While searching the old bakery for working parts, a “spirit of the bakery’ haunts the party. To their relief(?), the spirit is actually a pixie. The creature tells a story about her grove being corrupted and those who once lived there are now gone or corrupted. In her story, a saint entered that area 70 years ago to purge the evil and was never seen again. After confirming the story with Claret, the party grudgingly agrees to aid the fay.
Upon reaching the entrance to the mountain range, the party comes across a small fishing village. They confirm with the pixie and she says it’s been there as long as she’s ever known. She also refuses to go on any further out of fear. The town seems off but the party continues to the destination. Despite the pixie’s words, the grove is serene and peaceful. In the center of the pond is a ruined tower where they assume they can enter some sort of dungeon. A rowboat is spotted and the party heads to it to cross the pond.
Under the rowboat are two young children. Gwen discovers their undead-evil nature and the party attacks before the ambush. Although the children look completely normal, other than long fingernails, they were undoubtedly undead. In the dungeon, the party finds large wooden doors that open up into an impossibly scaled cathedral. There they break up a ‘service’ be a demon pretending to be a priest. The crowd grow fairy like wings and join the melee. Before the demon dies, he mutters maddness about protecting the children.
Past the cathedral is a hallway with doors that lead to bunk beds filled with non-evil spectral children. In the last door, the party discovers a strange room. Amphitheater-esque steps lead down to an elderly elven woman surrounded by water with a huge holky symbol over her. Apparently she has no idea what is going on and even though she is a spirit herself, she dies.
After burning the evil holy symbol, all of the illusions fade. The holy symbol was actually a grotesque version of the elven paladin saint’s body still in her plate. Her body was intertwined with a root system into the wall. The bottom half of her was covered in blood with child skeletons under her. The room actually is underground and not elaborate at all.
The cathedral, tower, pond, grove, and town were all illusions being projected by those who died to the corruption long ago. With the woman dead, the ground no longer suffered from being unhollow. Another tome of research is discovered and taken back. Zach’Hai mentions that his father was once held by the lady paladin and that it she was the one who put him into the gorilla demon. The boy was appreciative to the cleansing of the grove.
Back in Ondaire, the situation with Naomi worsened. Claret had to drug the girl asleep after she tried to get “handsy” with Philia. Due to this, Claret sends Philia on a mission to retrieve a friend of theirs that is an abjurist. With the new book, Claret is able to piece together what Naomi is.
Naomi is an experiment, “Project Butterfly.” The general concept was to take an innocent girl, use experimental drugs on her, and keep her in a chamber that imitates the abyss all to make her a creature of lust. The ultimate goal was to create a second being inside of her of a succubus that would eventually take over the human Naomi. The process wasn’t completed but the success shows. The scientist is working on a way to make Fiends native to the Prime. For reasons unknown, Naomi was put into some sort of stasis until the party found her.
This put the party into a crossroads, not knowing how to help her and thinking killing her may be for the best – especially since she’s asked for in multiple times. Unwilling to commit to the murder, the party branches off to seek ways to help her. Though various potentially helpful information comes in, it’s the return of Philia that pushes the party into a direction. While their abjurist friend is interested in this case, he couldn’t tear himself away from the site he is at – a temple where time stopped during a great battle.
The party believes that if they can solve this mystery, the wizard will help with Naomi. With only a week of sleeping potion left, time is ticking.