Agreeing to brave the sandworms and rolling desert, the three intelligencers set out from the Black City to seek out the ‘artifact’ the Herald has asked for in payment for the Purifiers.
Upon entering the strange rock formations, the body of a Black City citizen is found with wounds made by either a large weapon or a creature with great teeth and bones broken beyond recognition.
Using his particular powers, Solinar calls the man’s spirit back into his broken body temporarily to determine what killed him – the man described a sandworm that ‘came from the rock’.
Venturing further into the rock formation, the three stumble across two strangely attired individuals beating another Black City resident.
One of the strangers, a muscled man in strange spiked armour tied with fetishes beats the citizen with a weapon that burns flesh as the fearsome woman with black spikes through her skin watches in amusement.
A brief fight ensues, during which it becomes apparent the two are well-used to combat however Caelan’s skills prove sufficient to overpower the woman and Zeb carefully parts the man from his strange weapon.
Sol questions the strangers, determining they are scavengers from someplace they call the ‘Red Kingdom’ – a land only heard of in myth as a home to savages and barbarians. The woman appears to know more of the artifact, saying it is some sort of vessel or transportation device that the Black City wants to break down and ‘feed’ to their strange ‘Protector’.
After relieving them of their weapons, the three agree with the strangers that they can help them search for artifact and fend off any sandworms (which apparently congregate around the artifact).