The party is gathered in the yurt, catching its breath from the evening’s adventures. Gathalimay pulls out his lute and summarizes the group’s frustrations in song.
The group decides to renew the search for Lucy, since traveling further with the caravan without their charge is pointless. Thag and Kalpa remain in the yurt to watch over the sleeping Helga. Thalie, Merielle, Sam and Gathalimay head out to search for Lucy. Merielle picks up tracks and the group takes off. The wind is still howling when the group reaches the edges of camp, near some large refuse piles, where the tracks end. Sam hides in the refuse pile. Gathalimay calls out to Lucy, and the group hears Lucy’s voice in their heads. She is afraid of Kalpa. Thalie assures Lucy that Kalpa is back in the yurt and asks her to appear before them. Sam tries to intimidate Lucy into appearing and suddenly she claws upwards from the sand. Merielle asks her to rejoin the group. Lucy declines.
Thalie tries to ascertain what her apprehension is and Lucy responds that she knows that the group can’t watch over Kalpa all the time. Sam bursts out of the refuse pile and flexes to show his brawn and pledges to protect Lucy. Gathalimay agrees, and says that Lucy should hide under her cloak, and Kalpa can travel separately from the group. After more consideration, Lucy agrees to return to the group.
Gathalimay returns to the yurt to talk with Kalpa, who graciously agrees to travel separately from the party. The rest of the party then returns to the yurt to rest before departure. It is approximately 3:30am.
To soon, the noises of the camp being broken are heard. Thalie stays with Helga and Lucy to get them set up and ready to travel. Gathalimay tells Lucy that Kalpa will travel separately from them. The storm seems to have broken, leaving everything dust covered. The kanks shuffle restlessly.
Seurat accounts for everyone and then the caravan begins to backtrack out of the canyon. Once outside, it turns in a northerly direction and continues undisturbed until midday. At noon, the caravan takes a break to water the animals and rest from the heat.
Three days of travel pass uneventfully. Kalpa falls in with Seurat and they seem to get along nicely, talking and laughing.
On the afternoon of the third day, the group is approximately halfway to Saharabellum. The caravan halts at the edge of a cliff. Seurat sends the slaves off to investigate how to scale the cliff face, and the group sets up camp for the evening. Seurat explains that the surrounding area used to be an inland sea, but that it dried up one afternoon during the course of a wizard fight. What remains now is a steep cliff, down into a bed, and in the middle of this bed rises a steep mountain that once was an island. Seurat indicates that the group will have to scale the cliff face, cross the bed and then journey up the mountain island to reach Saharabellum at the top. Seurat tells the group that he hasn’t been through this part of the world before, but something about that doesn’t sound quite right to the party.
Gathalimay leaves to find Kalpa and learns that Seurat used to be a slave to a wizard, and remembers very little from his childhood.
Once the yurt is set up, Thalie pulls out the map and other objects retrieved from the goblins. She tries to determine the use of such items, and notes that the one with dwarven writing has a magical purpose. However, these days, most people avoid any magical objects for fear of being considered wizard. Gathalimay returns to the discussion and asks Lucy if she understands any of the dwarven writing. She does not.
The group also asks Lucy how they will know who she is supposed to be meeting and when she will be safe to hand off. Lucy tells the group that Lucius has given her a secret passphrase that her allies will know.
Sam goes out to help Seurat and settle the Admiral for the evening. Gathalimay sings the group a ballad of Ahdryatmin, a sad story of a world dying. The story tells of the few good wizards trying to save the world and a sorceress who sacrificed her own life to be ward over an area which is now the only green area in the midst of the desert world.
Gathalimay, Thalie, Lucy and Helga stay in the yurt and Sam, Thag and Merielle decide to go explore the cliff face.
Down the cliff
Sam astonishes the group with his master climbing skills, doing daring feats of acrobatics down his climbing rope to the midpoint. Merielle keeps pace behind and climbs safely down to join him. Thag climbs much more roughly and by halfway down is sorely in need of a rest. He attempts to tie off on the rock face and falls when his arms give out. Sam heroically cuts his rope, falling down to where Thag is and tries to swing a grappling hook into the side of the cliff to catch himself. Merielle saves the day by lassoing both of them. Sam ties Thag off while hanging upside down. The group adds safety ropes.
They resume climbing and Thag falls again. Sam manages to grab him by the horn, but noticing they are only 10 feet off the bottom of the cliff, drops Thag down below. Merielle reaches the bottom. She notices that the earth is strange here – some parts a short distance from the cliff face are softer and churned up as if something has been tunneling. The ground starts moving a bit and Merielle swears she sees the sand churning a bit. The group scans the cliff face and can see no obvious way down for the caravan and decides to return to the yurt.
Meanwhile, back at camp, Thalie decides to join other members of the caravan. She heads to the common campfire where a half orc is telling a store about the battle fought here long ago. He talks of 2 wizards, the most powerful defiler wizards in the land, who sucked the very life out of the land with their spells. According to the half orc, the wizards originally came to the islands with armies of slaves and used the lifeblood of the slaves to fight. Eventually they ran out of slaves and began drawing on the life of the land and the sea. The sea creatures began to die, and the seas began to boil. The wizards waged war for 5 days straight, decimating the slaves and the sea. Finally, one wizard cast a meteor spell that bombarded the island, killing both himself and his adversary.
Thalie listens to the tale with interest and the pieces seem to be falling together. She wonders if Seurat was indeed a slave of one of these wizards and was here a long time ago. She realizes that these events took place a few hundred years ago, and that Seurat may be much older than the party realized.
While Thalie is occupied, Gathalimay and Helga share songs.
Nighttime falls and the party sleeps.
Just after the party falls asleep, there is a tremor under the yurt. Merielle wakes everyone up and the party runs out of the yurt. Something bursts through the ground, and the party sees 2 big scaly black animals burst out of the sand. Merielle shouts that they are Anakors, and that they must have tracked the scent of her blood through the sunset and followed her back to camp. The ground rumbles again and Thalie screams at Lucy to teleport out of the area. More Anakors burst out of the ground and attack Helga, who dies almost immediately.
Lucy is able to escape and the party begins to fight its 5 foes. After a few rounds of combat, Merielle manages to knock out 2 of the Anakors with her arrows. Both Thalie and Sam are grabbed by Anankors, and the group fears that they will be dragged under the sand. Someone summons Kalpa, as Lucy has teleported away from the group. Thag charges and knocks the Anakor off Thalie. Merielle’s arrow finds the one holding Sam. The Admiral rushes in and attacks the last Anakor, which burrows underground, taking Helga’s body with it. Kalpa retreats and goes to report the events to Seurat.
Thalie checks the corpses and finds nothing of interest. The group moves the yurt away from the hole in the ground created by the Anakors. Sam, Gathalimay, Thag, and Thalie sleep. Merielle stands guard and waits for Lucy to return.
Morning comes and Lucy returns at daybreak. Camp is struck. Seurat comes around to account for everyone and seems unconcerned about the evening’s events. He indicates that the slaves have found a way down and that the caravan will be departing shortly.
At the base of the mountain
The caravan ends up heading west, down what was once a shoreline, which is now a ramp into the bed. The group journeys across the bed without incident, and two days later finds itself at the base of the mountain. It looks like a volcano that has been flattened on top, and there appears to be a well traveled path up the side of the mountain. The caravan makes camp for the night, and prepares to start up the mountain the next morning.
Sam tries to tie up Thag and Thag and Sam get into some tussle (which no one quite understands) and both get in a few good hits. Merielle calms them down and the group settles into an uneasy sleep.
For the days adventures, the party gains 300xp each, plus a 10% bonus per coin.