Things have actually continued to get better for our party, despite the loss of Grovetender and his druid companion. After a night's rest in the village Soma announced that he had developed a new plan for taking down that thrice-damned tree in the graveyard and demanded that we go back. We were initially pessimistic, believing we simply did not have the resources to tackle such a challenge, but Soma's plan proved to be a stroke of absolute brilliance and was executed flawlessly. Soma had improved his levitation spell which allowed him to fly, and had deduced that his acid attacks would in the long run be more devastating to the tree than anything Meda, Tidingston, or myself could throw against it. Taking to the air once again, Soma soared well above the reach of the tree and unleashed a torrent of acid down upon it, much to our amusement.
It seems to have worked because very quickly the leaves began to wither off of the tree and after a few minutes the tree had decided it had had enough and ran away into the forest. Meda was strongly in favor of pursuing the tree and killing it, but Soma decided to let it go in favor of looting the treasure underneath the tree and getting the hell out of there. Tidingston and myself, being utterly incapable of doing anything beyond slightly tickling the tree, agreed it was better to just grab the loot now. A little bit of digging unearthed a chest containing a decent amount of gold and six enchanted headbands, which we distributed amongst ourselves before heading back out of the graveyard. As we had obtained the loot promised to us by Deris in exchange for us returning his body to its proper grave, I proposed that we keep Deris a ghost trapped in the ruins of his town as punishment for him failing to inform us about the incredibly dangerous tree on two separate occasions. Tidingston suggested that we demand more recompense for the return of his body to its resting place and if Deris refused, then we leave him stuck as ghost. While I certainly relish the prospect of wringing yet more money from this bastard, I'm not exactly hopeful.
While Soma had been flying around above the treetops he had also managed to get a very good view of the countryside, noticing how the Blight seemed to increase or decrease in magnitude in certain areas. Soma said that he had noticed a strange structure several miles away and the Blight appeared to grow stronger in that direction. It seems my initial conclusion that Corrister would be at the center of the Blight where it was strongest was correct, although to be fair it didn't take a great amount of mental arithmetic to put two and two together. (I still wish we had gone directly into the Blight to take Corrister out about a week ago. It would have saved us considerably more time. But if wishes were horses we'd all be eating steak.) We decided to begin our trek towards the structure in the remaining daylight, setting up camp just outside the edge of the forest, about two miles from the structure.
As we were rather deep in enemy territory, we decided to keep watch for the night while our casters got their required eight hours of sleep. I volunteered to take first watch and everyone else settled down to get what sleep they could. Soon the moon had risen and gave me a fairly good view of the surrounding landscape. Eventually I noticed the sound of a child crying coming from across the plain and I immediately drew my sword because there was no way in hell that was a regular child. Eventually I noticed a small figure in the distance that strongly resembled the gnome child I had befriended in No Fun, who I had last seen getting crushed by a demigod. He soon spotted me and waved, gesturing for me to follow him. As I'm not a moron I refused to follow him into the blatantly obvious trap and quickly woke Meda, believing that the two of us might be able to handle the problem without the casters. My suspicions were quickly confirmed when the child came closer and I was able to identify it as the same as some of the other creatures that had taken a big bite out of Meda's face when we first met Corrister. I attempted to fend him off with my sword but he ducked under my guard and managed to take a decent sized bite out of my leg. The struggle soon woke Soma and Tidingston and we quickly dispatched the monster, although not before Tidingston accidentally dropped one of his grenades on me. At least it cauterized the wound...
After we had dispatched the cannibal child, the sound of zombies soon assaulted us and a group of twenty or so undead shuffled into view, lead by four corpse lords. Although the odds did not seem in our favor, we made ready and prepared to kill all sons of bitches. And by Gorum, it was glorious. Tidingston threw bomb after bomb into the horde, engulfing them in a wall of flame, while Meda picked off survivors with her bow. Soma ran around the battlefield, using his magic for crowd control and to aid our efforts. My favorite was when he magically made me grow twice as tall, creating a veritable wall of flesh and steel against the undead horde. Although I took a great many wounds, I drew most of the horde's attention and kept them from attacking my less beefy companions, while also getting in quite a few good hits of my own. When the last zombies had been engulfed in one of Tidingston's bombs we managed to come up with quite a bit of loot and burned the bodies in a merry little bonfire as a precaution. With that we rested for the night, secure in the knowledge that with this horde defeated, we would not be attacked again until day.