The companions assist in the recovery of Elbanor. Though On’ogg is able to heal him, his hand is lost in the process. After sending Margot, Bartholomew and Constance back to the Black Star Hideout, they decide to investigate the strange lights emanating from the nearby Balefire Egress.
They move through the Cedar Quarter, careful to not attract any unwanted attention. A peculiar figure, bereft of strong description follows some distance behind, strangely compelled to find them. The companions are largely unaware of it’s presence, and it becomes easily distracted by wonderful new sensations as it progresses along.
The companions find their way to the edge of a large park, the bulk of which is in the shape of a shallow bowl with a large stone pavilion in the center. A dense mist with a sickly green hue settles on the area. Where they had once seen signs of ten or so large green fires burning, now they find only four.
Moving forward, they find a large mob of skeletal horrors locked in combat with large beasts. The creatures move at a speed that makes it difficult to discern much detail. Though they fight with great ferocity, the seem to find the numbers of their assailants overwhelming. A pair of skeletal warrior move among them, causing much havoc.
The companions rush in to fight off the abhorrent undead, finding themselves fighting alongside several large werewolves. This continues for a short time. Suddenly a fiery blast emanating from the temple entrance destroys several adversaries directly among the companions. The magic seems to bend around them, sculpted in an all too familiar fashion. They turn to see their old friend Thadeous Wobblegrinder among the combatants!
With their combined efforts, they are able to destroy the pair of lich brothers. The werewolves seemed to not be hostile, so they all convened within the structure, where the large beasts turned back into several dwarven priests. One had fallen in combat. All but one filed down into the structure below.
The lone dwarf introduced himself as Jotun Borzegar, a member of the the Aurens. He explained his sect to be non-denominational clerics in the service of honoring the dead among the city of Khalsbrad. The companions were at first apprehensive, but soon realized that Jotun and his brothers provided a great service to those in the city.
Taciturn and solitary, the Aurens performed the vast majority of the burial rites for the departed of Khalsbrad. With their great respect for their work, the dwarves found the desecration of the area profoundly vexing. They gave the companions food and shelter, and were soon convinced to join in their efforts to assault the source of evil within the Tower of Solastarum, when the time came.
The group relished the reprieve from the dangers of the city, outfitting themselves as best they could and debriefing Thaddeus of his own adventures. Akasha found the werewolves to be profoundly beautiful, finding fellowship with their struggles. Sayer assessed their equipment stores. Ogg thoughtfully asked of Jotun more information on their work.
Finding the young orc to be sincere and trustworthy, Jotun brought him to a ritual held behind closed doors. Ogg witnessed them giving a ceremony to their fallen comrade. Though he found some aspects of the ritual disturbing, he remained respectfully quiet in the back. Jotun later explained that since they were unable to return their dead back to the stone, that the blood concord would serve.
After gathering their strength, the decide to attempt to signal the Callehad. Sayer and Thaddeus hold the main level with the Auren warriors. Ogg and Akasha ready themselves on the spiral steps of the pavilion. Crawford and Elbanor climb the parapet above and prepare to relay the signal light.
As they transmit the message, they notice the last of the green bonfires is extinguished. A deep rumbling seems to be shaking the grounds all around the temple. A great shifting throws tumbling rock in all directions, the earth itself was rising. The companions look on in horror as a gigantic arm took shape from the turned cemetery ground, pulling up more and more as a colossus unearthed itself.
When it was about waist height, it reared back it’s huge fist as to strike the top of the parapet. Just as Crawford and Elbanor finished their transmission and fled back into the tower, the arm crashed down. A flash of bright light enveloped all as the stonework first shook, then resisted the assault. Indeed, vast chunks of earth bouldered down on the grounds around the temple.
Then from the mists marched another mob of skeletal horrors, this one with a Black Rider among their numbers. He lifted a dreadful hand and pointed to those taking refuge within, and when prodded into response by Sayer’s provocation, responded in orcish ‘you will all die this night’ before laughing horribly. Throwing off his mantle, he revealed himself as Karth Drachum, twisted by a horrible undeath.