - there are old tales of a curse that will arise should the resting place of the Netherese Empress Nemeia ever be violated. Palias tends to John's wounds, then he goes to get a hot bath and a nice rest.
Palias talks with local man Sunsteen Urbeth about rumours of Najaran Serpentfolk; last year Sunsteen's niece Penny Tavistock was among those rescued from human slavers in the ruins of Zelbross by Lirael and the Burning Hand adventurers. The slavers were aided by a snake-headed lizardman shaman or adept. The Orlbar Royal Guard Jareth turns up and joins the group.
Lirael purchases horses for the group, they ride west to the stockaded village of Brownstone where they spend the night at the villa of the local knight, Sir Halvard Brooke. Brooke seems worried by rumours of 'frost goblins' in the woods. He seems to keep his attractive daughter Amanda under close watch. Lirael has private quarters, the other three sleep in the main hall with Brooke's retainers.
Next morning the group ride south from Brownstone through a snowy landscape, Lirael following a trail. They ride up through leafless woods to the edge of the High Moor, where they leave the horses in a hidden dell, then treck for four miles across knee-deep snow to where the Empress Cairn rises on the west shore of Highstar Lake. They reach the Cairn at dusk, as the sun is setting behind the distant ruins of Wyrmscrag Castle to the west. Clear tracks show a group matching John's description - a humanoid reptilian, an ogre, and human-sized tracks, some with bony prongs, approach the cairn. John's tracks can be seen approaching the tomb, then fleeing.
The tomb's stone door has been forced and broken. Inside, undead guards await - wights and boneshard skeletons attack fiercely. When they are defeated, the urinous Dunstan activates a gas trap in the entrance chamber. The group skirt the gas. Down a sloping passage are more guards, burning skeletons and frost zombies, but these are swiftly defeated. Palias uses his Fey Step to pass a portcullis then open it from the far side, while the rest of the group jump over a sheet of weird glowing ice. They stand at the top of a long flight of stairs leading downwards. From below can be seen a baleful red gleam...
Roleplay & Travel 100 per PC
Boneshards & Wights: 1000/4 = 250 per PC
Blazing skeletons, chillborn zombies & ice: 1300/4=325
Total: 675 each + 17,627=18,302
Need: 20,500 for 10th.