After the victory over the orcs and the restoration of the land to the people, out of the hands of the (now) old Mayor, Daosin and Fitz went back through the tunnel (guarded by the now very friendly talking trapdoor) to see Sensei Kento. He tells them they must continue south through the forest and desert to reach the sacred grove. He points them towards a guide, who lives on the outskirts of the desert, who may help them but warns them that he may try to swindle them. Whilst they are with Kento, both adventurers spend time in the magical realm and gain some extra skills. As they leave, Kento gives them a special tool, called Sand Clams’ Bane.
After a little hold up with the town guards (quickly resolved by Kento’s Ninjas) the adventurers head out along the south road through the forest towards the desert. As they are walking through the woods, they hear crashing through the trees and a troll bursts out on to the road. he quickly picks up the adventurers, but in a very gentle and un-Troll-like way. They get taken back to the troll’s home and placed in some comfy straw. The troll seems to think they are baby trolls. It turns out that the troll had previously made friends with a human child – Fitz found the child’s diary in a chest the troll had. Through noises and sign-language the adventurers find out that the troll would very much like a picture of the child to keep – his name is Connor and he has orange hair, green eyes, and brown skin. The troll likes the adventurers so he gives them one of his jewelled toys and the adventurers go on their way.
Finally, they reach the desert and a large hut. They knock on the door and a man answers – it is the guide and he asks the adventurers to pay a large amount for board and lodgings for the night. The adventurers decide to sleep outside instead and divine that it would probably be better to still get the services of the guide. In the morning, they go back to the guide and negotiate a price for crossing the desert (200gc). They wait whilst the guide is getting his equipment together and Fitz gets a sense that something important is behind a door in the room they’re in so he goes to investigate and finds a dwarf tied up in a small room. He frees the dwarf and finds out that the guide had imprisoned the dwarf because the dwarf was crushing Sand Clams. Fitz goes back up to see the guide to get the dwarf’s hammer back and finds out that the guide had a special chicken, which got changed into a Sand Clam and lost, which is why he didn’t want anyone smashing them up. They make a deal that the guide will take them across the desert, the adventurers will help him find his chicken/clam, and then set the dwarf free to smash away. The dwarf accepts the deal, so Gaspode stays behind to guard the dwarf and everyone else set off across the desert.
Daosin managed to get his leg caught in a Sand Clam and the guide helps him get out by telling him to keep still and relax. The clam lets go. A little further on, a sand worm attacked and the guide didn’t manage to get everyone to run in the right direction, so all three of them were surrounded. A battle starts, but the worm is very big and strong and it isn’t going well. Fitz is on his last legs when, out of the blue, a dragon flies over and, smelling the worm’s blood, swoops down and inadvertently saves the adventurers and guide from a wormy death.
After a brief argument with the guide over his obvious lack of guiding skill (for which he gives them a discount of 100gc), they continue across the desert and reach the edge of a dark forest…..