The party returned to Orstrum and received a small reward from Ilse for clearing out the temple. Ser Hectre claimed an oaken walking stick with a golden ram’s head grip. Naiadé claimed a pair of diamond earrings, while Althaea chose a gold ring inlaid with a sapphire. A strange rune was carved into the sapphire, but no one is sure of its meaning. Eldrad finally took a golden necklace adorned with sparkling rubies. They may fetch a fine price in town. That night, Tordek returned bearing strange news: there was no great evil in the temple’s inner sanctum. It was completely empty. Tordek completed the reconsecration as planned, however, and returned to Orstrum without further harm.
The party departed Orstrum at daybreak, but left in the direction of Brei, the duchy’s capital city. Eldrad and his cousin, Ser Hectre, both have retainers in Ursina looking over the town in their absence. On the trip, they took directions from a plains orc named Urrumar, and took a shortcut through a pleasant forest. That night, Naiadé had a troubling dream in her trance-state. The Ghoul appeared, threatening to hurt Naiadé as she hurt him. She was awoken by a fiery, sulfurous explosion in the distance and by the blaze that engulfed the forest. A Malebolge.
A Spined Devil and a group of lemures quickly surrounded the party and attempted to subdue them, but they were able to rout the devils and escape to the northeast. The burning forest almost consumed Eldrad and Hectre when a burning pine collapsed on top of them, but Althaea and Hectre’s combined strength was enough to toss the heavy trunk. Finally free of the blazing forest, the party now looks on towards Lake Fletcher, the Isle Orybdoir, and finally, Brei.