It wasn’t working. Nothing was working! The joyfruit made it worse. The contaminants only slowed the disease, but never fully stopped it. And even worse, E’thor got word that some adventurers were disrupting his experiments. Nothing he did seemed to be working, despite Ar’ek’s promises. In fact, the Black Fog seemed to be spreading further around the forest now. Trees were turning black. Animals were feral. And travelers slept until death in the thickets. Arpistis was exhausted, and E’thor was afraid. Nothing was working at all.
There was one thing yet that E’thor had not yet considered, Ar’ek told him. Deng. The Master Druid had a bountiful supplies in his tower, magical ingredients that were far too rare to happen upon in even the darkest corners of the Neblina Forest. Of course! Deng was holding him back! Ar’ek reminded E’thor that everything he had done with his former mentor had been under his strict tutelage, and everything he taught E’thor had been a lie. Deng didn’t want E’thor and Telynor to be happy! Deng’s own marriage was reduced to hatred and bitterness, and he wanted the same for E’thor!
What then could be done? Ar’ek said it was obvious. The druid tower must be destroyed, and in its rubble would E’thor find what he needed to save Telynor. Convinced and give the authority, E’thor summoned Ar’ek’s army of gremlins and demons. With a quick word, he commanded them to assail the tower and break it to pieces. Once the tower was destroyed, E’thor would cure the Black Fog once and for all.
Arpistis shouted at him. “You fool, brother! This will not save him! Please, let me go! Let Telynor die!” But in a rage, E’thor struck Arpistis. Horrified at himself and all that he had yet done, he fled from Blackspire Manor, transforming into a hawk and soaring into the sky. As he flew, he thought to return to the tower of The Thing That Should Not Be. He found it exactly as he had left it, and cast a quick spell to grow flowers and vines over it, but this could not quell his emotional strain. He knelt over the diseased coffer and cried.
“Telynor, I’m so sorry. This was all my fault. I’m going to fix this, though. No matter what.”
But a voice started him. He found himself face to face with the interloper Ar’ek had told him about, the priestess from Hearthfire. Opal tried to talk to him, but a panicked E’thor lashed out with a spell and transformed into a hawk again, flying back to Blackspire Manor as quickly as he could.
By the time he arrived, he heard the wailing and rage of Ar’ek and the other demons. Hearthfire had been successful in stopping the siege of Deng’s tower. The Battle of the Neblina Forest had ended, and the demon army was destroyed. Hearthfire had met with many allies in the fight, including Chief Tirpa and her Azeban people, Serafina and the Cats of Ulthar, Vox and the Zoogs of the Dreamlands, Rek Sogu and his kobold army, Saorise and the fairies, and even Conrad and Rose who arrived at Opal’s behest. The demon general, Render, was banished away.
And unbeknownst to E’thor, Hearthfire crafted the potion to cure Black Fog.