After spending the night in what meager shelter the ruins provided, they heard voices coming up from the remains of the chimney. Upon careful listening Thalion was able to decipher the speech of orcs. Not only was the party intrigued by the discovery of a room beneath the ruins but also by hearing the voices of living creatures this far into the Wightlands.
After the party made a careful and quiet descent (with the very notable and noisy exception of Pieter falling down the chimney) introductions were made with all the diplomatic skills at hand. Successfully convincing the dozen orcs and their leader Traeak that no ill will was intended, Irann managed to find out what the orcs were doing there but did not get a clear explanation of how they got there. Traeak said that they had come from the Shadowfell with Necromantix after she had bargained for passage to the keep with some entity unknown to them. Necromantix had also retained them to guard her while she performed some ceremony. At this point their shaman became very agitated and demanded that no more be said to Irann on that matter.
Peaceful bypass of their guard was obtained through skillful negotiation and a small exchange of platinum.
Further exploration of the underground structure led to a chamber with a statue of Bahamut with a small pool at its base. Arranged around the statue, beginning some foul ritual, was Necromantix and three wight accomplices. With the obvious desecration of the altar of Bahamut being immanent Irann had no choice but to launch an immediate attack with the back up and support of Pieter, Erdan, Thalion and Faral. A hard fought battle ensued with the party ending up victorious despite foul magics that sapped their target of the ability to move anywhere being used repeatedly on Pieter and Irann.
Unfortunately Necromantix escaped even after apparently being killed. She was revived by some unholy magic that drew forth a wraith from Pieter’s own life-force; and when that wraith merged with the body of Necromantix, it brought her back to life allowing her to run away. Another Wight managed to escape down another hallway that upon investigation led to a portcullis type doorway leading to what seemed to be a jail cell that had a shadowy darkness for a back wall.
Upon approaching and calling out, a not entirely solid looking knight jailer appeared and expressed both surprise and relief that there were still Knights of White River alive and active. the Jailer, as he is known, explained that he is the guardian of that portal to the shadow realm and had let Necromantix through, not knowing that there were any of the order still around. Taking leave of the Jailer and pursuing Necromantix past where the orcs were and out into the Wightlands a short ways led the group to a dead end were she had apparently used magic to transport her away in an indeterminate direction.
Approximately halfway back they came across and elderly looking man and young looking boy sitting in a tree having a conversation that ended as soon as they noticed the group. They both said that they had been looking and waiting for them. The young boy said that he had a message from Ubada to return to Drakeford with all speed and that by delivering that message he had paid his debt involving the Spirit of Winter. Upon delivering his message he sped away and disappeared with incredible speed. The elderly man Aedelfarn said he was a Druid and was very disappointed with Alek Grimbeard‘s behavior and that the meeting setup with him was a trap. Aedelfarn also wished to make some sort of recompense for his fellow Druid’s behavior by giving the group a very fine helm saying that it would help protect against things that might cause the senses to be obscured. Aedelfarn also offered to lead the group back to Drakeford using ways that would safely speed their return. Aedelfarn turned into an eagle and flew ahead sometimes out of sight but ultimately led them to Drakeford.
Upon arriving at Drakeford they found that Drakeford Hill was building fortifications at all possible points and many more people of all races were there than would ever be there normally. After navigating the confusion they met with Erin Louter and discovered that The Baron had been killed in a most gruesome manner, the manor had been destroyed, the castle was overrun with undead, and a large part of the lower city had rebelled and was unfriendly to any non-human or elvish sympathizer.
Just as Irann and party decided that the first course of action was to clear the undead and retake the keep Captain Rodvar of Southwatch arrived looking for Pieter to report for duty as ordered. A bit of confusion took place when Rodvar mistook Irann for Pieter. After sorting out who he was and why he was there plans were made to begin the assault on the keep. Irann was quite concerned that no one had seen Grai and Ubada since they went to investigate some activity in the tower on the hill but felt that it was not the time to investigate as there were more pressing matters at hand.