Pushing into the tower, the group is surprised by an encounter with a human spell caster who fires spells at them before fleeing. Even over the sounds of battle, however, the heroes can hear sinister snarling from ahead and as they press on, they here a warning shouted in Abyssal, and as they round the corner, they find themselves facing the largest creature they have faced – an enormous, bestial demon whose appearance combines the worst aspects of a bear, a mantis, a wolf, and a reptilian humanoid.
Beside the demon, the wizard that they just fought casts spells to aid the creature who uses his otherworldly power to summon two lesser demons into the party midst.
While the party quickly dispatches, the lesser demons – with Morthos’ blade causing particularly grievous wounds – the larger demon proves to be a formidable foe, attacking ferociously and pairing rakes from his claws with a paralyzing gaze, slaps from his powerful tail and a bite that drains the strength from Sarruk’s very being.
As the fight endures for minutes, the demon is eventually undone by Morthos’ Tyrannical blade – a scourge to summoned creatures and his wizardly companion soon folllows suit.
The chamber they find themselves in has a curious golden statue of Karzoug, whose outstretched hands appear as if they once held something.
Before them two massive double doors stand behind a shimmering veil of golden light. After Zander correctly identifies it as a Wall of Force, Morthos and Sarruk attempt to bash their way through, causing burning golden sparks to shower down upon them.
Mind strikes with rapier, and the dominant weapon strikes true without retaliation. As the wall works to repair itself, the rogue continues to strike, fighting off fatigue as she assaults the wall for twelve straight hours. Finally, with one last strike, the golden light bursts.
Contemplating resting to recover from the assault agains the demon, Sarruk pushes forth the golden doors to see a creature with the upper torso, head and arms of beautiful giantess and the lower body of a massive hunting cat. Somehow, the look of abject cruelty in her eyes is more unsettling than the feral claws of her lower half and she commands her two giant guardians forward while she prepares her magic.
While a frightful opponent, the battle paled in comparison to their combat with the demon a half a day prior and the party finds themselves victorious.
Taking a moment to explore their surroundings, the party sees that pillars of gold support an arching ceiling. The northern wall bears a particularly detailed mural that shows Xin-Shalast at its height, with the face atop Mhar Massif appearing to address its citizens as magical runes and spirals of energy emerge from its open mouth.
Yet even this impressive work of art is overwhelmed by what towers in the center of the room – an immense, slowly rotating, thirty-foot-diameter sphere of gold, its surface shimmering with strangely sluggish flames. A stone walkway with a set of stairs leads up to the side of the sphere, where a five-foot wide ramp leads up to a ten-foot-wide platform balanced precariously atop of the globe, from which a shimmering pillar of golden light shines up to the ceiling above.
Correctly surmising that their ultimate enemy awaited within, the party steps inside the confines of Zander’s magically created shelter and prepares for their ultimate showdown.