The four separate into different rooms and settle down for the evening. Matthonwy, keen to explore the mystical arts, sleight-of-hands the blind wizard's spell book away from her, and spends half the night studying and transcribing it. Elyx locks and barricades herself into her room, the only character to take such precaution. Dwyn declines to camp out in the rooms, and sets his bedroll downstairs in the tavern's common area, which is overlooked by the balcony where the rooms are. Pudgit tears up bedsheets, blankets, and curtains, and tries to sew - having a background as a seamster - a new dress for Elyx to replace the natty, dirty, torn, and blood-soaked wedding dress she wore escaping the zombie attack several days earlier. Pudgit is actually a pretty decent hand with a needle and thread, but as the night wears on it becomes clear he's made a total hash of it and the dress isn't so much a dress but an unwearable interlocking of fabrics and stitching. He has, by the way, started to think of this abandoned tavern as his own property - it had been abandoned by a halfling named Bolo Softsole, and they'd had a felt kinship between them.
An hour before the dawn, Matthonwy awakes to discover a wererat emerging from a secret door in his room, confronting Matthonwy as other wererats fan out to intercept the other characters. That pile of gold the party had found, you see, belonged to the wererats, the Sleeping Rat Gang, who'd occupied a secret system of tunnels within the tavern. The creature makes to bite Mattonwy but is deflected by some mysterious force. Then it tries to cast a spell at him, which is resisted in some way by Matthonwy's half elf heritage. Matthonwy, crying an alarm, slashes at the creature with the sword he took off the dead conscript leader, opening a deep gash across the creature's chest. The creature is wide-eyed, startled to have been wounded at all.
In his room, Pudgit, who, sewing furiously, has not gone to sleep, but who has also not been paying enough attention to notice the incursion of rat creatures, is confronted by one, has a spell cast upon him, and instantly falls asleep. One creature attempts to barge into Elyx's room, but her barricades hold. One makes an attempt on Dwyn, but he casts a spell on the entire first floor that causes tree roots to explode the whole of the first floor, reaching up to ensnare the creature.
The creature facing off with Matthonwy, clearly terrified it had been wounded at all, makes a hasty exit, swearing revenge. The other two upstairs beat a retreat as well. The one trapped in the roots in the common area are assaulted at long range by Matthonwy and Pudgit as they hurl knives and sling bullets at it, to no visible effect, even on a seeming direct hit. Once Dwyn's magical powers fade, and the roots cease grasping, the creature also flees. Our characters have only barely started to regroup when a despondent Pudgit, upset that his new inn has been torn apart by Dwyn's roots, sets the place ablaze - which is becoming a theme for him. The other characters barely have time to gather themselves and flee before being caught in the bonfire. Several things are lost in the fire. Elyx's pilfered spell book, for one, goes up in flames.
They quartet set out in their horse drawn potato cart once more. They get through the trees on the road toward the Forest Oracle, to the Dragontooth Mountains that separate the west side of the forest from the river and the east side, and they ride into a cave well worn with the marks of travel. There are numerous unlit torches in sconces lower than would be expected for human use, and there are also strange signs of built environment: the tunnel walls are supported not naturally but by crumbling beams. Red eyes peer out of the darkness as they pass. Pudgit's awful abortion of a dress is lifted from the cart by a fishing hook on black thread, rising into the air, carried into a hole in the ceiling while beady eyes look from the shadows.
Matthonwy disturbs a dwarven burial ground but quickly gives back the stolen gold and the risen Thriller skeletons go back to their rest. Blinded Elyx feels something tugging, maybe cutting at the hem of her wedding gown, but does nothing, and tells no one. This is becoming a theme for her. Matthonwy starts making some notes in his journal, letting Pudgit drive for a while. Pudgit makes some bad choices, and they wind up driving right back the way they came, and right back out of the mountain again. Dwyn's druid ear hears something, something in the trees. They are full of leering monkeys. Monkeys again, watching the party, dull eyed and sluggish, ill and infected in some way, some covered in sores and oozing, watching, watching. They turn around and head back in to the mountain, trying to find the exit to the other side.
Along the way they encounter a mad dwarf named Thisvyn Talus, who was alternatingly lucid and completely insane. He spoke of a lost dwarven forge and treasure that "they" were trying to get and that "they" kept watching him. He hinted that there would be something beneficial for the blinded characters there, and so Matthonwy caroled and cajoled him into showing them where: across a whisper-thin stone bridge above a deep chasm, leading to an isolated pillar on which stood a dwarven anvil on an ornate wooden base. Matthonwy chaotically murders Thisvyn by pushing him over the chasm. Thisyvn, mad to the end, did not resist and allowed himself to be pushed. His body falls and falls and falls. After a while, the characters hear a body finally stop falling.
A small dragon faced creature emerges from the shadows, it's red glowing eyes dribbling tears. "The best ... " he says "My favorite ... the best ..." It is a creature about the size of halfling Pudgit, but with the face of a dragon, and smelling like wet dog. It's wearing what can only be described as a cosplay of Thisvyn, down to the dwarven armor and replica warhammer. He looks over the chasm where Thisvyn has fallen to his death, distraught and grief stricken. The party does nothing as the creature slinks back to the small tunnel from which he emerged. Pudgit follows him, curious about this mystery. He emerges into a chamber where he meets more of these creatures (that do not speak Common). Several appear to be cosplaying as Thisvyn. One is wearing a ring of fabric around its middle clearly cut from Elyx's dress, and carrying a doll-like effigy of her familiar. The largest one, seated on a throne of mud, is wearing the dress Pudgit himself had sewn, slightly modified to be actually wearable. Everyone stares at Pudgit very intently. To defuse the tension he whips out his mouth harp and plays a tune. The tension is not defused. The creatures stare at him with great intensity, and at the clothes he's wearing.
Meanwhile, back in the chamber of the dwarven anvil, our characters, including the blind ones, have all ventured to cross the stone bridge to the pillar. Mattonwy dances across with the grace of a leaf in the wind. Dwyn casts a spell on the sides of the bridge that will not impede his progress but would catch him in the arms of grasping vegetation should he fall - but he does not fall. Elyx also crawls across on hand (singular) and knees. Within the wooden base, Matthonwy discovers some potions, and a sword and pair of bracers, all covered in gold leaf. He heedlessly dons the bracers and sheathes the sword at his side. Examining the potions with a bard's eye, he determines two are of a healing variety, and they do indeed cure Dwyn and Elyx's blindness, though not the latter's death curse. A further potion he is unable to identify he also encourages Elyx to drink. She does so. All of it, in fact. The whole thing. Opening her mouth to speak she belches forth a forty-foot cone of fire that just barely misses her companions but annihilates entirely the stone bridge across which they'd come. There is nothing else on the pillar besides the three of them and an anvil. This is going to be a problem.
We ended here, on a literal cliffhanger.