Days lengthen into weeks, and still the Horror does not retaliate for the attack on its stronghold in Uqbar City. Clan Techiman repairs the Departure’s battle damage and steps up the training of new sailors. The rescued captives and the wounded militia recover from their injuries. Heresiarch Melancho holds another ceremony as more names are added to the Wall of Honor.
Life at Kaer Uqbar eventually settles into routine. Most people still live underground, although any who wish to see the surface are allowed time above ground. The initial surface defenses are completed: the wall at the cave mouth and the airship hangar.
Then the Heresiarch initiates an ambitious plan. Masons begin building a wall around the surface cave that will enclose enough area to hold an army. Barracks, armories, and supply caches will lessen immediate dependence upon the single elevator linking the Upper Defensive Works to the kaer proper. Smiths craft catapults and spear throwers in the mines and direct their assembly at the surface. These will be mounted at strong points on the new walls.
Each day still begins and ends hot and dry. Clouds are a rare sight. Yet everyone soon expects a storm to break.
Finally, Oglat, Shynya, Mishka, and Yaryar are summoned to a meeting in the Heresiarch’s quarters. Only the Heresiarch, Timekeeper Shaylar Erarnine, and the characters are present. A staff, a bow, a sword, and a locket are arrayed upon the table before Shaylar.
Melancho discusses the current situation regarding the Horror. Regular airship patrols have detected no advances on Kaer Uqbar, although activity has been observed around Uqbar City. Combined with information provided by the former Camel Hunter Toujou, the airship patrols have mapped out an area of Horror control stretching from Uqbar City to the Tamanrasset River. The airship has not ventured south of the river, and so Melancho does not know how far the Horror’s dominion extends.
However, scribes have drawn a revised map of the Kaer Uqbar area, which Melancho shows to the characters. He also gives them a copy.
Melancho states that the characters have proven themselves as an irregular force that can handle unusual missions. They found the Camel Hunters and rescued the body of Farid Attar from a cellar in Uqbar City. Farid was an ancestor of Jaromir, and by possessing this body the Horror hoped it could create a link to Vorengehen’s Blade, the sword Jaromir had possessed for so long. With the body in hand, such a link is no longer possible, and Melancho can now unlock the powers of the sword.
For these reasons and more, Melancho has decided to give each character a powerful magic item from the kaer stores. Some research has already been completed to assist them in unlocking the powers of these unique items. Shaylar distributes the items.
Oglat receives Retribution, the sword Jaromir Hladek took into battle against a Horror 50 years ago. Jaromir dropped that sword when he retrieved Vorengehen’s blade from the fallen Heresiarch Govac. The sword was recovered from amongst the bones of the dead in the Upper Defensive Works.
Shynya receives the Crystal Staff of Oberon. Shaylar tells of how the first Timekeeper, Shyn Bandahur, brought the staff into Kaer Uqbar.
Mishka receives the Longbow of Fiery Destruction. This bow was liberated from Uqbar City before the Scourge.
Yaaryar receives the locket known as Vorengehen’s Last Stand. Tfarity Farcya, whose ancestor Boukra fought beside Vorengehen centuries before the Scourge, personally gave the locket to Melancho.
The characters will have some time to become acquainted with these items. Then, Melancho has a special mission for them. The kaer must gain allies, and so he would like the characters to journey north past empty Akhicha Lake and search for the nomadic camel riders mentioned by Toujou.
One evening about two weeks later, the characters journey north from Kaer Uqbar. On the first day they observe a large winged creature approach within a mile, apparently flying a search pattern. The next day they reach the lakebed and encounter a male troll and a female dwarf on foot, wearing brown robes with red sashes. The newcomers introduce themselves as members of the Clan Chenachane kaysari; the troll names himself Chaggueret Bunyoro and the dwarf Abuja Aguelhok.
Although the characters act somewhat rude and make immediate demands of the Chenachane, the nomads take it in stride and perform a whirling dance to prove they are not Marked. Oglat draws a picture upon the ground to show he is not Marked, but none of the other characters offer proof of their own.
A general discussion ensues where the character try to get as much information as possible from the nomads while giving away as little as possible. The nomads ignore questions regarding the size of their clan, but do discuss some of the politics of the desert. In fact, the Chenachane do not control the land near Kaer Uqbar or Lake Akhicha; this area belongs to Clan Kenchela. The Chenachane are here to observe the site of a recent battle between the Kenchela and the forces of the Horror (which the nomads call Nameless One). They believe the battle sapped enough Kenchela strength that the clan cannot presently enforce it rule in this area.
Further talk is cut short as a number of constructs advance on the combined group. Most constructs are easily destroyed. Yet one becomes invisible and escapes toward the south, which is the direction of Horror controlled Uqbar City.