Upon returning to the tower, Cyrus and Yeer discussed the intriguing possibilities represented by the unusual undead creatures encountered at the Royal Cairn. They both agreed that to leave the interior of the site unexplored would be criminal and resolved to return immediately with a larger and better supplied party.
To that end they set out immediately, leading a fully-laden wagon and a large contingent of followers. They took a slightly more direct route than before and, aside from some suspicious activity at night, and strange pillars of smoke in the distance, they saw no evidence that the area was even remotely settled.
When the cairn came into sight, the two necromancers set to work immediately. While their staff set about arranging a camp site and organizing their supplies, they ascended to the summit with their closest companions to ensure that no evidence of tampering could be found.
Unfortunately it was evident that someone had been there since their last visit. The hole they had dug into the interior had been partially filled in and there were many tracks around it, suggesting a large party had been there.
Fearing that their prize might have been disturbed, they led a party in to begin exploring the tomb. In the initial chamber, they found little except the plinths where the undead guardians had rested for so long. The only obvious exit from the chamber had been a large stone ramp leading deeper into the grave mound.
Moving forward, they discovered evidence of some very sophisticated defensive mechanisms, which they deftly avoided. Descending down to the next level they found themselves in darkness so dense it was almost palpable. They lit additional lanterns and forged ahead into the first main chamber. They were caught by surprise when they found several dozen people scattered about the room, locals by the look of them, and roughly handled at that.
While they paused to digest this odd new wrinkle, a squad of animated corpses rose to their feet and attacked. Caught by surprise, the party still managed to establish a strong defensive formation and began to slowly push into the room. They eventually managed to spot the creature that was directing the wights; an ornately robed, skeletal figure stood in the corner of the room behind a stone dias that held an orb that could only be perceived as an absence of color and substance.
The battle raged on, while the circle retainers fought the wights and cryptguards, the two living wizards dueled the powerful undead sorcerer. This stalemate might have continued until mere human frailty did in the explorers, but a shot from Sylena’s crossbow, whether stray or intentional, struck the orb and caused it to fracture. The magics holding the undead together began to unravel and the lich-thing showed the first signs of fear.
After a desperate binding ritual failed, the orb finally shattered and formed a powerful singularity on the edge of the chamber that almost managed to drag the entire party into it.
Barely escaping with their lives, the wizards and their companions lay panting on the bare earth of the mound, and decided to be more cautious the next time they entered.