After resting for the night, Batman, Volstagg and Spectre returned to the Dead Warrens to retrieve the remains of Sekh Gaekhen. Doctor Fate – by request – headed to the Pantheonic Temple to see what more he could discover about Thor’s disappearance. The Pathfinders gathered at the mausoleum where they met a distraught Jonah Hex, who broke the news to them about the Watchtower’s destruction. Devastated and stunned, the group decided the best course of action would be to complete their mission to retrieve the serpentfolk and prevent a pending war.
The heroes cleared out a few respawned monsters, including a troop of soldiers, an otyugh and a dark stalker. Hex took out the otyugh single-handedly with several clustered shots between its many eyes. Volstagg charged the dark stalker and took it down before it could properly react. Feeling quite confident, they moved into a nearby corridor. The walls and ceiling of the tall hallway were encrusted with dozens of yawning skulls, their mouths open into dark holes in the walls. Batman and others searched for traps and, finding nothing, moved in. Unfortunately there were traps, and jets of acid sprayed from the walls. Though they did little damage, the traps obscured the arrival of five Necrophidius constructs that slithered from the walls. The human-skulled snake skeletons shook in a mesmerizing dance, entrancing all but Volstagg. Two attempted to attack Hex, but the incompetent creatures spent most of their time missing or hitting each other. One bit Batman and injected a paralytic venom, rendering the Dark Knight invalid on the floor. Volstagg swung his massive sword, crushing the Necrophidii with each blow. Spectre eventually snapped out of his trance and treated Batman’s poison, while Hex instinctively grabbed one of the creatures as it attacked. He came to and put his revolver to the Necrophidius and unloaded point-blank until it was destroyed. Volstagg hurried over to finish the last creature. Licking their wounds, the Pathfinders moved on.
The next room was an alchemy lab, though most of the vials and equipment had been destroyed. One one of the tables was a civilian, bound and gravely wounded. He claimed to have been a gravedigger who was captured by Rolth’s forces, and experimented upon for days. He pointed out the general layout of the crypt and hastily ran off – despite suggestions to remain with the Pathfinders. The heroes explored the empty room and found a boarded-up storage room. Volstagg tried to rip the boards off but wasn’t quite strong enough. Instead, he and Batman pried the boards away one at a time. Finally they opened the door to reveal a destroyed store room, filled with a fine mist. In the midst of the mist stood an imposing ice golem that immediately attacked. It blasted a cone of icy breath on Volstagg and Batman, then proceeded to attack Volstagg with frozen fists. Not able to damage the golem, and unwilling to throw alchemical fire that could injure Volstagg, Batmen fell back. Hex shot the construct several times, but his bullets had little effect. Batman prepared a volley and called for Volstagg to fall back. When he did, Batman and others tossed vials of flames at the golem. Volstagg moved back in to finish it off, and the golem crumbled with explosive energy.
The Pathfinders moved on to a chamber of prisoner pits. This foul-smelling cavern was bordered on three sides by ten-foot-deep pits. It is from these pits that the rancid smell of excrement and decay filled the air—each pit containing a few heaps of moldy straw, a wooden trough of filthy water, a few rotting body parts, and a couple still living prisoners. Guarding them was a deformed, ogrekin monstrosity named Cabbagehead. Upon seeing the heroes he excitedly clapped and proclaimed. “Master give Cabbagehead big reward for Heaven Man and Man-Bat. Cabbagehead bring you to Master!” Cabbagehead charged at Batman and punched, but Batman effortlessly dodged. Spectre magically commanded Cabbagehead to fall to the ground, which he did. Wasting no time or mercy, Volstagg stabbed into Cabbaehead’s back, killing the ogrekin in one blow.
After freeing and escorting the prisoners to safety, the Pathfinders moved into the last segment of the lair. There they discovered the last remaining pieces of Gaekhen, attached to what looked to have been an attempted flesh golem.
From within the rear room, a deep chanting bellowed. A necromancer summoned and strengthened multiple skeletons, who marched out to face the Pathfinders. A massive battle ensued as the skeletons blocked off the entrance to the room, surrounding front-runner Volstagg. Hex slipped into the room and fired on a few of them as the necromancer – an imposing half-orc cleric in blackened plate armor – stepped into the fray. He immediately blasted Volstagg with a ray of enfeeblement, sapping the Asgardian of much-needed strength. He then unleashed a wave of negative energy, scorching the flesh from the Pathfinders. Spectre tried to counteract the evil cleric to the best of his abilities, but the strengthened skeletons soon overwhelmed the group. They subdued Volstagg, but as they moved to finish him off Spectre healed him again. Volstagg rose as a combination of skeletons and magic from the necromancer dropped Spectre. Soon Batman found himself at the receiving end of a skeleton’s sword and fell. Hex used the last of his revolver bullets on the necromancer and, desperate, pulled his single-shot rifle. As the fates would have it, he nailed the half-orc straight between the eyes. The necromancer gasped silently and he fall back against the wall, covered in his own blood.
Enraged, the last skeleton standing stabbed Hex in the chest and howled in victory as the bounty-hunter collapsed onto the floor. Shortly before, fearing for his life, Volstagg had retreated into the next room. On seeing Hex fall, he emboldened himself and donned his shield and mace. He and the skeleton squared off, exchanging blows for some time before either could land a hit. Finally Volstagg’s enfeeblement wore off. With renewed strength, he reared back and clubbed the skeleton’s head clean off. Panting, wounded and claiming victory for himself, Volstagg used healing potions to revive Spectre – who then magically restored the others.
Fortunate to have survived their most dangerous encounter since arriving in Korvosa, the Pathfinders gathered what valuables they could – and the precious body of Gaekhen – before returning to the surface to rest and resupply.