- After Garuk falls, Theros’s arrows protruding from his skull, the party regathers its strength and takes a look around. Kedrun has survived the fight as well, though he suffers fairly serious wounds from the conflict and was unable to defend himself with his magic.
- As the party takes a look around the mausoleum, Kedrun makes his way to the Well of Souls. Hamish and a few of the others shout out at him to stop, but are unable to prevent him from approaching and laying his hands on the heavily carved white marble that was used to form its sides. As he does so, a look of anguish on his face, he speaks a single word and a brilliant pillar of bluish-white light bursts from the depths of the Well, bathing the entire room with its cold white radience. Kedrun turns his head, tears streaming down this face, and speaks, shouting over the roaring of the magical energies now streaming from the Well.
“I’m sorry, brother. I’m sorry for everything I did and participated in – we did it in ignorance and pride. This is the only way I know how to start to make things right. Be well, brother. Maybe someday you’ll be able to forgive me.”
- With that, Kedrun turns back to the Well and begins to chant. Within a few moments, the pillar of light flares in a huge burst, dazing everybody, and then disappears. Blinking in the now near-darkness of the Temple, the party sees that the six thrones arrayed on either side of the well are now occupied by dwarven spirits. He stands, and as he does so, a host of spirits materialize in the air behind him, crowding around, before floating down to the floor below where the party stands, still somewhat dazed. Realization begins to dawn on them that the throbbing, draining aura of the Well has faded to a faint sense of weakness. Something has definitely changed.
- The lead spirit, a noble dwarf of some stature, speaks.
“I am Thane Ragnar Heartthew, or I was in life. I led the Council of Elders down the path the led to the construction of the Well of Souls and the blame for its presence lays heavily upon me. By sacrificing himself, Kedrun Blackforge has managed to sever the ties that bind the Well to He whose magics power it and who is the one that we of Hammerfast have indavertantly served these many years. Because of this, the Well is greatly reduced and it no longer feeds the souls of our revered ancestors to the Witch King, these arrayed with me are all that survive. We have much to atone for. I have much to atone for. For that reason we lend ourselves to your service in standing against the Witch King. Our spirits will not rest until we have seen him crush and our wrongs righted. Thank you all for giving us this opportunity.”
- With that, Thane Ragnar and the other spirits fade into the aethyr and the party finds itself alone again…almost.
- As the spirits depart, Hamish senses and new presence in the spirit realm nearby. A voice whispers in his ear “I have not left yet either, my brother. I will remain with you and see this task through to the end. Zhengyi will pay and my wrongs will be righted before I leave. No doubt, it will be like old times, brother.” It seems that Hamish’s brother Kedrun has remained, bound to the task of defeating Zhengyi.
- While the rest of the party stands near the now silent Well of Souls and the spirits of Hammerfasts’ ancestors, Jai lingers near the entrance to the Temple of the Ancestors and, as the spirits depart, he hears voices and footsteps echoing down the polished stone corridor leading back to the surface. He and Theros take up guard positions near the door and hiss warnings to theerest of the party. Theros’s keen ears pick up that the voices are speaking the dwarven language with a clear Hammerfast accent and that there are many of them. Soon, torches are seen and a band of ragged, haggard dwarves come down the corridor and are challenged by Theros, Jai, and the rest of the party as they draw nearer.
- At the head of the group of dwarves (about two dozen in all), is a well armed and armored soldier bearing the heraldry of Hammerfast. After some quick discussion between the two groups, it is learned that this is Captain Durek Orcsplitter, the highest ranked surviving dwarf in Hammerfast and with him are the last survivors of the broken town. After the events in the Temple are retold to the Hammerfastian dwarves, the two groups return together to the surface. There, Durek brings the party to a small refugee camp tucked against the far northern wall of the city. There, about 50 dwarves have gathered and, as the evening wears on, more dazed, half-starved dwarves stumble into the encampment. By the next morning, nearly 150 survivors have gathered. They are the remnants of the town that once boasted a population of over a thousand.
- As the party gets some much needed rest and lends what aid they can to the survivors, Durek does his best to update them on the events that have transpired in Hammerfast. As best he knows Garuk was somehow able to take control of the Well of Souls and use its power to summon a malaise over the entire town. Very few were able to resist and they returned to their homes while spirits of vengeance, the very ancestors of Hammerfast, stalked the streets slaying everybody. This continued for days as nearly all the dwarves succombed to the spell Garuk was weaving with the Well. In addition, a few days ago a mighty burst of power came from the Well and brought forth a host of the walking dead. They marched away to the west and Durek fears for the safety of Fallcrest, as it stands directly in the path of the undead army.
- More to come: News of Fallcrest