Having each arrived to Mistden with their respective motivations, the characters had gathered in Elanor Heathertoe’s house where the locals guide all visitors. While the halfling matron was cooking up a stew by the fireplace, Teel was helping her with her kitchen wares. Both the armor-clad knight, (Sir) Samest Ormdel, and the mysterious gnome woven in shadows were locked in their respective thoughts. Suddenly, Elanor mentioned that they still had one more visitor and that she needed to tend to him. She asked the last of her guests, an orc-faced warrior called Maximillian, to take care of the stew while she was taking care of that last person. When she entered the room in which that man lie bedridden, his agonized mourning echoed in the common room. The man was begging: he did not want to fight. Why had he been branded by War?
Soon afterwards, Estelar Talesspur arrived to see the branded man. Having introduced himself briefly, the wizened elf joined Elanor by the man’s side. After hearing William Danielson’s fevered babbling about the brand of War, Estelar returned to the common room where he explained the man’s malady to the outsiders: he had arrived through the plains in the South and had been captured by this vicious undead monster called ‘Goreplate’. Goreplate, an apostle of War, had then branded the man in order to mark his as one of War’s soldiers. The elf warned anyone from wandering through the plains alone, lest they be captured and branded as well. However, he also spoke to each of the visitors in turn and after having been introduced to them, implied that a greater destiny may have been at work to have brought so many adventurers to their hamlet. After supper, he also asked of the characters to find a certain young girl who had been seen on the outskirts of the village unattended. She lived with her father in a cottage near the village but none had heard of them in a while. The characters agreed to look for the girl – Nina Tucker – and left into the dead of the night for teh sooner they would find the stray, the better. At first, they decided to investigate her home, the house of John Tucker.
After they found their way to the house, everyone but Teel heard the disgruntled moaning of John Tucker’s spiteful ghost. However, they decided to enter. Once they knocked on the door, the house went silent. The ghost then inquired if the characters had taken its body before calming down enough to ask them to find its missing daughter and body. He even offered to show them to his cache of magical items, were they to return his daughter to him safely. Although the party members could sense that the ghost was far from benevolent, they decided not to confront it. Instead, they returned outside to look for clues. Teel found the remains of large footprints which originated from the house and the party wandered in the general direction their owner seemed to have gone. After a while, Sir Samest’s magic to detect undead caught a glimpse of several undead creatures. When the characters peered through the mist, they could see the outlines of several humanoids, including one giant. Those with keen ears could hear a little girl offering her brother more tea. The party decided to advance cautiously; Sir Samest and Maximillian confronted the tea party directly while Teel and the gnome approached them from hiding.
Nina Tucker told the characters to go away – she and her family only wanted to be left alone. However, once the approaching warriors assured her that they intended her, nor her family any harm, they were invited to join for tea. Once the offer was accepted, the ogre zombie (which Nina’s ‘brother’ turned out to be) scooped them some swamp water. Nina told the characters how she did not wish to return to her house and the thing which awaited her here because it wished her and her family only harm. The characters’ confusion was hardly alleviated by how she kept calling the zombie besides her her father and refused to call John Tucker’s ghost that. However, it was eventually made clear that Nina was an undead being as well, and John Tucker was actually a powerful and terrible necromancer. While she was reluctant to stay in the village, she conceded to stay at her house once John Tucker’s ghost had been destroyed. The party could then negotiate with the villagers about her fate. Thus, the party then headed to confront John Tucker.
They returned to a seemingly empty house. However, their detection spells picked up traces of weak undead creatures as well as several magical effects, including personal buffs like Mage Armor and Spectral Hand under the floor. Meanwhile, those who stayed outside noticed how they were being approached by a pack of skeletal wolves. While the party did have time to prepare with buffing spells of their own, they were nevertheless caught more or less unprepared when John Tucker opened his personal offense with Black Tentacles which caught everyone but Teel. Teel, however, was quickly surrounded by the wolves and unable to escape because most of his attacks proved ineffective. John Tucker arose from under the ground and dropped Maximillian with a Shivering Touch conveyed by his spectral hand. While the party did struggle and they were even joined by Nina and her family, they were eventually forced to agree to John Tucker’s demands that if they wanted their lives to be spared, they would have to bring him a certain object of great power. Nina was captured and her family destroyed. Sir Samest refused to yield to the ghastly necromancer and was thus destroyed.