Venger himself, astride his Nightmare steed, has cornered our heroes at the base of sheer rock cliff. Even Diana's gymnastic abilities cannot scale the wall. The band succeed in tripping Nightmare and throwing Venger from the nasty horse's back. It's not much, but it gives them enough time to make it into an opening in the rock face.
The opening is a tunnel which disappears into the dark depths beyond. Sheila, Hank and Presto cautiously move down the tunnel to see what lies ahead, but not cautiously enough.
The tunnel rapidly drops steeply down, a chute from which there is no return once you begin the descent. The three scouts disappear into the darkness... shouting warnings to their comrades not to follow.
The three left behind are in a dilemma. They know there is danger but they cannot simply abandon their friends. Diana and Bobby want to charge ahead while Eric argues against it pretty steadfastly. Into the middle of the argument steps the Dungeon Master.
Venger, meanwhile, is satisfied. He has them all right where he wants them. He will not, himself, venture into the tunnel. He knows better. Instead, he sends the Shadow Demon to ensure that the heroes meet the fate they should meet at the bottom of the chute. Shadow Demon goes about his work.
The Dungeon Master, meanwhile, advises the three not to follow their companions -- they have more important work to do. Hank, Sheila and Presto must face the dreaded City of the Githyanki alone, but Diana, Bobby and Eric can find them an unlikely ally, the one alone whom the Githyanki fear. DM disappears into the shadows as he arrived just as Shadow Demon passes.
Shadow Demon feels a presence but Diana, Bobby and Eric hide in the shadows, and the Demon passes on.
The three must find an unlikely ally, the one the Githyanki fear, and they must do it quickly! Their quest leads them to Ringlerun, a good wizard, who agrees to accompany them -- not to the City of the Githyanki, for even he cannot venture there -- but to the ally they seek. He leads them to a great underground cavern and points out the ally: the horrible Mind Flayer, Sorren. An unlikely ally indeed!
Sheila, Hank and Presto could use an ally, however, considering the trouble they're in. The City of the Githyanki is a dismal little hamlet built around a foreboding castle ruled by the Lich Queen, an ugly, cadaverous witch of tremendous power. They've managed to remain undetected, despite some close calls, but they can't get back up the chute.
And they may not even remain undetected for long... Shadow Demon is going about his evil Master's bidding, and has gone to alert the Githyanki and their hideous queen of the intruders' presence. It isn't long before the general alarm is sounded, and the Githyanki are out in force searching for the trespassers.
Ringlerun cannot directly interfere with the destinies of others, but he can play tricks on evil creatures. He assumes the form of a Githyanki and presents himself to the Mind Flayer, Sorren. Sorren is incensed but Ringlerun convinces the creature that he is there only to betray the Lich Queen and Sorren's sworn enemies, the Githyanki. Sorren accepts this with relish... it gives him reason enough to attack the Githyanki, which he can control by telepathy if he can avoid the magical power of the Lich Queen.
Ringlerun's done his part. He warns the trio of the power and treachery of the Mind Flayer, and tells them that the best weapon against him is a bright light -- which Sorren detests. Diana, Eric and Bobby swallow their fear and follow their "unlikely" (and unknowing) ally into the tunnel.
Hank, Presto and Sheila are using every power they posses to stay just a half-step ahead of their pursuers. Hank has cleverly worked it so that bands of Githyanki wind up pursuing themselves for a beat. But that won't last long, and the little band are running out of tricks.
They suddenly find themselves cornered by Githyanki, and no tricks of any kind will work this time. They're captured and taken before the Lich Queen herself. The disgusting cadaver of a witch freezes them with a mere wave of her hand while she considers what she will do with them once she finds out who sent them and why.
Sorren makes his slimy way down the chute into the City Below. The Githyanki he encounters first are taken completely by surprise. They haven't seen Sorren in centuries. Diana, Bobby, and Eric meanwhile correctly deduce where their friends are, and set out to rescue them. They distract the Lich Queen by sounding the alarm that the Mind Flayer has arrived. She marshals her powers to meet Sorren, and releases her hold on the humans.
They find a secret stairwell from the castle up to their own level and follow it. They're aware before long that they're being pursued -- and the faster they run (they can only go in one direction) the faster the footsteps behind them rise and fall.
They reach the surface, prepared to see the Githyanki -- but instead face Sorren himself. Sorren reaches out with mind-waves, nearly paralysing the whole band, but Diana manages to squeeze out the words to Hank: Fire and arrow, a flare arrow, quick!
It takes a superhuman effort, but Hank does it -- and the brilliant light freezes the angry Sorren. It's not permanent but it's long enough for Ringlerun to "detain" Sorren while they escape.
Escape they do, thankful for Ringlerun's good magic, and thankful to be leaving the City of the Githyanki.