We head for Anarok, an oasis relatively near. In the night, goblins attack again. Two of our guards are poisoned in the fight. Baz and Alryn interrogate a goblin we have kept alive. He tells us that the orcs are fleeing the desert – there’s some bad juju going on. When he has told us all he knows, Alryn summarily cuts his throat. Anger rises, but I glance about at the other dead bodies around us. He would have died with them if we hadn’t needed information. I quickly seek out Alryn’s heart, but no evil lies there. The Stonelands are a harsh place, there is no time for pity. I will have to keep an eye on that one, though.
As we ride north in the morning, one of our guards succumbs to the poison. When we stop for lunch, we build him a small pyre, to send his soul on to his god. Boz and Wind search around for ingredients to an antidote for the other guard as we ride through the afternoon. In the evening, they will begin to cook it. We will hit the desert tomorrow night, and the danger will only increase.
We stop to make camp, setting up tents and preparing dinner. The ground begins to rumble and Huge Scorpians rise up to strike at our exhausted party. We battle the strange monstrosities, and are victorious. Lorineer, however, is badly hurt in the process. By the power of Torm, I bring him some healing and comfort. We settle down again, and with no more interruptions, Baz and Wind are able to prepare the antidote for our poisoned soldier through the night.
When we reach the edge of the desert, the heat is oppressive, far more so than it should be. Perhaps that ‘bad juju’ the doomed goblin spoke of. Something powerful is at work here. Soon after entering the desert, a massive darkness approaches. A dust storm full of evil magic, we scramble for shelter, and weather it until it passes. As we shake off the sand and head back out, the skeleton of a long-dead horse rises from the sand. It charges us, and we quickly put it back down. Evil forces, indeed.
Alryn speaks of a shelter nearby, one he feels will keep us from any more storms while we decide what to do. We head off course towards this haven, and when we arrive, we find the horse was not the only thing given life by that storm. The encampment is surrounded by skeletons, attacking men wearing both the king’s colors and the purple of the Dragons. We charge to their aid, smashing them against the wooden walls.
Once inside, we find the Lady Alusair and many of her men are very ill with a magical disease. Many more men are missing, including Commander Vargus and his men. We need to find more information, we have to find a cure. Alryn, Lorineer and I decide to head back to town, to find healers who can help. Baz, Wind, and Dad, along with this soldiers, will head on into the desert, to the Oasis
Our ride back out of the desert is quiet, but halfway through the Stonelands, we are accosted by a pack of wolves. We dispatch them quickly and ride on, arriving back in Tilverton just after midnight. In the morning, Alryn goes to the market to look for a healer woman named Maddie. I head to the temple of Lathander, to find a priest who can help us. The acolytes direct me to a priest named Gerrold. When I tell him of the trouble we found, and the danger to the Lady, he is shocked. The desert fever had always seemed like a myth to him. Together, we look through the temple’s library until we find mention of it, and a cure. I ask if he will come with us, as it will require healing powers far beyond my own to save the Lady and her men. He agrees, albeit with no small amount of nervousness about leaving the city to go into the dangerous desert.