Timespan: 1st Work 25:1209
The heroes entered the Shadowfell through the portal made by the dragon’s horn while in Frosthaven. They are met by The Keeper of Deadhold, a sentient being who judges those who enter the Shadowfell and decide if they should remain here or not. While trying to impress the Keeper with their knowledge of the planes, the heroes friend from the Underdark, Hannu appears before them all. It turns out a teleportation spell that went awry for him sent the shardmind into the Shadowfell by accident. As he wishes to return to the Material Plane, the Keeper mentions that maybe he was brought by fate once again to be with these mortals to help them in their quest to vanquish Zirithian. He agrees to help the group in order to get back to the Material Plane.
The party realizes that the Keeper doesn’t like his job too much and wishes to end his terms with Orcus (who put him here). He bargains with the group to take the sword, , from Zirithian and “plunge it into the eye of Orcus. You will know when the time is right.” Some agree to this (Thorin, Shintaro, Hannu, and Balasar) while others disagreed and angered the Keeper. He cursed them as he left them to their fate.
The party then trekked across the harsh sandy and gray world of Deadhold. The Keeper’s curses and harsh undead monsters and demons attacked them but they gained access to Deadthrone, Zirithian’s outpost that overlooks the Sea of Rot (a literal river of millions of undead creatures). As they enter the shadowy gate they are put to the test: Body, Mind, and Spirit. They prove themselves (though with many of them sapped of much of their energy) and are confronted by an astral projection of Orcus. He asks them to kill Zirithian and take Nightbringer in order for them to become his new exarchs instead of the drow vampire. The group responds to Orcus on their own telepathically and Orcus shouts with anger (and a bit of fear in his voice) to a majority of the group. They are then given access to the inner sanctum of Zirtihian, The Ziggurat.