After the fight with the undead, Maddox ended up with the small orb that Yurik had picked up off of the leader. The group of adventurers headed further into the depths of the cave inside of Uldany’s Stockades and came upon a curious chamber. The room held a bunch of stone statues in various combat poses, including a massive dragon statue. There was a magically sealed door on the far side of the room, as well as a large stone door sitting in the center of the room, not attached to anything else.
The carvings on the stone door spoke of a portal it guards, and how the door could only be opened by someone who has opened it before unless they had a key. They key was priceless but burdensome on its holder. Faced with a dead end, they returned to the surface and reported the missing Mason to Justicar Fel. They did not, however, mention their encounter with the undead.
They were asked to sit a moment while Fel met with a group of dwarves from Bar’Dur, demanding that they release the Mason to them along with the Diamond Core. They refused to accept that it had not been found yet and accused Uldany of trying to steal it for themselves. They warned that if their demands were not met, their thane, King Baccus the Unmoving, would no longer carry ‘tolerance’ for Uldany’s leadership.
After the dwarves departed, the group was assigned a spirit-talker to accompany them on their missions from then on. Familiar with the wild, he would be considered a big help. After a brief exchange, Freya told Fel that the Mason had given them instructions on making a key to the Diamond Core’s hiding place. Pleased, the Justicar sent them off to obtain the key at any cost. They were futher instructed to deliver a package to the Governor of Stonewall and a sealed letter to the Thane of the Dwarves. They were told to assist those in need in the name of Uldany, and if they came across the traitor Prince or his band of miscreants sent out to find the Diamond Core, they were to apprehend them if possible, kill them if not.
Opting for Stonewall as a primary destination, the group set out. For the entire time, Maddox endured nightmares where he would cut his eye out with a sharp dagger and stare at his empty socket in a mirror. Likewise, Raze had daydreams whenever his mind wandered of stomping Maddox to death and taking they orb they had found below Uldany from him.
They arrived in Stonewall and found the way to the Free Lands sealed under order of the Governor. Apparantly, a sickness had broken out at some villages nearby and he didn’t want it spreading if it were a plague. The group delivered the package, as instructed, then successfully bribed the Governor to allow them to pass into the Free Lands.
They came upon a town where the people were sick. It wasn’t a fatal illness yet, but the spirit-talker of the group was able to discern that the reason for the illness was that swamp water had leaked into all of their wells. The self-proclaimed mayor of the little hamlet they were in told them a sad story about his daughter being taken away by the Stone Men for a crime that he was not aware of.
Freya spotted a massive footprint along the side of his house, and the group followed it into the swampy wilderness. After a day of travel, they came upon a half-sunk ruin bearing the mark of the High King of Uldany, noting the location as forbidden. Since they were not currently in Uldany, however, the group decided to ignore the mark and head into the depths. After an encounter with some weird muddy monsters, they managed to find the Stone Man and some hired help. They subdued one of the hired men and questioned him, but the other two died in the conflict. The Stone Man was knocked unconscious, turning back into a normal human. Maddox removed the item they wanted from him, his magical medallion, and the man woke and screamed as he dissolved into glittering dust.
The mayor’s daughter was found on a stone table at the end of the room, sliced completely down the middle and bled out. The blood bubbled curiously, catching Yurik’s attention. On the table was painted a mural of a giant orc with one eye chasing an army of people that were fleeing from him. He had a massive sword and was throwing balls of fire at them. Yurik was suddenly overcome with rage when Maddox spoke to him, causing him to strike his comrade. A fight almost broke out in the group, but they regained themselves in time. They paid the captured man what the Stone Men promised to pay his family for sacrificing himself by taking this job, then let him go.