After two days without word from the party, Pandarus begins to panic. He charges into the chamber of eyes, and with Tomas on his heels, he rips a portal to the Plane of Shadows open with his bare hands and enters. It closes before Tomas can follow, but the spirits of the land that he communes with are familiar with the area, and teach him how to open the portal for himself.
Tomas follows Pandarus, but loses him as Pandarus begins to get stronger and faster, charging right towards the tower. Tomas passes right by Nori’s shack where the rest of the party are finishing up a night’s rest. Together they follow Pandarus to the tower.
Mairin’s tower is indeed build on the plot of land that belongs to Flynn. The cold iron doors are locked, but they open for Tatiana. Inside, the tower is vastly larger than it appears on the outside. Rather than rooms, it contains islands of stone linked by bridges that float in the midst of endless blackness. In the first chamber, the party are stopped by Mairin’s guards; a shadow giant and a group of corpse rooks, huge three-headed ravens. An illusion of Mairin appears, offering Tatiana the opportunity to come to her peacefully. She promises to reverse the damage to Tatiana’s soul if Mairin is allowed to study her and learn the final steps to becoming a lich. Tatiana rejects the offer, and a fight begins. One of the rooks knocks Annar off the platform, and together they fall into the darkness. The giant is brutally strong, and drains life energy with each hit, but eventually he falls. The remaining rooks try to back Tomas and Udett into a corner, forcing the archer to draw his sword for the first time. After the rooks are put down, Ingmar cuts the giant’s solid gold breastplate off of the body and starts dragging it around with him as they go deeper into the tower.
The next bridge contains a T intersection, and the party goes right, following Tatiana’s intuition. They find a chamber contained Mairin’s accumulated notes on her experiments, as well as illusory playbacks of each instance. They learn that Mairin has done this to 13 people, Pandarus and Tatiana being the two most recent. Nine of the first 11 are dead, while the other two are undead spirits. They watch the recording of Tatiana’s session, and see Tatiana strangle her husband and child with a silken scarf. Once they’re dead, Mairin slits Tatiana’s throat and soaks up the blood with the scarf in a ritual. Pandarus’ recording is very similar – they watch as he stabs his niece in the neck with his leather awl, then as Mairin does the same to him. Tatiana is devastated, but Udett chooses to watch the recording twice for, uh, some reason I don’t remember, but it was hilariously cruel.
They gather the notes and move on. They reach a wall made of the negative energy plane itself, and decide to turn back rather than press through. Down the other path, they find a giant furnace, with a positive energy elemental trapped inside. Pipes falling off the platform’s sides seem to pour the ambient negative energy into the furnace, torturing the positive elemental and generating arcane power for Mairin’s use. The furnace is tended by a pair of Engimas, a Tenebrous Worm, and a clutch of negative energy elementals. The party cuts down the enemies, killing the worm before it’s dangerous acid can harm anyone. They free the positive elemental during the fight, but rather than flee it stays to heal the party, and is destroyed before they can save it. As the fight ends, Annar slams into the ground, having wrestled with the corpse rook through space and time.