The Hand of Destiny spent the night camped out on the beach a little ways in front of the town of Lumishire. It was a coastal town, more like a small village really, that relied heavily on it’s fishing and sea diving sectors. In the morning, after a surprisingly restful night, the party bypassed the small cluster of huts and made directly for the Oasis. The party did realize that Hepolita was not with them when they awoke but without being able to locate her they had to move on.
They spent the day walking or flying towards the entrance to the Oasis and reached their destination in the late afternoon. They came up on the base of the mountains that surrounded the desert around the Oasis. There was a beautiful orchard right at the entrance that spanned outward from the mountains. They had to walk through it to get to a place where they could make the next camp of their journey. When they found a decent enough clearing they went about setting up shelter for the night. After arranging their tents around a fire and setting up a watch they settled down for the night. Kaladrax increased their security by casting Leomund’s Tiny Hut to shelter the weary travelers.
During the dark night, Aleera dreamed. In her trance she saw visions of her deity, The Traveler’s, symbol. A flutter of blue, red, and purple butterflies swarmed her vision and she heard a clear deep voice in her mind, “The Mockery comes…” A flash of the body of an upside down flayed man with a terrible grin was the last thing she saw. She jerked out of her trance only to find the hot morning sun on her face and the stirrings of her companions starting to wake. She shook off the visions, knowing that she would have to fight the first of her enemies soon and prepared for their current mission.
She used the deck that Esmeralda had given her from Madam Eva and began to channel her power through it. She asked to know what was tearing Aero apart in the Oasis. Aleera pulled three cards, one after the other, and placed them in front of her. The cards depicted an upside down tornado, an amber jewel, and a closed book with various markings that looked like the primordial book Kaladrax had.
Seeing this card and hearing the description from Aleera, Kaladrax looked in the book again for any mention of a jewel or tornado. He read that the jewel could be used to imprison Aero and force him to do their bidding. Someone was controlling him into causing a giant sandstorm around the Oasis. This prevented anyone from going in to receive the healing waters.
With this new information at hand, the party set out past the mountains right to the base of where the storm began. They could see the sand being whipped about in deadly looking arcs. They saw a camp just on the outskirts of the storm and went over. There, they met Ketu, a brown dragonborn and leader of the dwellers at the Oasis. He explained that he had once been the one to hand out waystones to the travellers who came wanting to visit the sacred Oasis. Since the storm had arrived he had no job to do as no one could step foot inside the raging sands.
The party asked what waystones were and he replied with the ease of someone who had done this many times over. He explained that since the island was awash with fey magic due to the gates and rifts between here and the feywild, the desert sands seemed to be alive too. They could make it seem like an eternity of wandering before coming up to the Oasis. Many had died in early attempts to cross because they would become disoriented and lost to the sands. There were also creatures that hunted in the sands and would devour travelers without the right protection.
After hearing everything they could, they set out to face the storm. Ketu wished them luck and saw them on their way, giving them a waystone just in case. A few other sand nomads who refused to leave wished them well and looked on in hopes that their lands would be secured again. The party tied themselves together with rope, held hands and stepped as one into the cutting storm.
They almost lost their footing a few times and funny enough it was the shear size and weight of their wizard, Kaladrax, that kept them all from flying off into the sandstorm. He dragged them all through the whirling sands for an endless period of time. They kept taking damage from the cutting sand that whipped into their exposed skin and were getting more and more tired by the step. Finally, when it seemed like they would collapse from exhaustion and get carried away by the wind they broke through into the calm eye of the storm.
They were greeted with the boiling sun on their faces and sand in places they never imagined. Kaladrax buckled into the sand and lay there for a moment catching his breath and feeling the pain in his limbs from holding the entire party together. When they had caught their breath and drank some fluids to alleviate the heat they looked away from the still hurtling storm to the expanse of sand ahead of them. The heat shimmered on the horizon and tempted them towards oblivion.