Run time: 2h30m
Off again next morning. Snow starts falling. Get Ranger to make the odd Track check. If passed, he spots two human tracks that split off from the main group. If failed, they probably encounter this anyway in a small clearing:
Two soldier bodies, snow settling on them. One against a tree, stabbed through the chest with a dagger, died 6-12 hours ago. The other, when disturbed, wakes up, draws his sword and attacks the party. Clearly deranged or hallucinating, zombie-like, refers to PCs as demons and wild creatures.
Battle vs Black Soldier
Bury? Move on. Trail getting harder to follow, DC20, 25… Everyone Survival DC10 against cold Snowstorm really blows up, Survival DC15 to light a good enough fire Assume camping for the night at some point
Wake up in the morning, ground is pristine and white Yet in brambles near where you gathered wood for a fire, you can see glints of metal and deathly white skin. Hack down brambles if desired (bodies of two black soldiers in there). While doing so (or on the path later if the brambles aren’t hacked down), Alita appears. Refers to PCs as “Realmborn”, accuses them of trespassing on sacred ground. “What a shame that with so little time since your black-clad friends arrived, I have not had time to set up my tricks. No matter. I will have fun with you in other ways.” She is oath-bound to sacrifice the intruders, either angry or apologetic about it depending on how the PCs treat her.
Battle vs Alita
As the killing blow is struck, Alita turns to snow and is blown away on the wind. Other snow nearby melts. Reveal bodies in brambles if not previously mentioned. Reveal dungeon entrance, one soldier looks like he died crawling his way out.
Venture inside, lit torches. Daylight dies, long spiral steps leading down. Flickering torches, echoes of footfalls almost sound like laughter on the edge of hearing.
Stairs open out into a room. Soldiers packs can be seen lying against a wall. Spot checks all round. DC5 left haphazardly. DC10 definite trails of blood and blood splatters. Search DC15 diary of soldier.
Explains their encounter with Alita, shelter inside cave, stops abruptly. Flicking back through pages, their journey northward, and begins with their command from the Duke of Freinal to investigate a place shown in the court Wizard’s dreams. Soldiers were worried by the mission, weren’t told what to expect, just to find the right place and report back.
As the characters read, it dawns on them that they can still hear that chattering, laughing sound… only this time, they’re not moving… They look around, laughing stops immediately. And out of the dark strides a figure hewn of rock, but slender, crowned with flickering flame that echoes his eyes. “More,” he says, with a grin.
If threatened… “guards!”
Battle vs guards
Black Soldier, male human Ftr5
CR 5; Size M (6 ft., 1 in. tall); HD 5d10+15; hp 32; Init +5; Spd 30 ft.; AC 11; Attack +8 melee, or +6 ranged; SV Fort +7, Ref +2, Will -1; AL LN; Str 17, Dex 13, Con 16, Int 15, Wis 6, Cha 13.
Bastard sword, AtkBonus +11, Dmg 1d8, 19-20x2 Black half-plate: AC+7, MaxDex 0, ACheckPen -7
INIT Devo 18 Eric 15 Esqui 12 Dan 9 Enemy 7 Enemy HP 32-25-19-17-12-5- -3
Alita, female ??? Ftr4/Drd4/Rgr1
CR 9; Size M (7 ft., 0 in. tall); HD 4d10+12 + 4d8+12 + 1d8+3; hp 42; Init +4; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14; Attack +9/+4 melee, or +12/+7 ranged; SV Fort +13, Ref +6, Will +8; AL N; Str 13, Dex 19, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 17, Cha 12.
Druid Spells Per Day: 5/4/3.
Wooden arm-glaive-thing: AtkBonus 8, Dmg 1d8, 20x2 Natural armour: AC+3, MaxDex 4, AcheckPen -3
INIT Dan 17 Esqui 11 Eric 8 Alita 5 Devo 3 Enemy HP 42-41-31-29-18-7-0
Earth Guard, male ??? Ftr2 CR 2; Size M (5 ft., 7 in. tall); HD 2d10+4; hp 16; Init +4; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14; Attack +5 melee, or +6 ranged; SV Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +2; AL CN; Str 16, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 15, Cha 11.
Skills and feats: Hide +4, Jump +8, Listen +2, Move Silently +4, Ride +9, Spot +2; Dodge, Power Attack.
Short spear: Atkbonus 8, Dmg 1d6 19-20x2
INIT: Eric 22 Esqui 21 Guard4 20 Dan 17 Devo 17 Guard1 16 Guard2 11 Guard3 8 G1 HP: 16-11-3- -3 G2 HP: 16-13-0 G3 HP: 16-15-11-10-2 G4 HP: 16 – 11- -1
G3 (named Arken) healed after pledging life to party. HP 13