The group begins on a carpet in the sands. The gathering around them watching intently as the winds blow and the cloths flutter against the desert winds. The Grand Caliph Marwan watches them nearby and has bowls of water, wine and fruit offered. A few meters away, a cart stands, and on it is the chained Vizier. His hands are bound and his mouth is gagged. The Caliph motions at his guards to sstep aside and let the three come forward. Tristan motions, showing his intentions and desire to speak. The Ryuujin notices his attempt and blesses him with a Critical Success.
The three are allowed to explain themselves and share the stories of their journey. Each story, is told as a flash back of events that have transpired.
Act I: March Through the Desert
A few days ago.
The Prince gave them the task to travel through the desert and bring the Vizier DeVill there to be chained and imprisoned for the rest of his immortal years. When they return, they are to be given the chance to use their flying vehicles to visit anywhere they desire. The three marched through the desert, going a terrible distance of around 90 km into the heat. The first day of their journey goes smoothly. The second day, the Ryuujin takes pity on their struggles against the heat and casts Tale of the Heart to grant them Fumble Points. Aya sings the Campsite Song to raise their spirits. Byt hte third day, however, they find themselves once more facing a bunch of Running Eggs! The sand, rock, palm tree, sand snakes and the vizier himself prove to be useful objects during the battle. Soon enough, they see the Oasis in the distance and make their way there.
Act II: The Stone Stalker
As they close in, they realize the garden of statues around the oasis are not statues. They realize that the place is not a decorated area. Instead, they are the remnants of what seems to have been another caravan! As they anticipate danger, they note the objects around them: statues, sand, trees, water, and the purple carriage. A monster emerges, stalking them with its slow yet steady crawl. With its poisonous bite, anyone bitten by the thing can turn into stone! The Vizier's eyes widen in terror. Same with its terrible gaze. Aya ignores the deadly stare and draws her sword to join the battle. Piter adjusts the Vizier's gag to become a blindfold, and he leaps into the battle. They throw the canopy of the cart over the monster to keep its deadly gaze from reaching them. Piter uses his Seasonal Magic to launch shooting stars at the beast. But as the battle begins to lean against the adventurer's favor, a fatal bite aimed at Tristan is suddenly protected by a blur of movement out of nowhere. None of them realize the Ryuujin took the blow to protect the others. It begins to blink faster and faster until finally it explodes, defeated! Every statue that was frozen regains their fleshy tone. They defeated the Basilisk!
Act III: The Caliph
As they came to their senses, the Caliph called for the guards to act! The women covered their eyes as the guards threw ceramic pots! The gas swirled all around them and the three felt their bodies seize up and pull them into unconsciousness.
Back at the present time.
The Grand Caliph looks at the three and orders the guards to undo their chains. Even the Vizier's chains are being undone! Tristan calls out and informs them the man is their prisoner, and that he best not be released or he will enchant them all. The Prince and the Princess that the three had assisted turn out to be the children of Mundhir. The man had long been sick and his son and daughter though not of blood, have taken over the Sultanate. The Vizier was the D'jinn that once served Mundhir himself. Aya explains it was the D'jinn that tried to manipulate them.
The three adventurers are finally freed of the chains and given water and food. The Caliph is happy to know the Sultanate still stands and that they have opted to rule without the sacrament of marriage. The Caliph sadly shares with them that getting back is unlikely to happen as they have arrived at the onset of Rahman, the coming of the Sand Storms, which marks the beginning of a few months of sandstorms. The Caliph introduces them to Hakam, a giant golden figure which turns out to be his D'jinn. Hakam is warm-hearted and solitary and almost acts like a child. It's eyes are red rubies, and its teeth are diamonds. As he speaks, characters form in mid-air as a word bubble actually appears visibly in the sky. None of them have learned his language but Hakam understands them and grants their requests. The Caliph can attempt to send them back, but there's no guarantee where Hakam might send them. The Caliph even muses that they might unlock the secret language of the D'jinn and be able to communicate with him directly.
The three discuss their options, given there isn't much to sell in this area. They try talking to Hakam and they learn from a tattooed woman of the Legend of the D'jinn, the Language, and how to control their massive power, some were stripped of the freedom to think (the Gold D'jinn) and others, the freedom to care (those like DeVill). They learn of the First Magus mastered most of the D'Jinn's language and gained control of nine of the thirteen D'jinn in existence. He only failed because of a woman whom he loved so much, she begged him to wish them away. Legends say these two were talking dogs. Aya remembers the Corgs. The three also discover that they seem to be missing a lot of water from their supply. Aya hears a burb from the water barrel and discovers to their horror that Party Leader, the monkey, has been hiding in the barrel all this time! Even worse, THEY have been drinking the water Party Leader has been swimming in! As they eat the Basilisk meat, they feel the magic of the flesh heal any wounds from their travel.
When Aya presents the Party Leader to Tristan, they find a massive ruby ring in his mouth! In the distance, they overhear the Caliph getting angry as they realize he had lost his ring! Worried that they might be mistaken as thieves, Tristan immediately announces they have it. As Piter confronts Tristan for Party Leader's actions, these amuse Hakam, who laughs and poof, the ruby ring transmutes into a ruby monkey. Gifted with sentience, the ruby monkey tries to run off but Aya keeps her hold on it. The Caliph desires to have his ring back, but Tristan wonders if it would be best that they left immediately. Tristan explains the D'jinn has the ring. The Caliph asks if the ring which he uses to control the D'jinn is actually with his D'jinn? Aya tries to discern D'jinn language to try to ask Hakam to transmute the ring from ruby monkey back into a ring. Poof. Party Leader appears in Aya's hands. But the ruby monkey is still running around. Piter shakes his head, "This is another problem caused by your Monkey..."
As Aya tries explaining to Hakam needing the ruby monkey, Hakam begins poofing more and more monkeys from gods know where. At some point, there's even a Gorilla teleported into her hands! Tristan pulls Party Leader and asks him to call all the other monkeys to his spot. Piter, to encourage him, "accidentally" drops his axe close to Party Leader's tail. The Ruby Monkey closes in this time. Aya feels another poof as an Orangutan appears on her shoulders. And more and more and more. Twenty plus different monkeys now surround Aya. Tristan tries asking Hakam to turn all the monkeys into rings, but only after Party Leader leaves the room. Hakam laughs and all the monkeys vanish. Tristan peeks outside and thankfully Party Leader is still there.
Piter approaches the D'jinn and begins scolding it. He starts telling the giant golden baby that it is time to sleep. Tristan gets inspired by Piter's actions and tries talking to Hakam like a mother urging her child to go to bed. Another flash of starlight and the attempt succeeds beyond expectations. The Ryuujin smiles in the distance. When Hakam speaks, some of the characters in the word bubble begin to come into focus. They have unlocked the letter R.
Hakam slides down to sleep. The tattooed woman is impressed at how they got the D'jinn to rest. Piter is insistent that they are not going home via D'jinn. The tattooed woman is preparing their tents for the next three months. "Luckily you brought a lot of meat." The three realize she is referring to their pack animals!
Aya returns the Caliph's ruby monkey and explains what happened with Party Leader. The Caliph teases that she might be lying to keep the ring for himself. He "wears" the ring on his shoulder and uses the power to send them back. They gather supplies, worried that he might send them elsewhere. They ask to be sent to Artienna.
But the Caliph pronounces it as Arentay!
The three get their bearings and discover Hakam sadly has transported them elsewhere. They stand at a dark mountain side with a curtain of dark clouds. Aya hopes to see landmarks to identify where they are. Piter and Tristan see Party Leader staying close, spooked by the new location. They find a spiral staircase leading down.
The Ryuujin stares from the fireplace into the burning flames. He realizes he cannot find the three. They are gone from his realm.
"Where have they gone?"
Elsewhere, a ripple of water dances. A woman smiles. Her reptilian eyes narrow. "Someone has entered my realm." The Black Ryuujin smiles, realizing she has new toys.