They camp for the night taking turns on watch around a small fire at the base of a large rock formation. A cool breeze rolls over the rough landscape. Edrin sits outside the fire’s light and warmth to ensure the flames do not blind him or distract him from his guard. Edrin was from hearty stock and didn’t mind giving up simple pleasures when it was called for. The camels move slightly and Edrin sees some movement just out in the darkness. He stays in his seated position but puts his hand on his axe to ready himself to spring into combat. A desert cat approaches the camp from the darkness but stops a few yards out. Not the eyes don’t look into the eyes. Edrin thought remembering the jackal that put him into a trance. Outside the firelight Edrin watches the cat, maybe a cheetah, to see if it’s just here to find loose scraps or if its planning an attack on his weary companions or camels.
The cat stretches out and then lies down as if to fall asleep. The camels lumber about slightly uneasy but not fully panicked. The cat’s ears pick up to alertness and the cat slowly saunters out of the camps fire light. Edrin watches the cat back out of the camp and scamper into the darkness. Edrin’s superior night vision allows him to see the cheetah break into a run into the distance. Edrin sees his chance to get to his feet and ready himself proper without giving up his location. While leaning on his axe, Edrin sees the cat loping back to the camp after thirty minutes. Here kitty kitty kitty.Edrin thought, Oh’ you’ll be a fine breakfast. When the cat returned Edrin saw it had something in its mouth. The cat drops the furry item at the edge of the camp and stairs directly into Edrin’s hidden position, then saunters off into the darkness and lies down again out in the open. The camels appear to have relaxed and are no longer swaying.
Edrin, knowing is hidden position has been compromised walks to the furry item and finds a freshly killed jackrabbit. “Oh’, how’d you know I was just thinking about breakfast”? He chuckles to himself quietly and starts cleaning the kill. The rabbit was expertly killed with a quick neck break. This left the skin and fur without puncture bite marks improving its usefulness for hide use. In a matter of minutes the cleaned carcass was on a spit over the fire. With a toe jab Edrin wakes Abdul up to share the meal.
“You’ll never believe it, that cat there shows up and brought me food. I was just thinking about eating the cat when it runs off than turns up with this treat”. Edrin is already eating before he finishes his statement.
“You don’t think that’s a bit… odd”? Abdul asks waiting for the poisoned rabbit to take effect. Edrin, still chewing, looks up thoughtfully.
“I suppose that could be” Edrin takes another greasy bite. “But it looks harmless enough.”
The cat saunters in towards the camp and stands on its back legs. While in this upright supine position it brings up a paw and waves at them. “Ohh!, I know this cat. That’s Elton. Is that Elton? Yeah, that’s Elton.” Edrin says with rabbit grease all over his hands and face.
“Your little… short friend”? Abdul asks
“Yeah, he turns into animals” Edrin replies.
The cat moves to the fire and curls up and seems to go to sleep. Edrin finishes the rabbit meal and leaves guard duty to Abdul. Abdul sits and warms his hand near the campfire. Abdul can see the sky start to turn colors and lighten in the distance. While appreciating the calm of a warm sunrise he hears a clinking noise. It takes a second for Abdul to figure out where the sound was coming from., but then it seems to clearly be coming from the other side of the rock formation they are camped against. Tink, tink, tink followed by a rough metal on stone scraping noise.. Abdul looks around the camp to see if anything else is amiss. The camels seem to be alert and a little restless. Abdul raches over and grabs Jays arm firmly but not roughly. Jay’s eyes flash open and is immediately alert but does not move.
“There was a noise, around the rocks” Abdul points.
Tink, tink, tink. Jay slips out of his sleeping sack and notices Elton sleeping by the fire. Unwilling to make a sound and ask where Elton had come from, Jay stalks off around the large rock formation. Abdul lets Jay get away towards the rocky shadows before he stands up. Abdul then yawns loudly and lumbers the opposite way around the rock formation. About halfway around the base of the large rock spiked out of the earth Abdul notices the sound stopped. Abdul looks around but isn’t able to locate the source of the sound. Jay comes around the far side of the jutting rock and sees Abdul looking around. Jay tried to get as much elevation as possible while circling the rock to ensure he had the best vantage. Fresh scratches catch Jay’s eye as he looks around. Jay doesn’t think they look like climbing marks but decides to climb the jutting rock surface just in case. Without his harness he tries to free climb for a better vantage but is unable to get purchase on this sheer side of the stone. Abdul spots Jay when he falls a short distance in the climb attempt. “Psst..Jay” Abdul whispers loud enough for Jay to hear. Abdul holds up his hands as if to ask what now. Jay shrugs. Worried about the unattended camp, Abdul hurries back. Jay sneaks back to camp the way he came.
When Abdul returns to the camp, he finds a hunched over figure next to the fire. K’lara and Edrin sleep softly and unharmed in their sleeping sacks just a few feet away. The gnome sits gnawing at the leftover meat from the jackrabbit. “You!” Abdul exclaims. “What are you doing here?”
The gnome jumps and seems pretty startled. “Oh”
Edrin and K’lara wake up battle ready and stare at the intruder. Jay sneaks around and gets behind the camp and the gnome. Abdul holds his scimitar in his hand. “Ahh.. this rabit is excellent. Maybe, yes maybe a little short on the spices. Yes, but excellent”.
“What are you doing here” Abdul repeats harshly.
“What? Oh, taking advantage of your hospitality. Yes, forgive me” The gnome pulls back his cowl and reveals his face. None other than Pritt sit in their camp. This was the gnome they had run into in the pyramid. He had a spoon and dug at an earthen cavern endlessly. Jay thought he was a cursed ghost that died somewhere in the pyramid and was cursed to search for a way out. K’lara was suspicious from the get and thought Pritt was some illusion or trap. Abdul assumed the pyramid drove the gnome mad and Edrin didn’t care much to think about it.
“What are you doing here, in the middle of the dessert, in the middle of the night”? K’lara asked with intrigue.
“What? Ahh… Desserts, no matter where you are, you’re always in the middle, yes?”
“I will ask a final time, what are you doing here”. He points firmly to the ground at the base of the camp.
“What? Here, in the dessert? What, no matter, I’ve been looking for you. I have some information you’ll find useful.” Pritt stammers out his answer as though he hadn’t been asked a question and was volunteering the information. “Do you have any more of these rabbits?”
“Rabbits?” Abdul repeats annoyed “What information have you got that we would want?”
“Rabbit? “ Pritt repeats as if Abdul had brought it up. “No, the dessert. I know the dessert very well. Very well, yes. I have lived here most of my life. Yes, yes I know the dessert very well. Things… are not… going well at the pyramid.”
Pritt stops and looks around confused as if to just find himself in the camp at this moment not knowing how he got there. “Did you say you had a bit more rabbit” he blurts out. Everyone exhales a sigh at the arduousness of the conversation.
“Oh…” Pritt suddenly seems excited and aware “You’ll never find the tomb of Martek in this manner. No, no, no… probably not ever. Probably not…. Rabbit. Probably more rabbit would be good, oh yes, more rabbit” At the mention of the tomb of Martek the group gets very anxious and ignore the request for food and press Pritt for more information.
“What do you know of the tomb” Abdul interrogates.
“How do you know we are looking for it”? From Edrin
“Do you know where it is” asked Jay while K’lara remained silent concentrating on Pritt with her arcane senses. After some time she senses that Pritt is a very magical being and likely a shape shifter of some kind. The spoon appears to be some transmutation.
“Excuse me?” Pritt answered confused at first. “Ah, yes. The tomb, its here… in the dessert. Well, not right here in the dessert, no, no, but out there-here in the dessert, yes. You are seeking the tomb yes, out there in the dessert? You’ll probably never find it out there in the dessert.”
“Why do you think we are looking for the tomb”? Abdul asks mildly defensively.
“Why? The tomb? Ah, yes. The sphinx told me. You solved his riddle…in the pyramid? And now he is no longer… umm… bound to his task, yes, yes. Free.. The sphinx is… umm…hungery” Pritt looks around the camp imploringly. “is there truly no more food? No more rabbits. No, truly no.”
Just then Alton arrives with a few small fresh kills. He turned out to be the only one who heeded the requests of Pritt and ran off to accommodate. Jay was extremely relived and hopeful that the food would keep Pritt from being so muddled. Edrin cleaned the kills and set the meat on skewers on the fire. Pritt seemed to stare intently at the fire intently as though in a trance and he refused to continue the conversation until his appetite was at bay. Jay searched Pritt visually. Pritt was of similar height and weight. Pritt seemed to travel very light lacking in weapons and travel gear. That might account for why he seems to be starving to death Jay thought. Pritt seems to have kept the spoon from the pyramid as well; it hangs on his belt even now. Jay finds himself drawn to Pritt’s eyes. They were unusual to begin with but staring deep they seem to reveal even more. The color of his eyes were flecked with bronze coloring and almost had a reptilian quality. Before the meat was cooked thoroughly Pritt jumped up and grabbed a skewer and began gnawing on it.
“The sphinx, yes. Always seemed happy, yes, happy to serve the pharaoh.. The Efreeti, now… causing problems now and the… oh and Martek, the tomb of Martek rather… but no, Marktek too I suppose…” Pritt seems to ramble a bit before Abdul calls him to focus.
“You know much for one so small” Abdul said kindly.
“Oh, yes. I study, and am a leaned… oh, this is an excellent catch, just excellent, no need for herbs and salt on this,. No, not at all” As Pritt speaks aimlessly Abdul points out the odd eyes to the rest of the camp. One by one they notice the bronze coloring and that light seems to glint off the flecks.
“Oh… and this I fear, that nothing but calamity will fallow in the wake of the Efreeti’s army. Oh my, not even the Pharaoh’s armies will be able to stop him, ohh no. The armies that stand guard eternally to protect him. They will try, yes, they will try. Yes, but it won’t be enough, yes… no.”
Abdul folds his arms for a moment as if in disbelief. He then leans toward Pritt and mildly flicks his cheak. Pritt’s skin is fever hot to the touch. “What, hey… What now? Don’t touch”
“What are you my little friend” Abdul asks softly.
“Taken aback is what I am. Hmmp… No one is poking you, flicking you. No. Not noone.” Pritt looks pretty insulted and indignant. “I don’t know why you did that. Why did.. umm… you… Martek, the tomb” Pritt’s outrage fades quickly as he seems to forget about the incident entirely. “I don’t know where exactly it is, no. But I can set you on your way, yes perhaps. I can guide you to where you need to be, set you on a path; yes the right path and you will find it. I am nearly certain.” Pritt makes this announcement as if the idea had just come to him and not been the entire purpose he met them in the first place. Pritt looks accomplished and happy with idea of having this group on this course, but then looks into the horizon and rising sun. “For I fear, Yes… I… fear, that only Martek’s power and his power alone will be able to stop this force.”
“Yes, that is why we seek it. We feel…” Abdul pauses briefly “I feel a great responsibility”
“Yes, We all fear the ruin wrought by these times. I would not even face it, no, not out in the open. No, sadly no, not even with the help from the sphinx.”
“Not even… you” Abdul asks “You think you could face the Efreeti?”
“No, not for very long, me? No, not for very long, and that’s why you need the tomb of Martek. From my knowledge it lies beyond the Sea of Glass.” Abdul winces at the mention of the Sea of Glass. The Sea of Glass is rumored to lie at the very center of the Dessert of Desolation. Travelers speak of it with the fear that surrounds a horrific myth. The sea itself is said to focus the already unforgiving beams of sunlight and be able to cook a man alive in mere moments. The sea stretches for miles upon miles and the only way to traverse the surface is with a specifically crafted vessel. At its center, it is rumored that an ancient civilization
“How have you come to this knowledge?” Abdul asks looking to reveal more about Pritt and his peculiar background.
“How? I? Oh, long life with many travels. Research, I am a learner the world around me, yes. I know the dessert well, oh yes. I have lived here a long time. Brothers, yes and sisters too, all of the clutch, yes, but I remain. I still remain.” Pritt looks melancholy for just a moment and then seems to forget his current thought and starts talking again like he just stumbled onto a brilliant idea. “The Sea of glass, yes, that’s it. Cross it and you will find Martek’s tomb”
Abdul, happy to learn the possible whereabouts of the tomb folds his arms with dissatisfaction of not discovering more about Pritt. Why is Pritt here? Why does he want this band of travelers moving this way instead of that?
“Ok, ok.. There is a chance. With my help, the sphinx’s help, the pharaoh’s help we could possibly…” Pritt announces at Abduls clear disapproval.
“The pharaoh? Isn’t he… departed?” Abdul interrupts.
“What, who?” The thoughts falling loosely out of Pritt’s head is almost visible. Pritt’s expression is that of someone mentally grasping at straws hoping to catch one. “Who, oh the pharaoh? Yes, he and his armies continue to protect the pyramid. Although, yes, things have changed quite a great deal. Yes indeed, thanks to you, it is now of his choosing… The threats that have emerged is…is…umm… No, He would not see his newly nascent kingdom destroyed once again, oh no.”
“How would we draw everyone together” K’lara asks.
“Everyone? Oh yes. At the pyramid. I feel that we could protect the pyramid and the environment around it. Yes, but not the rest of the dessert. No, I can’t speak to the rest of the dessert as it is now, oh no. It won’t remain dessert for long, which is almost certain. The civilizations to the south too yes, they are also in jeopardy. The Efreeti will not be content with the dessert, oh no, most certainly not. Families, mothers, fathers, and children will all suffer, yes. Sadly, yes.” Pritt starts speaking quickly and looks upset. “My Mother, yes, my mother fell to the likes of Efreeti. No!”
K’lara’s arcane insight has alerted her that Pritt’s form is not his natural form and wanting to change the subject to calm him down she asks “Have you chosen this form or are you stuck in this form?”
“What? Form? This form? Ahh, yes, this is a good form” Pritt stretches his arms out and wiggles his little fingers.
“What is your natural form” K’lara asks directly to cut to the chase.
“What form, this form? This isn’t my natural form? It isn’t! I wish not to speak of it.”
“But we need to know if we are all to come together to defeat the Efreeti.” K’lara says not mincing words.
“I will do my part” Pritt answers slowly, deliberately, and almost menacingly. “I can promise you, the pyramid will be protected” A pause draws out and in a flash Pritt seems to forget the tension that he brought to the conversation.
“The oasis. Yes, the oasis. I fear that it may be in grave danger. White Palm, yes. The Oasis of the White Palm. But first we must get you to the Sea of glass, yes. That should be first.”
“Can you point to it on our map?” K’lara approaches Pritt with the map she carries.
“Map? Excellent, yes. I can point, point as good as most, better probably.” Pritt claps his hands excitedly and waits for K’lara and then points rapidly as soon as its within his reach.
“Here, yes. This is the crypt of Badr al-Mosak. See, and here to the north is the Sea of Glass. You can’t miss it. No, impossible to miss. Once there you should investigate… The sea is surrounded by… umm… oh, yes… pillars. And there are ships that sail this sea. Yes, if you can find one, one of the ships, it may aid you. You must find one of those ships though… to umm… cross the sea, to find what you seek. There, here… Right here is the city of Phoenix” Pritt points excitedly.
“What about here” K’lara points to a spot on the map they had considered to start their search for Martek’s tomb.”
“No, Oh boy no.” Pritt suddenly looks exasperated and excited. “ Oh no, have you heard of a beast… umm… Alomia? There is one… here is one on the map. No, not on the map but here… there in the desert. She is a cranky one, oh yes. No, not happy. I would not trouble her and her nasty temperament.” Pritt moves from location to location on the map naming ruins, structures, and blank portions. “Alomia, yes. She once had her day, once she was….”
“How long has it been since she was nice” Jay asks to try to estimate the age of Pritt.
“HAA!!” The laugh was sudden and loud. “She was never nice! Oh no, oh my. Ha… Nice.
There was a time where she would not openly assault me. But now, oh boy yes now…”
“How long since you have had tea together or been face to face?” Jay persists.
“Many, Many, years. Five no, no, six centuries, perhaps?” Pritt looks confused and it’s hard to tell if he understood the question. “Martek, yes, Martek was powerful, indeed a very powerful wizard. Yes, the most powerful human wizard I have ever met. I feel his like does not exist in this world anymore.”
“AL righty then” Edrin is holding his fingers tightly to his temples with a pained face. “I think we have as much as we can get, let’s move on then”
“I must return to the pyramid,”
“One last thing” Jay steps up to Pritt. “How are things going at the pyramid?”
“Hmm… I suspect there will be problems with the newly arrived workers and local fanatics. Hearts may be in the right place, but the sun is setting.”
Jay stares blankly for a moment imagining the chaos that could result. He quickly pulls out a quill and paper and writes two notes. One note was addressed to the Faruq Nasser the Thune High Priest and told him to be tolerant of the Symbayans and allow them to make proper fortifications. He also addressed the other to Tolnus the former commander of the Sand Merchants guild who was placed in charge of managing the Symbayans and told him to respect the space of the Thune and not to enter the pyramid. Jay would put a fifty percent wager on these letters ever arriving at their destination, but the worst case scenario is the same as not sending them at all while the best case might provide the necessary instruction to succeed.
“Please, deliver these letters to the pyramid” Jay hold out the letters to Pritt.
“What letters” Pritt looks genuinely confused. Jay waves them to catch Pritt’s attention. Pritt’s eyes light up and he grabs the letters and stuffs them into his belt.
“Well friends, yes. I wish you luck. You will need it, luck, yes. I don’t have other options frankly, we will all need a pinch of luck.” Pritt stares blankly and recites a poem
“In future times, it is foretold
a voice for Martek ancient old.
Tells of a time when mortal men shall seek the aid of long dead kin. At Martek’s Tomb shall make a sound, to call the doors to the lost tomb found”
“A pinch of luck and maybe something material to help us with the journey?” Jay’s eyes shift to the spoon and then back to Pritt’s eyes. Pritt’s face darkened and he pulled his spoon out to examine it.
“This is the last memory I have. The rest… scattered to the four winds.” Pritt holds the spoon closely. “Melted down… some. Taken to distant lands… some. Spent on trifles, whores and drink!” Pritt’s slow menacing voice returned and Pritt was more focused than ever.
“Oh… ok” Jay takes a step backward. “It’s fine if you don’t have anything to aid us. We’re resourceful.” Jay takes a few more steps backward.
They breakdown the camp and prepare to depart. Pritt remains by the fire despondent and mumbling. Pritt is like a quartet that can’t decide which song to sing. At times he is pleasant and peaceful, while moments later he is menacing and terrifying, while at other times he seems afraid himself. His mumbling turns into deliberate statements.
“In future times it is foretold
A voice for Martek ancient, old
Tells of a time of mortal men
Shall seek the aid of long dead kin
At Martek’s tomb, shall make a sound
To call the doors of a lost tomb… found”
Pritt’s mumbling continues and the language doesn’t appear to be common.
Once they were an hours ride north Jay mentions the reptilian bronze eyes and exceedingly long life span of Pritt. It is possible that Pritt is just a crazy specter released from the pyramid but now it also seems possible that Pritt is a bronze dragon.
They rode on their camels throughout the morning to get as far as possible. The desert wind blew hot sand into their faces until they couldn’t manage any longer. Alton found a sharp overhang they could rest under. The rock surface blocked the sun from above and the wind from two sides. Alton was able to hunt while they waited out the hot sun’s rays. They rested there until the sun descended the sky and the horizon turned gold, brass, and bronze. Well rested and well fed, they mounted the camels and rode again north toward the Sea of Glass. The sun set and the moon and stars were bright in the night’s sky. The light color of the stones and ground reflected the moonlight and so they were able to see as they moved ahead. Only the shadows between the jagged rocks threatened unseen, unknown danger. Miles and miles of the desolate desert passed them by moonlight.
In the distance the horizon began to lighten casting a shadow a crossed the land. They slowed to a stop to either watch the sunrise or to allow enough light to rise over the horizon to see their footing. Shafts of light jettison from the horizon and shimmer across skyline. In the distance the line between earth and sky seems to fade before them as the sky and the surface lighten with the light of dawn. The sky looks as though it reaches down and wraps around the desert beyond. With the predawn shadow passed they begin to move forward and witness the desert sand seemingly drop off into the sky. Clouds float deep within this strange sky just as they float high above. After a few minutes travel they walk up to the edge.
Once on the shoreline the air becomes very dry and so hot that it becomes difficult to breath. Far to the north beyond the reflecting sky at their feet shimmers what could be an island in the Sea of Glass. The Sea of Glass reflects the sun’s light back into the sky but ten thousand times magnified. Unable to continue forward they walk along the shoreline to the west. A half hours walk along the shore they come upon a metallic platform jutting skyward with hills and mounds of sand covered debris on either side. Sticking up from the buried rubble is tall metal pole with a crosspiece wrapped in woven bronze that glints the early morning sunlight. As they approach the platform a long blade runs the length of the structure on its side.
The intense heat bears down on the group so they decide to use the half buried structure as shelter to wait out the worst of the heat. They tunnel at its base looking for an entrance until Alton burrows a tunnel clear under the wall that channels up into the center. Once inside the structure they realize that they are sheltering under an overturned ship. They take turns throughout the day unearthing the ship so they are able to flip it upright when they are ready to depart near dusk.
Once the ship is flipped over it appears to float on runners over the sand. Only a thin shimmer of magic connects the runners to the bottom of the ship that allow it to hover in place. The ship’s rudder is studded with diamonds along its edge that shine a bright white. These diamonds allow the rudder to cut through the glass while steering the vessel. K’lara pulls out a book on magical enchantments and begins studying the magical forces at play. She sits in the shade while identifying the magical properties and learning how to possibly control the ship. “The base absorbs heat from the mirrored glass and converts its energy to a magical force that can propel the ship forward. It should also protect us from the heat if we remain in the ship.” She smiles
Edrin and Jay explore the vicinity to find an adequate place to secure the camels. An obelisk stands high on a hill a short distance away from the Sea of Glass. The pillar of ancient stone stands silently over the desert sands. Ancient markings are worn nearly smooth by the blasts of wind and weather, making it hard to read the writings. A hollow space is present under the writing. Edrin squints briefly at the hieroglyphics and looks at Jay. “Abdul, come read this bit” He shouts.
Abdul runs over to the obelisk and puts his hands on the old stone. His eyes appear to go trancelike briefly before he starts reading. Abruptly a voice rumbles from the stone “Martek and his sphere of power. Retrieve this, the quest, and destinies decree. An Ancient prophecy of doom and death. That men of courage should face without regret. To his mighty temple tomb against the shoes of the sky. That mighty monument of his life and passing. You must now find and enter, gain the gem before you take the power. To glow whence pointed toward Marktek’s Towers. Where, if survived, those here assembled, shall be your finest hour”
Abdul continues to run his hands across the stone surface. “The translation in text is slightly different”. Abdul then reads out loud “The appointed time, shall man arise from his ignorance and reaching for the stars offer them in wisdom”
Jay pulls the Star Gem out from his synched pocket to see if it was glowing unbeknownst to him. It was not. K’lara produces her Star Gems to see if either glowed. Neither did. “It does look like a gem would fit in the hole below the words” Jay holds his gem to the opening to better illustrate his point. K’lara moves her gems close to the opening to see if they react by proximity. They don’t.
Jay puts his gem into the slot on the obelisk. The gem immediately reacts to the contact of the obelisk and produces a warm glow. Jay drops the gem to the sand however the gem continues to glow and gains intensity. Jay picks up the gem to inspect it. Abdul directs Jay “point it outwards and turn in a circle”.
Jay obeys. When the gem points toward the Sea of Glass it brightens to a near blinding light. K’lara inserts her gems into the obelisk and they too now glow and intensify when pointed toward the Sea of Glass.
Jay and Edrin tie the camels to the obelisk and make sure they are well watered. “It’s a hard life being a hero’s mount” Jay reflects “In harm’s way until they get abandoned”.
Edrin paused to look at Jay. “My father always said ‘never name an animal’, he did” Once Jay turned around to walk away Edrin leans in to the camel and whispers in its ear “We’ll be back Prince Camelot, I promise” and gave it a few more pats on the head.
The night insects start their chorus of music as they board the ship and prepare to depart. They use the Star Gems glow to navigate the ships course. K’lara magically propels the ship toward the island far into the distance that seems to float in the open sky. They witness an amazing sunset with radiant colors above and below the ship. The night too harnesses an awe inspiring beauty illuminated by brilliant starts and moons from above and below. In the distance darkened lumps appear that do not mirror the sky above indicating objects on the surface. Steering wide they approach and realize the shapes are of scorched bones and clothing of five individuals on the surface. K’lara brings the ship in closer to get a better look.
The bodies lie in lumps on the surface and appear to be completely free of scavengers.
Edrin Jumps down from the ship onto the smooth surface of the glass now cooled by the absence of the sun. Edrin grabs a corps lying face down to flip it over and realizes that the skin the remains is burnt to the glass. He forcefully peals the corpse off revealing the skull underneath and leaving the charred face on the glass. Abdul winces at the grizzly seen. Underneath one of the corpses was a hidden belt pouch. Inside the pouch is an amulet that seems particularly cool to the touch. Edrin delicately hands it too K’lara. None of the other corpses had anything of value. K’lara casts a quick spell to help identify the magical properties of the amulet. “This is an Amulet of Health” K’lara says when she is finished.
They board the ship and continue toward the island in the distance. Due to the flatness it seems impossible to determine the distance. The travel swiftly along the glass surface but the floating island beyond doesn’t seem to be getting closer which exemplifies the vastness of the Sea of Glass. They take turns guarding the side and rear of the ship as K’lara sails onward and rest between shifts. Dawn arrives with the earth and sky lighting to the east. Shafts of light break the horizon and bring fourth another amazing vision. As the sun crawls up the sky they remain comfortable in the ship as it races along the glass surface. Just after sunrise fatigue sets in on K’lara from the long concentration of operating the magical ship. She slows the vessel to a halt and directs Abdul to its operation.
Abdul guides the ship forward toward the island in the distance. It does appear to be getting closer but with the vastness of the open area and the shimmer of the mirage on the horizon it difficult to tell how much. In the distance another ship is stationary sitting on the glass. Near bored to tears Edrin points at it and urges Abdul to investigate. As they approach the craft appears to be abandoned. This new ship seems to be quite a bit larger than the one they currently are driving and has an emblem of the Eye of Rho on the prow. The new ship also has two masts with limp sails. Abdul pulls their ship alongside the new vessel.
K’lara, somewhat skeptical asks “Maybe we should just keep going”? Jay nods and approves of staying focused on the task.
“No, no. Look at the size of this thing. It’s twice what this one is” Edrin objects pointing to their ship. Edrin smiles at Jay “Jay…” he says as almost a dare and cups his hands locking his fingers together crating what will soon be a Halfling launching pad.
Jay runs boldly at Edrin, hops lightly into his cupped hands. Edrin catapults Jay high into the air toward the mystery ship. Jay lands lightly on the deck and looks around. The deck appears very clean and put away. The ship wasn’t abandoned in a rushed half hazard manner. The two masts stand strait with the sails hanging. Barrels and crates are tied down with coiled ropes and a cargo hold can be seen toward the rear of the ship. Jay looks over the side back to his shipmates and gives the thumbs up. Abdul, Alton and Edrin make their way to the boarding ladders on the side of the ship. K’lara remains to protect their ship.
They start to explore the deck of the ship. Alton notices sails start to fill in the absence of wind and it almost looked like the ropes moved of their own accord out of the corer of his eye. “I think this is an enchanted ship” Alton announces.
“Whys that?” Jay asks dumbly as the sails are near full in the absence of wind.
Edrin sees the strange change in the sails moves to the rope to throw some to K’lara. Edrin moves to pick up the rope but somehow the rope resists and doesn’t move as if it has some additional weight to it. Jay finally notices the sails and starts to climb a mast to disable them. “We should disable the sails” Jay announces.
“Wait” Alton objects “We might not be able to put it back together”
“We might have bigger problems” Jay looks worried and continues to climb the mast to be ready to disable the sails when given permission.
Edrin continues to heave on the rope trying to forcibly move it from its coil on the deck. He is able to move it to some degree but the rope itself seems to be actively resisting Edrin’s attempts. Jay sees Edrin struggle with the rope and in a panic repeats “We should disable it” quickly in a high manic voice. Jay does not initiate untying the ropes however.
The ship lurches forward and then starts a smooth glide across the glass. Abdul tries to concentrate and mentally control this ship as he controlled the previous vessel. To Abdul’s horror there is no connection and he is totally unable to steer or stop the craft.
Astonishingly the crossbeam that Jay is standing on bends in an unnatural fashion and strikes Jay across the back. The sudden assault strikes Jay and he almost falls to the deck of the ship. The entire mast bends and flails now in a menacing manor.
Unappreciative of the ships behavior Abdul starts casting a spell. He points his index fingers at the sail and red rays of light shoots from them. The beams of light turn to flames on impact. Even though the sails are burned buy the spell they do not catch fire as intended. Edrin takes his axe to the defiant rope and chops it. The rope also flies through the air and strikes him back. Jay Jumps down from the beam and lances the rope pinning it to the sidewall of the ship. The rear mast bends sharply at Edrin and was a near miss. Another piece of rope strikes out at Jay like a snake but he is able to sidestep the assult.
Abudle continues to hurls scorching rays at the sails. They never get engulfed in flames as he intends but he does slowly ruin them with many holes. K’lara concentrates and navigates their boat to keep pace with the larger craft. Alton calls an electrical storm out of the sky. Lightning strikes down on the rear mast doing massive damage. All at once the ship stops propelling forward and slows to a halt.
They search the ship after the battle but were unable to discover anything of value. The barrels and crates had produce that had decayed a long time ago leaving only dirt and ash. There are also no signs that any other persons have been aboard this ship in a very long time. Edrin carves his name in dwarvish on the deck of the ship to announce his triumph.
The new ship is now able to be controllable and they are able to navigate it mentally. Even with the damage sustained to the ship they are still able to move, be it at a decreased rate. The rear sail is what gives the magical propulsion. Abdul attunes to the craft and has it follow behind K’lara and her vessel.
They again start moving toward the island off in the distance. After considerable time the can identify the shoreline in the distance. With the sky above and below the island, it looks as though it floats in the open air. They drive the ships onto the shore and secure them the best they can.
Once on the shore they see a monument with three crystal spires projecting straight and true from the desert sand. These thirty foot tall crystals show no marks from time or weather. Strange ancient runes cover the spires. The carved crystal spires tower above the group at three corners, one up close and the two others spread a short distance making the points of a triangle. In the center of the spires is a large black hexagonal face. Two forked prongs spread from the top of each crystal like the wings of a phoenix. In the center of the platform there is a circle of inlayed gray marble. Two other monuments like this can be seen at about three miles out in the distance. These distand monuments seem to also make a triangle shape. The Gems guide toward the center of the hexagon between the three crystal spires.
Abdul walks up to the crystal’s smooth surface and runs his hands across the runes. After a quick moment he reads them out lound. “Only once each day when the crystals sound, the way will be made clear. You have but to knock to enter.” Abdul steps away. “They keep repeating this phrase”
“let’s check out another monument” K’lara says placing the small ivory elephant statue on the ground. “I’ve got our ride”
After the spell has been cast they all climb onto the elephant and ride to the monument in the north and saving the East pillar for last. Once there they find a similar staging of pillars. Abdul reads them. “My name is Martek, and rising here before you is the tomb of my body. From here shall my sphere of power be called fourth on the appointed day from beyond death and bring salvation to the desert peoples.”
They look for a socket or location for the gem to no avail. While searching Jay finds a small latch on the back of the northern spire.