Continuing on the road north, Aesir, Shamash, Goin, Corrin, and Simon eventually arrive at the town of Paxton’s rest. They leave Dagmer outside the town after being ambushed by a Scarecrow, apparently animated by the evil spirits and will of whatever is afflicting the town.
When they reach the town proper, after a brief search, they encounter the symptoms of the problem: a blight, in the form of an ambush by twig blights. The party ably defends themselves, unlike the villagers of the town, who are revealed to be mostly dead.
Further exploration leads them to encounter a single man, William, who is able to direct them to the mine where the terror that plagues the town originated. He refuses to leave his fortified home, however, as it was the only stone structure in town and thus remains standing.
Upon arriving at the entrance to the mine, the party finds a great battle was fought there, but little is apparent beyond that. An exploration into the depths leads to an encounter with rust monsters, then the fortified room where the foreman of the mine eventually committed suicide when he was trapped by the blight, and finally, the source of the blight itself: the black tree.
How was this problem solved? The same way any problem is solved by a new adventuring party: the liberal application of fire. A vine blight, multiple twig and needle blights, and the tree are all consumed in the resulting conflagration after pitch, burning hands, and flame burst all make an entrance. Melee and fire cleanse the room, and the party is left, perhaps alone, in the dungeon.
Also, everyone smells like burned pitch.