- The party returns to Cerule in Archibald’s boat. He puts it into storage there.
- The party heads back toward Stonebridge and the Windwood.
- Along the way, they meet a young girl, Newt, survivor of an attack on a small farming village. They give Newt a horse and tell her to ride back to Cerule, to warn the paladins and priests of Pelor there to prepare for invasion, in case they are unsuccessful.
- The party finds the small cave that leads into the catacomb and leave the sign for Lethressa. After resting for the evening, Lethressa finds them and leads them back into the city.
- Lethressa brings them to the witch’s tower, where they discover one of the undead mages demanding angrily to be let into the tower. The elven guards are refusing to allow him, since there is no good reason for them to enter then.
- The undead mage grows increasingly irate, and his retinue of undead begin drawing close for a fight.
- A crowd has gathered, and Benedict begins trying to turn the crowd against the undead. Simon and Maelic help by using some magic to “throw the first punch” and they succeed in inciting a riot.
- In the confusion, Lethressa and the guards get the party into the tower.
- The party races to the witch’s study and deliver the components they have recovered to the apprentices there. The apprentices, lead by Lethressa, begin the ritual that will free the witch.
- In the meantime, the forces of the undead have broken into the tower and make their way up the stairs. The party fights the undead in the antechamber outside the witch’s study, hoping to buy the apprentices time to complete the ritual.
- The party successfully beats back the undead long enough for the ritual to complete. The witch awakes.
- The witch is grateful to the party for their help, asking if they will help her take care of Nethrecil. The party agrees.
- The party, with the witch, proceed through the village to Nethrecil’s mansion. They find it empty, and they agree to split up to search for him.
- Benedict asks if the witch has some sort of item or magic that would enable the group to communicate over a distance. After some thought, she cuts her palm and smears the blood on her lips, then kisses each of the party members on the forehead.
- The party finds that they are able to hear each others’ thoughts, and the witch’s as well. She imparts a good description of Nethrecil mentally, and then they split into groups.
- One group searches Nethrecil’s basement. They discover a secret passage into a section of the catacombs, and begin to explore it.
- The group finds a fork in the tunnel, one way leading back toward the service and the other down towards a powerful source of active arcane power.
- They are accosted by an undead mage and its retinue of skeletons. The group summons the rest of the party mentally.
- Benedict disguises himself as Nethrecil, and thoroughly inspects the mage, confiscating his robe and wand, under the pretense that there are invaders in the village impersonating him so he must be careful. He sends the mage off somewhere else.
- The group searching the streets gets a sense of what’s happening, giving help to the elves when they can. They eventually receive the summons from the other group and they make their way down into the catacombs.
- The party and the witch converge on the fork and head downward. They discover a vault door which they manage to open.
- The party enters the vault, which turns out to be a laboratory of sorts. Nethrecil and some of his zombie assistants are there.
- They are performing some sort of ritual/experiment on a young white dragon, apparently replacing parts of its living body with undead parts instead.
- The witch leaps at Nethrecil, transforming into some sort of shadowy monstrosity before they both wink out of existence.
- Nethrecil’s assistants attack the rest of the party, and during the battle the dragon escapes from its chains. It attacks everything, driven mad by the experiments, and eventually the party defeat both it and the zombies.
- The witch reappears, alone and covered in blood. She leads the party back to the tower.
- On the way, the party sees that the fighting in the city is winding down. The undead mages seem to have deserted the area, leaving only relatively mindless zombies and skeletons.
- Maelic manages to exert his will over and “capture” a skeleton, giving it the command to follow him.
- The witch takes them to her tower, grateful for their help. Then, she breaks the bad news: The way that they are able to communicate telepathically is, in fact, a curse that she has laid on them.
- The curse allows her to spy on their thoughts and speak to them mentally. It also allows her to cause them intense pain and eventually kill them, simply by wishing it.
- She expresses regret about the curse, saying that she shouldn’t have cast it but in the heat of the moment it seemed the most efficient way to keep them in touch. She explains that, because of the rules of the curse, she is unable to end it directly, and she can’t help them end it themselves.
- She promises, however, to not directly prevent them from figuring out what they need to do, as much as she is able. She also offers to give them employment; she doesn’t want to keep cursed adventurers in her employ, but while they are stuck with each other she promises to keep them fed and housed and well-paid.
- The party considers her offer, and accepts it. She gives them Nethrecil’s mansion to live in, and a few days’ rest.