After the death of Baern against the teeming horde of undead, Our Heroes made a strategic if rapid withdrawl from the abandoned dwarven ruins. Upon exiting the ruins and before they could set up camp, however, they came across a dwarven encampment.
Maddigan slipped ahead to scout out the encampment, but was quickly spotted by a guard. Fortunately, they seemed friendly, if not overly warm. They provided food and a place for the exhausted and weary heroes to rest. After they were fully rested, however, a minor confrontation occurred between the group and the leader of the dwarves and what were assumed to be his two senior advisors. They had, after all, been caught looting dwarven property.
Stillheart explained what all they had encountered in the ruins, and both Bharash and Fëanor noticed that the dwarven leader seemed particularly disturbed about Baern’s death. Nobody was able to figure out why, and the surly dwarf seemed unwilling to give the group any real information.
With no more useful information to be gleaned from the dwarves, the group decided to head back into the ruins. After all, the dwarves wouldn’t be there if there weren’t something worth getting, right? While breaking camp and preparing to leave, the group overheard a heated discussion between the dwarven leader and one of his advisors, a priest of a dwarven deity of trade with which the group wasn’t aware. Maddigan, the only dwarvish speaking member of the party, couldn’t make out much, but the priest did keep referring to the leader as “mercenary”.
On the way up the mountain path back to the ruins, the group noticed that the dwarven priest had left the camp and begun to follow the party up the path. The group found a bend in the path to wait for him to catch up. As it turns out, the dwarves knew what was causing the undead to rise in the ruins, and the dwarven leader was content to let the group either fix the problem or die trying, and either way making his job of reclaiming the ruins for the dwarves much easier. The priest found this approach morally reprehensible, and felt it was only fair to give the group some assistance.
The dwarves of the ruined trading post, it turns out, had faced an overwhelming invading army of hobgoblins, and had, as a final effort, cast a ritual that would raise the dwarven dead to defend the town. However, the ritual had been botched, and now the dead saw everything as an invasion, and would attack everything on sight. This could be remedied by finishing the ritual correctly, which the dwarf was willing to do, but the group would have to fend off endless waves of undead until the ritual was complete, at which point the force animating the dead would dissipate. The party would be free to take what treasure they could carry, with the quite specific caveat that they would not be welcome back for more.
There were two suspected places where the ritual would have been carried out, and the group would have to move through a large number of undead to get to the places. Using maps the priest carried, they plotted a route that would carry them past the first site to the second, and opted to blow through the undead rather than combatting them whenever possible. This tactic worked well until they reached the first suspected site. Much to the dismay of the group, they had chosen the wrong one first, and it was teeming with undead. Unable to escape an encounter, the heroes cornered and defeated an undead captain before he could raise minions to his aide.
Rushing to the second site, the group found the ritual circle, and the priest moved to complete the ritual. It didn’t take long for the teeming hordes of undead to rush the group, and a long and exhausting battle ensued. With no cover and no way to corral the skeletons and wights, the group was quickly surrounded and fighting for their lives.
The fight was long and hard, and exhausted every resource of the group, but they succeeded in fighting off the undead; the priest finished off the ritual, destroying those who were still lurking in the dark waiting in ambush. With the threat destroyed, the priest left the group to return to camp.
Left alone in an unoccupied dwarven stronghold, the group went about the dirty and unforgiving job of looting and pillaging.