Even the harsh reality of the Red Wastes felt like a return home to the party after the strange and lonely winter realm from which they had recently returned. Battered but proud and with more questions than answers, they decided to regroup at the Blackthorne outpost while considering their next actions, and to check on the state of the Zhejun outpost as they returned. They also decided to return to the Rehaz encampment and retrieve the final ring from Jack’s body, given that two of the five had already had some sort of awakening and it seemed likely all had some significance.
The return to the Rehaz camp was relatively uneventful, and they received a warm welcome from the Rehaz, although many of the familiar faces from their last visit were elsewhere. After retrieving the ring and ensuring that nothing strange had happened in the area, the group set off to the old Zhejun outpost.
As they approached, they found the sky tinged red and evidence that someone had come there recently: hoofprints of horses had headed into the ruins, and none of the nomads that they had met had access to horses of any kind. Traveling into the ruins they found several dead mercenaries, and on the other side the Salamander guards were missing, although the nearby city didn’t seem to have head of any news of what was going on. Deciding that their safety was more important than investigating further, the party headed to the Blackthorne outpost to see if they knew anything of what had happened.
The Blackthornes seemed to have no idea what was going on, and over the next few days, the signs became even more worrisome. Finally, the sky glowed a dark red and the lights from the Zhejun outpost could be seen as far away as from the Blackthornes’ port. Upon returning to investigate, the party found themselves attacked by Lile and her minions, and after a hard fight, managed to drive her back to her realm. Although failing to discover much of her motives or intentions, they managed to retrieve her fiery bow, a prize which Zinnanda was eager to use against her in the future.