An odd braying sound catches your attention, turning a street corner you see a resplendent camel, silk tassels and handsomely brushed. One hump, Two, three, five? Seven – striding on 16 legs. Three white draped figures ride the beast to the Tunjany Clantree. Welcomed by Clanlady Dew - the travelers set a quick tent under the branches.
Before evening settles, the time difference catches up with the travelers from the other side of the world. They begin what would normally be an evening story at mid-morning.
A cream chocolate colored human dressed in a loose white, flips open her robe to reveal a richly colored series of silks with exotic gold braids. The older woman addresses the curios onlookers - “I am Aleka-sandra, a merchant from Mal'covia. May the Morning's Mountain Shade touch your Luck's Path.”
As she continues, it is obvious that she is a story-teller in an old merchant's tradition. She winds a tale from which you easily garner that she is a long range merchant that travels down from the top of Malcovia over the desert where the Spine of the World Turns to run to 'the end of All-Land'. There is a part of her tale filled with thieves, whirlwind genies and sandstorms of insects that can strip a beast to bones in seconds – but as she weaves these tales, you pick out a common place in the hot desert where the sand turns to sulfur – and in this place that you would expect hell – is an Oasis.
The Waban Oasis – home of the east wind – is made by a dragon known as Pyaras – or Rock. Years ago, clerics made a bargain with the dragon (which is a tale all by itself) and people are allowed this primary place on the road for the gift of books, gold, figs and Pig. It makes the journey in this inhabitable place – possible. Rarely do the merchants see Pyaras – but there have been some who do talk to the Voice of the Mountain Shade.
Lately, the desert tells us that something is wrong. A blackened ring of vultures circling as night begins to fall speak of a great dead. A desert child speaks of the sand holding marks of a great battle. I am told there is no song of waking in the Spine's Morning. The Magi's bell chorus is short a voice.
Three Merchant Trains have come back from the desert saying the Waban no longer welcomes travelers – figs, pigs or no.
The people of Malcovia's Setting Sun need this road. We are willing to make stories to open it again – but alas – a curse is leveled upon the people of the World's End – and we can not approach.
Therefore, I have asked the Whirlwinds of Fate's loom to bring me to were there might be help. They have brought me here. There is Dead, Water and perhaps Song, and all need eyes and cleverness.
We will rest here, and be fresh to speak in the morning.
The group chose the Oasis, since that was the hardest concern of the merchants - as it effected so many people. They were given fig and pig as gift - and carried off to the site.
they were attacked by drawn runes along the path, a desert centipede centaur, empty cloths (that actually had dust in them), water snakes with a bite you couldn't feel, a the odd center of the oasis - an oak tree that spoke draconic.
The oak tree found that YikYik could speak draconic as well - and asked to be killed. The kobold promised that something would be done - but the fate it the tree's master is in question and they did not want to end the tree yet...