The rotting cadaver was dressed in the decaying fashions of perhaps fifty years ago, and its rotting teeth clamped as it muttered a low moan and tottered towards them. The elf Arivil gripped his staff and stepped forward to meet it, dealing a crushing blow with his staff and following through with an elbow under the jaw. Perrin launched an arrow straight into its mouth, and Morrison and the strange elf Kaylin threw flames at the thing. Egged on by the bard, the thing quickly fell.
There was a cost however, as Arivil had been badly clawed by its talons, and another form was now shambling forward out of the darkness. This one did not fall quite so easily however, and despite being the focus of several attacks it remained on its feet. It was still fighting as more stone lids were pushed aside, and other forms shambled towards them: they were in danger of being overwhelmed.
A healing charm sung by the tiefling seemed to knit Arivil’s wounds. The others were doing their best to maintain their distance and launch arrow or fire at the creatures. The large size of the mausoleum, and the slowness of their dead adversaries made this a viable tactic. Arivil however was a hand to hand fighter, and though he managed to deal some punishing blows, the things were difficult to actually put down.
Out of the darkness yet another of the walkers appeared behind him, and knocked him senseless. With the focus of their attention removed, the dead things started to shamble towards the casters and archers trying to take them down from a distance.
All the while the crazed Elrin maintained a commentary from beyond the outside door, greeting each corpse by name as it passed his vantage point.
“How I envy you the fetid kiss of my sweet darling Elsinore”, he cackled. “Soon she will tear and rend your flesh in the ecstasy of her desire for the taste of the living. Alas that I can not risk her caress myself.”
“You maniac!” screeched Perrin, who was now backed into the steps with Morrison, firing and casting at the three damaged corpses moving towards them. One went down, busting into a small bonfire from Morrison’s spell.
Meanwhile Kaylee and Makaria were playing a strange dance with two others, as the tiefling led two on while the elf threw flames at them from a distance. Another went down.
“How many are there?” thought Perrin, when another corpse hove into view pursuing the tiefling. This one was more recently dead, and appeared to be the corpse of a once beautiful woman.
“Elsinore. My sweet Elsinore” whimpered Elrin from beyond the door, and started to cry.
Their tactics were working however. Although Arivil had fallen, there were now only two corpses in the northern half of the chamber. And then the casket at the far side of the room slid open.
The nightmare figure was angular and feral, and as thin as death itself. It was dressed in a morning suit, and moved with a swiftness denied to its fellows. Makaria, for once not in danger of being caught by one of the walkers, recognised the faint gleam of intelligence in its eyes and decided to goad and mock it. It snarled, smacking its ankle hard against one of the sarcophagi, and then raced toward Perrin and Morrison, who continued to fire at the last pair of corpses, now moving towards them at a snail’s pace, and very badly damaged.
As the last fell Elvin uttered a shriek.
“Elsinore! Nooooooo!” he yelled. “Murderers! Fiends! Barbarians! I offer you an exquisite death and you murder my beloved. Daddy! Kill them! Kill them all!” The small hatch across the door grating slid shut, and his commentary ceased.
The feral creature raked at Perrin with its claws and he experienced a cold pain racing up his side. But he was an elf, not an oafish human or bumpkin Halfling. He was superior in every way: he could take it. Ducking past the creature he sprinted past into the centre of the chamber. ‘Daddy’ followed, enraged.
Perrin was just too fast however, and as he fled he loosed the occasional arrow, aided by the spells of his allies and the taunts of the bard. While distracted by one of these, Perrin jabbed the arrow he was holding straight into its eye socket. It bit deep, and with a final snarl the thing slumped to the ground.