The shortcut through the Deathwind Labyrinth proved nearly enough to devastate the party. The heroes managed to dispatch a number of cave bats and spectral undead, finding thereafter that the only route deeper into the shadowy cave network was to plunge down into a funnel of murky water. It deposited them in a deeper cavern where it seemed that Damien’s lost mentor Athenais had once passed, leaving a case of emergency supplies and her Arcane Mark. The party’s path on their urgent mission led elsewhere, however, so Damien reluctantly turned away from these clues.
That path proved to be a brutal one: scuttling centipedes nearly tore the party limb from limb before they were able to escape into daylight. After resting up from this near-fatal encounter, the group approached the town of Dorwich, where a stockade had been erected from pieces of the ruined village, patrolled by wererats and their dire rat pets. Acting swiftly, the heroes battled their way atop the walls of this crude corral and led frightened villagers out to freedom. The Doom Sister known as “Fear”, accompanied by two spectral guards, came to investigate the commotion—but too late. The captives went safely into the care of the Clerics of Pelor, to become more refugees at Hallowdwell.
Then came the march west to Tyrol Manor, near the border between Arktfar and Greenwood. As an Allandrian contingent began a frontal assault on the Deathwind forces there, the party made their way into the keep via a side entrance guarded by devoted Warforged, a rarity indicative of some great wealth or artifice on the part of Lord Tyrol. Battle was joined, but during the melee, the party was able to wrest some information from the taciturn constructs. It appeared that Tyrol Manor was not so much in willing collusion with the Deathwind as under a terrible coercion: the Doom Sister “Grief” had a blade to the throats of the Lord’s wife and children. By convincing these Warforged that the party was adept enough to mount a rescue even under this hostage situation, and devising a ruse by which they could spring an attack from within the Lord’s audience chamber, the heroes made their way to the center of the manor house, to Tyrol… and to Grief.
With the help of the warforged, the Doom Sister was defeated, and dissolved into a black mist that seeped away to the south. Lord Tyrol and his family escaped during the fight, safe, but out of the reach of the party or the Allandrian forces, so their secrets fled with them.
Using the Nightshade Staff, the party cleansed Tyrol Manor of the Deathwind plague. This loss of territory, and the defeat of one of the Deathwind’s generals, will surely provoke bitter reprisal from whatever intelligence guides these undead. Even now, the battered Dark Legion, forced to ground in the counterattack against their feint, stands on the verge of rout… leaving a clear path for the angry undead to march on Hallowdwell.