Shortly after returning home to celebrate their successes in the Seven-Pillared Hall, the Bizarre Force was contacted once again by the Staul household. This time, it seemed Douven was intent on traveling to Ancalagor, and wished for the group to travel with him. Considering their lead regarding the D.E. and Banshee Queen having business in Ancalagor, the Force decided to accept.
They traveled westward, through Winterhaven and Danath, and finally to Malareth, gateway to Ancalagor. There, the group stocked up on provisions to help them as they passed through the desert.
The trip started out easy enough, with only a slight hiccup when Erik and Ganifa drank from a strange, hallucinogenic cactus. Halfway through the third day, the group was assaulted by a massive sandstorm. Due to their quick thinking, the Force was mostly spared, the only casualties being Nadia's camel and the wagon carrying nearly all of their water. Douven, Kingsley and Kriloc were all caught in the open sandstorm and each nearly died, were it not for the quick healing of Tiya.
The group decided to backtrack a bit to a rocky outcropping they had seen earlier. Here they found a cavern, which they decided to enter in hopes of finding another traveler.
What they found instead were swarms of thousands of hungry arachnids. The spiders came at them and the Force fought valiantly. An immense blade spider came out of the darkness, and Ganifa quickly realized the potential in such a beast. Using all of her strength, knowledge and patience, Ganifa talked the creature down and tamed it as her companion, giving it the moniker of Count Pokeula.
The heroes were still alive, but did not know for how long. Should they return to the wastes and hope for the best? Should the carry on into the darkness of the caverns? And with this set back allowing the D.E. and Banshee Queen a significant head start, would it even matter at all?