The group travels for several more days after the Bearowl/WhoBear encounter. We start to see a tall tower in the distance, still several days away. That night, after sunset, we hear noises moving around the camp site in the dark. Then we see large green glowing eyes in dark, just beyond the light of the campfires. Voices speak out in unison talking about the “price to be paid”. After an initial shot at the creatures, Romulus takes a knife to his arm and drains a helmet full of blood as payment. The creatures then ask, what knowledge we seek. We ask questions about the children being taken and who is behind it. After some back and forth, and several more payments, we find out the following information.
The children are being taken as part of a ritual to build “him” a wife. “He” is always changing shifting. They have not been able to see his true form.
After we tell them we will pay now more, they silently fade into the night.
The next day we continue travelling towards the Mage Tower. Once we arrive at the tower, we find the doors still locked. Remus shifts into spider form and climbs up to a window on the second floor, then sends down a rope for the rest of us. Once inside we head back down to the first floor to thoroughly search the tower. We go floor by floor through the first 5 levels, not running into any surprises. All we find is the corpses of mages that must have been here when the arcane disaster struck, however they look as if they had fallen dead earlier in the day. As we search the tower, we take anything we feel could be valuable or useful.
Once we reach the 5th floor, we see no clear way to the next level. There appears to be a section of the ceiling that could break away, so we look for a way to lower that section of the ceiling. When it starts to lower, we can hear horrible laughing coming from the darkness above. Khagen sends his familiar up to take a look, using his connection with the owl to see through its eyes. Khagen gets a glimpse of what is up there before bolts of fire kill Neska.
The group devises a plan where, Khagen will ride up invisible with Athgar hidden in the bag of holding. Romulus and Remus ride up in plain sight. When the lift reaches the top, a fireball explodes over the group, dropping Khagen immediately and keeping Athgar trapped in the bag of holding temporarily. The battle ensues, and Romulus takes the time to let Athgar out and join in. The battle with the Flame Skull is over quickly, and Khagen is healed back from the edge of death.