Upon entering the infamous Tabernacle, CATALINA is elated to discover that the Prodigious Scholar, along with the Renegade Warder, has been here before, thereby allowing Cat to ideate not only the layout of the interior, but the probable location of the Beacon from round to round. With this information, ALECTO’S minder speech, and a good deal of luck, Cat is able to direct herself and KHIMERE, ARCTURUS and MANTIUS, and eventually KENJIRO into positions to repeatedly attack and finally destroy the Beacon, despite the near-crippling costs of using abilities within the confines of the Tabernacle.
Along the way, Arc and Mantius run afoul of a variety of guardian creatures including water snakes and a giant brain on legs that saps them of some of their mental acuity. The same type of brain monster later attacks Cat and Kim—after they use and abuse a variety of fire-based creatures, as well as turn into vapor in order to survive some inward-slamming walls—leaving Kim severely depleted and in despair. Fortunately, Cat is later able to use her recover mind ability to restore all three completely.
Meanwhile, Aly, VARIAN, and Varian’s Emerald Warrior cheerfully clear rooms, despite Ian being temporarily blinded by a fire snake and Aly wiping several species of Chaos creature from the face of the Tabernacle. This continues through their finding and acquiring an imprisoned legendary shard, the Saint of Scars—until they have the misfortune of encountering the Tabernacle’s primary guardian, BESHEBA the Undying.
Recalling the mission briefing, Ian elects to stay and face the courtier, while Aly is prevented from fleeing as per agreement by Besheba’s destroying her mounting shard, the Daughter of Memory. Ian sacrifices the Bejeweled Warder’s emerald ability to deal damage to Besheba, but this does not prevent the latter from collapsing the walls around the three of them to block off the Diamond pair’s escape routes. It is just as they are about to be completely surrounded that Kenjiro deals the final blow to the Beacon and summons all the mounts to himself, as warder.
Realizing that the unsharded Aly will not be summoned away with him, Ian denies the warder summons in favor of his civilar traverse ability, which Besheba attempts to block with the Bejeweled Warder’s name, the two apparently having met before. Fortunately, DIONES has been in the process of secreting his name, among other things, in gems, and is therefore able to deceive the courtier into thinking that the latter has succeeded. Simultaneously, Kenjiro exchanges places with Aly, with the result that she ends up with the rest of the number, and he ends up in mid-traverse with Varian.
Obeying Kenjiro’s order for them to withdraw while he faces the courtier, the First call on TERENTIUS to pick them up, even as portals begin to appear, heralding the arrival of still more courtiers. Notwithstanding an abortive argument with Cat over the matter, Terry delivers the First to AMALTHEA of the Second, whereupon he promptly turns around to go back for Kenjiro.
As the courtiers pursue, the First are handed over from mount to mount of the Second, who perform a protracted withdrawal action, collapsing gates as they go. The assembled First and Second (with Aly wearing a contingency shard provided by Amalthea) then rendezvous with the Third to make what they assume may be their final stand, since they dare not lead the courtiers back to Peerdin. The Third delay confrontation by surging forward to engage, and Amalthea does likewise through the use of illusions that allow them all to regroup.
Kenjiro and Terry then reappear, in short order assembling the numbers in such a way as to enable Kenjiro to act as paragon, with the aggregated abilities of the entire team. He is thus able to drive away the attackers (particularly a “very ugly, ugly woman” who appears to be a normal-sized head atop a veritable mountain of clothing--and going rather further than necessary, judging by Terry’s aggravated response), and the group is able to return to Peerdin, concealing their trail behind them.
General celebration ensues, in the course of which OLIVERUS explains that they have accomplished something “of staggering importance” and also stymies ARSELUS ARTILIAN in mid-interference, much to the First’s delight. Later, Aly presents their newly acquired shard, whereupon Kenjiro reveals that he has acquired a total of five legendary shards (one from the Tabernacle, and four from the “very ugly, ugly woman”), all of which, he claims, belong by rights to the First.
Despite the fact that they themselves are forbidden from bearing legendary shards, the First Tier are jubilant that the legendaries have not only been found, but “have not fled”. In relation to this, Ian announces that he and the Bejeweled Warder are now prepared to build, in light of which he is informed that “the Bejeweled only builds in the light of the sun” and that construction “will attract shards up to legendary” class. ISAACUS graciously identifies the six legendary shards (after catching and setting aside the light-headed AUDEN), and the First are informed that how they choose to assign these is entirely up to them.