As the party approaches Hanlyn’s camp, they see two departing figures – one is that of the bodyguard Asa, riding away on a kank. The other is the id fiend accompanied by three shambling nightmare thralls. Satisfied, the party inspects the abandoned camp.
In the largest tent, they find an unexpected tenant. Bound and gagged, a battered dragonborn sits in the corner of Hanlyn’s tent. The party debates hotly whether to unbind the dray’s jaws to allow him to speak – or risk the breath of fire the race is known to have. Lavitz drags the prisoner outside the tent while Krask and Yvonne bring in Sarta to treat his wounds. Outside, the argument continues until Lavitz loses all patience and rips the binding from the dray’s muzzle.
The dragon takes a deep breath, and demands to know if the party is friend of foe. Setalle coolly advises the strange they are Hanlyn’s enemies. The dray’s face splits into a wide grin as he announces “You cannot imagine the good fortune you’ve bestowed upon yourselves by rescuing me!”
Introductions are exchanges and the strange dragonborn is known as Nythok, an employee of Sarta who was captured by Hanlyn as they fled across the desert. Nythok is arrogant and overbearing but seems well-intentioned. Sarta vouches for him and clearly has a history with the dragonborn. Sarta and Nythok explain to the party what they mostly already know – that Hanlyn attacked his caravan, killed most of his men, and he fled into the desert with the chest. Sarta, and by extension Nythok, had sworn not to open the chest. Sarta is most eager to deliver the chest to Raam and be done with this dangerous business. Nythok is most anxious to be paid, in large amounts, and the sooner the better. Sarta urges the party to help him, and offers to give the party the caravan’s share of the payment for a job done. He advises them that he needs to deliver the chest to Imar, a grain merchant in Raam who commissioned the special delivery.
Outside the tent, Yvonne waits anxiously for the party to attend to the chest. She demands that they open the chest to see its contents. The party is reluctant for several reasons – largely their agreement with Rhea’Khan and the foreseen difficulties of delivering an opened chest. The elemental priestess urges the party to open the chest, adamant that the contents of it are something that will help bring life to Athas. She declares every intention to take the contents of the chest if it is indeed something that could green Athas than to see it go to “the greed of men”. When the group seems the most resolved to not open the chest, she challenges them:
“Will you tell me that you choose not know what you have risked your lives for? Surely you would want to know that you faced all the dangers of the wastes and came this far for something worthy?”
After considerable debate and consideration, the party resolves to open the chest. A not-so-easy task as the chest is locked and magically warded. Nythok, having recovered quickly enough from his imprisonment, proves himself useful by magically pickpocketing the key from Sarta before helping Setalle and Deovan disrupt the arcane trap.
Unlocking the chest, the party finds 10 silk bags tied shut. Eagerly, Yvonne opens one and pours thick headed grains into her palm. The seeds radiate with primal power, some how enchanted to ensure fruition, likely to be resistant to harsh Athasian weather and perhaps even strong enough bring a little bit of life to dead soil. The group agrees with Yvonne – this is too precious a gift to waste on the greed of the Sorcerer Kings.
A plan is made accordingly. The grain is transferred to another sack. The silk bags are filled with sand and the mouth of each bag is filled with just enough grain to deceive any passing inspection. Yvonne agrees to take the seed back to the haunted thri-kreen village and wait for the party for one month while they deliver the dummy sacks in the restored chest. Returning to the tent, the group solemnly accepts Sarta’s offer and agrees to escort him and the chest the rest of the way to Raam…