The party makes it’s way inside the Face in Stone to discover a tribe of vicious hejkins. One of the beasts swaps places with Lo-Kag via teleportation and the goliath is set upon by several of the small monsters. The mouth of the cave is bordered by two large columns which reveal themselves to be traps when Ilikan moves between them. Expech Tuhuy is also a victim of the trap. The battle is hard-fought but eventually leads to the party’s defeat. At the last minute, the monk, Ulmo, appears and saves the survivors of the massacre and proves instrumental in turning the tide in the heroes’ favor.
With the cave entrance cleared, finally, the group penetrates deeper into the cliff face to find another cavern—with more hejkins! A hejkin chief sounds a chitinous gong that reverberates through the chamber, summoning a Chuul from a nearby pool of water. The chuul attacks Expech Tuhuy with its vicious pincer-claws and severs the shaman’s body into 3 separate sections—lifelessly tumbling to the stone floor. The only sound to escape the shaman’s mouth is a mewling whimper, as a still-surprised look is frozen on his dead face.
Joined, as luck would have it, by a Mul fighter Bost the surviving party members defeat the hejkin and find valuable treasure.
Oblidai felt the Shaman’s death before he was even told. The elements called out to him in mourning, Expech’s spirit was no longer part of this world but had moved beyond the veil into the next. The spirit called out to him as Oblidai had a connection to the mystical leader of the qwam. The tribe needed him and he felt it essential to follow in his master’s footsteps and find the face in the stone. Hopefully he could find Korek riikqhari the Thri-Kreen monk there and bring peace and honor in remembrance of Expech Tuhuy (DEAD).
Oblidai requested a mul battlemind accompany him from the Gith-attala as they attempted to find this “face in the stone”. The spirit of Expech called to Oblidai and they had little difficulty finding the giant dust devil concealing the temple’s entrance. The dust storm hung in place over a cliff wall. A twirling twisting pillar of blowing dust and sand ascended at least 50 feet into the sky. It screamed over the dead plain, promising stinging death to those who entered its skirts.
A few remaining dwarven obsidian traders confirmed that Expech and the other adventurers went into the storm to find the Face in the Stone. They were on their way to Kled as they were attacked by raiders who for some reason threw the rest of their caravan into the storm to die. These raiders were apparently led by the infamous Yarnath the Skull who operates from a mysterious citadel known as Slither. They waited a few days now, recovering from their wounds and had not seen any signs of the party – not wanting to wait any longer, as their supplies were dwindling, and they felt they were now strong enough to brave the desert. They wished us luck as we headed into the storm and probable death.
As the storm tore at Oblidai and his friend he used his own dust devil companion to shield them from the worst of it and they made it through to the eye of the storm relatively unscathed. Coming to a strange carved face they knew they had reached their destination. Passing into the cool dark cave they came across several remains of goat-like creatures, they passed a cool stream which they paused to refill their depleted water skins and came upon Karek and the rest of his crew. He greeted them in typical Tri-Kreen coolness but with respect. He explained to them the passing of Expech and the sacrifice he had made for their Quam. Expech’s body was cut in pieces and Oblidai ceremoniously rubbed oils on his body and prepared a sacred funeral pyre. They told stories of the wise shaman and as the pyre light flickered and went out Oblidai collected some of his ash to return to the Gith-attala.