The formerly-cursed guide tells the Collective where to find Paldemar’s apprentice, and they set off to find her at the Tower of Sunset. When they find her, they attempt to ask about her master, but she reacts with hostility. Her attempted ambush fails, however, and she is quickly defeated. Before much information can be pried from her, she is burned alive. Cecil recognizes the damage as the product of some kind of curse put upon her. They find the other silver key in her chambers and return to the Seven Pillared Hall.
Using this key they enter the Tower of Mystery, and are greeted by flesh-twisting pillars, which are actually just conduits for the powers of some dolgaunts, and norkers.
Notes: Lucan starts a bar fight when a contact can’t remember his name, which Garmeth is able to quiet.
Mol, Barrakas 16, 998 YK (Day 30).
Back at the Seven Pillared Hall, Terrlen Darkseeker expresses his gratitude for the work the Eclipse Collective has done on his behalf. He marks on the party’s map the location of the Tower of Sunset, where Denoa has spent her time since being exiled. Terrlen is unable to remember Lucan’s name, which makes him angry; this boils over in an unusual lapse of control for him, and he attacks Terrlen, which quickly results in a barfight. Garmeth is able to calm the fighting before it gets out of hand, and the Mages’ Enforcers arrive to ensure that there is no more brawling in Rothar’s Taphouse. Eshunu and Tam’elanath stay at the Seven Pillared Hall for some further investigation there, while Stahlstrauss, Garmeth, Cecil and Lucan go to investigate the Tower of Sunset.
They find their way there with little difficulty, as they are led by Terrlen Darkseeker who is an extremely competent guide. Cecil leaves a trail of crumbs behind him, in case he can’t find his way back with a map, though he realizes this is probably pointless. Inside the first floor of the tower, a pale-skinned woman sits behind a desk, with various statues positioned around her. She beckons the group inside, and they come in. The door shuts behind them when they begin asking about Paldemar, and the statues come to life.
The “statues” are actually poorly-made constructs, which are not much of a threat but explode after fought for a time. Denoa is a skilled caster, and keeps the party at bay while a gargoyle animates and attacks them, shifting in and out of stone form and posing a rather large threat to the four. Eventually, Tam’elanath and Eshunu arrive for support, and the six defeat Denoa and bring down the gargoyle as well. They interrogate Denoa after tying her up, and she reveals her affiliation with Paldemar. It seems that Paldemar does, indeed, possess the rod of order, and further is likely conducting some very dark business within the Tower of Mystery. She surrenders her key to the group, and soon after begins panicking. They try to calm her down, but she quickly bursts into flames, evidently having been bound to Paldemar’s service and ultimately his control. Cecil examines the ashes, and finds them to have the same qualities as those of his own adventuring company that he discovered earlier in the Labyrinth.
After this, they find a suit of psionically-tuned chainmail, which is taken by Lucan (despite Eshunu’s many attempts to take it from him), and Denoa’s silver key. They bring these back to the Seven Pillared Hall and once again meet with Orontor, explaining what they’ve learned.
Orontor believes that the situation is, indeed, dire. The Tower of Mystery had been a seat of power for the greatest of the minotaur priests of Baphomet, and Paldemar can be up to nothing good there. With the Rod of Order in his possession, Orontor does not know what he is going to achieve, but knows he must be stopped. He cannot spare anybody to support the party in this endeavor, because, as he reveals, he is in fact the only Mage of Saruun currently in Thunderspire other than Paldemar. This is why he is the only Mage the party has met. He gives them twenty four hours to solve the problem; at this point, if he has not heard from the Eclipse Collective, he will try to conduct a ritual to seal off the waterfall (and presumably only point of passage to the Tower of Mystery) long enough to prepare an assault powerful enough to stop Paldemar.
The party makes the necessary preparations for their entry into the Tower of Mystery, and then sleeps the night, which may be their last here underneath the Ashen Spires.
Zol, Barrakas 17, 998 YK (Day 31).
In the morning, with great determination, the party moves through the waterfall in the Seven Pillared Hall, where Cecil and Stahlstrauss simultaneously insert the two silver keys into the door to the Tower of Mystery. Inside is a small room with a circle of teleportation runes. The party steps into the circle, and are teleported to the first floor.
This floor is calm at first, but the pillars, on which faces are engraved, seem to spring to life with magic that twists the flesh and clouds the mind. Garmeth, who is first to venture into the room, is affected worst as his party members stay behind in the antechamber through which they entered. Soon after this begins, goblinoid creatures called “norkers” begin to make their attack. The party attempts to fight these while struggling to deal with the magic cast upon them by the pillars.
As they clear the norkers, they find another circle of runes at the far end of the room. Stahlstrauss enters the circle and is teleported up another floor, while Garmeth moves past the runes to open a closed door. Inside are two dolgaunts (aberrations that the party fought once before, in the Shadowfeel Keep) who are apparently in Paldemar’s service. They are fanatical cultists, but Garmeth makes quick work of them, while supported by his party. Stahlstrauss returns to the first floor, and the party prepares to regroup before heading up to the second floor of the tower.