Heading back to the Lower District of Hillias, Subotai, Tymon and Fruz visit several taverns looking for clues to the whereabouts of Niko. At the Bronze Lion they meet the dancer Sersi and learn they should investigate an old coastal olive villa several miles west of the city. They report their findings to Gabrela and the next morning head out of the Old Gate towards the villa.
The trio arrives late in the morning, and after brief reconnaissance of the run down, foreboding structure, they decide on the direct approach – Tymon walking to the gate in the guise of a merchant. Several running fights with Tricarnian cult-guards ensue in the courtyard and interior hallways until they discover a trap door and stairway to a tunnel below the villa. They chase retreating guards through rough-hewn passages, quickly solve a puzzle allowing them to open a hidden door, and engage more cultists and a huge, spear-wielding Tricarnian warrior in a large ante-room.
Having defeated the giant warrior and his minions, the heroes press on, finally reaching a cavernous temple cave chamber opening to the rough sea below. Here they discover tied up and helpless some of the missing citizens of Hillias, including a very discomfited Niko. It’s obvious these captives are intended as sacrifices on the bloody altar at the far end of the cavern.
A final battle commences with the three facing off against sixteen guards, a beautiful but deadly blade-dancer, a minor Tricarnian sorceror-priest, and the most deadly foe, a six-armed snake-bodied “Daughter of Hordan”. There are several close calls – but none can stand before Tymon’s axe, Subotai’s bow and Fruz’s mace – in a whirlwind of violence the enemies are all defeated. The heroes return to Hillias with the rescued captives (including Tamira, daughter of a merchant-prince of Hillias) and also several valuable items taken from the vanquished foes.
Surely the celebration will be as legendary as the victory!