The Bear Claws continue up the secret passage to the entrance into Sarshan’s tower. When they open the door they find themselves in a library. There are two guards guarding the door, a witch doing research and some fool sent by someone to find a book. The guards immediately attack and the witch triggers a trap that sends darts of shadow lancing about the room.
Alton, and Xaladin work on the guards while James trades a whiffing series of missed blows with the other enemy. Roland immediately targets the witch and duels her from across the room until lightning, blasting from his fingers chars her against the back wall. The others are quickly taken care of.
Opening a door in the library they find themselves in one corner of the tower with stairs rising to the next level. The Bear Claws decided to go up the stairs rather than explore the rest of the ground floor.
At the top of the stairs they meet a gnoll hunt master and his assistant. The gnolls are frustrated because they have been waiting to talk to Sarshan for an indeterminate number of days. They think the Bear Claws are messengers of Sarshan and pay them to take a message to him. They want Sarshan to give the promised weapons to their leader, Fangren, or he will go on his own. They claim he has discovered his own source of power. Fangren is threatening to rebel against Sarshan.
The Bear Claws promise to speak with Sarshan and the gnolls depart. In the next room they find a large garden with blue and greenish gray plants and trees. Through a hole in the floor they can see a yellow-skinned, lanky man arguing with a Shadar-Kai. The yellow-skinned man insists that Sarshan owes General Zithiruun more trained troops.
While the Bear Claws listen to the argument several swarms of rot scarabs and a giant shadow beetle attack them. They fight off the insects, barely staying alive and are just finishing the battle when shouts from below bring the Captain of Sarshan’s guard, Thannu, charging in. He brings lots of soldiers with him and demands they surrender their weapons. He doesn’t believe any of Roland’s negotiations or claims that they are helping by killing Modra.
He is ready to escalate the matter when Sarshan himself shows up, arriving through a portal that leads back to the black-tiled room where the portal to the natural world is. Sarshan wants to know what is going on. He listens to Thannu who accuses the Bear Claws of infiltrating the tower. Then he listens to the Bear Claws who present him with Modra’s body. He examines it and tells them he respects their skill and offers them a position in his company, where, he tells them, they will have room to grow. “In a week, or a month, or a year, the world you are from will not be a place you want to be.”
Hoping to live just long enough to escape they accept his offer. He dismisses his troops and tells Thannu to show them to the officer’s quarters.
At that instant the bomb in the foundry goes off. The explosion tears the bluff out from under the the tower and one corner of the tower falls away, the corner with Sarshan in it. The tower starts to tilt and shake.
Thannu and his two shadow Panthers attack. Alton and Roland take turns burning Thannu while James holds off the brunt of his attacks. Xaladin tries to flee through Sarshan’s portal and finds that it is keyed to let only Sarshan through. Xaladin immobilizes one of the Panthers long enough for Alton to burn a hole through Thannu and James to take a mighty golf swing with his hammer that caved in the head of the other Panther. Once they killed the last one the Bear Claws set to trying to adjust the portal to let them through while the tower tumbled around them, knocking them prone.
They fail at changing the portal but it malfunctions when the tower falls over the edge of the bluff, just long enough for them to get through. They are blasted with dust and brick and rock before the portal breaks.
In the black room the magistrate waits for them. He begs them to take him back to Overlook. James and Xaladin want to leave him but Alton and Roland talk them into taking him back. Outside the explosion has plugged the rift and chaos lava is backing up and flowing all about Umbraforge. As they watch the volcano explodes from the pressure and lava washes towards them.
They dive through and the lava and tremors destroy the Shadowfell gate behind them.
Once in Overlook they meet Reniss who has been looking for them. She has unearthed news that Sarshan is the old man they chased from the Happy Beggar a few days before. She also knows that the Elsir Consortium rented some warehouses to Sarshan.
They take the magistrate to elder Caddrick who thanks them warmly for their service and introduces them to Aerun the new captain of the city guard and magistrate of the law, who will be taking his place. Caddrick also thanks them for the information about Modra as he had not been aware that the Orc attack was anything more than just unrest.
Caddrick finishes by warning James and Xaladin that torture is never acceptable and the only reason they are not being punished is that there is no evidence that they actually tortured anybody.
Caddrick offers to get the Bear Claws a table at Lenas, a very high end restaurant in Overlook, and a larger bed for James.
The Bear Claws leave and return to the Belden’s Rest exhausted but satisfied that Overlook is again safe because of their efforts.