Leaving the Face
The elves appeared shocked to see the party emerge from the Face in the Stone and hailed them. The group claimed to have seen the collapse of the dust storm and went to investigate, looking for ancient treasures, asking the heroes if they had uncovered anything inside the Face. The heroes claimed to have have been simple guards who fled into the Face when the dust storm arose and didn’t venture far into it.
Stating a desire to return to their leader with treasures, the elves proposed that the heroes could search some additional locations that the elves would provide, and all could share in the profit. Vinara sensed that the elves might be stalling, but Morg went over to them to check their map. Without warning Morg was attacked by the elves and the zombies servants, as a group of Tarek raiders appeared over a nearby dune.
Morg fell to the zombies who began to feast on him after the dune striders severely wounded him in the surprise attack. The zombies and the elves suffered under the hail of arrows from Castri, who also unleashed the power of the Crown of Dust to create a whirlwind of sand striking at those nearest to Morg. One of the elves managed to reach Castri who suffered a serious wound before finishing off the elves.
Vinara and Gwyn and bear combined their attacks systematically taking down one Tarek after another. Gwyn conjured blast after blast of fire, slowly cooking them as they pressed their attack. Both of the ladies suffered greatly, but held their ground against the brutes. Vinara was able to work her way towards the dying Morg and eventually used her healing magic to revive him.
Finally on his feet again, he charged the remaining two elves and took them down with a mighty swing of his axe. The elf peddler, Parleth was barely alive and Morg and Castri learned that the group worked for a raider named Yarnath who was rumored to be a powerful defiler. Having learned all they could, the two put the dying elf out of his misery.
The Crawling Citadel
Before they could catch their breath, Vinara spotted a colossal object grinding its way across the sandy desert. The animated skeletons of several giant desert creatures have been fused together into a ghastly structure, well over a hundred feet in length. Built within and upon the animate skeletal construct was an articulated citadel of bones and quarried stone. Humanoids could be seen standing on lookout platforms and peering form turrets and spires. It crawled closer to the Face in the Stone, making a sound like distant thunder.
After a bit of debate, Morg convinced Vinara that hiding within the Face would be a poor choice and the group fled, attempting to evade the citadel and make their way back to Tyr. Gwyn used her magic to summon a mirage about the group, in an effort to obscure them from sight. It took all of the groups strength and endurance to move across the desert quickly, but Castri faltered several times, the visions from the Crown he still wore, causing confusion and disorientation.
Still suffering from the earlier fights, the group stumbled into a patrol of seven Tarek raiders, who set upon them, thinking they had found easy prey. Gwyn’s magic bathed them in sheets of fire while Castri launched arrow after arrow into the oncoming group. Morg summoned every ounce of dwarven endurance in his blood and charged in, swinging his axe wildly. Vinara focused her attacks on Bear’s foes, while attempting to aid the group as best she could.
Miraculously the group survived, but their wounds continued to sap their energy and the week long march back to Tyr would have been too much if they had not happened upon a caravan as they approached to main trade roads.
The Caravan Gate
The entrance into Tyr was slowed by long lines at the Caravan Gate. The Half-Giant guards were thoroughly searching everyone entering the city and assessing new taxes. The group managed to get inside without incident, but found trouble within the city walls. The crowded streets were filled with angry merchants and citizens. In their absence the fragile economy of the free city was beginning to falter.
The precious iron mines had not reopened as it was too expensive to operate without the slave labor used in the past. The iron, which all the other city-states depended on, had stopped flowing and rumors flew about an army marching from Urik to seize control of the city and the mines. In addition, House Wavir had abandoned its position in Tyr, after a failed expedition into the desert left them financially devastated. All of the assets, including a large amount of Morg’s money, had been moved out of the city. Few knew the details of the expedition, but only a few people survived and made it back to Tyr alive.
The heroes were relieved to find that Free City Tattoo had survived the recent turmoil within the city and they all got some much needed rest. Castri visited his friend Karlen to deliver the relics he had found at the Face and collect his cut of the pay. Morg went out to try and find more information about the survivors of the House Wavir expedition and to hire a henchmen who could assist the party in future dungeon explorations.