Things have finally taken a turn for the better in our party. Not a whole lot better mind you, we're still trapped on an island which is turning to be littered with different forms of undead and I feel it would take very little to make everyone turn on each other, but for the time being we're working together like an actual team. Well, at least we're no longer working at cross-purposes, and I'll settle for that.
We were able to finish off Corrister's lackeys quickly enough, which is good because one of them took a pretty big bite out of Meda's face before I cut him in half. Once we'd burned the corpses as a safety precaution we decided to bed down for the rest of the night and assess the situation in the morning. After scaling the coastal cliff again, or more accurately after Meda and I climbed up the cliff and everyone else just hitched a ride on Grovetender, we headed back towards the highway and the watchtower. I had contemplated using it as a secure base while we tried to learn more about Corrister, but its advanced state of disrepair precluded that possibility. Any strategic advantage gained by staying in the tower would have been cancelled by the effect of putting a "Free Adventurers Buffet" sign over our heads. As much as I enjoy fighting, I also enjoy getting an uninterrupted eight hours of sleep every now and then as well.
Deciding that we very clearly could no longer remain where we were, the issue then became deciding where we should try to go. I was in favor of heading directly into the Blight where it got worse to the northwest, my logic being Corrister was probably at the center of the Blight and once he realized his lackeys had failed to kill us he'd probably come back and try to kill us again. And if there's one rule I can stand by it's if someone tries to kill me I'm going to try and kill them right back. Meda and Soma, however, were in favor of following the highway west and trying to get around the Blight entirely, on the hope that if we didn't mess with Corrister's plan's he'd probably leave us alone. Tidingston also pointed out that we don't know for certain that Corrister's at the center of the Blight and something much, much worse than him could be there instead. We ultimately decided on a compromise where we'd follow the western highway and not go directly after Corrister, but if he should cross our path in the future we'll definitely kill him. I'd have much rather made Corrister the hunted party, but since the highway appeared impervious to the Blight I conceded it was probably safer to follow the road than to head straight overland into zombie territory.
As we went further west the Blight, unsurprisingly, continued to get worse and everybody started getting the heeby-jeebies. Everyone except Tidingston and Soma, that is. I can't really explain it but they don't appear bothered in the least while the rest of us are whirling around at every odd sound or things half-seen out of the corner of your eye. I asked Tidingston about it and he said the whole area had been desecrated, and while it was playing with everybody else's nerves he had a way to align his energy and get power from it. Soma I was less surprised about, considering he can capture souls of the recently killed in gems and use them for spells. I may loot, pillage, murder, and occasionally set things on fire out of no desire greater than sheer spite, but using a soul just feels wrong to me. Still, I'll let Soma worry about the ethics of magic while I stick with the ethics of cutting things with my sword. Much simpler that way.
We eventually found a town, or at least what's left of a town. I think this settlement may have been much bigger at one point but there's only six or seven buildings left, and even with those the very stone itself appears to be rotting from the Blight. We decided we'd spend some time here picking over the bones before moving on and started a systematic sweep of the town, building by building. We pretty quickly discovered this was part of Absalom, which seems obvious in hindsight, because one of the buildings proved to be an army barracks and Feron identified Absalom markings on the equipment we uncovered. We found a few longbows and shortswords, as well as a cache of silver-tipped arrows we handed over to Meda, and a couple of battered sets of parade armor. Most of it junk but if we ever get back to civilization we can always sell it as scrap. A few of the other buildings turned up some valuables worth a bit of gold, which we gladly added to our small pile of loot.
I will admit we should have been more careful in a couple of the buildings. One room we breached into had three of these little buggers that cried constantly while they were trying to eat us. It was pretty unnerving to say the least. Fortunately Grovetender and I had flanked the door into the room so the bastards had no choice but go between a very pissed off man with a very big sword and a very pissed off tree, all the while getting arrows and firebombs in their face as well. Unfortunately for us there was something really strange about these critters, well aside from the constant crying bit, because after a couple of them bit me I started feeling so tired I could barely lift my sword. I must have blacked out for a bit too because when I woke up Grovetender had smashed the last of them about six inches into the floor.
Our other mistake was this building completely covered with vines, and we didn't like the look of it but we decided to check it out anyway. The first floor yielded some silver plate which we'll immediately hock once we get to a town, but aside from ubiquitous vines nothing else seemed strange. We headed upstairs and that's when something must have clicked because Feron told us that this entire house was covered in assassin vine and whip weed, two nasty little plants I'd rather not mess with. In hindsight it should have been obvious, considering it was the only plant life we'd seen in the Blight so far, but at least we figured it out before one of those plants decided to make us lunch. Miraculously all of us managed to dive out of the windows on the second floor and land unharmed in the yard. Feron did some mystical druid thing where he talked with the plants to calm them down and right now it seems to be as long as we keep our distance, everything will be fine. We're hoping he can make some sort of arrangement with the plants so we can pull out any more loot that might be hidden in the house, but I'm not hopeful. As of right now we've got one building left, which looks like a school of sorts. We'd only started to clear the building before we noticed a pronounced draft. Whatever's causing it can't be good, but we're going to have to find out anyway.