The party prepared to face down the undead hobbits – unfortunately without the aid of Jack Scabbard, who had nipped back upstairs quickly to make sure the brewery was secured against any zombie hordes. The festering zombits converged on the party; and a little further back, a human-sized figure appeared at the edge of the lamplight. She had the robes, the tattered apron, the singed eyebrows and other signs of the alchemist – and, inevitably, the signs of recent death. Finally, behind her, came the pathetic and rotting figure of the old hedge wizard. The two warriors, mostly ignorant of such matters, immediately thought “lich!” and were distracted enough to be somewhat ineffectual in their attempts to fend off the creatures. Luckily, Vana stepped forward stolidly and clasped her holy symbol, sending the creatures reeling and stumbling away in vague panic. The party took advantage of this to cut down two of the zombits.
Pursuing the creatures and crushing another, they found a chamber with light coming from above – the base of the well. In the opposite wall stood the ruined remains of a metal gateway, apparently destroyed by gunpowder. The keystone from the archway had fallen into the water here, and as she approached, Vana realises that it was made of corrupted cinnabar. As recorded in dwarven lore, some veins of ore reach the place where the Laughing Wolf is imprisoned, causing taint to spread through them. This rock was as poisonous as any mercury, but also carried a magical taint; if the populace had been using water from this well, the rock may well have contaminated it and led to this plague. Pausing only briefly, the party grimly surrounded and hacked apart the remaining zombies.