The group turns a botched ambush attempt and pursues their would-be attackers into the forest. The bandits lead the group to an ancient crypt, long abandoned, and once used to bury the dead of a cult worshipping the dark gods, now sealed by paladins of the Great Gold Wyrm. The seal is broken by one of the foolish bandits in an attempt to escape the group, which ends poorly for them. The party cleans up the newly unleashed undead from the crypt while Lief investigates deeper into the ruins. The ruins are discovered to house an ancient altar to the dark gods as well as some magically corrupt creature that dwells in its foundation. However, before the group can investigate further a small cadre of soldiers loyal to the Crusader arrive and declare ownership of the tomb and its contents. After some debate, the group agrees to let them deal with the cursed place and leave to continue their journey.
Leaving the small wood the group continues on to the Dire Wood and the Giantwalk Mountains beyond. Along the way they encounter a recently attacked and desperate convoy of nobles returning from a hunting trip in the dire wood. Lief decides that the best way to help the disrespectful aristocrats is to leave them to their devices after a stern lecturing on the importance of respecting nature. Olga also finds a newly kindled affection for Fernando after he heals her of badly twisted ankle.
After arriving in the Dire Wood Lief receives a vision of a ghostly white board which leads him to the abandoned camp of a druid overlooking the wood. As he steps into the camp he is momentarily transported into the past and observes the final moments the previous occupant spend there. The druid who was named Raul Hairfoot had been camping in the wood when a hell hole suddenly opened in the depths of the forest. Scrambling for a solution Raul noticed a distant flying realm on path over the forest and concocted a plan to seal the breach. He had planned to take control of the flying realm and crash it into the hell hole to seal it. As the vision fades Lief is entrusted with finishing the task that Raul set out to do and in payment the shard of druid staff that Lief now carries and once belonged to Raul re-activates as a powerful wand. After some discussion the group heads back to the nobles they previously encountered to negotiate a solution and enlist the aid of their laborers. They find that the leaders of the nobles, a man named Rikkard has established a sort of crazed survivalist camp and will only help if he is defeated in a duel. While they succeed in defeating Rikkard and sending him off to get help from his lands along with his compatriots Dorin and Michel, _______ is injured.
WIth the promise of the hell hole being dealt with the group continues their journey. Just as they reach the edge of the desecrated region of the forest they notice a crystallin structure. Investigation reveals the crystal to be the focus of interest for a small group of imps. Deciding to get to the bottom of the oddity the group attacks and defeats the imps. However, in the tussle Fernando is lured to the crystal and makes contact. In a loud bang and a flash of light Fernando is pulled into the crystal and in his place is a new person. This new comer identifies himself as Kronus and after some discussion it is revealed that Kronus has been imprisoned within the crystal since the time of the Wizard King.