Several days after receiving their instructions, adventurers begin making their way to the vast desert known as the Arza Sea through the only open port, Camp Osí. This encampment lies on a small hard-packed sandbank between the shore’s edge and the Arza desert. There is one ocean-side dock for small boats, and one sand dock, a set of steps terminating at the edge of the desert. There are stones arranged for seating and some scattered palm trees for shade. In front of a small hut, an old man sits quiet, patiently awaiting travelers, in front of his wares, canteens, knives, wormsickness pills and a host of edibles.
The first boat of the day arrives just after dawn. Aboard are various crewmen, along with some travelers come to the land of Arza:
- Siegfried Auslieger, an old man with big crazy blue hair, no eyebrows, babbling to himself;
- Kothay Slint, a humanoid male with red hair and blue eyes, carrying a pair of beautiful swords;
- Zhego, a leather armor-clad mongol with pointed ears, a large flagged spear, speaking abyssal to his pet, Ari, a tentacle-mouthed, unmaned lion with dark gray skin and large talons;
- Korak, a medium-build female with tiny horns, appears at unease and keeps to herself; and
- Padöka, a half-orc wizard coming from outer Osiria.
The ship’s dingy barely arrives at the pier, before another albeit much smaller boat sails ashore. This boat holds only two non-crew members who have come to Arza for adventure:
- Caraway Brandyrain, a young, halfling woman with pixie cut hair and green eyes, who comes from the Savannah region with her cheetah kitten, Bryzina; and
- Anethir Guirlande, a fairly handsome man, hooded and cloaked with disheveled hair, scraggly and outdoorsy looking, spends most of his time watching others.
Siegfried makes quick friends with the old man of Camp Osí, Jeyva, who is obviously a bit crazed, likely from the lack of social interaction he sees. Or rather, never sees, as he is self-made blind, with eyes sockets scarred shut with x-shaped wounds. When asked why he blinded himself he responds, “That’s how they get ya!” “Who?” “You’ll see” (His hysterical laughter ensues). Jeyva offers them all fried scarabs with fig & pistachio paste, along with his “famous” Desert Ale. All the dishes are made of what looks to be hardened guano or dung.
The final group of adventurers arrives, this time via airship, from which a rope ladder is dropped. Descending comes:
- Hesper Dipali, a tall female humanoid with bluish skin, dark hair and white eyes, accompanied by an unnatural collection of unintelligible whispering sounds;
- Turk and Lurga, twin brother and sister, respectively, dark-skinned, jungle barbarian dwarves wielding a crude thorny club and bone sword; and
- Salikka, a elderly Tengu monk from the mountains near Osiria, who skips the ladder and flits down to the earth with ease.
Jeyva welcomes everyone and when asked where they should go next, he says that he hears people come and people go, but he has nothing to do with that, but he expects for the sighted it will be obvious. Turk and Lurga immediately set to work downing as much Jeyva’s desert ale as time will allow. While waiting, Korak sneaks around to investigate the camp, finding little, but some tattered sleeping blankets. Meanwhile, behind the rapidly drunkening Dwarves, Anethir notices strange deformations in the sand. From underneath the sandy cover jumps an ambush of goblins and bugbears, all clad in insectoid armor. Battle ensues for most; Jeyva blindly swings at a nearby goblin, Athenir darts arrows from a palm tree, the drunken Turk and Lurga stumble, Korak’s sword bursts into flame and strikes. Only Salikka and Padöka make effort not to involve themselves in the fray, quietly watching on from their stone bench seats.
Two larger goblins also appear from the edge of the sandbank and attack, one of whom has fierce glowing red eyes. As it becomes clear the adventurers are fairing well against the goblin cohort, Padöka rises in a fit of angered disappointment and begins shooting bolts of energy at Zhego and Kothay. As he is about to strike a deadly blast at Korak, a hooded man apparates behind him and sends a blade lit with electric energy clean through Padöka’s chest. The remaining goblin raider flees sandward. A loud rumbling is both heard and felt, as an enormous cavern opens beneath the goblin’s foot; a gigantic sandworm rises and devours the creature whole.
The worm moves toward the sanddock at the direction of the mysterious hooded figure. He introduces himself as an emissary to the Mihr. He thanks them for coming all this way and apologizes for this apparent ambush by agents of the “Bahrood”.
Hesper spends the time healing. Out of the corner of her eye she sees something dart from the body of the red-eyed goblin, but it was too brief to tell what.
The group set to looting the bodies of the fallen. They find several rusted knives, an orcish sword, banded mail armor, a dire flail, an exotic carapace saddle, various gems and coins. They also find on Padöka’s corpse, a strange dull purple stone in the shape of a large egg.
The emissary claims he has been asked to escort them on the back of his worm, across the Arza Sea to Arzaeen. When asked, he states he has never met the Mihr, but is a member of a subservient Mihreen clan. He provides everyone with a golden amulet, each containing a small writhing worm in a translucent red gem. He explains this will let them pass freely through the “Veil”, “as only the wormkind may”. While mounting, Caraway cuts herself on the worm’s ragged hide and see briefly sees a flash of desert horizon. Siegfried says goodbye to Jeyva who along with Salikka, plan to stay behind. Jeyva gifts some worm-sickness pills to Siegfried, who swallows a few before climbing upon the worm’s back.
They ride due East for almost the whole day. Many, but assuredly not Siegfried encounter nausea while riding the worm, particularly the fierce-some Korak, who makes the ride with her head leaning over the edge of the saddle-basket, dispatching sick.
Along the way are scattered oases, a sandstorm in the distant North, but not much more than the unyielding desert sand. In the distant East, a large mountain looms onto the horizon and as they near, they move through a translucent wall, that the emissary points out is the “Veil”. After a little while longer, they can see the structures of a desert metropolis come into view.