The tortuous journey across the desert wasteland of Athas finally came to a temporary safe haven in the form of a half-buried ruined tower, discovered on the edge of a pertified forest. The evening began with the party recovering from their recent battle against a hunting pack of behemoths and resting through the hottest part of the day in the crudely made shelter from the leathery skinwing they slew. As they resumed their journey, they saw a single figure on a dune to the west. Upon being spotted, he was soon out of sight to the west. He left elven boot-prints pointing inexorably to the west.
The group followed him throughout the chill night and at dawn they entered a valley that was filled with a petrified forest. The tracks continued along the edge of the forest. When the day got to its hottest point, the party rested, but due to sun-sickness, were unable to regain more than a single healing surge, and this was while being aided by the magical healing skills of Poppy. When the sun began its decline towards the mountains the party continued their journey along the edge of the broken stones of the petrified forest. The tracks were much diminished by the shifting sands, but it continued west, and then curved southwest to follow the edge of the stone forest. The party chose to follow the tracks, and as the sun fell on their third day in Dark Sun, they spotted a tower, half ruined, with a dark door yawning atop a flight of stone steps. It spelled sweet, cool relief to the half dead heroes of Winterhaven. Felipe went forward to investigate. She found a bundle wrapped in leather and left on the steps. It was opened to reveal a set of banana-like fruits and a scroll case made from a thighbone and stoppered with a cork.
And then they explored the tower, made up of an upper and lower chamber, where they discovered the abandoned wealth of a tribe of desert raiders. Poppy was trained in the ways of thievery and banditry, and she knew the bandits would not leave their plunder untrapped. And indeed, Poppy found an asp hiding in the wicker basket, and then she sprung the poisoned needle in the bronze chest. She was too injured by the venom to unlock the chest, so each member tried until Felipe managed to get it open.
O let me recount the items the party received in this vast treasure hoard:
Robe of Eyes +2
Cloak of Ravenkind +2
Goblin Long Sword +2
Staff of the War Wizard +2
Lucky Charm +2
Helm of the Boar +2
Shroud of something
Scroll of make whole
Rope of Climbing
The scrollcase that was provided with the fruit was cracked open and revealed to be written in the language of magic, however the alphabet used was unknown to them until Poppy gtave her magic reading glasses to Molly. Molly began to read about the method of Preservation Magic which will allow her to cast spells without damaging the life force around her.
Also included in the hoard were a tall sealed urn of whiskey, 3 bolts of silk cloth, one each of white, orange, and dusky pink, with included tent poles. Also in the room was an old ceramic oil lamp. Against one wall was a heavy stone door, and wedges of stone had been hammered into the cracks around it, locking it tightly closed. The party decided to ignore the door and made camp next to it. Hours later Poppy was on guard at the doorway above,staring across the silent dunes, when 6 ghostly skeletons passed insubstantially through the door and solidified in the midst of the sleepers. The skeletons wore the rotting garb of desert dwelling nomadic marauders, and they were what wass left of the bandits who once used this hide-out.
The fight was short but intense. The skeletons had a moment of surprise to hack into the sleepers, and Molly, Felipe and Tara each were injured. 3 of the skeletal warriors swung great axes while the other 3 held shortswords and longbows.Thokk sprang up and leapt down the stairs to hit a skeleton. Tara pounced across the room to engage the back lines while Felipe repeatedly burst into a swarm of insects to distract, sting, and damage the undead. When Poppy arrived on the scene she took one look at the least damaged skeleton and struck it with divine wrath, doing tons of radiant damage and drawing the foe closer. She then proceeded to hack it to bits with her great sword. Molly, struck while sleeping, made a quick escape up onto the stairs, and from there began to rain spells down onto the enemy. Magic missiles and orbs of energy cast lurid flashes across the dark walls.
After the fight, the party scavenged some poor quality weapons from the undead, including longbows for Thokk and Tara as well as 25 arrows apiece, some rusting short swords, and three great axes. With the battle over, they waited for dawn and began deciding how to approach the day. The rising sun revealed more details of the landscape. The Petrified forest extended in a great arc to the south, and beyond the broken stone trunks, they could see the edge of a once great city now half buried and abandoned beneath the sands. To the east, could be seen a band of 6 mantis men marching stright toward them, warriors wielding crude weapons.
They had a few moments to prepare, and they were ready when the war party of thri kreen approached. The thri kreen threatened and demanded in a language the party did not understand, and so hostilities broke out. Molly was hidden amongst the rubble of the tower top, and rained magic missiles down upon the enemy with impunity. The rest of the party charged forward and engaged the enemy. One of the mantis warriors was a shaman and he cast a spell which knocked Thokk and Poppy back and into quicksand. Another spell by the shaman blinded Felipe, and one of the lions of Tara, who had also come out to play. The lions were ferocious that day, and they slew first one, then a second thri kreen in that sun baked battle. Felkipe once again burst into clouds of stinging insects, and the shaman was soon destroyed by Felipe and the magic missiles of Molly.
Meanwhile Thokk fired an arrow from his new longobw while up to his chest in quicksand and managed to do his share of damage to the shaman while the two nearest instect men battered him with psychic mind thrusts while their alien eyes mesmerized him. Poppy pulled herself out of the quicksand and began hacking through the mantis warriors one after the other until soon nothing was left standing on the bloody steaming sands but the heroes of Winterhaven. Sunburnt and scoured by the sifting sands the stood ready for another hot day in Dark Sun.