Sheaf had all the appearance of a town abandoned. No man or animal stirred, not even the wind blew. The only sound was the raid and the muddy footfalls of our heroes. It was as if everyone in the town had simply vanished- laundry was hung on lines to dry, meals were left uneaten, and doors hung open to the street. The party advanced slowly down the main street, lit on either side by strange alchemical torches. They passed abandoned homes, barns, shops, and gardens, all empty, all still. The torch-lined road led them to the town centre, dominated by a large wood and stone chapel. As the approached, a burly red-bearded human sprang up from a broad ditch he seemed to have dug around the chapel. Startled, the man turned with a yelp and rushed off into the darkness. Advancing to the chapel, the adventurers heard the murmur of voices within. One of the voices identified himself as the chaplain of the small community. Zanne pressed the man for information about the village’s plight, and what he and his companions could do to help. The chaplain explained that for nearly a week the village had been raided each night by shambling undead monsters. They had sent several messengers to Gold Mill for help, but had not heard back. The chaplain had sealed the chapel with a ritual, mistaking the party for more undead raiders. He then suggested the party gather barrels of flamable liquids from around the village and pour them into the ditch surrounding the chapel, believing the flames would keep the undead at bay.
The first tracked down a barrel of moonshine in a nearby field, and another of pitch in the local general store. Depositing the barrels in the ditch, they then split up to track down more fuel. Lo-Kag and Skrag went back to the general store for another barrel of pitch they’d left on its steps, while Balin and Rangrim searched the graveyard. Zanne chose to stay close to the church and watch for trouble. Instead, trouble found Balin and Rangrim. The two narrowly avoided a score of skeletal hands erupting from the earth, and were soon set upon by skeletons and zombies. Zanne sounded the alarm and rushed to their aid while Lo-Kag and Skrag ran into their own problem. The general store was filled with undead, Lo-Kag could see the mindless beasts rifling through the shop, searching for something. Thinking quickly, Skrag and Lo-Kag set the barrel of pitch alight and rushed to aid their friends while flames consumed the shop and the undead within.
Together, the party was able to win the battle in the graveyard and retrieve two barrels of embalming fluid for the ditch. They hastened back to the chapel, preparing its defenses just in time to hold off the waves of approaching undead. After hours of dispatching the few creatures who penetrated the wall of flame, the party took heart as all grew silent once again. Then, the silence was shattered as the charred remains of their foes sprang to life and coalesced into a roiling mass of flame and bone. Our heroes fought hard and won out against the Charnel Cinderhouse just as the dawn broke.
The chaplain rewarded the party for their deeds, though the refused half the reward out of respect for the farmers’ losses. They conscripted a young stable boy and his wagon to carry them back to Gold Mill so they might inform the Guard of Sheaf’s plight. Once in town they loaded down the boy and his wagon with tools and supplies to replace what had been lost in the general store blaze, then reported to the City Guard.