Desert of Desolation

Oasis of the White Palm

   Day 40 (continued) At about 4pm, as scheduled, the Airlancers returned and 2 of them escorted the band to the oasis and directly to the sheik so that the band might tell him their tale. Inside the sheik's tent, one of the Airlancers introduced them to Sheik Kassim and his son Hassan, telling them what he knew of the band's presence. Initially, the sheik did not speak directly to the band, instead allowing his son to do most of the talking. Ariel, being the band's best diplomat, did most of the talking for the band, and explained that they were on a quest to defeat Khalitharius. Bahn showed them the medallion that the dying Airlancer had given him, which greatly improved the sheik's attitude towards them. Then, as proof of the band's abilities, Ariel told the sheik that they had removed the curse of Amun-Re. 

   Feeling now that the band was worthy of his respect, Sheik Kassim then spoke directly to the band for the first time, and welcomed them to the oasis. He told them about a matter of great importance to him and asked them to find and rescue the missing Princess Shadalah. The band agreed to search for the princess and in return the sheik gave them three Scimitars of the Sultan, which are particularly effective against undead. 

   Upon leaving the sheik's tent, the band spent some time looking around the oasis. Then they went to the Sandvoyagers' Compound and rented rooms at the Desert Igloo. There they spoke with the owner of the tavern, Happy Hogan Underwood, and Bohn showed him the token that Tekuna Chand had given him. Hogan then gave the band a few rumors to help them. Despite this, Bohn was distrustful of Hogan, but this was likely due to a misunderstanding about the sled tracks and who might have been responsible for them. 

   Day 41 The band spent the first part of the day at the bazaar gathering more rumors. At about 3 pm, the band requested the assistance of Korus Eikoth, as the sheik had offered, and used his influence to inspect the House of the Sandvoyagers' Guild. There they were able to look into all the areas except for a back room, which they were told was the Guildmaster's Quarters. They were told that the Guildmaster, Tolnus Granicus, was away attending to business to the south of the oasis. His quarters were, therefore, locked and off limits. In the kitchen, the band saw a girl there that they suspected might actually be a slave, but they were unable to speak to her alone to get more information. They also saw a trap door in the floor of the warehouse, but again, they were unable to look into it. 

   Korus then left the band to tend to other business. So the band went to speak with Sothal, who was the sheik's favorite slave girl, and got some information from her. They then spoke to Nadron Ilanis, the Cleric of Anu, Rose Underwood, the niece of Happy Hogan and waitress at the Desert Igloo, and Roland the Minstrel, where they gathered more rumors. Later in the evening, they spoke with Hassan, the sheik's first-born son, and learned what he knew. Afterwords, they deciphered the script on an ancient monolith that stood alone among several screening palm trees. They found several footprints around it and located a secret door in it with the Star of Mo-Pelar which functioned as a gem of true seeing

   That night, the band watched the monolith from afar and observed several people entering the secret door just before midnight. The band continued to watch and, shortly after 3 am, they saw several people leaving the monolith. Lerris followed a couple of these people back to the nomad camp and confirmed, as the band had begun to suspect, that Korus Eikoth was one of them. 

   Day 42 The band slept late this day, as they were up late on the previous night, and because they intended to be up late this night as well. Having been warned by a few people, such as Tekuna Chand, the band was able to identify Zorath Blackblade, an assassin who could be seen in the Desert Igloo every night as well as Corga Kazan the Water Bearer who also acted suspiciously. The band, however, never approached either of these men and made no actions against them. 

   Late that night, Lerris, under an invisibility spell, followed the last of the men to enter the secret door in the monolith and learned the necessary pass phrase to enter the next door at the bottom of a long set of stairs. He then retrieved the rest of the band and they entered through the door and destroyed four zombies who were guarding the entrance. The band then made their way through a room of three wading pools and on through the next door.

   The very next room was a large temple dedicated to Set and it was occupied by the 13 worshippers that the band had followed. Unfortunately, as the band passed through the doorway, several glyphs of warding were set off, most of which did fire damage, though one of them blinded three members of the band, making the battle to follow very difficult. Stilgar, in fact, was almost killed in the battle. The band, however, killed Corga Kazan, who was the cleric of Set, and his two acolytes, and managed to capture Korus Eikoth alive.

   After healing up a bit, a couple members of the band went and alerted Sheik Kassim, Hassan and Nadron. They followed the band members back to the temple of Set with several guards. Korus was arrested and Nadron healed the rest of the band's injuries and removed their blindness. The band then insisted on exploring the rest of the complex and the sheik allowed them to do so. The band then rested 8 hours, during which time they were attacked by more than a dozen zombies. Afterwards, they regained spells and were attacked by 2 mummies.

   Day 43 At about 10:30 am, the band resumed exploring the temple. There were several traps and cursed items to deal with and they managed to avoid most of them. In one chamber, the band found an evil artifact known as the skull of Garath. In another series of rooms, the band was attacked by three skeletons while three giant poisonous snakes attacked them from behind.

   In another one of these rooms, the band found a starving man chained to the far wall while a table of food lay before him just out of reach. The band questioned him, offering to set him free if he talked to them. He told the band he was Barus Broadblade, the commander of the guards at the Sandvoyagers' Guild. He said he was overpowered three nights ago by a group of dervish cultists who brought him there. Since then, Corga had been torturing him trying to find out where the princess was. Having already been tortured and weakened by starvation, Barus easily cracked under further questioning and fully admitted that slavers were operating out of the Sandvoyagers' Guild and he was a part of it. He said that since Corga kept asking him where the princess was, he knew the cultists did not have her and neither did the slavers. He said that, though he was not the one who made it, he has found out that there was apparently some sort of contract between the slavers and the cultists for the kidnapping of the princess. An efreet then appeared and showed interest in the princess, but since she disappeared the efreet has not returned. His thought was that somehow the princess was a threat to the efreet, who probably has carried her off to his stronghold, the Crypt of Badr Al-Mosak. After Barus told all of this to the band, they released him. He immediately began to eat some of the food on the table, but the food turned out to be poisoned and, despite the band's efforts, he died soon after.

   In the next room the band came to, the band found an altar with a platinum idol of a monkey attached to it. It had jeweled eyes that could be pressed. Unfortunately, Lerris pressed the wrong jewel and was polymorphed into a monkey. The band was able to dispel it though, and Lerris then pressed the correct jewel and opened a secret door. 

   The band now entered an area that clearly did not get much use. The first room they came to was full of spider webs, which the band cleared out with fire, killing the spiders there. Through a door on the right, the band found a room with seven goblins in it, which they killed. There was a tunnel leading from there, but the band chose to go another way. Heading back in the opposite direction, the band came to a steel door with the giant head of a jackal, with its mouth wide open, molded in its center. Lerris managed to deal with the obvious magical trap and got into the chamber beyond. But then the door closed behind him and he became trapped inside. 

   This huge chamber throbbed under the pulsing, red light cast up from a 10' diameter pit, which threw it in waves from beneath a gigantic statue. The shadows cast by the light from below gave a sinister appearance to the jackal-headed idol that sat cross-legged, holding a large altar bowl that was giving off smoke. The jackal head's gem-eyes glittered in the dim light. Along the walls could be seen inscriptions written in the ancient alphabet. 

   As soon as the door closed, the eyes of the idol began to glow a dim red and monsters of various kinds began to emerge from the glowing pit. Each monster that appeared was gradually more dangerous than the one before it, starting with a zombie, then a ghoul, a ghast, a shadow, a necrophidius, a wight, a smoke mephit, and finally, a shadow demon. Many of these monsters attempted to push Lerris into the pit, but he managed to avoid this and was able to defeat most of the monsters as they emerged. Meanwhile, the other band members worked furiously to tear down the steel door. Eventually, Stilgar did enough damage to the door with Bohn's adamantine mace, that the band was able to get past it and come to Lerris' aid. Suspecting that they might have something to do with the summoned monsters, Lerris pried the eyes out of the idol, each worth about 10,000 gp. But by the time he had pried the last eye out, the shadow demon had already appeared. 

   Once the band defeated the shadow demon, they located a secret door and soon after, Lerris followed a long stairwell, past a trap, and on to a badly damaged library. In this library, Lerris discovered the Star of Khan-Pelar and a bone scroll case. Inside the scroll case was an ancient map and on the back of the map was an inscription that the band deciphered. 

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Journey to the Oasis of the White Palm

   Day 34 – 36 Having obtained their second of the five Star Gems, the band followed the trail back north and reconnected with the Sandvoyagers' track during their third night of travel since leaving Pazar. Near the end of the following night of travel, on the morning of Day 36, the band came upon the scene of a battle that likely took place only a few hours before. An army lay upon the churned up ground, the sun casting its first rays on the lifeless bodies and the remains of their mounts. All was still save the soft rustle of the wind across the sand as it drifted over the dead. A single human figure, apparently the only survivor of the carnage, crawled slowly and painfully among the fallen bodies. Bohn tried to save the dying man's life, but he was too far gone. Before dying however, he told Bohn how he and the other Airlancers had found the Oasis of Akhir, to the north of there, burned to rubble. They followed the trail of the attackers and, a few hours before, ran into Khalitharius who summoned from the ground an army of undead which then destroyed them. The man gave Bohn a medallion, telling him to show it to Sheik Kassim at the White Palm Oasis, and then he died. 

   When the band resumed their travels later that night, rather than continuing along the Sandvoyagers' track, they decided to follow a trail of burned stone and gnawed bones that also included a set of sled tracks which led from the battle sight. Heading in the direction of the stone hills that could be seen on the western horizon, after a few miles, the trail suddenly broadened amid the dunes. The clean, white bones of camels lay in a roughly 100' circle. A set of three sled tracks led from there to the northeast. The band continued to follow the sled tracks, eventually making camp along these tracks about 10 miles north of the camel bones. 

   Day 37 – 39 The sled tracks eventually met up again with the Sandvoyagers' track and continued on to the north. At around midnight, during their travels at the end of Day 37, the band came upon what remained of the Oasis of Akhir. What was once an oasis about 400 yards across, was now burned black, the palms broken and charred. At one side tent poles, from which hung small scraps of singed cloth, jutted from the sand. Nothing lived there now, though the water in the waterhole would insure that life would one day return. Several sets of parallel runner tracks headed from there to the north. 

   The band continued following the tracks, which also followed the Sand voyagers' track. On day 38, these tracks turned and began heading to the northwest. On Day 39, the band was attacked by 4 desert creatures known as dustdiggers. Shortly after killing them, the band, following the Sandvoyages' track, entered a mountainous terrain for a few miles before reentering the desert. A few miles later, on the morning of Day 40, the band stopped and made camp just a few miles away from the White Palm Oasis. 

   Day 40 While the band was resting in their camp, a squad of Airlancers flew overhead, spotted them and flew down to meet them with a horn sounding and lances tilted downward. Initially appearing ready to do battle against the band, their leader began questioning them. But Bohn showed him the medallion he was given a few days before and assured him that the band was on a quest to defeat Khalitharius, though he did not give a lot of details. Bohn made a good first impression on the Airlancers, so they offered to return at about 4pm, when the band was rested up, and escort them into the oasis. 

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The Sunken City of Pazar

   Day 25 (continued) After escaping the pyramid, the band, along with Arvin and Leah, made their way back to where they had left their camels and buried supplies, about a half mile away. Having removed the curse of Amun-Re and released the waters of the River Athis, Arvin and Leah had fulfilled the quest they had set out on when they entered the pyramid. The band had told them about their quest to gather the Star Gems in order to defeat the great evil that would soon be unleashed upon the land. But of more immediate concern to Arvin and Leah were the people that they knew were still trapped inside the pyramid, including Raji whom the band had left behind guarding several cutpurses. Leah was determined to go back inside the pyramid to rescue these people, and Arvin was not about to let her go alone. So, at this time, Arvin and Leah parted ways with the band, saying they might try to locate and assist them in the future. The band then traveled along the dry riverbed to the southeast for a few hours until dawn. There they rested for the next 14 hours and resumed their desert travel schedule, traveling at night from 8pm to 6am. 

   Days 26 – 32 For the next 7 nights, the band followed the dry riverbed of the River Athis, until it intersected with the Sandvoyagers' track on the 4th night. They followed this to the northeast until midway through the 5th night, when they located a trail to the southeast headed towards Pazar, and followed it. Along the way they battled 4 more sandmen and encountered other desert life such as a gopher.

   On their third night of travel, the band came upon an unexpected oasis with a pool of water surrounded by palm trees. The band was able to replenish their water supply, but at one point, when Lerris (?) gazed into the pool, he saw a pair of sultry, almond-shaped eyes in the ripples and a watery voice offered to answer three questions. Lerris asked three questions and got three answers. But then the oasis disappeared leaving the band suddenly feeling refreshed. The band later learned that this mysterious oasis was known as the Pool of Tefnut and that it is said to appear randomly throughout the desert to aid travelers. The very next day, while the band was camping, a sandstorm passed by missing the band by a couple of miles. 

   Later on in their travels, the band came upon another jackass that joined their group, which they named Frank. By this point, the band had also named their extra camel, Clyde, but still had not used it to carry anything. Later still, another sandstorm passed them by, again about 2 miles away, they witnessed another shooting star, and heard the rumbling of another herd of thunderherders passing by underground. 

   Day 33 At about dawn, the band finally arrived at the sunken city of Pazar, finding only a lone statue that still stood above the dunes. Before venturing any further, the band retreated a bit to rest for a while and returned at about 4pm. While deciphering the text on the statue, the ground below them (or rather the ceiling of a building) caved in, sending the band crashing down onto a huge sand pile in the interior of a large domed-building. While investigating the entrance of a nearby building, the band was attacked by a swarm of huge tarantulas. But Ariel was able to hold them back. Inside the building, the band found several more inscriptions that gave them clues and command words to be used to help them enter and bypass a series of three magical wards. In a nearby chamber, Lerris used these command words to get past the traps and retrieve the Star Gem of Aga-Pelar. However, upon doing so, he also released Khalitharius, the Efreet Pasha, and Vizier to the Fire Sultan, from imprisonment.

   Feeling as if they had been tricked into doing exactly what they had come to prevent, Bohn, in particular, was very upset by this turn of events. Dayel cast a fly spell and flew after Khalitharius as he was making his escape in gaseous form. But Khalitharius took his true form and threatened to destroy Dayel, who then realized he was no match for the efreet and flew back to his companions. The band then climbed out of the ruins and, later that night, resumed their quest. By this time, the band suspected that Martek had set up Khalitharius' prison so that anyone who released him by retrieving the Star Gem, might feel some guilt at having done so and, therefore, feel obligated to begin or complete the quest. But the band, having already begun the quest, felt no real guilt and had to assume that Khalitharius would soon free himself anyway, without the band's help. Otherwise, the quest made little sense. 

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The Pyramid of Amun-Re

   Day 24 When the band arrived at the pyramid in the morning, they unpacked the camels and, some distance away, buried any equipment and supplies they would not be taking with them. Ariel then spoke with the camels, telling them to stay close but to flee if they were in any danger. The band then approached the pyramid and the temple attached to it while invisible. Because the pyramid and the temple were protected by dervishes, the band had to sneak past them, knowing the dervishes would not understand the need to plunder the tomb. After exploring the temple and the false plundered tomb, the band discovered the secret to entering the pyramid through the east offering temple by solving a riddle in numerous inscriptions in the temple. 

   The band was then teleported to an area of the pyramid known as Kordan's Master Maze. This ingeniously designed maze had many turns that could not be easily detected due to a rust-orange mist that completely obscured vision in the corridors, and turns with rounded corners. Fortunately, the band stuck to a plan from the outset by always going straight ahead when coming to one of the many 4-way intersections, though in reality, this meant traveling in a constantly turning, snake-like pattern. By doing this, the band, quite by chance, managed to quickly find themselves in a minotaur lair, which allowed them to move on to the next level. While making their way through the maze, however, the band did have a few encounters with some of the pyramid's inhabitants and others who had become trapped in the maze. This included a couple of cutpurses, 3 minotaurs, 3 wights, and 3 dopplegangers that attempted to kidnap and replace members of the band. Having defeated all of these, and collected some minor random treasure along the way, the band soon found themselves in the lair of the minotaurs. The ceiling of this room had a shaft that rose up to a trap door. Going on a hunch, the band climbed up into the shaft and through the trap door, thereby escaping the maze and entering the Halls of the Upper Priesthood. Doing this, not only allowed the band to avoid many of the maze's traps and monsters, but it also meant the band had made it into the pyramid further than all but a handful of the would-be tomb raiders who had made the attempt. However, it may also have meant missing out on collecting some minor treasure. 

   Once inside the Halls of the Upper Priesthood, they found themselves in a prayer temple where they were able to stop and rest for about 12 hours (10:30 am to 10:30 pm). During this time, they were attacked by 3 more cutpurses, one of which managed to escape by running through a waterfall at the end of a passageway. The 2 dead cutpurses, the band dropped through the trap door into the minotaur lair. Later on, the band was attacked by 4 wights, then 3 wraiths, and then 6 ghouls. Also during this time, a lost dervish by the name of Raji came upon them and the band invited him to join them. After that, a wandering knight by the name of Arven Hammerfall encountered the band and he too was invited to join the band. 

   When the band was finally rested up and ready to go, they began exploring the Halls of the Upper Priesthood, using what Raji and Arven had already learned about the level to their advantage. Along the way, the band encountered a female paladin by the name of Leah Edenbridge who was surrounded by a band of ghouls. Bahn almost single-handedly destroyed the ghouls with a channeled energy and a daylight spell. Leah then joined the band as well. Later, in their explorations, the band killed 2 more wraiths and encountered 4 more cutpurses. Leah convinced the cutpurses to surrender, tied them up, and left Raji behind to guard them. In one chamber, the band found a garden with palm trees. Living in this garden were creatures known as fruitflies, which looked like flying fruit but which exploded upon impact. Ariel managed to catch one of these fruiflies but it exploded in her hands. In another chamber, Lerris explored a crack in the ceiling (leaving his rope there). 

   Day 25 After fully exploring the halls, the band returned to the garden chamber and figured out how to operate a reverse gravity device there which allowed them to rise up into the dome overhead and enter an area known as the Gauntlet. In the Gauntlet, the band had to make their way up a series of steps broken up by four landings with waterfalls on either sides of the stairs. As they reached each landing, they were met with a test of some kind. The first was a pair of magical humanoids, known as chabang men, that would multiply if struck by a slashing weapon or reform if struck by a bashing weapon. The band got past them by pushing them into the waterfalls. The second landing had a wall of fire and the third landing produced duplicate likenesses of each band member that had to be defeated. Finally, at the top most landing, there awaited a powerful wizard/cleric by the name of Munafik, whom the band had already heard and read much about prior to reaching the Gauntlet. Appearing confident that the band could not harm him, he stayed back and had a giant, animated arm of bronze, the length of three men, attack the band. The band was able to destroy the arm after which they attacked Munafik. But they found they could not harm him and had to flee. 

   A short while later, the band met a strange gnome, by the name of Prit, who was in the process of digging a tunnel with a spoon. He told them about a secret room at the end of his tunnel where a man made of clay guarded over a small collection of treasure, including a heart in a jar. Realizing that the heart might be the key to defeating Munafik, the band went and battled what turned out to be a clay golem. It was a very tough fight and Stilgar was critically wounded while Leah was almost killed. Munafik arrived immediately after the band defeated the golem and threatened to destroy them. In an act of desperation, Lerris smashed the jar containing the heart and Ava put 2 arrows in the heart, killing it. As hoped, this made Munafik vulnerable and the band was then able to kill him. 

   Fortunately, the band found in the treasure the means to heal up Stilgar and Leah and they did so. The band then explored the rooms beyond the Gauntlet where they found more treasure and Munafik's quarters. Found among the treasure was a cursed book known as a vacuous grimoire and Ariel made the mistake of looking inside. Luckily, she managed to avoid any of its harmful effects. They then left the book behind. Finally, the band came to an area where a column of water poured from a hole in the ceiling through a hole in the floor. Suspecting this column of water was actually the means to get to the next level, Ariel almost took the risk and step into the water. But Arven warned her against it, saying he himself had gotten trapped in this very same water when he first arrived in the halls. When someone then asked what was to be done, the column of water suddenly, and very unexpectedly, spoke to them. It asked them three questions. When these questions were answered truthfully, the direction of the water was reversed and it began flowing upwards. Ariel then stepped into the column, followed by the others, and the band was transported up to the next level. 

   Stepping from the column, the band now found themselves in the actual Tomb of Amun-Re. The band explored the four chambers of the tomb and located the Staff of Ruling lying across the sarcophagus of Amun-Re. When they picked up the staff, the sarcophagus opened and out stepped the mummy of Amun-Re, which the band was forced to fight and destroy. Once this was done, the band figured out how to acquire the Star of Mo-Pelar, which appeared to be inside a painting on one of the walls. The painting was of a reed boat with a large gem attached to it that sailed high above the clouds. In order to reach the gem inside the painting, Dayel had to cast a fly spell from a scroll and fly into the painting. He was then able to retrieve the Star Gem. Having acquired all the treasure in the tomb, the band then used a teleportation chamber which teleported the band to a secret room in the temple at the base of the pyramid. Lerris stepped outside this room and distracted the dervishes while the rest of the band used an invisibility spell to sneak away. By doing this the band managed to get away from the pyramid with no problem. This task was also made easier by the fact that the dervishes were distracted when the fountain outside the pyramid suddenly sprang to life and the River of Athis began to form for the first time in thousand years. 

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Into the Desert

   Days 5 – 8 The band traveled at night for 4 nights in a row uneventfully and with few encounters along the way, arriving at the base of Northknife Pass on the morning of Day 8. There they rested all day and on through the night as they could not risk traveling through the pass at night. 

   Day 9 Entering Northknife Pass in the morning, the band encountered a band of travelers and fought a band of bandits who tried to rob them of food and money. Later in the day they battled a pack of 6 worgs. In the evening, they made camp at a cave near the summit of the pass.

   That night, Ariel was guarding the camels about 100' from the cave and Lerris was midway between them, when 3 yetis attacked. Ariel was forced retreat back to the cave to wake up the rest of the band and they soon came to the aid of Lerris. But they were too late, because by the time they got there, Lerris had fallen victim to a brutal strike by one of the yetis and was killed. The rest of the band was then able to kill the yetis. Fortunately (perhaps miraculously), the band had found a scroll in the back of the cave with several spells on it including a spell to raise the dead. (This cave was frequently used by travelers and often served as an emergency first aid station). The scroll was used to bring Lerris back to life and the band was able to heal themselves up. 

   Day 10 This morning, the band continued on up to the summit where they caught their first glimpse of the Pyramid of Amun-Re on the horizon, with its shiny surface flashing like a jewel in the sun. As they were descending the other side of the pass, they were attacked by a mountain lion. But Ava was able to calm it down and prevent it from attacking further. Later on, they had a peaceful encounter with a hill giant and made camp in the pass a short while later. That evening, Ariel encountered a grizzly bear and managed to befriend it. 

   Day 11 The band continued their travels through the pass today, and soon came upon 6 men sitting around a campfire. Lerris snuck up to observe them for a bit, and moments later, the entire band went to meet them. They acted friendly enough, but when the men offered to join them, Lerris became suspicious and the band refused the offer. Later in the day, the band was ambushed by 8 bugbears, which they managed to kill. That evening, the band camped at the edge of the desert. 

   Day 12 This day was spent resting so the band could resume traveling by night. While resting, the grizzly bear that Ariel had befriended showed up again looking for more handout food. After sundown, the band headed out into the desert.

   Days 13 – 19 For the next seven nights, the band traveled at night following the track of the Sandvoyagers and using a map given to them by Aman Al-Raqib. On the first night, the track led them north, but eventually turned northwest. On the second night, believing that a more northerly route would be a short cut to the sunken city of Pazar, the band left the Sandvoyagers' track and headed directly north. Near the end of their third night of travel in the desert, the band encountered a man by the name of Badr who was gathering dung. He pointed out to the band that by continuing north, they would soon run into a vast area of shifting sands which would greatly slow their rate of travel. He told them it would be better to return to the Sanvoyagers' track and offered to guide them there. On their fourth night in the desert, the band turned to the west, and on the fifth night returned to the Sandvoyagers' track where they reached the Gates of Sule, the first landmark in the desert that was marked on their map. They translated an ancient inscription on the Gates of Sule that read, "The Gates of Sule curse thee who enter unbidden". On the sixth and seventh night the Sandvotagers' track led the band northwest and then turned north. 

   During the first week of travel in the desert, the band encountered a number of people, creatures and phenomena, including: airlancers flying overhead, mirages of airlancers, a shooting star, a group of packrats (on 3 occasions, eventually having to feed them to get them to go away), a desert jackass (which Ariel befriended and the band named Bill – becoming a spare pack mount that followed Ariel where ever she went), kites (small scavenger birds) flying overhead at a distance, a pillar of smoke, a tortoise, and the rumble of thunderhearders (creatures that travel under the desert sands and cause small tremors).

   Near the end of the band's seventh night of desert travel, the band encountered the ghost of Amun-Re who told them his tale and the curse upon the land. He asked the band to rob his theft-proof pyramid, thereby removing the curse and gaining one of the Star Gems in addition to other treasures. The band decided then to go to the pyramid first instead of the sunken ruins of Pazar. 

   Days 20 – 23 Halfway through the eighth night of desert travel the band came to a half-buried and fallen obelisk which marked an intersection in the track. From here, the Sandvoyagers' track continued to the north. But a trail to the east led to Pazar, while a trail to the west led to Terbakar and the Pyramid of Amun-Re. Here the band turned west and followed the trail northwest to Terbakar. 

   Along the way, the band encountered a wandering camel which they brought along with them but did not use (or need) as a mount of any kind. On Day 22 (their 15th night since leaving Bralizzar), the band fought and defeated a band of sandmen (desert creatures). The next night, they reached the Pyramid of Amun-Re. 

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Three Days in Bralizzar

   Day 2 On their first full day in Bralizzar, the would-be heroes began buying supplies and camels. They spoke with Al Jilida, the Assistant Guildmaster of the Sandvoyagers Guild, who told them he would charge them 100 gp to travel with the caravan or find them a guide who might charge them 50 gp/day. The band decided to travel alone. 

   Bahn visited the temple of Anu and heard some rumors there. Then he visited the Inn of the Golden Palm, where he heard more rumors and made a date with the innkeeer, Tekunda Chand, who, although she was very attractive and in excellent physical shape, was about twice Bahn's age. He then spoke with Ashuk Masani, the Captain of the Durpari Airlancers, on the steps of the Raj, the administrative offices of both the Airlancers and the Sandvoyagers Guild, and made plans to visit the temple the next day at noon with him. Late that night, (actually at 2:30 am), Bahn met up with Tekunda for their date and learned a few secrets from her. She gave him a token to be shown to Happy Hogan Underwood who runs the Desert Igloo at the White Palm Oasis in order to gain his trust. 

   Lerris, meanwhile, explored the alleyways of Bralizzar and spotted an inn called the Swayback Camel, where he gathered more rumors. There, he met the innkeeper, Muthi Pashtral, who told him a rumor about slavers in the desert. 

   Day 3 Bahn met with Ashuk at the temple, as planned, and even went inside to pay respects to Anu while Ashuk prayed. Ashuk told Bahn about the copper medallions which are required as proof for non-residents that they have entered the town honestly. Bahn told him how the band got to Bralizzar and about the quest they have agreed to undertake and convinced Ashuk to issue the entire band the copper medallions with no further trouble. 

   The band visited the Swayback Camel, The House of Mirth (a very inconspicuous inn and house of ill repute run by Tasha Lil), and the Hetmann of Bralizzar, Alham Pasha Burak, at the Raj, where they gathered more rumors. Upon returning to Aman, he gave them some information on the various places they would be traveling to. 

   Day 4 The band spent the day packing, preparing and resting. They set out on their journey at dusk, planning to travel in the cool of the night. 

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Heroes of Prophecy

   Day 1 While traveling through the Cormanthor Forest southeast of Shadowdale, as darkness began to fall, a band of adventurers was suddenly caught in a violent storm of monumental proportions. Spotting a cave high up on the side of a rocky ravine, the adventurers led their mounts up towards it as far as the horses could go. When the pathway became too steep for the horses to climb, the band tied them off to a tree and climbed the rest of the way just a short distance above. Once inside the cave, the band encountered and killed a troll that was living there.

   Further back in the cave, the band found a scroll case and a small box. Inside the scroll case were two scrolls. The first was a letter to Elminster the Sage, signed by his friend Aman Al-Raqib. It mentioned that, at long last, his researches into the past had unraveled the mystery of Martek, who died 10 centuries or more ago. It said that his prophecy had merit, and that if the land is to be spared the devastation that awaits it, a party of heroes needs to set out very soon to recover the Sphere of Power. He was specific that those who come must be brave, for the dangers are enormous and numerous, likely to bring death to any but the most cautious. The letter went on to say that Elminster should send a group of brave souls to Bralizzar and that there was not much time for delay, for the Evil One would soon break his bonds. 

   The second scroll contained instructions on how to operate the contents of the small box, which consisted of 5 golden cubes, each marked with an elemental symbol. According to the instructions, if properly operated, the golden cubes would teleport the band of would-be heroes to Bralizzar. 

   While trying to decide what to do with the objects they found, the band of adventurers, heard a noise outside in the storm that concerned them. Looking outside from the mouth of the cave, the band saw 10 more trolls slaughtering their horses. The trolls then climbed up to the cave where the band was forced to fight them. Despite the fact that the trolls were wet, and therefore difficult to set on fire, the band managed to kill all but two of them. Nevertheless, the band opted to use the teleportation device to escape the cave. 

   Moments later, each member of the band arrived in Bralizzar, one by one, in this order: The first was the wizard Dayel Aztallin, followed by the cleric Bahn Gripps, then the barbarian Stillgar Icegaard, the druid/sorcerer Ariel, the ranger/bard Ava, and finally the monk/rogue Lerris Stormhand. The band unexpectedly found themselves suddenly crashing into the sitting room of an old wizard by the name of Aman Al-Raqib. He was delighted to see them however, and became instantly convinced they had been sent by Elminster and that they were the heroes spoken of in Martek's prophecy, despite the band's attempts to explain to him they had merely used the teleportation device to escape a troll cave. 

   Aman Al-Raqib was persistent, however, and the band was willing to listen to what he had to say. So, Aman told the band about the Prophecy of Martek. Once the band heard about the prophecy, the band decided to undertake the quest, despite any doubts they may have had about being the heroes of the prophecy. Aman then went on to give the band further information about the Raurin Desert, the people of the desert, namely the Raurindi and the Durpari, and the conflict between them. Further more, he provided the band with information on the Star Gems of Martek. After having any of their questions answered by Aman, the band began discussing plans. 

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