Since Corryn was unable to identify what the black potion might be, he gives it to Marius to see what he can make of it. He isn’t able to identify it at first, but after some swirling, he notices there is a slip of paper floating inside the dark liquid. He unstoppers it and carefully retrieves the paper without touching the liquid with some tweezers from his healer’s kit. Written in ancient Tevene, and followed by five bloody thumbprints, are these words:
Let the dead no longer serve your whim.
Bound by your true name, no mortal hand shall reach you.
Death beyond death is no longer your stepping stone through the veil.
The words trigger a memory in something Corryn had read during his studies at the White Spire. Powerful undead mages, called Revenants, that could not be destroyed were trapped in vials such as these long ago. He hurriedly discloses this information to Marius, who carefully puts the paper back inside and reseals the vial with wax. Corryn notices some black spots on the ground where the paper had dripped, and hopes that the prison is still fully intact. Marius pads the vial in his backpack and determines to be very careful with it.
Tyree, miffed at having been outraced, convinces everyone to head back to the ruins the bandits had been using as their base. Broga discovers some valuable horn mugs while Tyree and Dog track the escapee into the forest, then back around south near the camp. The troupe head off together, following Dog sniffing out the trail. After losing it in a small stream, Dog surprisingly picks it back up again a few miles southeast on the banks. The trail leads the adventurers south to the Imperial Highway, where they lose it amongst many other trails. They decide to head east, so as not to lose any more time on the long trek to Ventiver.
There are many travelers heading west on the road, of a surprising variety of races and social status. Marius suspicuously eyes a group of elves, imagining that they must be escaped slaves and is intrigued by their elaborate facial tatoos, but does not approach them. Corryn has no such qualms and cheerily asks if they have seen their quarry. He gets a chilly reception from the elves, and is politely told that yes, they saw the traveler four hours ago, and also, please leave them alone. Others also report having seen the man, but information varies as to how far ahead he is. As night approaches, most of the travelers begin making camps on the sides of the road. Concerned that the fugitive may be attempting to hide in one of the camps, the party splits up. Broga and Tyree scan each side of the road while Marius, Corryn and Armon continue down the middle.
Making his way through the bushes and trees, Broga feels a strange tingling sensation and is suddenly unable to move. A dark figure approaches him, demanding to know what the dwarf is doing in his camp. Not waiting for an answer, the figure moves closer. Broga sees his gaunt, tired face, and ornate staff and recognizes him as a magic user. The mage places his hand calmly on the dwarf’s forehead and shoves him flat on his back, chuckling softly. Corryn notices that Broga is no longer keeping up, so he and Marius double back to investigate.
They approach cautiously, and request the mage’s Chantry given identification. Disgusted with such rigid protocol, he mockingly shakes a sunburst amulet in Corryn’s face, claiming he’s from Montsimmard Circle, about twenty-five miles to the west. Corryn verifies that Broga hasn’t been harmed, and Marius proceeds to explain they are looking for a fugitive. The unidentified mage claims he hasn’t seen anyone by that description, and that they should take more care who’s camp they walk into. They collect the dazed Broga and decide it’s too dark to search anymore, and so head away from the Mage to make camp for the night.
Marius and Broga’s watches pass by uneventfully, but Armon is not so lucky. Oblivious to blantant noises near their camp, the intruder finally has to throw a stone to get his attention. Armon sees the stone roll to his feet, picks it up and throws it back into the forest. Upon being mocked by a voice in the forest about his poor aim, he wakes Tyree to take up watch, and strolls out confidently to greet the visitor. The intruder claims he has come to recover a very dangerous item that one of his friends has, and implores Armon to help him. Armon politely refuses, and sends the stranger on his way. He decides not to share this information with anyone, and completes his watch without further incident.
The night seems surprisingly quiet on Corryn’s watch. After a while, he hears some muffled yelling that sounds like an angry woman, followed by mischievous laughter from several voices. He wakes everyone in the camp, telling them there is a damsel in distress, then heads off towards the voices. He arrives on the scene where four men are surrounding a woman backed up against a tree with a short sword drawn, an old Mabari hound has interposed between them, and a large cart with several crates. The one closest to the woman tells Corryn to move on, he doesn’t want any trouble. Tyree wastes no time in sizing up the situation and plunges in, sword swinging. Three of the men are quickly dispatched, but three others appear from behind the cart and start attempting to open the crates. Tyree moves to stop them, and the old Mabari hound does his best to assist. He notices small, furry, squirmy things in the crates. Seeing what happened to their fellows, the remaining three men flee into the night.
Marius, who had stayed behind the melee assisting from a distance, is suddenly overcome with terrible fear. He cowers as a figure approaches him. Marius recognizes him as the mage whose camp Broga had wondered into. The man searches his pockets and curses loudly at Marius. “Where is it? Why don’t you have it? What have you done with it?” he demands. Armon, Corryn and Broga notice the scuffle and move to help Marius. Seeing he is outnumbered, the man attempts to slow them down with a grease spell, then heads off back towards their camp. Armon stays to defend the still cowering Marius, while Broga and Corryn pursue the mage. Broga punctures him with crossbow bolts and Corryn blasts him with spells. He arrives at Marius’ bed in terrible shape and reaches into his backpack, grabs the black vial and clutches it to his chest. The mage warns them that they have a dangerous artifact and the First Enchanter Illana has sent him to collect it. Corryn warns him to set down the vial, and do nothing else. If it really is that dangerous, they will all take it back to the circle together. The mage, not trusting this strangers word, attempts to cast a spell instead of putting the vial on the ground. Corryn recognizes it as a Heal spell, and decides that since he didn’t follow the instruction, that he must die. He and Broga unleash their attacks, knocking the man unconscious. Tyree, Marius and Armon arrive just in time to see the vial fall to the ground and shatter.
The black liquid from the vial seeps over the ground, covering much more area than it seems would be possible, given its small size. Three skeletons dripping with bright green slime rise up as if from a deep black sea. In the center, a more flesh covered corpse materializes, wearing tarnished silver armor, but wielding no weapon. The skeletons move towards the closest living person with unnatural speed, biting with sharp fangs and scratching with claw-like finger bones. Bolts, spells and sword strokes are traded with the skeletons. The Revenant, being a mage, begins to cast a spell, but something goes wrong. Nothing happens, and the corpse becomes dazed. Marius identifies the attempt as belonging to the blood magic school. Tyree, with a mighty stroke of his sword, lobs off the head of the Revenant. He and his skeleton minions melt back into the inky puddle, leaving the company with a sticky mess, and Marius with no blankets.