The party continued to press forward, after examining the altars that the goblins had changed to worship Gruumish, instead of Vecna. It was hard to tell which was worse. Moving south through the doors, they found the room with the displacer beast statues and the cook, Mirtala, tied to another altar at the far side of the room. They weren’t alone as three large dire rats charged at them, protecting the room and their prize. At first, it seemed that only the rats were in wait, but soon their spriggan masters appeared. However, the forces would get no help in fighting the party and they all soon fell. Mirtala was nearly catatonic, and Eman could tell that she had not only suffered physically (Mirtala was wracked with filth fever) but that the time as a play thing for her captors had left her mind broken as well. Attempting to bring her out of her stupor, Eman tried to speak with the woman but lack the skills or empathy necessary to elicit a positive response. Merric’s softer tone and more charismatic manner brought Mirtala out of herself just enough to get her to follow the group. Trazelle forced Sertanian to be Mirtala’s watcher and the party gathered back together to find the last prisoner.. the witch.
Knowing that Zerriksa was held near mushrooms, and that north from the entrance was the mushroom room according to the goblin, the party asked the townsfolk to remain in the entrance while they rescued Zerriksa. The room they found was indeed full of strange mushrooms. It had a wet and moldy smell and bits of debris from what might have been furniture. The room was guarded as well by three rage drakes who immediately set upon the party. The mushrooms themselves were hazardous and Trazelle and Vesis were able to warn the group to be careful around them. Vesis and Sahir did their best to split the attentions of the drakes while Trazelle charged head long into battle, and was savaged by drakes as a result. But ultimately, the drakes and mushrooms proved to be just a small bump in the road and were quickly overcome. As they approached what was to be the final room of the crypt, they could see an old woman trapped in a circle of green light. The woman was Zerriksa and was less than happy to be hungry and left alone in the dark dungeon. When Eman suggested that Zerriksa was a witch, Zerriksa took her to task informing the group that she only said that to scare the goblins into treating her better which landed her in this prison. When Trazelle tried to poke the circle with her hammer, she got a nasty shock in response. Sahir, being quiet and observant, could tell that the power of the circle fluctuated on a regular basis and while Eman made her case to the group about not trusting the old woman, Sahir simply pulled her free of the circle and the magic protective circle depowered itself.
With the treasures and citizens rescued, everyone made the 8 hour trip back to Brindol. Arriving at night, the town was overjoyed at the party’s success. The councilman showed them back to their room to allow them a good rest and paying them properly for their service. The next morning, the town has a surprise for them. A party was thrown in the center of town to celebrate the triumph over the goblins and the return of the citizens. Eman found some locals to gossip with, Sahir and Vesis watched the crowd while Sahir was happy to have completed his mysterious mission for the monks. Trazelle ate and drank and was given a cool shoulder by the town instead of the ice that she had received before. Merric took to the stage and sang songs of glory and joy. The party was in full swing and everyone was having a wonderful time. As the party played on, a small chest was delivered to Merric. Curious, the party gathered around while Merric opened the surprise. Sadly, the chest would hold no joy as the head of Merric’s best friend and closest thing to family was stuffed inside. Davin’s mouth held a note written in his own hand asking a simple question, “Where were you?” Devastated, Merric fell back, unable to keep the shock and tears from his face. Trazelle was more curious than disturbed and Sahir took a moment to quietly close the chest and suggest returning to their room.
The party quickly left the now ended celebration and returned to their room. Once Merric regained a small sense of composure, he cast the last sight vision ritual to gain any clue as to what happened. As the world went dark for Merric, he could suddenly see through Davin’s eyes and hear through his ears. Merric could see the note on the table that Davin had written and could hear Davin’s plea for mercy. Then Davin’s head hit the table with a sickening thud and Merric could just see the body of a half orc looming over the bodiless head of Davin before the vision faded and he was back in the room. Once relayed to the group, the most likely answer was the half orc was Vician, known to be a problem in the area. The group did their best to try and find out who delivered the chest but it was just part of the normal trade and delivery from Overlook and nothing remarkable happened to make it memorable to the inn keeper. The councilman had no answers either, about the delivery or Vician. But he had heard that Overlook was claiming that the Orcs were gathering to invade and that Overlook would be the next stop for work. Merric knew that Davin was also in Overlook on some job, but didn’t know what. Trazelle agreed to help Merric, more out of curiosity perhaps than concern and the group decided to make final decisions in the morning. Vesis remained strangely quiet through most of it, however Eman’s keep insight convinced her something more was there.