The group recovered from their brush with the burrowing Anakores and headed back to the road toward Silver Springs Oasis, a further 2 days journey. The sun beat down on them as they plodded along, chatting to passing caravan merchants and plying them for information about Ulruun's House Shom carriages, but none were able to provide any new information.
Just before dawn on the final day before Silver Springs, Gretchan's keen ears detected the jingling of bells from out in the sand dunes to the north of the road. Though faint, the noise was familiar to Gretchan and she recalled it was a signature call from a group of evil fey, known as Belgoi. They roam the desert sands in nomadic groups preying on lone travellers and poorly defended caravans. It is rumoured that they even eat the bodies of their kills! Fortunately no sign of the creatures emerged and the eerie jingling died away.
The group made it into Silver Springs Oasis without any further interruption and upon arrival set about divining information from the locals and other travellers throughout the encampment. The sheer lack of any kind of tact, knowledge or diplomacy evidenced by the group failed to provide any information about Ulruun until Gretchan again, probably as a rare, educated female, was able to prise the knowledge that Ulruun had left at dusk the previous day and headed north from the encampment. This reinforced the group that they were on the right track.
Just as they were discussing the information, they were approcahed by a sly, suspicious and greasy looking fellow approached the group, appealing to their good-natured side to convince them to fight in a mini pit fight staged by the encampment's chief. He confidently reassured all of you that you would be well compensated with money & even some crodlu! Slowly they managed to also determine that there had recently been captured a creature of gigantic size that was to be the pinnacle of the fight, and should they defeat that, then the Chief himself would personally donate two items of great power for the spectacle.
The group agreed to fight, hoping that the crodlu mounts would give them an advantage in catching up with Ulruun. They entered the arean and climbed atop several 20ft high columns with bridges strewn between them. An opposing team of 2 tough looking Mul's and 3 savage halflings from the forest beyond the mountains took their place and the fight began. Through the goliath's charging and leaping between columsn and Gretchan's ranged mental bombardment, the halflings were quickly taken down, but the Muls proved tougher, their hammers taking great toll on both Kulo & Beren before they too fell into unconsciousness, giving the win to the group.
The arena was then cleared and two human soldiers with spears acted as handlers for a giant elephantine creature, warped by the desert. The creature was unnaturally fast and loped into the Beren, driving him off his feet as the handlers rushed to catch up. The group began to surround the creature as Kulo saw to the handlers and Gretchan sent the massive brute flying across the arena, scaring the front rows of the crude stands that had been erected. Though Beren and Kulo again took the brunt of the creature's attacks, it allowed Gretchan and Kuroar! the freedom to attack and will and despite the creature growing to a collossal size as its wounds mounted, it was eventually felled, to the adulation of the crowd.
The battered winners were given time to recuperate a little before the elven Chief came good on his promise and presented Gretchan with a bundle of cloth, that on closer inspection turned out to be a robe of intricate make wrapped around a belt that is styled like a wretling champions belt, wide and made of sturdy leather and bone decoration. The group were also awarded a cash prize of 100 ceramic pieces each and of course the crodlu.
Climbing on board their new mounts, the group set off north in hot pursuit of Ulruun. The road took the deeper into the sandy wastelands than any had been, then up into a range of mountains at the southern end of the Dragon's Bowl before spotting a caravan ahead on the road from a vantage point on the downslope from the hills.....Ulruun was in sight...