There was a lot to occupy Kev’quarim’s thoughts as they drudged through the desert, along the path that Crassier set them upon. He was positive that he was more comfortable in the frozen wastes of Taladore’s Dragon Kingdoms than he currently was in this curséd, arid place. His thoughts were difficult to maintain through the grit and the heat and the thirst that was brought with each step. There was a lot to ponder; this bag of teeth and blood soaked book, the new arrival to the party and his intentions, the aetheric limitations imposed by this places that were further complicated by this Druid that seemed to revel in the chaos it brought.
Some time to study and think to try and put all of the pieces together then come up with a decisive course of action to remedy some part of this, or at least just to ensure their next course of action would see them properly prepared for their next challenge, not to mention a bath to wash the dust out his nether regions would be most welcome.
The chitinous staircase and the dried out giant wasps’ nest clearly reflected the warnings and ramblings of the Eyless Sage; this world was most certainly dying. From the limited understanding of insects that he had, the giant husks should have been more likely found in a tropical, humid environment. The wasps, also likely, though he was not as confident in that.
After investigating the wasp hive and getting no further indication of what dessimated their colony, it was marching on though the sand and rock.
He was not sure which brought him the most surprise, the suddenness of the oasis’s appearance or the fact that it was able to exist in this place at all. Kev’quarum and his comrades approached cautiously, wary of an independent wattering hole, given their most recent experiences and, he assumed, as most desert dwellers would be. Their presence was spotted by a lone woman, dressed in the plain, loose-fitting robes to be worn in the desert.
“Welcome travellers! Come, rest a while, journeying through these parts is wearying work,” she said and bade them toward the water.
The four travellers approached close enough to be asked and introduced themselves. The woman’s reaction revealed her true intent. “He said you would be coming, the salt demon is here.” With that, her guise fell away, revealing the form of an ugly, hag-like woman.
The party reacted instantly, with Trueman glancing about ensuring there was no demon and rushed to engage the newly revealed villain. The rest of the party members were equally as swift to step to the hag for battle. Her response was to let a jet of hot sand at Trueman, slicing and blinding him.
Kev’quarum felt his stomach lurch as the sand moved at his feet. Rising up from a buried hiding place was a demon, immediately levelling two scimitar blows at the wizard. The blades cut into his abjuration shielding, thus the wizard avoided any damage to his person. Necrotic power oozed off of the vile creature, encouraging Kev to put some distance between them.
Bat-like undead appeared and flew down from the gulley walls to enter the battle, one of which found Alekej and wrapped him up, effectively taking him out of the entire fight.
The entire scene was sand filled mayhem. The only real tool that seemed to be working for the wizard was the magic missiles from his wand, which was responsible for finishing the hag as she reappeared from hiding buried in the sand.
The salt demon preferred to fight in the darkness he created, which complicated matters for Trueman and the Druid in bear form, especially as the paladin was hit with a powerful blast that tested his faith and resistance to disease.
The group’s mettle was tested and they proved victorious. However, not long after the demon was felled, the familiar flapping of wings could be heard and lightning ripped through the Druid and paladin, felling the latter.
Blasts, magic missiles and summoned giant vultures brought the blue dragon within sight of death, once again. Once again, the blue dragon managed to escape with his life by flying out of the gulley.
The oasis faded as the hag and demon died and a cave was revealed, offering up the hag’s treasure, which included a couple of nice items, including a ring of warmth and, more interesting to the wizard, a scroll of dream.
As the part moved on after a rest, the end of the gulley and the desert opened up before them. A few hundred yards from the gulley was an open sarcophagus. Apparently, the dragon wanted us to use it as a repository for our valuables for him to allow the party safe crossing across the desert.
After much debate on how the group could lure the greedy beast out to finish the fight once and for all. Listening into the party’s plans the entire time, in response to a request to parley, the scaleykin revealed himself from underneath the sand and flew off again with the final statement of “So it has been decided!”
Kev’quarum sighed, and turned back to face the desert expanse that he hope promised them the town of Kingrave.