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Leaving the swamp
The fight has yet to be won. Adrian heals Arcus, who, in return, diligently keeps attacking the ghoul until his jaws snap its bony legs in two, and the ghoul falls. The remaining ghouls start trying to retreat while the Gernichora charges out, heading straight for L, Arcus and Irdien. L manages to dodge out of the way, but the others take a nasty hit. Before there is any time to recover, a Ghoul follows up by firing a ray of darkness on Irdien. Her vision goes blurry, and her mind feels like fog as life almost leaves her. Sirona reaches out, sending one of her heals to save her, but as she does, a horrible vision from the Dumbarton mansion comes over her, and she stands in the swamp for a moment, entirely horrified. Meanwhile, Irdien turns to try to attack the enemies, but her mind is still befuddled by the spell, and she accidentally stabs Morbrant instead. The wound is deep and vile, and as soon as it's inflicted, Irdien's mind finally clears up, and she sees what she'd done.
Zach has disappeared deep into the lair to look around for clues of the beast's origin. Instead, he sees mostly rotting furniture and lots of crawling fruit leaches that would probably eat him if they could see him.
Outside L, Adrian, Arcus and Mobrant, together with Mara, team up to flank the Genichora getting in some good blows to the huge creature. It starts to shrike and wheeze in a dying panic, flinging its claws around in a frenzy, hitting both Mobrant and Adrain while its Ghoul underling tries to come to its aid.
At about this moment, Zach's eyes fall upon an old, mostly ruined painting. It depicts a woman standing in front of a castle and an orange sky. He casts a spell hoping to talk with the image, asking it if she is The Gernichora. The picture replies that she is what the Gernichora once was.
Sirona snaps out of her post-traumatic stress episode and finds herself back in combat. Irdien Sends a heal through her ear cuff to help undo some of the damage she did to Mobrant earlier before she Swings her short sword at the Gernichora. It's badly wounded but won't give up and turs to scream a high-pitched yell in the drow's face, but before it can, L's sword tears through its abdomen, and it falls to the ground. All other creatures within the vicinity tied to its blood curse scream in a deafening howl before falling and remaining unmoving.
As the battle finishes, Irdien laughs in triumph, utterly unfazed that she is bathing in its blood.
Zach, who has determined through a conversation of the arts that the cave holds no items of value and that the painting wishes to remain in decay, picks up a dead leach slug and sneaks back to the group, still invisible. As a joke, he holds up the slug over Sirona's head, startling Adrian, who quickly takes a shot at it. Zach, who does not wish to be hit, promptly dives out of the way as the dead slug takes an arrow. Then, trying to de-escalate the situation, he drops the invisibility spell and accepts Adrian's lecture that this may not have been the perfect time for a practical joke. Meanwhile, Sirona heals Morbrant and Irdien apologises for what she did before. When Sirona asks what she means, Irdien quickly changes the subject and asks if L wants to keep the Gernichora head as a trophy or if she can have it. L says she'll help her collect it. Once the girls have finished, Adrian sets the remaining body on fire. Morbrant carefully asks if they should be worried that the faith of all the minions here might also have happened to Ertherin back at the school. Zach runs back to the painting, trying to ask if that is the case. The image conveys it doesn't know these things.
The group decides to head back using the same strategy as before. Adrian will carry the rest inside the portal back to the abandoned temple ruin. Since they no longer have a pressing time limit, Adrian chooses to take his time and move extra carefully through the terrain.
Zach catches a very rare spirit inside the portal and asks it to try and cheer Sirona up, as she looks gloomy. The spirit tells a joke and disappears, but it seems to have temporarily succeeded in pulling Sirona out of her bleak mood.