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We collected ourselves, and took stock of what we had. A dozen camels, some provisions, and our lives. We laid out what we had taken from the underground city so that we could best determine how to distribute it between ourselves and the camels. As it was late in the day, and we weren’t sure of our way back, we decided to wait until dark to travel, so that Adanel and Moridin could see the stars. We also felt like it would be better to avoid walking in the hot sun for days. While we waited, we occupied ourselves with trying to determine of the objects we had found. Moridin cast a spell to determine if any of the items were enchanted. It turned out that some were. A large pair of rings, a small ring, a large falchion, a tin full of ash and a necklace with a brown scale on it. As the others examined the items more closely, I pondered the situation. I found it amazing that, in all my prior years of serving Halav, I had never once encountered items such as I was seeing here. It was further confirmation to me that the path I had been set on was the right one. Kethlan asked for the necklace with the scale. How quickly one’s attitude changes regarding these items! Of the remaining items, we experimented with two. The first were large bronze rings. We determined in working with them that they act as a gate. You can put something through one and have it come out of the other! The uses of such an item are many. Why were these items banned? I could see with some items, the danger they posed. With others, they seemed benign and beneficial. As with many things, the hand of man can influence one’s perspective of anything.

We conducted an experiment with a small pinch of ash. On the cover of the tin we found it in, was a picture of a square, drawn in ash. Moridin took a pinch of the ash, and drew a small square on the sand. As soon as the square was complete, a small bubble of oil appeared, and then began to soak into the sand. After it soaked in, a small orange clay shard was left behind. After more experimentation, we determined that the ash, when made into larger squares, summoned barrels of oil. Unfortunately, as we found out too late, we should have used the entire contents. We wasted some barrels, and were only able to recover four. As night fell, we set out toward Abbashan. Finally, we arrived outside of town and Ravi led us around the outskirts of the city to Al Massar’s estate. As we neared the estate, we saw an enormous hole in the ground, with a tent in the courtyard of the estate and a fire nearby. We saw people inside the tent, and having determined that they saw us as well, we approached. As we got closer, we noticed that within the fire were burning bodies. I steeled myself for what might come next. We arrived in the courtyard, and were met by four men. The first of these men, a stout individual with fine desert garb and well-trimmed facial hair, called to us. He introduced himself as Faris Barooth, a Holy Crusader of some sort. He introduced the others: Medin of the Vouchery of the Provinces, an older gentlemen in nice robes. Usin, a young, thin man who had the look of an administrator and Al-Abba, the Dervish, a man of brown desert garb carrying a staff. Their titles were foreign to us, but it was fairly clear that they were here to investigate the happenings at the estate. Faris Barooth explained that they had been told of some foreigners in the area, as well as some strange happenings in this area. As it turned out, we were in violation of local laws when we tried to help “Urian” destroy the artifact. We were informed that it was the Vouchery’s responsibility to handle these sorts of issues and that we could be subject to punishment for their violation. Barooth said that while we acted foolishly, he did not believe we acted with malice. He said that he was going to track and destroy Al-Massar, and that we might be able to assist in this. I was hopeful that we would have this opportunity. Before we could, however, Barooth wanted to test our Faith in our respective Immortals, saying that only the Faithful could attend the quest. In turn, he asked us each about our Immortals and our beliefs with respect to Them. The discussion seemed to go well until Barooth asked Moridin. I was actually somewhat taken aback by his answer, which Barooth found lacking. I couldn’t blame him. Moridin again seemed evasive. Because of this, we were not allowed to attend Barooth on the hunt for Al-Massar. Additionally, Moridin was ordered to turn over all items that he had collected in the ruins of Jepuur, and we were collectively ordered to pay a 25% foreigner income tax. The loss was a setback, not only from a fund standpoint, but also since Moridin had carried many of the powders and arcane items collected from the ruins. As we parted ways, Zef surprised us all by having “retrieved” the bronze rings of transport. We left immediately for Fabia with no further mishap, thank Halav.

Once back in Fabia, we decided to try and purchase some items for trade. We met with Rufill, who delivered a missive from Captain Madsen. Madsen had some dyes that he had purchased in Fabia. His second favor was for us to trade these for a handsome profit. Additionally, he indicated that he would probably be applying for merchant-princehood soon, and he wanted us to find a new trade route for him to take to help accumulate more funds. His indication was that he wanted this done in Thyatis City, but he began to think how we might capitalize on this opportunity as well. We decided to purchase some dyes as well, and to start there. Over the next couple of weeks, we set out to improve Captain Madsen’s fortune as well as our own. In the non-guild ports, I handled matters of negotiation, as well the ledger of our profits and losses. I must admit, I enjoyed bargaining with the peoples of different lands. I hope to become better at it. We stopped at various ports, buying and selling. Finally, we landed at Thyatis City. Never in all my life have a seen such a place. Its’ splendor and size exceed that of any place I have seen. There we sold oil and treasure. We decided to sell back to Seahome, so we wanted to purchase some very fashionable clothing to sell there. We also found that the drydock there would get us a favorable price on the completion of repairs as well as new ballistas for the ship. While in the city, we met a man named Uma from Newarr in the Pearl Islands. He told us of a place, called the Hinterlands, far south of the guilds, Island 7, and the Isles of Dread. It was said that this place was home to the first few Thyatian kings, and that the country was making an attempt to bring it under Thyatian control. With new settlements, we thought, come settlers who would love to enjoy some comforts of home. We were able to get a map to this place, and determined that we would check it out as a possible route for Captain Madsen. We wrapped up matters in Thyatis city, and headed back to Seahome with the clothing. We sold it there, along with some silk, and began to prepare to sail to the Hinterlands. We’ve heard that this place is populated with a fearsome people. I wonder what else we may find there…

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