As the PCs moved down the fire-damaged stairs into the basement, the stairs gave way—making the going treacherous. Upon reaching the bottom landing, the PCs found the cellar door closed.
Upon opening it, the PCs saw that Tyderius had hastily abandoned some sort of summoning chamber/lab. A wooden partition, serving as a portable wall, prevents the PCs from seeing farther into the chamber. However, as they moved into the room, they heard a moaning noise coming from behind the partition. When one of the PCs poked his head around to see what was making the noise, he was surprised to see Argus Peiper lying unconscious on the floor, an air elemental floating in the air above him.
Before the PCs could react, the three missing earth elementals rose out of the earth in the PCs’ midst and a fierce battle ensued. Luckily for the PCs, the elementals had sustained various amounts of damage during their attack on the town and were not at full-strength. While things looked dire for the heroes, the PCs prevailed in the end without any casualties.
As the PCs explored the cellar, they discovered a number of arcane summoning circles etched out on the floor in burnt silver powder. In addition, they discovered a locked chest which they hoped would contain hints as to why Tyderius had summoned so many elementals to attack the town. When they opened it, they triggered one last gift from the summoner: a powerful black tentacles trap.
Although the trap was dangerous, the PCs were able to outlast it and at last they searched the chest. Among other various minor treasures, they discovered a note which read, "The power to summon beings from other planes should not be taken lightly. Before attempting such, be sure to learn the language of the beings you wish to call, otherwise you will not be able to command them. —Cranzer"
With a rescued Argus Peiper in tow, the PCs returned to the surface and briefed Captain Holt on what they had found. They also learned that the town guard had discovered tracks they believed belonging to Bazin near the outside of the western wall. Oddly enough, five more sets of tracks, belonging to three booted humanoids and two equines, appeared out of nowhere. The PCs quickly surmised that Tyderius had used magic to flee the burning building, bringing several accomplices with him—one of whom was most certainly Varishen. The group had then ridden south on magically summoned steeds and somehow had crossed the river.
Captain Holt asked the PCs for help in capturing Tyderius. Due to the casualties inflicted by the elementals and the need to send to Rookroost for reinforcements, Holt was unable to send any of the town’s soldiers after the spellcaster. Holt promised to have his men escort Amira and her wagon back to Rookroost, thereby fulfilling the PCs’ obligation to Ahren. With that, most of the PCs agreed to give chase although Eliab decided instead to stay behind in the town to give care to the wounded and dead. Not wanting him to be alone, Lireal elected to remain behind as well.
The rest of the PCs, given horses by Holt, crossed the river via Argus’s ferry and began tracking Tyderius and his men. Several hours later, a merchant traveling north from Kinemeet reported that a group matching Tyderius’s description had attacked him by casting a black tentacles spell. Luckily for the merchant, the evil wizard had not stuck around to enjoy his handiwork and the merchant’s terrified but stout draft horses had been able to pull themselves and his wagon, with him in it, free of the spell’s area. The merchant advised that he was pretty sure Tyderius and his group were making for the Abandoned Temple of the Herald of Hell.
The PCs continued along the road south, eventually seeing a ruined castle in the distance some ways off the road. Realizing that this was the abandoned temple, they approached cautiously. Just as they could tell that the castle’s upper floors had all been destroyed and collapsed, a bearded devil appeared ahead of them, blocking their way, and demanding a password before allowing them admittance.
Snarling in disdain, the demonic tiefling Deacon Ash refused to discourse with such a creature and a fight ensued. The bearded devil was a vicious fighter and soon Deacon Ash was lying in the dirt, his life’s blood pouring from grievous wounds. Despite their best efforts, the PCs could not staunch the flow and they watched in horror as Deacon Ash perished for the second time.
Despite the loss, the remaining PCs were able to defeat the fiend. Plenty of loose rubble allowed them to build a cairn for Deacon’s body as they searched the area. In the remains of the old keep, they found an old cellar door and a set of large steps leading down into the quiet darkness.