The heroes travel southwest to Vaester and witness a final attempt at raising Amyria. During the Raise Dead ritual malevolent wind rises within the stone crypt, and a dark mist swirls wildly. “This one is mine!” screams an otherworldly voice as the dark mist erupts from the open mausoleum and knocks back the priest and scatters the crowd. For just a moment, the mist seems to take the shape of a dragon, and then it disappears as quickly as it arrived.
The adventurers help console Duke Ironspell, Amryia’s father, who is obviously grief-stricken. Worse than the failure of the ritual, it seems that Amyria’s soul has been trapped and will not have a chance at reincarnation.
The adventurers talk with Amyria’s friend Moyshanna, a priestess of The Raven Queen. She has been relentlessly researching the creature that she believes is interfering with the natural order of life and death. Unfortunately, this “creature’s” interference is also disrupting her connection to the Raven Queen and thus her investigation. She believes that with the aid of a powerful artifact, she can contact her mistress, and she knows just where to obtain one. Moyshanna asks that the party recover The Skull of Sartine in a cavern complex called the Gloomdeeps nearby. She is still wounded from the battle at Sayre or she would go herself.
“The Gloomdeeps caverns are shadowy and supernaturally dim, even in lamplight, because they connect to the Shadowfell. In the Gloomdeeps, lies the entrance to the Tomb of Sartine. I know because I’ve been there. I can direct you to an entrance to the Gloomdeeps that bypasses the upper tunnels and connects directly to the caverns that hold the tomb. The entrance lies only about five miles from here.”
“Sartine was a master of shadow and illusion magic. Legend speaks of her passage into service to the Raven Queen when she died, becoming one of the mighty sorrowsworn. Before her death, however, she built a tomb—a place that exists simultaneously in the natural world and the world of shadow—to house her mortal remains. Sartine left her greatest treasure in her tomb: her own skull, which holds knowledge and power accessible to those loyal to the god of death and fate. It is with this artifact that I hope to find the source of this affront to the Raven Queen and restore the natural order of things.”
The party agrees and heads to the Gloomdeeps. As Moyshanna said, the entrance they take bypasses much of the cavern complex and after defeating the aberrations that populate the caverns, came upon the tomb. The Tomb was filled with traps, undead and demonic guardians but they finally won through to the central chamber. After solving the riddle of Sartine’s murderer, they gained access to the Skull.
After they return the Skull to Moyshanna, she is able to use the Skull to summon the avatar of Sartine. They learn the following things:
- An upstart shadow dragon called Urishtar is responsible for the recent problems with the Dead.
- The dragon operates in the ancient Nightwyrm Fortress.
- The dragon has gathered a collection of brigands to help protect the Fortress: a renegade nightwalker called “Porapherah”, an ice archon called “Vorst”, an azer mercenary called “Dedanum”, and a rather vicious slaad called “Zry”. This menagerie of thieves is led by an admittedly cunning larva mage named “Magrathar”.
- The dragon has somehow stumbled upon a way to intercept departed souls and devour them for all time. This has been a vexing development for the Raven Queen.
- Magrathar has been scouting the border of the Raven Queen’s realm. The larva mage has been able to elude us so far, but we have captured several of his scouts.
- Information gained from these intruders has told us that Magrathar commands the dragon’s “generals” and has them bound by “soul rings”.
- Apparently, you can only gain entry to the Nightwyrm Fortress with the use of these “soul rings”.
- Because of Sartine’s Tomb’ proximity to the Shadowfell, a portal can be opened there that leads directly outside the Nightwyrm Fortress.
- If the party is willing to help the Raven Queen’s cause, they will have her undying gratitude.
- As a token of her sincerity, Sartine offers the party a Shadowfell Blade
After a quick rest, the party heads to Sartine’s Tomb so that they may travel to the Shadowfell…