After a long journey from the South, the party arrives in Red Larch and are greeted at The Swinging Sword, by the owner, Kaylessa. She offers to treat them to dinner in exchange for tales from the road. Brayowen the elf and her wolf companion Chippy make themselves comfortable. Brunhilde, a fighter sits next to them and are joined by Mila and Zoltar, a roguish halfing and tiefling warlock, respectively. Kaylessa also seats a new traveler at their table, Alfar Norling. Alfar is a literal giant of a man but also a pious fighter for Ulaa, goddess of Hills, Mountains, and Gemstones. Mila, by chance, is also spotted by her cousin Leo, who happens to be in town. He also sits at the table.
After briefly sharing their backgrounds with each other (but none of their secrets) Kaylessa asks if they've heard of the troubles in the Dessarin Valley. More bandits than usual on the road, strange unseasonable fogs, hot winds sweeping down out of the usually cold West. Lightning blasts on clear days. She believes is caused by fell magic, emanating from an evil presence at Lance Rock. She offers the group 50 gp to investigate, which they accept after initially sniffing at the paltry (?) sum.
After dinner, they explore town a bit. Alfar goes to the Allfaiths Shrine next to the inn and meets Imdarr Relvaunder, priest of Tempus. Zoltar, Mila and Brunhilde head across the street to the seedier Helm at Highsun for more drinks. Zoltar is befriended by Grund, the half-orc pickler who plies his trade near the market area. Brayowen purchased some silvered daggers from Feng Ironhead, a much savvier half-orc than the pickler, who runs Ironhead Arms in the middle of town. Brunhilde flirted with the boys at the bar, but the night passed without incident. Leonardo disappeared after dinner.
The following morning, as they were preparing to leave for Lance Rock, some children in town convince them to remove a freaky skull near the path to the swimming hole. Upon investigating, they find a skull pierced through the eye with an arrow. The arrow had a message wrapped around it. Alfar removed the arrow and skull from the tree, burying them nearby. The message, actually written on some type of dried skin:
The Last Laugh
You'll be next!
Continuing on to Lance Rock, a huge spike of granite sticking out of the ground, they find another sign warning them away from a trail leading to a cave mouth. It was signed by the Lord of Lance Rock and tells of a disfiguring plague.
Journeying through the cave complex, they battled zombies, skeletons, ghouls, maybe even a ghast. Mila hid and attacked from cover. Chippy the wolf leapt to attack the ghouls, but was temporarily paralyzed by their attacks. Alfar and Brunhilde leapt into battle, swords swinging. Zoltar tossed Eldritch Blasts from a distance, yelling out words of encouragement, close to the exit. Nobody was really an expert on undead, though Zoltar claims to have seen the walking dead before. Eventually, they came upon Oreioth, the Lord of Lance Rock and his troupe of performing zombies. After a relatively quick battle, the assorted undead in the room were laid to rest and Oreioth was slain.
Mila took a glowing crystal orb that was atop a cone of severed hands and beneath a holographic sigil. When she took the globe, the symbol faded away. She also recovered a wand from the body of Oreioth. With that, the party returned to town to discuss their next moves.