Leaving the unholy staff with Rolston, the party sets back out again. On the way back to the surface, through the volcanic lake, Quintin questions Ungu, the ranger, about the “Guardian” and the amulet they use to keep it at bay. He tells him only that it is an artifact of the Ulgar people.
The party reaches the coast of Urko. They unfurl the folding boat and set sail for Tamba. They travel through the night – the next day, they see the settlement of Tamba and its fortification in the distance. Murad changes into the form of a bald eagle and flies ahead to see if he can spot the witch.
As he gets closer, he spots her, standing on the fort’s outcropping and waving at the ship. He lands and turns into human form. Murad greets her and notices that she seems almost ghostlike. He explains why they came. Murad determines that she is in fact a spirit and not the witch. Murad explains what has been asked of them. She agrees to give a message to the witch. He notices that she used a spell of Invisibility to leave. This strikes Murad as somewhat odd. He heads in the direction of the village centre. The rest of the party awaits him there.
Murad tells of their conversation. Quintin is skeptical and wonders if she is just playing them for information. As they debate, Rod hears something in a nearby hut. He is unable to find anything but some odd tracks just outside of the hut. Quintin scans the area for magic and finds nothing.
Murad returns to the fort alone. After more than an hour the “spirit” appears and says that Muria, the witch, does not wish to meet as she is fearful of Koro. The “spirit” offers to accompany them back to the underground city to explain Muria’s story to the chieftains. She says that she will meet them at the sanctuary’s entrance.
The party heads back to the mountain. Back on Urko, they inform Ungu about the spirit and he is less then impressed. He summons the priest, Abu. They return to the underground. Just before entering the complex, Abu stops the party. He points to a spot in the air and demands someone to “show yourself”. The spirit appears. Abu then demands that she show herself as she truly is. The illusion fades away and another women is before them – it is Muria, the witch. Abu takes hold of her and leads her through the door to the underground. He says that they will be taking her to Koro. Fearing for her safety, should Koro see her alone, Quintin summons a bat and sends with it a message to Rolston. The message warns of what is happening and asks for aid from him. At the entrance to the city proper, Abu asks for the witch’s “creature” before they let her enter. She takes a fire bat from her pouch and hands it to him. The party gets about half way to the city centre as Rolston and his servant approaches.
Rolston sends his servant ahead to tell the other chieftains of their approach. He also informs them that the priest, Elrew and the knight, Bertom of Cuford have been thrown into the dark cells. Elrew tried to preach his word to Rolston’s servants, despite being warned not to. When Koro learned of this, he sent his warriors to take Elrew away. When they tried to take him, Bertom intervened with his sword. During the ensuing mélée, Bertom was grievously wounded. They were both taken tot he dark cells.
They arrive at Koro’s compound. Koro is there to greet them. Very soon after, the other chieftains – Fembe, Vula’a, and Manambu – arrive. Murad detects a hint of worry on Koro’s face. Murad tries to tell their story but is told by Koro to keep silent. Abu tells his tale first, then Murad is allowed to speak. Murad recounts his story. Fembe asks Koro why the other chieftains were not told of this errand that he tasked the party with. Koro claims that he simply did not want Manambu to try to thwart it for his own political benefit. Fembe is unsure and asks Muria to tell her side of it.
She admits to being Muria, the “witch”, who was cast out of Tamban society. She also reminds them that she is the sister of Manambu. She tells how she returned to Tamba to protect it until her brother could lead the people back to the surface. She tells them this because she feels that Manambu betrayed her by leaving her stranded on the surface. She also reveals the history of herself and Koro:
Many years ago, when Koro was chieftain of Tamba, he and Muria were lovers. It was kept secret, because, even then, Muria was suspected of practising witchcraft. Another one of her order, Tiha, had a deep fondness for Koro and was envious of Muria’s relationship with him. So, using her magic, Tiha attacked Muria. While defending herself, Muria killed Tiha. Tiha’s family was powerful and demanded that Koro have Muria killed. He could not bring himself to do this, so he had her banished from Ulgaran society for evermore.
Muria believes that Koro wants her killed now for he fears that she will aid her brother in overthrowing him. She also thinks that he does not want their story to come out.
Fembe then asks Koro if this tale is true. Koro admits that it is. Fembe then demands the truth from Manambu – if he meant to overthrow Koro. Manambu concedes that he did. Fembe, with agreement from Vula’a, orders that they both Koro and Manambu be placed under guard in their respective homes until the chieftains and the council of elders make a decision on what is to be done with them. The two fallen chieftains are taken away. Femeb then orders Muria be taken to one of the dark cells. She offers no resistance.
Fembe then calls Rolston and the party to meet with himself and Vula’a privately. He asks for the full story again from Murad. He also asks Rolston to tell all he knows of the situation. Fembe thanks them for bringing the matter before all of the chieftains and for telling the truth. He says that they must confer with the council of elders on what is to be done with the chieftains and whether or not their party will be allowed to leave the city. They should return to Rolston’s home and wait their decision. They will have it by that evening. He dismisses the group.