The heroes find elves trying to get into Grailwarden to regain something stolen by a dwarven criminal. After interrogating the elves, they learn that the item in question contains the heart of a Nonman, one of Cathexis’s kin. The dwarven criminal was already tried and executed, and his possessions handed to the king of Grailwarden. They also find that these elves have arrows of slaying designed to kill Nonmen. The elves have been using the anti-divine properties of Nonmen in rituals to weaken Asmodeus’s wards over Terund.
Bombik and Cathexis sneak into the dwarven treasury and take the heart of the Nonman and flee while Palio keeps the king occupied with diplomatic matters, including giving the dwarves a share in Ancalagon’s hoard in exchange for their aid in the coming battle.
As they move towards the Vivus Well, Cathexis performs a ritual to put the Nonman they had rescued back to peace and true death. This weakens him and that, combined with the knowledge that only his sentient blade knows where the Vivus Well is, lets an older avatar, The Pale Man, overtake him.
The Pale Man flees from them, sets up traps, and then attacks the other heroes. Bombik uses magnetism to pull the blade out of The Pale Man’s grasp, while Slim hits him in the hand with an arrow. The blade plummets and Cathexis returns to his previous state with knowledge of how to enter the Vivus Well.
After explaining his previous avatar and its role in shaping history, as a creature designed to make humanity fight back, Cathexis leads everyone up the mountain to a group of shambling mounds with a lightning elemental in the midst of them. The lightning elemental is the key to activating the runes. Bombik chases off the shambling mounds while Cathexis and Palio catch and return the lightning elemental. The runes activate and they find themselves within the Vivus Well.
They walk down a long hallway with bioluminescent plant life carved into Infernal. it reads:
Where lies the strangling fruit that came forth from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of the damned to share with the worms that gather in the darkness and forms that could never be writhe with impatience at their corporeality. In the green water, shining at midnight, those fruit shall come ripe and in the darkness of that which is golden shall split open to reveal the revelation of the fatal softness of the earth. The shadows in Hell are the petals of a monstrous flower that shall blossom within the skull of the saint and expand the mind beyond what any man can bear.
At the bottom they find a strange creature calling itself The Scribe who was writing the prophecy. He tells them about the well below, the saint (Cassamyr) and the short ones (Onnahan and his clones) the chained ones and the others who are brought down and turned into his kin.