After a day of hauling the dragon’s horde up 12 flights of stairs into the Bright Star (and Aika jumping off the top of the tower to try out her new wings), the crew collapse into various exhausted heaps aboard the ship and hit the baths and beds as the ship lifts.
The following morning, the ship returns to the Tower and the crew descends upon the Tower (in theory, “one last time”). They make their way to the bedroom / menagerie on the fourth dungeon level (Gnimish det’ magics the various implements on the bed and then sorts the magical from the non-magical. “Just in case.”) before opting to move onto the next floor (skipping over the prison for now though Moz will want to look it over before leaving the last time). Traveling down the stairs, the party exits into a room with a vast number of active planar Gates, each protected (so Gnimish tells them) by equally active walls of force – presumably activated (or not) by the keys and command words that accompany each gate.
Each of the 17 outer planes are represented, as are the four cardinal elemental planes, and both the positive and negative material plane. The party tours the vista displayed within each gate, two of them (Pandemonium and Mechanus) proving difficult for two of the characters (Moz and Goh respectively). There is also one additional gate, right off the entrance, that is tuned to a place called “Lamasery” which appears to be a Tinris-like world, save for the twin purple moons and single yellow sun. Moz suggests it represents a parallel Prime Material plane or perhaps another world on the Prime. The party moves on from the Gate room.
Heading down the stairs (stopping once to confirm that the stairs continue down to but a single other floor – the eighth and, presumably, last dungeon level), the party steps into a vast library. Vast shelves of books await them – the centerpiece being an enormous tome spread across a living treestump in the room’s midst. On the far side of the library exists a venerably old halfling man (with – at closer approach – signs of infernal ancestry) at a desk, reading. The sign on his desk introduces him as Ixa Sanys. The party moves to interact – Moz and Gnimish approaching to speak, Ismek moving into position for flanking, expecting trouble. As Gnimish and Moz speak with Ixa, he explains that he’s trying to finish his progenitor’s life work and attain divinity so that he may return her to life and assist her in claiming her own divinity. Furthermore, he explains that there is a missing page from the massive book which represents all of Arvana’s work on the divine spark and her own ascension and that he’s spent his entire life trying to recreate that one page. Standing ready, and out of earshot, Aika divines that Ixa is evil and should be dealt with – and says as much to, first, Brother Joshua, and thence to Elwood and Quid.
The fight begins when Aika swoops preemptively across the room, over the heads of Moz and Gnimish, and strikes the halfling with her vorpal blade. Reacting immediately to this unplanned fight, Ismek throws a lion (from his newly acquired Back of Tricks) and a Lich (from his Deck of Illusions) into the fray. Gnimish conjures a giant centipede to attack the halfling and Moz moves to flank. Aika is immediately struck by some manner of spell that leaves her without her wits (a Confusion spell, or so it seemed) and the rest of the party is magically Held en mass, save Ismek and Brother Joshua, the latter of which finishes the fight before the sorcerer can finish off the party.
In the aftermath, it becomes apparent that Aika’s sanity has been affected, possibly permanently, as she attempts to hurt herself and then saws into her leg with her own sword before Moz restrains her and Brother Joshua disarms her. As the party searches the room and tries to find what to do for Aika, Gnimish and Goh return to the room’s center to investigate the enormous book. Upon a quick perusal, Moz realizes that the book seems to have great enhancing potential, but follows his instincts and orders Gnimish to try and make contact with the Sphere of Annihilation that he believes to be very near at hand so as to destroy the book. Gnimish does so, quickly pulling the Sphere from the lowest level of the dungeon and directing it at the book.
A flash of darkness occurs just as the book is about to be consumed, and a creature presenting Herself as Eleduna Darkbringer – Tinris’ Planar Deity of Shadows. She explains that Arvana was Her protege, and that the book represents a great investment of effort and energy that would best be put to use on a suitable candidate rather than destroyed. Further explaining that Arvana is caught in a state of unlife on the lowest level of the structure, and that She Herself cannot interfere due to divine contract, Eleduna engages the party in ending this chapter of Tinrisian history. Moz agrees not to destroy the book, Eleduna shrinks and claims the Sphere of Annihilation and then vanishes, and the crew head back to the ship to deliberate on their next course of action.
As people are settling in and the ship makes way to Fawdant to ask for assistance in restoring Aika’s sanity, a Gate opens on the main deck – prompting an immediate action by the crew, who believe the Bright Star’s been boarded. The visitor proves to be none other than Ilfandra Allmother Herself, who apologizes for the actions of Eleduna, who apparently acted outside of the boundaries of divine conduct. Restoring Aika’s sanity with a kiss to the forehead, Ilfandra charged the crew with ridding the Tower of its erstwhile mistress and Aika personally with taking up the banner of Her good works – thus escalating Aika along the path to becoming an angel in her own right. The crew, understandably stirred, agree and Ilfandra Gates back out – apparently to Carisar.