We are introduced to the players’ characters. Crixius the gladiator half-giant awakes from bad dreams with a feeling of unease. Going out into the Elven Market he becomes convinced that someone is following him. He decides that he needs to get out of the city immediately, despite having never left it in his life. He hurries towards the Caravan District.
Quofire Heavensent, a deva and former servant of Kalak, has been camping out in one of the royal gardens. He is discovered by two noblemen, but they prove friendly. They whisper to him that it might be wise to leave the city for a time. He heads for the Caravan District.
Kavaki, a half-giant and itinerant treasure hunter, is nursing a nasty hang-over. Stumbling half-blindly through the streets he soon finds himself in the caravan district.
K’Tho is a mantis-like Thri-kreen shaman making his first visit to a great city of wood and stone. Fascinated by the life that fills it, he has wandered its streets for days. On this fateful morning two suspicious guards nudge him out of his corner and into the caravan district.
In the caravan district Kavaki nearly stumbles over a clumsy merchant who calls himself Lemuel the Unlucky. Lemuel and his slaves are loading a crate onto a cart when there is an accident. The crate breaks open and a huge lizard-like creature crawls out. It’s very presence causes the slaves to go mad with fear. Kavaki recognizes it as an id fiend. Crixius, notably, does not. The PCs, mostly in self-defense, draw weapons against it. But just as they have defeated the creature (and are sawing off keepsakes) two templar arrive on the scene. Lemuel, claims that the PCs are the ones who brought this dangerous creature within the city walls. When the templar approach, Quofire attempts to telekinetically push Lemuel into them. Having been attacked, the templar give chase. The group attempts to lose them in the crowd.
Suddenly a strange elf appears and beckons them to follow. When he has lead them to safety, he introduces himself as Kaldras. Kaldras saw them defeat the id fiend and would like to hire them to guard a load of iron which he has just purchased off the black market. He offers cash up front and more on completion. The PCs jump at the chance.
The caravan is bound east through the desert to Altaruk. The elves run the whole way, and the pace they set is grueling, but not too grueling for the PCs. In fact, they spot an ambush not far from Altaruk and are able to successfully fight off a small army of opportunistic bandits.
Just before nightfall on the third day of travel the dusty, grimy caravan roles into the prosperous trade outpost of Altaruk. The PCs have survived the desert. But what hidden dangers lurk in this oasis of civilization?