The Hezzrat slaves were faced with a decision – soldier on, pressing forward in the hopes that they could arrive at the oasis with their scarce supplies, or attempt to rest and delay their travels further. They decided to press on for several more hours, but not before Ka’tho opted to take some Aarakocra meat for the trip. The rest of the party was not so desperate.
Having been assailed for a number of nights, the party was only exhausting themselves further by continuing to travel. When they finally broke camp, Ka’tho overslept his watch and Mir awoke expecting to begin hers but instead watching the sunrise.
The journey continued as hot wind and sand blasted the slaves, breaking their pace and forcing them to try to shield themselves from the elements. Barthomar had become feverish just as Mir had some days previous, but refused all treatment. After some deliberation and assessment of the placement of the sun, Nus discovered that the party had been going in the wrong direction for some time. They found themselves at the edge of the Alluvial Wastes, and would have to go South in order to catch the trail again. They rested that evening under the protective shield of a table of boulders, while the wind whipped the sand all around.
The next morning, the wind and sand rose into an undeniable storm, slowing the party further, and draining the last of their water. What had once been confidence in reacting the oasis before their supplies ran out, reach a final, deflating, end. The storm finally broke as they happened upon an impressive set of ruins, featuring sandstone walls up to 20 feet high. Deciding to camp in this shelter, they explored the area for threats and found a massive pair of wooden doors facing East. Nus inspected the architecture and deduced that this must have been the fortress-town Gibbid, which had been a successful farming town in the Green Age. In the Red Age, the city was seized by the warlord Matach, who drew a great amount of tribute from the surrounding area. Legend has it that the other area warlords banded together and hired an army to assault the city from an even greater warlord. The leader of the army, Kamid, razed the city and took whatever treasure he could find, but stories are told of treasures being found by looters and adventurer, persist to this day.
The party split up into groups of two as Ka’tho searched for a well he knew should exist within the town. He inspected what looked like barracks and found a carpet underneath a fine layer of sand, and beneath that a stone slab which led to a passageway below. The party assembled at the entrance of the passage as he explored the hallway, finding rooms with doors who had been torn off of their hinges brutally and a pile of bones with the skull split nearly in half. Mir and Nus joined him to explore further as Razin, Barthomar and Hurgen decided to look for an alternate route.
Ka’tho’s party found what looked to be a large library, with remains of books and scraps of paper strewn everywhere. The age of the room had shown as they entered; papers disintegrated as they trudged over them. Four bodies lay strewn about as well, but Nus was enthralled by a familiar sight – an upper thigh and hip made of obsidian, granite and wood, resting against a wall. He collected this artifact and stored it with the arm and sword Vos had given him earlier.
Ka’tho found a secret passage on the left side of the room, the opening of which forced a great wind and stench of mold out, the likes of which Razin and the others could hear topside. The papers in the room were destroyed by the blast.
Razin’s party found a spiral staircase which led down into some similar underground passages. The stumbled across a large, empty room first, and later, a large bath, with a stagnant pool at one end, of muddied condensation. at the end of the bath, they also found a set of latrines. They would even find the remains of a sauna.
Ka’tho entered the secret passage and found a room in which a box had been pushed or pulled by a pair of people, the only remnants of which were mold outlines on the floor. He found a small, slowly source of water dripping from the ceiling providing a slow but steady flow of water, probably enough for a single person to survive on, but definitely not enough for 2, let alone the half dozen that they traveled with. Inspecting the box, he found nineteen bars of differing substances, seven black and 12 brown. Scraping the residue on them revealed to the party that they were gold and silver, respectively, a fortuitous discovery in the wastes.
The parties met back up and exchanged what information they had found, after some deliberation on the slaves’ part as to whether they should reveal the existence of the gold and silver to Barthomar and Hurgen, who were their maters-on-site. Barthomar informed them that they had found the treasure during their errand on behalf of Hezzrat to participate in the gladiatorial fights, and thus anything they found would be theirs to keep, per Hezzrat law.
After a night sleep, they had to move on. Out of water, out of food, and barely able to stand the beating sun and scorched air, they had to continue on. During the evening, Ka’tho deduced that someone had likely found the stash of treasure and would be returning for it. Given the party’s disturbance of the room just before the secret passage, and of course their new possession of the gold and silver, someone would know they had come and want to find them.
They decided to set out and divided the bars amongst themselves, following the road west. They came upon a wide gorge, and debated whether or not they should try to cross it, risking a long fall, or go around, delaying themselves further.
Nus fey stepped across and had the party throw a rope to him, over which they slid the bags of gold and silver. Mir, Ka’tho, Razin, Barthomar and Hurgen all made the gap in good order, and everyone continued on.
Not long after, they believed that they saw traces of green off in the distance…