The party rests for the night and gets an early start on the day. After some discussion, the party decides the aid the colleges in their expedition through the Mysterious Door. They agree that they should do this for free however and Charlie, Ethan, and Orkzim speak with Professor Rumpf to negotiate a deal to lead her team and help them. When they arrive, they meet a mage called Dayton who is from The Gilded, the party does their best to avoid him. Their negotiations are able to secure a promissory note for 125 gold pieces and 5 platinum rings. At the same time Tess and Gaiel talk to Professor Thornton however he is in no mood to negotiate and Tess is in no mood to deal with him and walks away.
The party decides to speak with the overseer of the dig site. After her encounter with Prof. Thornton, Tess wants to talk to the person who is “in charge” to see what sort of compensation the group can get for this mission. They once again encounter Dayton in passing. The Overseer, David, informs the party that should they be successful each member would be granted an Imperial Audience.
Tess discusses her previous experience inside of the door with the team leaders and the group decides that they will need to be shrouded within a Silence spell for the duration of the journey to prevent the mental assault. The group fashions some makeshift earplugs. Once everyone is assembled and prepared Tess approaches the door and pushes it open. While she is opening the door black miasma drips from her arm, as soon as the door opens the party leaders cast their Silence scrolls and they all begin to traverse the path inside.
The lead group is led by Dayton and is comprised of a contingent of soldiers, the second group is led by Prof. Rumpf and is comprised of her fellow professors, students, and the party. The third group is led by Prof. Thornton and is comprised of the Timbook’s team. Each group is keeping up their own Silence spells.
As the group travels the Silence spells end and in the seconds during their recasting some of the members of the group begin to walk off the edge into the infinite abyss. Gaiel does her best to save as many as she can.
Tess feels the presence within her probing and whispering to her trying to persuade her to kill everyone present. To focus her mind and resist the voices she prays to Orin and her prayer is unheard, in fact she begins to have a crisis of faith.
With the Silence scrolls running low Tess ushers Rumpf to move faster in attempt to join their group with Dayton’s group to double their Silence time. One of the students begins to fall behind and Tess grabs him at first to try to keep in him the sphere of influence of the Silence spell. This effort fails and both the student and Tess fall outside of the Silence, and the mental assault ensues. Tess momentarily thinks about throwing the student over the edge but is able to resist and usher him into the spell once again. For some reason (probably the corruption) she isn’t quite as bothered by the whispering.
Charlotte looks back and notices that Thornton’s group has fallen out of view and no one in the party or group knows what happened.
With scrolls running low, the group happens upon a crossroads that branches off in three directions. The group decides on taking the left path which leads them to what appears to be a ruined castle. The gates open and a man greets them and ushers them inside. He introduces himself as O’Kenna.
O’Kenna tells the party that he is the last survivor from a world that is no longer in existence. The tells them that the place in which they currently travel is known as The Ways, a place in which there is no passage of time, a space that is in between, and it is located within the core of their world. He warns them of the coming of a great evil, The Finger, a legion of undeath that is being led by a dark god that seeks to take life on an unimaginable scale, and that the countries, spectrums, of the world need to be unified to have any hope of stopping it. Charlie questions whether The Cult of the Black Eye might have something to do with this group, O’Kenna isn’t sure but believes it could be likely.
The party asks him about Theophrastis and he tells them about him and how is was previously contained within an anti-magic field within the ring he possesses. He suggests that the party avoid him if possible.
O’Kenna can sense the presence of the tainted miasma within Tess and performs a ritual to draw it out of her. With the miasma removed Tess feels weakened, but her mind is clear and she can think clearly and returns to normal. O’Kenna shares the details of how and why he learned how to remove the miasma from people.
After reminding the party of the urgency of their new task he imparts the party, Rumpf, and Dayton with The Spark, a power which they do not understand. Dayton, ignoring warnings from O’Kenna, teleports away from the group.
O’Kenna tells the group that they must commune with all the gods of their world and convince them to gather the threads of the world before the dark lord can. He bestows upon the party with a few magical items and then leads them to a door which will take them to The Keeper of World Tree. The group proceeds through the door and are met by The Dogo, the guardians of the door, who escort the party to their leaders.