On the road back to Interstone, the party came across the Man in Black sitting on a stone near the path, exhausted. In his leg an arrow, fired by Rowan during their last encounter, still sat, but showing no signs of bleeding. In his hand, which looked shriveled and grey, was an artifact similar to the Necrostone, but a dull grey color instead of black. Upon seeing the party he simply laughed, stood, and said "Go ahead, kill me! Do it!"
The party obliged.
After looting him and retrieving his Necrostone, Randall, in a fit of Halfling mischief, threw the Necrostone from the tomb to Sam, who reflexively caught it, and found himself fascinated and unable to drop it. Seeing the look in his eyes, Thea quickly moved and severed his arm with a single stroke of her scimitar. After treating the wound and securing the Necrostone more carefully, the party continued north.
Long before seeing the town, they knew something was wrong. A pillar of black smoke was rising from where Interstone was, and when they came over the rise and saw the town it was in flames, with several major fires in the poorer part of town. Moving closer to investigate, they found the townspeople desperate to put out the fires. Unsatisfied with the answers the peasants were providing, which largely consisted of "Orcs and Goblins have taken the town, they're killing everyone," and "my house is on fire," Thea knocks out one of the peasants, hoping the others will fall into line. Attempting to be more constructive, Randall decided to climb the town's central spire and see if he could get a view of the land. On top of the spire he found and assassinated two Goblins, and witnessed Hale Gunnarson on his knees before a Dragonborn in gleaming full plate armor, all before an audience of townspepople and a waiting group of more than a dozen Orcs and a larger group of Goblins. Among the Orcs, one stood out as both larger and more heavily armed and seemed to be defering to the Dragonborn.
When he reported this back to the party, they decided it would be good to run, and so they headed into the hills, west and away from both the other towns and from Galesforge. With the help of a goat they found a safe cabin to rest and lick their wounds. Just as morning was breaking the next day, the party was awakened by a knock, and when they opened the door standing there was none other than Strahd.