The party shops for camels, rations, and water skins, spending several hundred gold with Salam Haddim, whom is more than happy to provide what is needed. They then pack up and set off with Bertrand, their guide to Emberhold.
Scardock stays behind to organize transport back to the Empire on a ship. He requests some gold to facilitate this. Quinn provides 100gp and Scardock makes his way towards the town brothel.
Badger Cobblesprocket-De’Voir, Bertrand, Lady Celeste Montaigne, Clark Wainwright, Gregory (Banner) Smith, and Quinn set off on their journey. The first day of travel goes on without incident. The party sets up camp and Bertrand hunts snakes and shows the party how to extract the venom glands behind the fangs, which he carefully harvests. Quinn takes a fang as a guitar pick. The night is uneventful other than a brief rain.
The next day, Greg wanders slightly off of the path and suddenly finds himself waist deep in quicksand, sinking fast. Bertrand swiftly strings his blow and kills the camel just before its head sinks below the muck. The party pulls Greg out with a rope. He narrowly saves his equipment thanks to his immense strength. That night, the party arrives at an oasis and Bertrand spends some time speaking with some desert nomads who have also set up camp, exchanging news. The party learns that the various princes of Telnesthene are gearing up for the war season. The night is uneventful.
On the third day, on a rocky outcropping, Badger loses control of his camel, and the camel slides down a slope, breaking its leg. The party manages to restrain the creature long enough to set the bone, pouring a healing potion onto it, healing the break. Despite this treatment, the camel is still limping and is unable to bear weight. With the loss of two camels, the group’s movement is slowed. A storm begins to pick up later in the evening and the party quickly makes camp at Bertrand’s direction as a large sandstorm makes its way across the horizon. They bring the remaining camels inside of the large tent just as the storm hits. Greg, Badger, and Quinn are kept awake by the howling wind and are exhausted in the morning.
The fourth day is uneventful. Bertrand kills and eagle, harvesting its long feathers for his arrows, and cooking the meat for consumption. That night, as Clarke is standing watch, he notices 5 humanoid figures shambling towards the camp. Clarke calls out to them, but receives no response and immediately goes to wake his companions. The party wakes as the figures arrive and they encounter the second undead encounter in their lives as five mummies attack. Quinn, Badger, and Greg are afflicted by the curses of the mummies before the creatures are destroyed. The Thorns loot the bodies and manage to get back to sleep.
The fifth day and night of travel are uneventful, though the travel is slow. Those affected by curses weaken further.
On the sixth day, the party encounters a ruined caravan with streaks of glass in the sand. Bertrand concludes that it is the result of a Dragon attack. It appears that anything of value has been taken. That night, they arrive at Emberhold.
Bertrand guides the party to the only temple in the city and find it is a dedicated temple to Boccob, who has died, though some of his divine influence still lingers in the world. Bertrand then goes to call upon the Pasha. The party donates 800 gold to have their curses removed, and their wounds healed. They are ritually washed and bled until their curses dissipate. Clarke peruses the library of scrolls but cannot decipher the language.
The party sleeps peacefully that night at the Inn. The next day, they are granted audience to meet Pasha Vakaj, the massive efreeti who rules over Emberhold. During the conversation, the party learns that Vakaj is the patron of their ally, Amir K’Tar. In exchange for contacting The Whispers, Vakaj requests payment in the form of a service. He offers the party a choice between retrieving an item from an old tomb, destroying a raiding camp, or killing the dragon that has been plaguing his lands. The party volunteers to deal with the tomb.
In preparation for their journey, the Thorns return to the temple of Baccob to learn more about the tomb they are preparing to raid. The head priest is horrified when he learns the party is going to be entering the tomb as it is the final resting place of their patron Boccob, and it should not be disturbed. The priest immediately leaves and goes to speak with the Pasha about this. He does not return.
Badger bribes an acolyte to get into the library and uses his comprehension of languages to learn that Boccob predicted his own death hundreds of years ago and that his followers constructed a tomb for him in preparation for his passing. All records of the construction were destroyed as part of the defence of the tomb.
Badger the petitions another meeting with the Pasha, this time in private with the purpose of being allowed to speak to his court wizard. He is told ahead of time to bring a gift in order to make such a request. Two days later he is brought to see the prince. Vakaj is bathing in a small pool of molten lava. Badger has a hard time due to the proximity of the heat, but sweats his way through the conversation. He attempts to offer his patented fireproof clothing to the Pasha for his followers. The Pasha is unimpressed by this offering as much of his power comes from fear as a means of control and the idea of his subjects being resistant to fire does not appease him. He suggests Badger instead offer never to manufacture or share knowledge of his invention as a gift instead. Badger attempts to change the subject by offering a small stone figurine as a gift. Vakaj suggests he could just kill Badger instead as a means to ensure his inventions are never produced. Badger suggests this would not be effective as copies of his schematics are at his lab in Ferros. Vakaj says this is not a problem as he could send word to Amir to collect and destroy these things. In desperation, Badger asks if the Pasha needs anyone killed, because Badger can do that for him. This seems to intrigue the prince and he leads Badger to an underground dungeon where the temple priest of Baccob is being held in a cage. Badger does not hesitate to burn the priest alive despite the pleas from the priest. As a reward for this service, the Pasha shows Badger his stone garden, adorned with the preserved charred bodies set up in poses like statues. He then dismisses Badger who bids a hasty retreat.
Badger does not mention his encounter to the group. The party rests for a week, not leaving the Inn. They then restock on adventuring gear and purchase some healing potions. Bertrand leads them to the temple.
On the third day of travel, Greg’s camel is bitten by a poisonous snake. Greg swiftly kills the snake and administers an anti-venom to his mount, saving it. The party camps outside the Tomb of Baccob. In the morning, their camp is covered in tracks and their camels are missing.