The party finds a letter to Sister Garaele all but confirming her turned traitor. As though there were any doubt.
After a nice, long shopping break, the characters leave Barthen’s-now-Myrna’s general store, only to find that Halia’s abandoned them. Sheesh. At least Marjie’s got a shield and a nifty chain shirt now, though!
Following Halia’s tracks, the party dodges a lone orc roasting some tasty rabbit, and unfortunately runs right into the furry arms of an owlbear, a bear with the face of an owl which promptly knocks Lorvyl unconscious. Fortunately, the party defeats the owlbear, and Lorvyl decides he should probably pray some more to get some better rolls.
Oh, and there’s a dead ranger and horse with a little girl who turns out to be a doppelganger. Monsters, right?
After much prayer, Lorvyl is blessed by Dol Arrah, who forgives his straying to Tymora and blesses him with a strength most true. Lorvyl, to his credit, wonders if he should start going to church more often.
Upon reaching Thundertree, the party rushes to the defense of Halia, who stands defiant among too many ranger corpses (and even some spider ones), against the towering might of Firewing, a young red dragon who can nevertheless hold his own against some pesky adventurers.
Unfortunately, though she can speak Draconic, and therefore quickly becomes Firewing’s favorite, Ava doesn’t bargain too well with Firewing and quickly gets Halia eaten. She promises the dragon the Black Spider, as well as the Druid, for dinner. Lorvyl is horrified by Halia’s death. Marjie shrugs.
The druid, Reinoth, proves to be most unhelpful. His twig blights are weak, and his talk is just plain racist. Ava secretly hopes for Reinoth’s death. Lorvyl continues to be horrified, especially when he discovers he is still Lawful Good.
The party reaches Cragmaw Castle, where Ava poses as Glasstaff and Lorvyl somehow convinces the goblins that they’re the boss around here, you jerks. They’re led through the cafeteria to the portal room, where Vyerith, a visibly disgruntled drow tells ‘em off and asks for sacrifices instead. The party knows, though, that she’s totally a doppelganger.
Getting Vyerith sacrifices is easy. Beating her up is also easy. Keeping the sacrifices alive and free? Not so easy. The party splits up, and Ava leads the sacrifices out, only into the waiting hands of Firewing, who promptly eats a quarter of the sacrifices, including a morbidly obese halfling, and brands Ava as one of his retainers. But at least three-quarters are still alive, right???
Meanwhile, Lorvyl accepts Vyerith’s help, because Dol Arrah tells him that while she is evil, she could take them to where he wants to go.
And of course, Marjie looks through the portal, sees some pretty cool marble pillars, and is seen by the Black Spider before she decides to go back inside.
As the party gathers in the portal room, they discuss quickly what they need to do, but they don’t have enough time, as the Black Spider steps through the portal …