The assassin that the group just captured magically remembers that Fenna is his friend. He reveals that Zabha, the machiavellian rakshasha demon behind most of the heroes’ troubles, ordered him and his now dead friends to kill them because they were starting to become really annoying.
The next day the group splits. Albrecht spends some quality time with his father who still sees him as barely more than a sentient mass of muscle. Mara-kai scours the market district in search of a headband of intellect that she eventually finds at a bargain price. Lastly Ada, convinced that her mother is somewhere in town, decides to go looking for her. Fenna, reasonably concerned about the wild elf, transforms into a mastiff and follows her. The couple ends up locked in the guest room of one of the city castles but they manage to escape before the sick punishment that awaited them is delivered.
Days later, after Albrecht’s birthday party and Sahyeh’s execution, the heroes leave Crockport in the company of Dumas, a Red Hand Squire and the last person who saw the two cultists that the group is hunting down. Once they arrive at Woodchurch, the little town that Dumas is in charge of, the heroes find out that FatLargo Highhills and his halfling bandits are hiding in a ruined manor nearby. Dumas believes that the two fugitives are with them and the group decides to investigate the manor.
When they reach the ruined structure they find the halflings, still with their loot on, rotting away in the ruins. After taking care of the indecorous loot issue the group discovers a cave inside the cellar that leads them to the Shadowfell, a plane of necrotic energy and a sinister mirror of the material plane. The cave portal opens up to a valley holding an abandoned city, a dark lake and a palace. Tall peaks and two towers connected with an aqueduct flank the west side of the valley.
The heroes descend into the abandoned town where they finds tracks that lead them to a warren in the east mountain slope. The deserted underground labyrinth ends in a corridor with hatches leaking a black necrotic seepage that Albrecht exhorts the group not to touch. The group attaches a rope to Albrecht who courageously tests the corridor’s safety. After making sure it’s safe they all follow it. At the other end and at the top of some stairs the group finds itself in a rose garden feet away from the palace and surrounded by the dark lake. They also spot the two cultists crouched down inside the garden.
Louis Lemerre, the fugitive who isn’t unconscious, explains that he has been carrying the other fugitive, Braga Clift, since he went into coma during their skirmish while escaping from prison. The burly man reveals that although Braga is a cultist, he isn’t. He was a member of the Red Hand who took the law into his own hands when the Red Hand released from prison his girlfriend’s killer because of the guy’s family influence. After a tense argument Albrecht ties up Louis and they all decide to go back to the underground corridor and to continue the discussion in a safer plane. However, as soon as Albrecht steps into the corridor plates the hatches near the top open and start releasing a deadly necrotic liquid that quickly fills the corridor. The group, reluctantly returns to the rose garden.
– “When your foot touches the first plate of the corridor you hear ‘click’,” the DM to Albrecht.