Meanwhile, Veshenga and Haggor speak to the two men downstairs. Ven is obviously destroyed by his daughter’s death, and Haggor immediately discounts him as a possible suspect. They talk to him for a few minutes, learning that he believed Harker was a terrible skinflint of a man. He blames himself for not keeping his daughter away, as he knew she was likely to come to a bad end if she kept up with the mill owner. Ibor is also easy to discount as a suspect, but has more interesting information after Haggor forces him to talk: Harker was embezzling from the mill, and, essentially, stealing from the Scarnetti noble family (who had a silent partnership in the business). He thinks that, if anyone would have killed Harker, it would have been over his cooking of the books. While they’re downstairs, the party confirms that the bodies of the con men are desecrated identically to Harker, including evidence of humanoid claw marks.
Getting Ven set free to return to his daughter, the party reconvenes for lunch. They discuss their information, and realize they have three useful leads remaining: the Scarnettis, the use of the Sihedron Rune, and the insane bodyguard of the con men. Passing back by the garrison, Hemlock suggests that they ask Brodert Quink about the rune, while he makes more diplomatic inquiries to the Scarnettis.
Brodert is as effusive as ever, though quickly realizes that the party has been holding out on him about the ruins they’ve been exploring. He gives them a brief rundown of what Thassilonian scholars know about the era (which isn’t much). He does inform them that it’s widely believed that the era was one of wizard kings (called Runelords) that each was heavily specialized in a school of magic. Interestingly, each school of magic was tied to one of what are now the deadly sins, and embodying this sin seems to have given the Runelords more power. He believes that, originally, the sins were seen as the virtues of rule, and it was only because the Runelords were so terrible that they began to be associated with sin.
With that angle taken care of, the party ventures out to the insane asylum to speak to the man found near the previous murders. The keeper of the asylum is reticent to let them in until Taeva quietly picks the door lock and Haggor is suddenly in his face. It quickly becomes apparent to all that the subject, Grayst Sevilla, is suffering from Ghoul Fever on top of being quite mad, and that the sanatorium keeper knew about this and was watching him slowly become a ghoul. On seeing Veshenga, the insane man becomes somewhat lucid, enough to rant about his master’s love for her and wish that she come to a place called the Misgivings. He then attacks, and has to be restrained. The party takes him back to town for medical attention, and Taeva locks the sanatorium staff into the building while they report to the Sheriff about the grisly goings on. Unfortunately, Hemlock is not sure what he can do about it, as the law is not especially concerned with what happens to insane brigands confined to a madhouse. The party also cannot learn any more about the Misgivings besides the fact that it is some kind of haunted house in the region.
The next morning, as the party has mostly stayed in the garrison to help treat Grayst, they hear a frantic knocking. Hemlock lets in an old farmer, who, terrified out of his mind, recounts a horrible tale of scarecrows stalking through the fields and an ill-advised investigation of the farmhouse that seemed to be the epicenter of the monster attacks. His friends obviously attacked by ghouls, the party sets out at once to deal with the new incursion.
As they get closer to the Hambley Farm, other farmers become obviously more scared, speaking of the scarecrows that have been attacking throughout the Soggy River area. The party finally gets close to the farm, and finds a shockingly large number of scarecrows propped up amidst the skeletal stalks of previously-harvested grains. The first they see is violently attacked, only to explode into straw. The second begins to struggle as they approach, and attacking it quickly reveals that it is a ghoul dressed as a scarecrow and tied to a post (likely infected as a mortal and left there). The party proceeds cautiously, taking out several other ghoul scarecrows before reaching the farmhouse.
Approaching the farm leads the party right into an ambush, as ghouls swarm around the barn, from out of the fields, and from inside the house. One particularly finely dressed ghoul, wearing a large key around his neck, tears into Haggor. Taeva and Veshenga perforate several ghouls as Balekh manifests the might of his god to drive them away. Once most of the creatures are turned, it is short work to destroy the rest of them, though Haggor and Veshenga both take vicious wounds that are in danger of infection. The other members of the party also notice that Taeva seems to be able to sneak attack these creatures, against the common wisdom.
After the ghouls are defeated or have run off, the party checks the inside of the house and finds a several-day-old body, killed in the same style as the other murder victims. Pinned to him is yet another note for Veshenga:
Take the fever into you, my love—it shall be but the first of my gifts to you.