The ancient crypt doors bend and break under the force of Kathaalis’ well-placed kick. Splinters of wood ricochet in several directions as the seal of the tomb is destroyed. A non-stagnant, hot wind bellows down the dust-ridden hall. The sky outside is painted a dense yellow hue, and a smoldering sun hangs overhead. The light of day casts down on a barren mountain, one which holds the crypt you just emerged from…and overshadows the great city-state Balic. The thick Athasian heat permeates everything, and your brows bead with fresh sweat.
The party assesses the area they have emerged to. They discover another aperture on the mountain that levels out with the crypt’s entrance. Kathaalis, Asis, and Dalamar assume this aperture was used to dump them into the crypt, although the height of the fall seems too daunting to survive from. They begin to piece together the potential events that transpired previous to their awakening. It appears as though the templars must have thrown them into the crypt after their disastrous meeting with them…
Dalamar is the first to notice that his skin is a a sickly, greyish pale. Asis also notices a variation in her skin’s color. The characters are thirsty and weak, and decide they need to make it off of the mountain and seek sustenance in Balic.
The party eventually descends Mount Laeron without encountering anything dangerous. They gather in Balic, and keep a low-profile as to not attract attention from the templars who assaulted them. The group manages to buy water and food, but their concerns continue to grow to find someone to analyze their condition. Dalamar, Asis, and Kathaalis make their way into a pavilion where local and foreign priests are sanctioned the opportunity to use permitted magics in order to tend to the sick. Only those with money are allowed a visitation, and the party scrounges enough ceramic pieces to see a priest.
The priest they meet is a soft-spoken, dark-skinned human. He introduces himself as Armeis, a traveling healer from the city of Urik. The party discusses their dire situation after some coaxing from the Urikite priest. Armeis is intrigued when Dalamar speaks of the reason they were visiting him in the first place; a strange obelisk was stolen from them by the Praetors, and then dumped them into the nigh-forgotten crypts of Mount Laeron. Armeis permits them to take some enchanted potions to assist in alleviation, but tells the group that he does not have a potent-enough spell to heal them of their bizarre disease. Armeis overhears that the characters know of an old druid named Veloc, who is skilled in atypical magics. Armeis also warns the group that non-sanctioned magic in the city was punishable by imprisonment or death, so they would be wise to avoid seeking other casters in Balic.
The group arranges a contract with a small traveling caravan (working for the merchant House Reese). The agreement is that they will tag along with the caravan until they reach the rocky badlands some 60 miles west. The caravan’s added protection and supplies should help the party’s trek out to see Veloc. Armeis is curious about the party’s plight, and offers to attend the meeting with the old druid if they will permit him to join them. The characters agree and Armeis begins to pack his things for departure.
The caravan leaves Balic the very next day, and the party begins their near-week long expedition to Veloc.