The inquisitives return to Sharn and bring Orrin Bollock up to speed on their time in the Eldeen Reaches. He seems particularly interested in Ruby and spends the night examining the strange creature.
The next day, he shares with the group his theory that Ruby is a crystallized piece of soul, which would explain the gaps in its memory. They discuss together thegroup’s next move in their ongoing efforts to thwart Mordain‘s efforts to acquire the power of a daelkyr. The group decides it is time to go into the Mourning and see for themselves the mad wizard’s failed first attempt.
Before leaving, they meet with Capt. Kalaes of the King’s Citadel to report the intel they gathered in the Eldeen Reaches. He listens to their report and plans for their next move. He requests a detour on their first steps into the Mourning. He tells them The Brelish Crown wishes for them to retrieve the Cyran Royal Regalia. Karnak, obviously uncomfortable with the idea of handing the Cyran Crown Jewels to another nation, asks why the Brelish want them. Capt. Kalaes sighs and explains that the King wishes to gift them to Prince Oagrev of New Cyre as a token of their continued friendship. Reassured, the inquisitives agree to the task.
They travel to see officers of the Thousand Yard Stare to gather information on the Mourning, and then head to Gatherhold, the closest town to Metrol, the former capital of Cyre.
Travelling through the dead gray mists was one of the most unpleasant march of their lives, even worse than the Gloaming in the Reaches. When they finally cleared the worst of the mists, they came upon a long abandoned battlefield. The corpses littering the ground were oddly still fresh, as if the soldiers had died but a few minutes before. Among those obviously cut, shot or bludgeoned to death were also a great many without any sign of injury, simply collapsed on the floor, their lifeless eyes looking like they followed the travelers are they made their way through the open air graveyard.
Basil was the first to notice when one of the bodies moved. The earth churned under the corpses, rising into a wave of blood soaked earth, corpses, weapons and severed body parts. The abandoned regiment struck out at the intruders using its soldiers weapons, hands and teeth. Spirits fluttered out of the mists, joining their bodies in their recruitment efforts. Unwilling to be drafted, the inquisitives struck back, ultimately putting the phantoms to rest and defeating the restless regiment.
The group entered Metrol’s suburbs. When walking down its streets towards the town’s southern gate, they heard the send of a fire heading their way. A rolling ball of flame, a spell that had continued on long after it ought to have dissipated, came at them, flanked by translucent flying daggers. A vaguely humanoid pocket of mist joined the living spells in their assault, inflicting disease upon Basil and Maathezar with but a touch. The lingering energies were dissipated by the adventurers and they resumed their walk to the gate.
They found the city in an unsettling state. Its walls were reflecting the light strangely and a man was standing, pissing on them. He didn’t respond to hails, and when the group moved closer, they saw he and the walls were covered in a thin layer of glass. When they made their way past the gatehouse, the inquisitives found the rest of the city had suffered the same fate. They headed deeper into the town, finding its inhabitants eerily stuck in what seemed a somewhat normal day, frozen in time. There too, the Mourning’s victims seemed to be following the group with their eyes, but when the glass around them was shattered, they fell to the ground, dead.
As they neared one of the city’s markets, they noticed that someone had preceded them, shattering and looting the former inhabitants. In the market, they found a large group of people in chains working to free the valuables from the glass. A group of warriors in cloaks and masks where watching over them. The inquisitives hailed the leaders and found them guarded, but willing to talk. The guards admitted to living in the city and serving an “Empress”. The workers were their slaves. Maathezar remembered hearing stories in Gatherhold of phantoms coming out of the Mourning and abducting entire caravans. Though not really ghosts, these people fit the profile. When the strangers noticed Karnak, they grew aggressive and confrontational. It seemed these people blamed the Vadalis House for grievous wrongs done to them. When questioned about their grudge, they told the inquisitives to go to Clifftop, a Vadalis facility north of Metrol. When the inquisitives pushed for more information and refused to leave the city, the guards’ leader drew steel and instructed his men to take the intruders alive.