Thorgrim still wasn’t quite himself.
After some indecision, the party stealthily enters a cathedral of evil. Streams of blood flow from the altar to a hole in the floor. Splug the goblin is tied to the altar as the next sacrifice.
They are able to surprise a pair of Berserkers then engage another set of undead and an underpriest(ess) of Orcus. The Vampire Spawn Fleshrippers are hard to bring down in spite of being minions, and the Dark Creeper causes plenty of trouble even while immobilized.
The heroes are able to prevail, however, without too much trouble. Oh, and Uriondir frees Splug, who is quite grateful.
Chanting is heard from below and is increasing in intensity. Chains, slick with blood, descend into darkness. This is the source of all the evil in the Keep.
Our heroes slide down the chains into a nightmare. They are standing in a pool of blood. A portal leads to the Shadowfell and a frighteningly thin membrane keeps back some unknown horror. Skeleton Sentinals and a Shallowgrave Wight are there to protect Kalarel, the Scion of Orcus who is attempting to open the portal. There is also a menacing statue of Orcus and a pit that the party never explores.
The Skeletons are fairly easy to bring down, but no sooner do they go down than they pop back up. Kalarel taunts the party mercilessly and, worse, the Thing in the Portal pulls people towards it to attack them.
Uriondir runs for his life, Splug chases him to help, Thorgrim goes after the Wight, and Gideon and Gyani get Kalarel flanked. Just when they think they have him cornered, Kalarel uses his amulet to teleport to the magic circle in front of the Portal.
Things are looking dicey for a while, but Thorgrim brings the Wight down, the Skeletons crumble, and the party concentrates on Kalarel while trying not to be pulled into the Portal. Kalarel is incredibly hard to bring down, but eventually he is defeated. “Orcus will avenge me!”
At his death, the disembodied chanting stops, the Thing in the Portal recedes, the dark opening turns to plain stone, and the room begins to crumble. Our heroes quickly search the room and bodies, then quick as they can climb back up the blood-slicked chains, with Gideon carrying an unconscious Thorgrim.
The party returns to Winterhaven and are greeted as heroes. Lord Padraig sponsors a feast, old women bake pies, and everyone wants to shake their hands. Ultimately, Winterhaven is too small for the big dreams of our heroes, so they say their goodbyes and head back to Fallcrest. It is at this point that Thorgrim takes his leave; his destiny lies elsewhere.