The three ex-slaves are friendly toward the group, recognizing them as fellow escaped slaves, until The Tri-Kreen snuck up near the slaves and knocked scree off the rocky overlook. The group- Kollus, To-gahl, and Marista are reluctant to help them out as they’re short of water themselves. They explained how the trouble at Kled has made finding water difficult, and the tribe can’t afford to take on any more mouths. They suggest that if the groups can resolve the trouble at Kled, they can find refuge with the slave tribe. The trouble has to do with the Jura Dai elves accusing the inhabitants of Kled of telling slave takers where to find the elves. From them, they tell the group that they will be killed or returned to slavery if they try to join a caravan or return to Urik. They can also learn where the nearest oasis is and that the water there has recently turned bad. Lastly, they will find that the ex-slaves believe that the King of Urik is very evil. They find the group incapable and tell them to split before the caravan scouts captured them and took them back to Urik or worse. Feeling they had blown an opportunity to restore their water supply the party slunk away.
Traveling at night they see something slender pass before the two moons of Athas now and then. The ribbon stays at least a mile distant, it appears to be a large snake covered with an articulated shell of silver-gray chitin. The snake is about 45 feet long and two feet in diameter, and has a pair of wicked-looking fangs in its mouth. It follows all night) long, disappearing and reappearing every now and then. Just before dawn, it disappears and does not reappear.
The party wakes to the trickle of water and find a Silk Wyrm has depleted their water supply! When Korek finally figures out the silk wyrm is caught stealing the water, it attempts to paralyze him and drag him off.
Spying vegetation in the distant they come across the Oasis the Slaves told them about. The water is scalding hot, brown, muddy, and bitter smelling, in other words, normal for an Athasian oasis. There is plenty of long green grass growing on the edge of the pool, and the mudflats are covered with healthy foliage. A closer inspection reveals that the pool is surrounded by dead birds, lizards, and small mammals.
The characters recognize two mekillots as the animals that were drawing the wagon at the start of this adventure. The one lying on its side at the water’s edge is obviously dead. The other one is confused, frightened, and angry, the mekillot moves to keep itself between the adventurers and the oasis. The huge beast attacks anyone who reaches the edge of the water or the body of the dead mekillot.
Connecting with the Beast, Toox uses her telepathic powers to try to sooth the unfortunate animal. The mekillot is upset about its mate’s death. It is also extremely thirsty, but dimly realizes that drinking from the pool is a bad idea. Nevertheless, it is extremely defensive of the oasis, as this is the only water it knows of within miles. Because of the beast’s panicked state of mind it tries to drive the group away. With fire and food they cause it to leave them alone as they went to investigate the Oasis.
This oasis is also dotted with yypr trees. These stand fifty feet tall and grow equally well in the muddy areas of the oasis or the sand at its edge. They are conifers, with hard, flat needles. The mud around the oasis is steaming hot. Further, it smells terrible and is
crawling with disgusting worms and beetles. A small bridge of yypr wood leads to this marble arch which was built by the preceding Athasian civilization. At the base of the arch are a dozen clay pots, all filled with various grains, fruits, and vegetables. All of these foodstuffs are moldy. Scattered here and there on the wooden bridge are leaves and stems of a purple herb. Korek recognizes the herb as methelinoc, an extremely poisonous herb found only in the Ringing Mountains. Because this herb does not affect elves or kanks, elven tribes sometimes use it to prevent strangers from stealing their water.
A group of 20 young elves has come for water. The elves plunge their canteens into the water, bring their kanks forward to drink, and spend the next several hours drinking and loading five hundred gallons of water onto their kanks.
The group learns that these elves belong to the Jura Dai tribe (just as the raiders who attacked the caravan did) and that they have used methelinoc to poison all the wells in the vicinity as retaliation for Urik’s slave-taking.
After the elves leave the sound of giggling children drifts across the oasis. They see two dozen dwarven children moving away from the arch monument, where they have just left an offering of sugar-coated ants. They are sneaking along the mudflats toward the edge of the pond, waterskins in hand. As the party watches, a little boy suddenly disappears beneath the mud. The child has been attacked by a kluzd. After deftly slaying the massive snake-like beast the party agrees to escort the stupid children back to Kled.
A dozen angry mothers greet the group and drag the kids away, scolding them loudly. After the party met the mothers, the village leader, an ancient dwarf named Barunus greets the adventurers. He is so feeble that he can hardly walk. Barunus asks the PCs to free the druid who watches over the nearby oasis.
The Gok-ta dra agreed to help the dwarves, happy to extract revenge on the Jura Dia elves. Barunus explains how he founded Kled 150 years ago. His (and thus Kled’s) purpose is to uncover the lost city of the dwarven kings, Kemalok. When Kemalok is restored to its former splendor, Barunus believes, the world will once again be verdant and bountiful. The Jura Dai are mad at the dwarves of Kled because a legion from Urik watered from Kled.s well before attacking the elven camp. The dwarves didn.t want to let the legion water in Kled, but they had no choice. The elves are holding the druid of the nearby oasis prisoner to prevent him from reversing the effects of their toxins on the oasis. Pleased with the enthusiasm of the party, Barunus presents them with the Sword of Kemalok, a steel sword +1.
As they start toward the elven stronghold they spot an elf moving through the terrain ahead of the party. Unfortunately the party failed every skill challenge presented to them to this point and the elf escaped – to no one’s surprise as this group seems totally inept at survival under the dark sun by observing their complete lack of skill…
Moving onward they hear screams of terror as a young elf maiden was surrounded by a pack of horny Gith. Filled more with the passion of killing they slashed the Gith to pieces as the elf maiden ran away.
Following her trail they come upon the secret hideout of the elves. This region of Athas is dotted with thousand-year old ruins, but this one is unusually well-preserved. The stone walls are in good condition, but the upper floors of the towers have crumbled.
1,2: These towers are surrounded by rubble and now stand only about ten feet tall,
with no roofs. Inside each is one sentry.
3: This road, the only castle entrance, is lined by a 6. tall stone wall.
5,6: The lower two floors of these towers still stand. An elven family including two warriors (one male, one female) and three children camps on each tower floor. In each tower a sentry looks down at the band.
7,9,11: The walkways along these walls are where the tribe’s single elves sleep. You notice many crusty socks here.
8: This tower is similar to 5 and 6, save that the lower floor is occupied by five sentries.
12-14, 16-18: An elven family including two warriors (one male, one female) and three children camps in the foundations of the buildings that once stood here.
15: At any time, there are 2d10 elves in this courtyard.
19: This is where the tribe keeps its 100 kanks penned at night.
20: At any time, there are 2d10 elves gathered around the well,
21: This dry moat is now filled with offal and refuse.
The elves are not amused that this party of inept slaves found their secret fortress. The party concocted a plan to negotiate with the elves and they were bustled in to see their leader at spear point.
Tuga Dai cares only about his tribe. He told them that he would not release the druid, no matter what. He seemed surprised that they didn’t seem to press this issue. He was more interested in how they learned of his stronghold. When the party spoke of an alliance with the dwarves at Kled he was willing to listen. His daughter spoke up on behalf of the group seeing how they sort of saved her from getting raped by a gang of Gith.
Juga Dai knows that he has little chance of freeing the Jura Dai taken by the King of Urik, but he has to do something to strike
back. Perhaps they slaves could help him in some way… He decided to let them go back to Kled with an elf scout Fanan and Jengi his daughter.