After the battle with the Ghibli, our heroes rejoin Aziz and head towards the meeting place.
_The camp is not yet in sight, but your presence has been detected. Up ahead, four riders, their faces concealed beneath sand hoods, sit upon camels. They carry weapons, but all are safely in their scabbards. One of them waves and urges the mount forward at a trot. The rest follow.
As the figure approaches, it pulls back its scarf to reveal a beautiful female face, with large brown eyes and soft, delicate features. Only the steely look in her eyes reveals this is a woman accustomed to the harshness of desert life.
She touches her hand to her heart, mouth, and forehead, a traditional greeting across Al-Shirkuh, and smiles broadly. “Greetings and the blessings of Suleiman upon you, illustrious travellers! I am Beyah Salima dar-Hassim dar-Alaghari,” she beams, “the daughter of Sheikh Hassim. I trust you are the merchant Aziz and his escort?”_
After a positive response, the group heads towards the camp Salima peppers Araceli with many questions about her homeland. She also warmly welcomed Salim as his tribe was favored by the Alaghari, while Ahmed was ignored by as his tribe was not. At the camp, the group was welcomed and refreshments were provided. Salim prevented Aziz from committing a few faux pas and informed him of the specific traditions of the tribe. All went well for the evening. The group picked up a rumor – wise men say this region is haunted. There is a necropolis somewhere nearby where the dead do not stay in their graves, and sometimes they wander onto the trade road.
Araceli and Menivis have a shared dream about the pyramid that they obtained their curse, reliving much of the horror of the place. They awake and discover a scarab in the common room of the guest’s tend just sitting there, “looking” at them. Menivis carefully puts a clothe over the scarab and backs out of the tent. They wonder if the rumor they heard is tide to the event.
The group spent the next day meandering around the camp as Aziz negotiated with the Sheik. Then all Abyss broke loose as Aziz come running out of the tent and screams “murder!” As people run and scream, men made of sand rise up from the ground! A fierce battle breaks out in the oasis. Araceli is gravely wounded, but the heroics of Salim and Ahmed save her life. Tabari is also injured during the battle. But Ahmed and Menivis turn the tide of the battle, eventually destroying the living sand creatures.
As people try to figure out what happened Aziji the Ugly claims that the newcomers did this. As tempers flair, a partially recovered Araceli seeks out Salima, who is in shock at her father’s death. She rallies the girl, and she backs the tribe down. They seek out Bushra the healer, who is said to hear the words of the Jinn on the wind.
_“Your father was a good man, Beyah Salima dar-Hassim,” she says. “He will be sorely missed in this world, but it was his time to pass over and join Asha, and nothing could prevent that.
“A terrible evil is awakening beneath the desert, an evil that has slumbered for long centuries. The jinn do not speak its name, for even they are fearful, but there is perhaps one who knows it and who will whisper it into your ears. You must visit the Old Man of the Dunes and seek his wisdom. Be warned, though, his services do not come easily.”
Salima quickly makes up her mind.
“I shall ride out with the warriors and make a bargain with the Old Man. Then my father shall be avenged and his spirit able to rest peacefully.”_
The group quickly steps in and volunteers to go, as Salima’s people need her in the aftermath of the attack. Tabari has head of the Old Man of the Dunes and knows he is a greater Jinn that was spared when we agreed to follow the ways of Suleiman. Salim added that he heard that the Old Man was very fond of honey.
The tribe’s honey was all used up in the feast. Salima tells them where they get their honey. Arriving at the spire, the group sees football sized bees flying about. After a bit of plotting, they are able to get a total of seven pounds of honey, including one pound that was from the Cloak of the Feast. Salim was the top honey collector.