A thorough search of Mathen Manor produced evidence that the Mathens had dealings in the capital city of Task in the neighboring nation of Arryn. The party set off north along the Hollow Road to investigate. Their travels led them to a small village named Shard. The party learned very quickly that the villagers were taken hostage by Arryn soldiers and their healer, a woman by the name of Irilta, was taken away. The villagers implored the party to rescue their beloved healer; and after a description of the Arryn soldiers’ leader fit The Witch’s, the party agreed.
While tracking the soldiers through the Mistwood, the party noticed an Arryn scout observing them. The scout fled further into the forest, eventually leading them to a cave that served as the home to a pair of Hill Giants. Once the giants were defeated, the party searched their cave to find that a fissure occupied half of the cave, revealing a tunnel of sorts.
The tunnel turned out to be a corridor in an underground complex. The complex was some sort of holding area for various monstrous creatures. Evidence could be found of magical tampering with the creatures in order to create more powerful beings. The complex was once a research facility of sorts that belonged to an ancient race known as the Slarecians. Slarecians believed that by changing their physical forms they could become closer to the gods; and, in fact, become gods themselves. Their race disappeared long ago and only relics such as this complex remain. Since the Slarecians treated this place as both a laboratory and a place of worship, the party called the place the Churchatory (church + laboratory).
Deep inside the complex the party encountered a group of mercenaries from another plane. These mercenaries were hired to defend The Witch from the party in case they were skilled enough to make it this far and threaten her. When the last mercenary remained, he called for quarter and offered power to Asher in return for his life. Asher agreed, and was given a communication device and told that he would be contacted upon the new moon.
With no more defenders, The Witch eventually fell to the combat prowess of the adventuring party after a brutal sorcerous encounter. The party elected to take her hostage, just as she had done to the now-rescued Irilta.