As Dante and Virgil approach the tower, they notice two flames shining from the top of it. These two lights are a signal for Phlegyas, the boatman of the river Styx, to cross over and pick them up. As they cross over the filthy, slimy river, teeming with the souls of the wrathful, one soul tries to crawl into the boat. It is Filippo Argenti, who Dante knew in Florence. Dante treats him with deserved scorn and they reach the other shore where they approach the glowing red towers of the city of Dis.
The walls of Hell’s capital are guarded by more than a thousand rebellious angels who joined Satan at The Fall. In a terrifying moment, they refuse to let Dante and Virgil pass. Virgil walks away to speak with them privately and Dante wonders if he is forever to remain with these demons in Hell. Virgil assures Dante that help is on the way, but Dante is having his doubts. And so they wait.