The cloaked figure introduced himself as Doomguide Abelurd, a cleric of Kelemvor, the current god of death. The group discussed the recent events in the High Forest with Abelurd, who told the party that he was lured to the region due to strong emanations of undeath. Kelemvor abhors undeath, seeing it as an invasion upon his domain. In this Abelurd and the Lathanderite cleric Oisin found common ground, albeit from differing motivations.
From information imparted by the group and the location of the ruined temple, Abelurd surmised the possible identity of the being the group had just defeated. He told them they may have encountered a man named Ungotha, who had been a cleric of Myrkul centuries before, when the temple had still been active. Legends stated that Ungotha had turned to the worship of Velsharune, god of undeath, betraying his vows to Myrkul.
It was then that the elven wizardess Tanara awakened. She told the group that she had attempted to open the cave portal to Waterdeep through which the party had arrived days before, but was unable to do so. After that attempt, she decided to investigate the temple, and was overcome by the malevolent power there. She confirmed that the evil being in the temple had called himself Ungotha. There was no longer any doubt that Ungotha had made some pact with Velsharune to attain some sort of undead state.
It was then that the group noticed that Milo the rogue had disappeared (conveniently, since his player Jamie was not able to attend Session 9 ;-). A quick search of the area by Kale the elven ranger discovered his tracks, heading north.
It was decided that Tanara and Abelurd would head southeast to Evereska, the last major elven city on the continent. Tanara revealed that she is from that city. Now that the mystery of the portal stone and the location of Kurthrad’s tower was clarified, she felt it was time to return home and discuss her findings with her peers. Once she was ready to return to investigate the tower again, she would seek out the party’s assistance.
As for Abelurd, he said that his temple is located in the city of Westgate, far to the east on the Sea of Fallen Stars. He had decided to entreat his god to search for the spirit of Ungotha, and so doing gain confirmation of the vile necromancer-priest’s final demise.
The centaur NPC Narcoth volunteered to take the dwarf warrior Murzod’s body back to Mithral Hall. He then headed off to the northeast to find the rest of the party of dwarves that had gone on ahead.
This left the remaining party—Oisin, Kale, Keseim, and the elven fighter Otiver (NPC) to decide their next move. They chose to seek out Milo while they headed after Kale’s clan, in order to rejoin her people as they moved westward.
Kale lost Milo’s trail at a river, and while searching for it the party was attacked by bugbears. After making short work of the foul folk (C&C rangers are especially deadly against humanoids!), they rested for the night. They set off early the next morning, once Kale finally rediscovered Milo’s trail.
After hours of travel, the trail turned abruptly north into the depths of the High Forest. The party warily entered the trees. Keseim cast detect magic, and spotted emanations about 30 feet up a tree. As they cautiously approached, a huge winged form burst from the canopy above. It was a harpy, and it descended upon them in a fury. As the party fell into battle, a second harpy joined the fray. This second creature began to sing an eerie dirge, which most of the part was able to resist…except for the wizard Keseim! He was overwhelmed with the urge to climb a nearby tree in order to get closer to the harpies.
The rest of the group was able to kill the harpies. Keseim, no longer enchanted, continued to climb the tree to discover Milo tied with vines to a stout limb. The magic Keseim had detected had come from the magical dagger Milo had found in the ruined temple.
Milo was freed and the group enjoyed a short reunion before continuing onward. They rode hard across rough terrain, and by nightfall they reached the last location of Kale’s vo’an. The group made camp and settled in for the night. It was during Kale’s watch that she began to smell the scent of rot nearby. She woke the group to investigate. They finally noticed several sacks tied high up in some trees surrounding the campsite. Cutting down the sacks, they group found they contained the mutilated and dismembered bodies of elves. Kale recognized them as members of her clan.
Kale was familiar with the use of dead bodies to lure creatures in the High Forest. Someone (probably her clan’s sworn enemies, the Autumn Blades clan) had created an ambush. This tactic worked, as the group was suddenly attacked by a wyvern. A protracted and difficult fight ensued, but they were able to drive off the beast.
The next morning, Oisin used a spell to speak with the spirit of one of the slain elves. The spirit confirmed that they were indeed slain by Autumn Blades, and also told Oisin that a large force of Autumn Blades were pursuing Kale’s vo’an. This motivated the party to quickly resume their westward journey, in the hope of reuniting with the vo’an before the elves were overrun by their enemies.
During their rush to gain ground, the party barely avoided riding into an ambush set by a small force of Autumn Blade elves. They group decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and decided to avoid confronting a larger group of foes. Oisin cast a darkness spell over the party, and they rode onward. Since Oisin was the only one in the group able to see out of the darkness, he guided them as best he could verbally. There were a few close calls where PCs almost toppled from their horses, but the party was able to elude their pursuers (though Keseim was struck a grazing blow by one of many arrows that were shot by the Autumn Blades despite the darkness spell).
They group then encounter two of Kale’s fellow rangers, Karis and Aravel, who confirmed that the Spring Dawn clan was indeed being harried by the Autumn Blades. The group moved onward and finally reunited with the vo’an.