Elphaba studies the black sphere and the magic circle, concluding that the black sphere is the manifestation of a curse, and that breaking the circle would release the curse – for weal or woe. Grull and Marcus decide to switch places in the marching order – Grull agrees with Elphaba’s suspicions about Karol, and wants Marcus to keep an eye on him.
Grull leads the company through the door the intelligent undead construct ran through at the end of the battle in the room with the black sphere. After a short hallway, the party finds an ornate crypt with another group of zombies, this time armed with high-quality and magic weapons and armor. The company assumed a line near the door where they could defend each other. Merina had a terrible run of bad luck, dropping her sword Kesh, slipping and falling down, and breaking her sword. Grull moved in to assist and lost his balance as well. Elphaba and Fayette assist Marcus, Kanor, and Jun-jun on the opposite flank.
It takes time, whittling away at the zombies, but little by little, the heroes gain the upper hand, laying the undead to their final rest. The companions are amazed to discover the wealth of magic items contained in the tomb. But Grull is concerned that the zombie master wasn’t in the room, and determines to search the remainder of the barrow mound.
The party enters the room north of the black sphere, and find a throne with a well-accoutered mummy seated upon the throne. A shade appears at the foot of the dais, and asks Karol to release the two of them. Karol reveals himself to be a shade possessing the body of a thief who attempted to rob the tomb. The trapped shades, Veros, a paladin-king, and Pharnac, a necromancer and tyrant, fought each other in a great war. As Veros at long last defeated the evil sorcerer, Pharnac spat out a final curse, binding the two shades for eternity. And as Veros has refused to leave the barrow mound for the last 2500 years, so too was Pharnac trapped within. When the thief Karol tried to rob the tomb, Pharnac saw a chance to escape his imprisonment by convincing nearby adventurers to destroy the sphere and thereby the curse itself, releasing him.
Mulling over how to keep Pharnac from escaping, Kesh tells them to kill the possessed thief, and Pharnac will leave the possessed body. They can then safely destroy the circle, sending both spirits to the afterlife. The heroes “kill” Karol, Pharnac flees the body screaming. Grull smashes the magic circle, ending the curse and releasing the two shades. Veros gives the heroes two last gifts, a greatsword and a shield, and disappears.
Returning to the town of Elrin, the companions find a religious procession passing through the town, and the very important person is none other than Vener Agee, now the Ecclesiarch of Valicia, having been promoted to the head of the High Church in the region since the party last saw him back at Elphaba’s wedding. The doddering elderly priest is enroute to Gwinden Abbey to meet with the Bonifact himself.