The party meets the self-appointed leaders who have stepped forward to try to guide Lowerton through this crisis and to hopefully take back Gatetown – Huurtred, former Master-at-Arms for Gatetown; Gavinon, Priest of the temple of Pelor in Lowerton; and Lady Salinda, a minor noble who owns some lands around Lowerton and a keep in Gatetown. They discuss defensive plans for the town, and whether everyone should just leave, but Huurtred insists they stay and fight. With civil war breaking out in the Southern Kingdom, there’s not really anywhere nearby that would be certain to be safe from bloodshed. The party mentions the name Zarastra that they heard, and Gavinon recalls hearing it before. The priest of Pelor studies some tomes from his temple library later and discovers that Zarastra is a Marilith – a truly terrifyingly powerful demon that is far beyond the party’s wildest dreams of facing in combat.
The party returns to their inn in Lowerton, Peprund’s Lodge, and enjoys some famed Peprund’s steak. The next day, Swashy receives another Remove Curse from Gavinon to eliminate the slaad eggs from her body. Cham casts a Divination spell, and asks Pharsma, “What’s the best way for us to deal with Zarastra?” He receives a response of, “Whatever you do, do not set her free.” The party agrees that sounds like an excellent idea, and hope returns to them that they can actually find a way to defeat this demonic threat.
Later that day, Cham is out in the town, helping to train the soldiers and militiamen on the types of demons they could face, and helping to position groups of archers to best defend Lowerton. Barlongren catches up with his old barbarian tribe mate, Luuran, in Peprund’s Lodge, while Myx is in the room above trying her best to teach Tortette some of the basics of arcane spellcasting. Swashy is out strolling through the nearby marketplace, keeping an eye out for any good pickpocket marks. She offers to tell the fortunes of some of the passersby, and a haggard-looking farmer accepts. Swashy looks carefully at the man’s withered palm, and, with a twisted, ironic sense of humor, she tells the farmer he will die at the hands of demons within the next two weeks. The rogue shrugs as the man hurries off with a terrified look – no one ever mistook Swashy for a saint, and she figures her prediction has a pretty good chance of coming true anyways. Later, she picks a young man’s pocket, only to come away with a dried, crushed flower pressed into a piece of fabric. Even Swashy has her limits, and she quickly chases after the man to return the token of affection to him, saying that he must have dropped it. The young man thanks her profusely.
The peaceful afternoon is shattered later when the demons in Gatetown launch an attack on Lowerton. A spinagon drops a strange black ball out of the clear afternoon sky that descends to land in the marketplace in Lowerton. The magical black globe explodes into a slick oil that spreads out across the ground to cover the square. The black sheen is actually a portal, and a giant demonic brute climbs out of the Abyss into the market square. The enormous creature towers over the citizens as they desperately flee in panic. The demon stands two stories tall, and with its muscled, red fists it begins smashing buildings to bits. Spinagons and eyewings fly over the Great Ridge and attack the town as well. Fortunately, the troops stationed at Gala’s Lift use a magical key Huurtred provided to override the lift mechanism above, keeping any earth-bound demons such as slaad and dretches from riding down the lift to join the battle.
The party rushes to the market square to engage the demonic giant. Myx arrives first and is hurled through the air by one of its hulking fists. The wizard promptly turns and runs, heading toward the temple of Pelor in town to seek magical healing, and wanting nothing more to do with the giant demon. Barlongren, Swashy, and Cham stand strong and engage the demon. Swashy uses the last of her Dust of Disappearance in the battle, delivering a few devastating backstabs. Cham is dismayed to find the demon resistant to magic, but chips in with his khopesh, while Barlongren takes the brunt of the giants’ attacks and gives back with his axe. The demon is a deadly terror, but the hardened adventurers find a good deal of luck on their side, and they are able to defeat the creature quite handily.
The party sees Tirinil magically flying over the Great Ridge along with the rest of the demons, headed toward Peprund’s Lodge, where Gwillivin and Yramor are. They rush to intercept, and burst into the room to find Tirinil flying out of the window with a paralyzed Gwillivin in his arms. Yramor lies unconscious on the floor, a magical burn on his chest. Swashy arrives first and is faced with a difficult decision – to grab Gwillivin and pull her back into the room, or to daringly dive out the window to try and grab on to Tirinil and attack the warlock. She plays it safe, and just tries to pull Gwillivin back through the window. She is much stronger than the warlock and is able to successfully wrestle Gwillivin free. Defeated, Tirinil flies back up the Great Ridge to return to Gatetown empty-handed. Yet, Swashy can’t help but think of the lost opportunity to end the source of this demonic plague once and for all. While she is happy to have saved Gwillivin from Tirinil’s clutches, a part of her regrets not gambling on the chance to eliminate the warlock for good.
The party helps the citizens of Lowerton fight off the demon onslaught, and the town’s defensive plans prove successful. With the devastating slaad and hordes of dretches and lemures unable to use Gala’s Lift to join the fight, the town’s archers and foot soldiers are able to repel the hordes for now. After the attack, the demons shoot an arrow down into the town with a message wrapped around it – “Our numbers are endless. These attacks will continue until you are all dead. If you give up the four warriors who lead your resistance, we will let you live.”
The party meets with the town leaders, Huurtred, Gavinon, and Lady Salinda. They all agree they cannot give over the party, even if the demons’ offer can actually be trusted. Instead, the party makes plans to infiltrate Gatetown and cut off the demon-summoning at its source by eliminating Tirinil. Lady Salinda offers the party two Potions of Levitation to aid them in their quest, and the party makes preparations to leave the next day.