Within the supernaturally cold cavern-lair of the slain Dragon, Karthraxis, Einar sits on the stone floor cradling his sister’s lifeless and broken body, grief-stricken and gasping for air. For some time, he swats away any friendly touch or attempt to move them. After an indeterminate amount of time in the frozen depths, Einar allows the party to assist him and prepare his sister’s body for transport. Einar is escorted by Grisha back to the warm and comfortable living quarters of Gelfem.
As Vermundur and Hinrik work together to prepare Eria’s body, and Magnus and Krieg rest to recover their strength, Andrei goes exploring. Within the dragon’s cavern, among countless bones and scraps of clothing and leather remains of various humanoids, Andrei finds a small horde of treasure in a chest, including some preserved dragon hide (valuable to armorers, can be sold for 200gp), 100gp, a felt bag containing a single pearl (value 20gp), and a strange-looking Longsword with obscene-looking runes, and the form of a goblet on the hilt. After carefully studying the runes and engravings, he identifies the blade as “[Shevorth]”, a magical (+1) lifedrinker blade, crafted by a Drow necromancer [Izzdrin’diirn] for personal use. Izzdrin’diirn has a meaning in Drow which might be identified by Hinrik.
During the evening resting together in Gelfem’s chamber, Einar speaks to no one, but seems to speak to himself at times, alternately silent, chuckling, groaning, rocking himself and crying out. The rest of the party remains silent from pity and respect, until Einar’s grief gives way and he falls into a restless sleep. Magnus finds Vermundur speaking with the prisoner Gelfem in soft tones, and joins them. Magnus asks Gelfem about Sverrir Steinsson, and Gelfem acknowledges that his agents captured Steinsson and Lyvia and brought them to Hexturtooth. Steinsson’s secret investigations into the piracy in the region had brought him too close to the truth and he could not afford for the authorities to find the hideout. Steinsson and Lyvia were interrogated separately, and Lyvia broke down and gave away what had been learned and shared by Steinsson in his investigation. She also revealed that another agent would be brought in to replace Steinsson when they failed to report in. Steinsson revealed nothing even after severe tactics were used, and they found him dead from untreated wounds received in the fight when his home was raided. His body was given to Karthraxis. Lyvia was set “free” on the island, but the kobolds there hunted her for sport, and Gelfem knows not what became of her, but expects that she was killed.
In the night, Andrei has a familiar dream of being trapped in a cavern. It impossible to see and he gropes along dark hallways slowly, trying to call out. He finds a dimly lit circular cavern with exits in many different directions, and in the middle of the cavern a single candle burns on the floor. Near a far entrance a shadowy figure stands. His form does not reflect the flickering light but you see that the shadow quivers perpetually. The shadow feels unsafe, and yet he is drawn to it. There are many choices of doors to try, but he desires the door nearest the figure. He opens his mouth to speak but the words are unintelligible and sound far away. A quivering, slender arm rises from its side and seems to reach forward to Andrei, and suddenly the room reverberates with what sounds like thousands of disembodied voices rising in pitch in a chaotic cacophony. He awakens with a start, sweating and shaking, and sleeps no longer that night.
In the morning, the party sets out for the beach and boards the small craft to take them out to open water. While sitting in the boat, they notice pools of water collecting in the base of the craft, and discover that their icy breastplates are melting and becoming useless. Gelfem explains that they were a creation of his, meant to keep the kobold “keepers” of Karthraxis safe, and much like the dragon’s lair itself, their magic is tied to the magic of the island – once removed, they lose their power and are subject to natural forces.
Their small craft is joined in the water by several junks flying Nylandan flags. The boatmen escort the party to land at Vesturheim, and provide an armed escort to Woodhaven. Magnus and Vermundur meet with Chief Ingolfsson, and recount all they learned. Ingolfsson is saddened to hear confirmation of the loss of two excellent agents, and thanks the men for returning with the news. Magnus shows the bone mask to Ingolfsson and explains that the dragon, and the kobold “keepers” and Gelfem’s personal guard have all been slain, though countless kobolds did manage to escape the island, and word is that many have made landfall and gone into hiding. Gelfem himself has been brought alive, and did not struggle. Ingolfsson says that he will contact Lord Faren Markelhay in Fallcrest for instructions with regard to the detainment of Gelfem. He awards Magnus and Vermundur 200gp total, and gives them another 100gp to offer the rest of the party for their assistance. He instructs Magnus to take some time off, and hands him a sealed hollow stone cylinder with no obvious opening, called a [Speaker’s Rod], and instructs him to keep the rod nearby at all times. Ingolfsson and Markelhay can use the magical device to communicate with him one time. It will open for one hour only when they wish to speak to Magnus, and he must be able to answer.
Vermundur and Hinrik remain behind in the Woodhaven area. Andrei, Magnus, Krieg, Einar and Grisha all return to Vesturheim, and then separate. Andrei says he will remain in Vesturheim where he will return to his ferrying occupation, and says they can always find him there again if they have further need of him. Einar and Grisha plan to continue along to Fallcrest with Eria’s body to prepare her funerary services and notify their father, Gunnar. Magnus chooses not to go, because Einar has made it clear that he blames Magnus, at least in part, for roping Eira into his mission and failing to keep her safe. Krieg feels some of the blame, too, and despite Einar’s chilly disposition, Krieg chooses to accompany them. Magnus hires Andrei to take him to Haimaey where he charters a ship and returns to the open blue – his home.