Returning to the desert prepared for battle, no one is on sight. Dax will take the Elf, called Viramel, to Pomo. There he will pay Dax for his services as guide and continue on. Gwar will remain at the chateau with the paladins as a guard for the Ankh, primarily because Rich Diaz has dropped off the face of the earth... The rest of the group will follow Dax to Pomo, and link up with him there(Mac and Mirtil catching up within a few days of where we are leaving off right now). The trip to Pomo takes a bit over a week. Pomo is a nexus of magical learning and enchanting. Members of the party will have the opportunity to "shop" for any magical items or spellbooks they are interested in. The group will need to decide how to proceed. Mac will urge the group to continue following the Elf, so that they can find out what his mission is. Dax will explain that Viramel seemed intent on leaving the city in short order. The party will find and once more follow Viramel, who treks out of Pomo the next day, heading northwest. While in Pomo, the group will hear "campfire stories" of evil in the desert to the north(Melnibian), involving undead attacks upon caravans with alarming frequency. Upon leaving Pomo, a day or so's travel into the desert, Kai and Mac will both have some individual experiences. Kai will feel his will tested, as if some unseen force were attempting to wrest control of his body, forcing him to actively concentrate on defending against this control at all times. Mac will have another dream, this one more urgent than his last one, involving his old friends in the Melnibian to the northwest, in need of his assistance. As before, the dream seems to predict the future, and displays an army of undead overwhelming his former comrades. Following Viramel leads the group into an area of the desert that "feels" evil. Unlike the Salanar desert, which is rolling sandy dunes, the Melnibian resembles the American southwest, full of sharp stones and plateaus. A few nights into the trip, the group will be attacked by small numbers of undead animals. They will continue, and the next day they will be engaged by a larger group of armed zombies and skeletons. The next day, the group catches up with Viramel, who has arrived at a large(500m across) depression, resembling a concave bowl, paved with black stones. In the center of the dark depression is a black pool. Viramel appears to be conversing with a black figure floating above the still water. Shortly, the group will be noticed, which triggers a larger attack than they can repel. The party is forced to retreat from the (slow) attack of undead warriors. Kai will be noticeably distracted and withdrawn during this time. Once driven from the site, the group will quickly notice black clouds gathering in the sky above the pool. Minutes later, the clouds have stretched across the sky above the group. Recalling his vision(ask him), Mac will get the group to seek shelter underground(probably via some magic means). Shortly thereafter, black rain falls from the clouds, bringing swift death to everything it touches outside of the group's shelter. The rain lasts the rest of the day, effectively trapping the group, save Kai, who tirelessly patrols the area around the group's shelter apparently without suffering anything from the rain. Once the rain subsides, the group will move out again. Mac will have discussed his dream, and will explain that his old friends guard a powerful magical focal point, which must not be allowed to fall into the hands of the Elves or this undead power. The group agrees that they must be stopped, and that the source of the power seems to be the pool and whatever dwells within it. Eventually, someone figures out(probably Mac, from prior experience) that the Ankh has the power to destroy anything evil that it comes into contact with. The group will move to the pool once more, finding that Viramel has left(probably en route to engage Mac's old comrades). The pool's guardians will engage the group, but by using teleportation to bypass the defenders, the party will be able to submerge the Ankh into the pool. At this point, millions of dollars will be spent on special effects as the earth moves and flames shoot up from between the shale paving stones of the depression. Undead minions will explode or fall to dust and the pool's water will explode in a geyser of steam, killing anyone nearby(like whoever placed the Ankh). The group will run for cover, regroup, and return after things have quieted down to find that the depression has been largely destroyed, the pool has been sealed, the Ankh lies at the center of where the pool once was, unscathed. One of the paladins(who would have come along with the Ankh when it was retrieved from the chateau) will use the Ankh to resurrect anyone who died placing the Ankh, as they died serving Sune. Everyone lives happily ever after. The army of undead en route to take Mac's friends was destroyed when the pool was sealed. The figure in the pool was a Drow, who had gone with Viramel. Viramel was working directly for the king of Thessaly with two missions: 1) Ensure the Jade clan(in the Salanar) will cooperate with the Elven invasions of Garia 2) Make contact with the Drow Lich who had taken control of the Dark Depression(which had existed in the Melinbian for centuries, but was very small) and use his power to forces to take control of the Enclave(Mac's friends), which the Elves had recently learned the location of through treachery. As to Tix, a separate group of Elves and ReptileMen worked together to cast a huge move terrain spell on the city, drawing the entire city into a single gemstone. The stone was delivered to the jade elders' campsite shortly after the party arrived there. The city can be restored by reversing the spell. It is going to be used as a "hostage" to assist the Elves and Jades in any negotiations that take place following the impending war.