Noticing a pile of corpses beyond the tower, the party makes use of their remaining time invisible to investigate. Kaolin casts Speak with Dead on a scro corpse and learns that “Dukagsh will wrest his power from him,” but not much else. After debate they decide time is of the essence and begin checking for an active gate out. Kaolin’s portal feel only detects one active gate, so they use that one.
The familiar circle seems twisted and pulled like taffy and sits in darkness under racing red clouds and constant bolts of ruby lightning. Those with darkvision note several corpses. Ozzy powers up his hammer, and several emaciated figures run from the light. Shadowy figure rush out and attack them, one biting Dugan on the shoulder. “Ghouls!” yells Drake and the melee begins. Theridon manifests Sever The Tie and half of them fall inert. They make make short work of the rest. Finding another active gate, Etsuriko crosses to do a recon. Finding nothing other than a dilapidated Inn and a barn inside the usual standing stones, she brings them across.
Upon closer examination the buildings have been the scene of combat recently. The doors of the barn are torn completely off and lie thirty feet away on the ground. Our heroes advance inside, weapons drawn and encounter several ghouls which they dispatch with ease. Noticing that the upper windows of the Inn are blacked out with cloth they decide to investigate. Theridon jiggers the door open just as a female vampire is rising from her coffin. She sees him and assumes gaseous form and disappears. Kaolin spins around to watch behind them and sees the figure cease reforming behind them and disappear. Immediately gathering the party together they search the place, finding another coffin in the wine cellar. Etsuriko manages to leap up and stop the trapdoor above as the vampires try to slam it shut. The group exits rapidly and Drake sends a red mouse into the building, he snaps his fingers and the first floor is engulfed in a fireball.
Finding the next active gate they exit into a landscape dimly lit by a greenish yellow moon. Rusted chicken wire surrounds the standing stones, glinting in the moonlight. Beyond it thousands of ghouls crowd around. As the heroes enter, several ghouls come in through a thirty foot square wooden shack that lies between two portals. Drake summons the power of his cloak and casts a web into the shack, while Kaolin casts Undeath To Death which annihilates the twelve or so inside the wire as well as a few dozen beyond it’s perimeter. Several cultist bodies as well as a scro corpse and four dead giff mercenaries litter the interior circle. Ozzy collects rank and insignia from the giff while Theridon and Tavist search the bodies and Drake uses his cloak’s abilities to search the interior of the webbed shack.
Theridon finds an invoice on one of the cultists for “ten ghouls to be delivered to the Ugwarael in the Adytum for necrotic tissue research.” Drake finds the interior of the shack to be set up for bringing ghouls through one at a time for collection purposes. He also finds a chest containing several cultist robes. The heroes don the robes, except for Ozzy who is much too large. Kaolin checks out the remaining archways only to find that the portal they entered through is the only active one. They return to the previous circle, staying alert and wary of the vampires.
Passing through the next active gate they find themselves floating in zero gravity with no light or substance around other than themselves and the visions seen through the gates. Several party members are almost lost, but their zero-g experience comes to their aid. Kaolin glides out and retrieves Dugan who was almost lost. Drake, who was first through, acts as the anchor holding onto a snapped rope that evidently once acted as a bridge between two of the gates. Etsuriko takes a rope and begins leaping from gate to gate making a path for the rest. About four portals away she finds the one with the other end of the rope bridge hanging from it. They make their way through to an alternate Baragu very similar to the one they first found on Oerth, except there is a settlement of some sort about a half mile out amongst the circles.
Drake casts expeditious retreat on himself and he and Etsuriko run out to the buildings to investigate. They find signs of battle including the bodies of many women and children (mostly carrying holy symbols of Vecna). After a few minutes of searching they are suddenly pummelled by an ice storm that springs up from nowhere. Recognizing combat magic, Drake leads a strategic retreat.
Kaolin calls upon her god to divine the correct course and is directed to a particular gate. They pass through it to find themselves in a stone tunnel leading to an archway. Beyond the arch they see a number of ghouls, several doors and six stone statues. As the ghouls look up with hungry eyes the statues begin to turn towards the party……