In the morning, Commodore Brandlock seemed open to discussion, and the party convinced him to accompany them into the swamp to confront the Natalya. At the quicksand pit, the phantom appeared, and the pack of earthen hounds surrounded the group. Some quick words by the bard Miri eased the tension, and Brandlock began to plead his case with the witch earnestly and quietly.
Suddenly, the hounds howled and leapt at Brandlock. Natayla, surprised, told the group they were not under her control. A glowing sphere appeared as the group interposed themselves between Brandlock and the hounds. The battle was short and decisive; the sphere, a will-o’-wisp, was eliminated, and the remaining hounds collapsed. Natayla explained that the will-o’-wisp has been thriving off the power of the curse, which bound her and Brandlock to the swamp. Killing Brandlock would have rendered the curse unbreakable.
Released from the will-o’-wisp’s hold and able to reconcile, Natayla moved on to the afterlife. Brandlock aged somewhat, but as a half-elf, a hundred years is manageable. He rewarded the party with his magical sabre and threw an impromptu feast. The next day he joined the group on ship, retired from the navy and eager to ride the waves once more. Using naval charts, the ship set sail for the probable location of Kraken’s Cove, and hopefully, Vanthus Vanderboren.
As they approached the landing site, they witnessed a monstrously large green cloud envelop an area of jungle about 2 miles wide. It dissipated quickly, but it was obvious something was terribly wrong even before they set foot on the shore. Treking through the jungle, they found evidence of horribly disfigured animals, then were suddenly set upon by a shrieking horde of nightmarish monkeys.