All four heroes follow Viola into a small curtained cell inside the tower, where Artur has been wakened, and now sits up on one of several beds built into the walls. Inside are two more wizards of the Rowanwood tower faculty – Macavity, who wears a wide-brimmed hat and two wands in holsters in her belt, and Mistofolees, an elder with a long beard. They’re ready to break Artur’s curse so he can reveal what he knows. When Mistofolees casts his spell, a red shimmer of magic appears around Artur and shatters. Fensir, her eyes attuned to magic, sees some kind of red glimmer of energy escape from Artur and shoot up and through the tower roof. She quietly orders her familiar to follow its path.
Artur reveals that he never directly met his employer; instead, he and Niall spoke with an undead servant who was summoned forth from the earth in a swirl of bloody mist. This figure, with a skull for a face and clad in deep red robes, promised them payment in return for their assistance, but it seems likely now there was also some supernatural influence – if one only possible because of Artur and Niall’s greed. They were tasked with entering the Bilvadr and using their local knowledge to find the otherworldly being, kill him and take his belongings, making sure that no-one knew what they were doing. But when they found him he had already been killed by the mephits, so they just took what they could find that seemed of worth back to the camp they had established to meet their co-conspirators.
The wizards recognise this as necromancy fuelled by blood magic – long outlawed in Casparia. Looking for clues, they hit the library, where librarian Magistrus opens a sealed bookcase and determines that the most likely culprits are sea orks – fish-like pirate raiders and necromancers who sail in the animated corpses of giant fish known as leviathans. They do not live in Casparia, but rather in an island many days sail to the east, near the distant settlement of the Crown Islands. This jogs Valna’s memory – the papers she found in the goblin’s chest belonged to soldiers from the Crown Islands! Fensir’s familiar returns, and it seems the red energy – which flew away faster than it could keep up with – was heading north east – roughly in the direction of the port closest to the Greatmoot. It seems likely Artur’s masters cast some kind of contingency spell on him so they would know if the curse was broken, and they’re going to find out very soon.
After making sure the wizards know the tower might be targeted, and requesting extra security for the Amulet of the Planes they are repairing, the party heads back to the cell just in time for blood to start coming out of Artur in a mist, magically sealing off the room from the tower wizards, who had stepped outside. Rising from the floor are four skeletons…and a figure cloaked in red. The four fight them off in the crowded room, Fax taking up half the room in bear form, but the cloaked figure strides forward and begins to drain away Artur’s life essence. It seems they are powerless to stop him until Valna leaps off Fax’s back and grabs the figure, throwing him with enough force through the cell’s window to shatter the magical barrier. Once in the sunlight outside, the figure starts to burn. It’s cowl falls back and a blood-red skull leers at them. “You’ve not heard the last of ”/characters/bararus" class=“wiki-content-link”>Bararus!"
Artur is alive – barely – and the party have their clue. Now all they have to do is figure out what to do next…