The Underpriest nervously entered the domain of his master. Kalarel had a volatile temper at the best of times, and since learning that Agrid the Gnome had found an Arcane Mirror at the Dragon Tomb, and then lost it to this same group that had now entered the Keep itself he had been difficult to approach.
“What is it?” issued the voice from the gloom of the small chamber. Straining his eyes, the Underpriest saw Kalarel stood looking through the ritual book again. Standing tall and dressed in armour, Kalarel was an imposing figure. His clay homunculous hovered nearby, chittering quietly to itself.
“My Lord, our spy has confirmed that the adventurers have broken both the local kobolds and now the goblins in the upper level,” responded the Underpriest. “They seem to have spared a few goblins – they might make useful undead later – but have now entered Sir Creegans tomb.”
“What?” roared Kalarel in a fury. In a second, he had crossed the room and gripped the Underpriest by the throat. “By Orcus’ Wand, you bring me this news now? Soon I shall perform the final part of the ritual and the Gate will open! This group cannot be allowed to interfere with that. Tell me, o faithful servant,” Kalarel’s voice dripped with venom. “What exactly are you going to do to stop them?”
“Uh…my Lord, if I may speak?” gasped the man, scrabbling at Kalarel’s gauntleted fist as it closed around his neck. Dismissively, Kalarel pushed him away and gestured for him to continue.
“The hobgoblins need to stay as a reserve force, my Lord,” stated the Underpriest. “But I have instructed our spy to put the plan to attack Winterhaven into action, serving as a useful distraction. I also require permission to fortify the zombie guards on the first level with reinforcements.”
“Wise moves,” returned Kalarel, a small smile forming on his face. “But I have an additional thought. You yourself will join the zombies on the first level. Engage only from a distance, get the measure of these…adventurers…and report back to me. I shall be waiting to hear from you. Dismissed.”
The Underpriest bowed and departed, his mind whirring with plans. The zombies were unlikely to defeat their foes by themselves, but with a little extra help…
An idea forming in his head, the Underpriest made his way to the prisoners, the words of the ritual to begin their transformation already forming on his lips. He would have to work fast – Sir Cregan’s guards would likely not hold them long.