The adventurers rest in Lareen’s villa after the intense battle. During their rest, they are transported by a fel mist to some strange throne room dominated by a male drow vampire. The party quickly realizes that they haven’t been moved, but that the effect is an illusion. They parley with an image of Zirithian himself. Zirithian wants to talk and warn the adventurers of Matron Ulvrain’s ultimate treachery. Sorinas’s insight reveals that the vampire lord is truly trying to take measure of the group to ascertain their strengths and weaknesses. With the illusion banished, the group awakes back in the village.
The adventurers return to Matron Ulvrain’s palace to collect their reward on Lareen’s head. After attempting to wheedle more information from the group, Ulvrain reluctantly pays them out. In a counter-move, she offers a new deal to return to Lareen’s villa and enter the portal to end the Zirithian threat once and for all. The group agrees to a payment of 50 platinum and two items of power.
Upon passing through the portal, the party finds themselves in strange extra dimensional space between planes. They stand atop a floating platform of stone surrounded on all sides by a great void. In the near distance, other platforms float connected by bridges made of webbing. The webs teem with small demonic spiders. In this place they fight some bodak reavers and a cambion hellfire magus. Raef almost succumbs to the bodak’s death gaze but is eventually saved. After the fight the group moves through the next portal to their true destination.
They arrive on a hot desert plane of dry dust, fel screams, and a rank air. They are greeted by a hunched human-like being calling himself “The Keeper”. The group parleys with this creature and learn that the realm they are in is called “Deadhold”, which is a dominion under Orcus’s power. The Keeper seems eager to free himself of Orcus’s power and claim the realm for his own. The party and The Keeper agree to help each other. He tells the group that Zirithian dwells in an outpost called Hordethrone, which lies on the edge of the Sea of Rot about a day’s journey from their present location. Zirithian apparently wields an artifact sword known as Nightbringer. If the party plunges Nightbringer “into Orcus’s eye” at the right moment, the plane will be free of his control.
He also warns the party the Zirithian secretly wants you to attack him, for he needs worthy champions to sacrifice to Orcus.