The adventurers left Slither, escaping seemingly without alerting any guards, and regrouped with their crodlu mounts. They rapidly agreed that a quick and aggressive flight from Slither back to Koth was in order, as none of them had any interest in battling the lich Yarnath. Kivrin performed what Elon Mistwild determined was some sort of warding ritual while Kavak and Drax prepared themselves and their mounts for a long and difficult trek. Leveraging Kavak’s psionic direction sense abilities, they adventurers set out at a brisk pace for Koth.
Elon and Kivrin argued at length (in elven) about who should retain possession of the Blood Jewel, and while they were hired to grab it for the Veiled Alliance and Kivrin was their representative, at long last (hours and hours later) Elon managed to convince him that he should keep it… for safekeeping. And while there were some signs of being followed at a great distance, the adventurers pressed on for a great while, stopping only after Kavak began to succumb to exhaustion. Picking out what seemed like a defensive site, the group made camp as a sandstorm threatened in the distance. It grew stronger but as light dawned, it became clear that the area surrounding their camp was warded against it, as it whirled around them at a distance, powerfully but harmlessly. Five figures came out of the storm, a half elf woman and four male thugs. She accused them of being servants of Yarnath come to despoil her shrine, and despite reasonable efforts to persuade her otherwise, it was clear that her time in the wilds had lead to madness, and Elon’s words fell on deaf ears as she attacked. The men, announcing them as her children, transformed themselves into lizard-like beasts and pounced forward, while she invoked the primal powers of the land. Her sons fell quickly to the adventurers blades, but the druid’s ritual was completed and a lava spirit burst forth from the shrine, and attacked the group. The struggle was intense and powerful, with the lava spirit searing and burning, and the druid trying to escape the relentless pursuit of Drax, but in the end the adventurers were successful.
Regaining their strength, they allowed the sandstorm to die down (which it did surprisingly quickly after the druid fell), and they continued on, traveling across the badlands of the desert wastes. After a few days of travel, they stumbled upon a badly wounded Half-Giant, who upon closer inspection turned out to be from the Thundercrag Tribe. Showing signs of long-time abuse, the escaped slave was also covered in fresher cuts and a missing tongue. Through trial and error Kavak determined his fellow tribemember (who he recalled vaguely but not his name) had escaped from an Urik controlled quarry, and that other tribe members where still there. Making camp, the band was set upon in the night by a group of halfling slave catchers. After cutting them down, they discovered that not only were the halflings from Ogo (a distant halfling community that has an alliance with Urik and sends members to serve Urik every year) but that they had drawings of Drax, Elon, Kavak, and Bellem.