Shifting Sands

Meetings and Magic

As the group of adventurers make their way along the caravan trail south of the town of Mistport, Mordai notices the scent of rot near the drying riverbed to their side. Searching and locating what appears to be a recently slain steed, further investigation leads the team over the crest of a sand dune to discover a shallow grave of stripped bodies. Though their origin and circumstance of death are unclear, Mordai pulls a recognizable piece of cloth from the corpses leading him and the others to believe that these men may have once been members of the Onyx Fang, and had perhaps been recently slain. With their prisoner in tow, Uria begins to brutalize the already injured man in an attempt to goad the truth from him. Alaenor's healing proves to be the deciding factor, and though their captive continues to suffer from a severe leg injury he is oddly willing to inform his captors of his groups supposed exploits. Noting the man as a murderer and bandit, and also one who had seemingly slain contracted government officers, Mordai sees little use in keeping him alive as he prepares to finish what the group started. Alaenor and Uria, for their own reasons though, decide to spare the man's life and allow him to leave with a single waterskin and a bum leg. Deciding to leave the details of the situation for someone else, the adventurers once again head on to the trail to hopefully arrive at the Twin Oases before sundown.

With the heat beginning to get to them, it is with delight that the group are able to successfully make their way to the Twin Oases at last. The large, fresh water bastion is well-guarded and maintained as not only a resting place for travelers, but also as a waypoint for caravans. Most noticeably, the two large bodies of water are split down the center by a natural land bridge which serves as a platform for a long structure seemingly used to distribute the fresh water of the underground springs into troughs for collection around the oases' edge. Since most of the area is shrouded in the shade of the large palm trees, some rest and relaxation is found.

Exploring the area and its surroundings, the travelers note that the well guarded structure at the center seems to be some sort of government-maintained collector. They find that a larger group of caravans have halted for the late afternoon and likely the night under a large canopy structure on the western side of the oases, where merchants, guards, and caravan masters mill about checking on wares and reviewing their stocks. Approaching the group, they are met by several of the hired guards, lead by a tall tanned human by the name of Grek. At first skeptical of the odd travelers, their assignment papers from the Wayfarer's Guild give the guard leader and his men a good laugh before information is shared. While the guard are unaware of any shipment bound for the Library in Mistport, he suggests the group ask some of the caravan drivers in case any are familiar with an intended destination of sorts. He also offers up a safe place to rest for evening, as the guardsmen have already planned shifts along with the Onyx Fang who are stationed nearby. Alaenor meets a caravan work with a strange accent, who while helpful enough is also unable to give the group any real information on any caravan moving to the Library, but he does note that the destination is an odd one, and generally most trade goods and materials either end up at the bazaars, craftmen's guilds, or at the docks for exporting.

With the sun quickly beginning to set, Mordai approaches an more extravagantly garbed elder human seated under the shade of the nearby structure. While the conversation is brief, Zerak, as he calls himself, mentions that he wishes to share knowledge in a trade of knowledge or power. Mordai's recent purchase piques his interest enough to illicit a response of direction and number for their quarry. He notes that there is another searching for what the travelers are pursuing, and that they will find their goal to the southwest. With little interest in continuing a dialog, the man makes a final mention of an offering to Thoth, the God of Knowledge, directly to Alaenor before the group pursue other angles.

Before nightfall, Alaenor notices a lone figure near the eastern side of the oases who is garbed in what would appear to indicate some form of religious connection. Wearing the golden hues of the Sun God Horus-Re, a large humanoid by the name of Sabo greets the approaching group and bids them to join him in meditation. Following his suggestion, the five travelers seat themselves nearby and ask if the man might know anything about a missing caravan. Avoiding the line of questioning altogether, he steers the conversation towards more personal matters, bidding Merielle, Mordai, Alaenor, Uria, and Orgath to open up and reveal their intentions on their journey. Satisfied with some, and passing over others, he asks both Uria and Orgath to hold their weapons.

Snapping both the Greatsword and Maul into two, Sabo lays the shattered pieces into the sand next to him, and asks only that the group return in the morning to retrieve their gear. Frustrated and unsure of what else to do, they return to the caravan group and drift off to sleep without worry of their own safety.

In the morning, the holy man remains in his place and he asks Orgath and Uria to take up their steel again. Holding the shattered halves of the weapons in their hands, a jolt of energy overcomes each of the wielders for a moment before the sand around them aids the weapons in reforming, developing a magical essence that acclimates to the bearers in mere moments. Thanking the man for his kindness and blessing, the party decide to make their way south in hope of finding the missing cargo. On their way, some miles further south as the landscape becomes more and more barren, they are approached once again by a large shrouded humanoid who wear the same garb as Sabo. This man brushes off most attempts at conversation and is only stopped at the mention of a similar acquaintance at the oases they had just left from. The man turns to the group, thanks them for their guidance, and hurries off before leaving behind a token of appreciation in a small sack of gold pieces.

Finally arriving at one of the everlasting Marker Stones, at the very southern edge of the civilized lands of Talmis, the travelers examine the old signpost and discover a trail heading to the west into the dunes under its shadow. With direction from the old man, and something of a trail to follow, the dunes lie ahead of the group as they push their way into the desert sands, hoping to put an end to their errand as soon as possible…

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