Having stayed in Altaruk, the party is summoned to the estate of it’s governor, Lord “Aris” Arisphistaneles.
“My new friends, the time for your initiation into the Veiled Alliance has come!” The lord hands you an unsealed scroll of papyrus. It reads:
Greetings from House ShomWe’ve sent messengers throughout the Tyr region to deliver this communication to those of a mercenary guise. If you be such, and you wish to earn a great reward, read on. Desert raiders harass and disrupt our caravans, yet the Revolutionary Council of Tyr will not lift a finger to help. Thus, honest merchants must find aid elsewhere. The raiders claim that our caravans know the site of a ruined temple called the Face in Stone. They say if we give up the location, their attacks will cease. But we know nothing of the ruin. Moreover, a Shom caravan seeking to find the Face in the Stone never returned. Our request is this: Find the Face in Stone, learn the fate of our lost caravan and provide assistance to any survivors. All we have concerning the ruin’s location is a line from an old song:
‘Where the devil’s horn threads the tunnel in the sky, a stony visage rarely blinks its hollow eye.’
Return with your findings to our emporium in Tyr, and you will be heralded as heroes of House Shom.
Regards, Delem Shom."
Eagerly awaiting the chance to join with a force for good in this godsforsaken place, you all make haste to leave Altaruk, en route to the mountains around Tyr. Making your way through the myriad stalls, booths and tents of the Elven Market, you’re set upon by a large group of dwarves, thri-kreen and men. The apparent leader, a human named Sarhan, who bears the roaring lion symbol of Urik, steps forward and speaks.
“This is your lucky day, dogs of Tyr! The Lion God, Hamanu, has chosen YOU to join the ranks of His worshipers. You should feel honored! However, I’m afraid this is going to hurt. A lot!"
A group of elves, armed with throwing chatkchas appears on the roofs of two nearby buildings. Then, a group of sturdy looking dwarves advance on the party, followed by Sarhan. Finally, a pair of bounding thri-kreen warriors blocks any possible exit from the melee. Although strong, your group doesn’t fare well against this numericaly and tactically superior force. You are quickly defeated, but, surprisingly, left alive and unconcious. When you awaken, you notice that three of you have small lion-head tattoos on your wrist. No sign of Sarhan or his forces is found.
Disturbed by these events, but undeterred, you set out for Tyr to find this Face in Stone place-wherever it may be. Outside of Tyr, you’re ambushed by large spiders, seemingly made of crystal.
These are easily defeated (it seems that the spiders didn’t have enough time to take advantage of their terrain… ). After several more hours wandering through the desert and foothills of the Ringing Mountains, you come across a large gathering. A huge dust devil swirls amidst a cliff-face. Several large rock beds are surrounded by Tarek raiders and a few human bandits. Also, you spot several unarmed humans who are bound and being held captive. Several are being thrown into the midst of the Dust Devil—not to return.
Combat is joined and, soon enough, the Tarek are routed, but only 4 humans remain alive. You briefly interrogate the humans and learn that they are all that remains of a large caravan sent by House Shom to find the Face in Stone. Although they failed to find it, they believe that it lies beyond the Dust Devil.
All of you make it through the immobile dust storm and there, in front of you, is a giant humanoid face carved into a cliff face. You’ve found the Face in Stone!