As they recuperated from the ambush, Strogar gave Lord Elvenspite the letter from Pavon with his counter offer. After a few moments, Elvenspite let out a low chuckle and penned a response. Sending Strogar, Orvo, and Rand back to Eventide as his emissaries, he teleported back to his manor with Wickham and his entourage in tow…along with a grief-stricken Jem Greenleaf.
Back in Eventide, Pavon received Elvenspite's letter and everyone retired for the evening in anticipation for Elvenspite's midnight deadline.
As noon came around the next day, Strogar stalked around the town looking and lurking, finding Adom to be utterly missing. Rand helped the loggers acquire mass quantities of wood, and Orvo worked the forge. After lunch was served, they were summoned to a meeting in the church with Pavon, Norvo, Pyrick, and Olvin.
The contents of Elvenspite's response was read – consisting of threats, demands of utter capitulation, and eventual undeath slavery – and the Eventide was preparing a response. Pavon demanded the protagonists make a decision to support the Eventide or Elvenspite, as after midnight they would be in a state of war. Strogar pointed out the lack of preparation and poor timing of the declaration given the Eventide's state, which prompted Pavon to state they had no choice at this point. Pyrick mentioned the cursed rings that Strogar and Rand were wearing and offered to take care of it if the protagonists chose to stay.
The protagonists met with each other to determine which faction to side with: the more goodly-aligned but weaker Eventide, or the more powerful but exceptionally morally questionable Malec Elvenspite. After an hour of deliberation, Rand and Orvo cast their lot with the Eventide while Strogar left to join with Malec.
Pyrick made good on his promise, and Orvo and Rand witnessed a site they had never seen: an up close view of what Rand determined was priestly Realm Magic as Pyrick revealed a long-held secret: he was a scion of the bloodline of Andurias. As Pyrick called upon Haelyn and the power in his blood, a large quantity of gold and material components were consumed as a massive burst radiated from the Church, shattering the cursed ring on Rand and flooding the area with holy, positive energy.
Strogar, meanwhile, headed back to Elvenspite Manor…and felt the aftershocks of the spell from Eventide. When he arrived, Malec decided to bestow upon Strogar his most precious gift: eternal undeath. As Strogar struggled, learning he was to be turned into a mindless undead thrall, he noticed Jem was being held down by another undead and the mysterious Iron Maiden was lowered to the ground. As Strogar was rendered unconscious and the Create Undead spell was about to be cast, Wickham and his crew broke into the room.
Armed with spells rendering them invisible to the undead, Wickham and his soldiers rescued Jem, the Iron Maiden prisoner, and Strogar while quickly fleeing from Elvenspite Manor. Before the Hide from Undead spell wore off, Wickham noticed Elvenspite's cursed ring start affect Strogar and removed his finger most violently with a handaxe. Another of Wickham's soldiers used scrolls to cast mount spells, with the prisoners and Wickham's crew heading South and West back to Eventide while Wickham and Strogar braved elements and frigid waters to reach the human Druid grove.
Shortly after midnight, Orvo and Rand were approached by Pavon and ordered to head to the human druid enclave to recruit any druids they could, as they knew Malec would target the human druid enclave to conscript allies. They left for the 4 day hike, with their meager supplies and goodberries to tide them over.
The protagonists all met up at the human druid grove to find it under assault by forces loyal to the Elvish Druids. After a pitched battle, the elven druid forces were defeated and 6 of the 12 human druids were rescued. Looting the weapons from the fallen before the grove erupted into flames, the party made their way back to Eventide ahead of Malec's forces, hoping to avoid the undead and Elvish forces.