The orphaned child magic-user Floria “Viperhearted” Khazam and her adult apprentice Azure Krikorion team up with the naive adventurers Patster and Fizfin meet in the Souk and decide to seek out rumours of adventure.
A beautiful young catamite, Brezihav the Beautiful, seem entranced by the party and pleads for tales of their adventurers. Floria asks is he knows of any and the catamite speaks of a tale told to him by Kholhak the Bold of a cavern a short distance out of Yam, formerly a goatherd shelter, that now has a portal appearing at midnight to creepy halls haunted by monsters and dripping with treasure.
The party sets out to the hlly region indicated by the tale and encounter a pair of goatherds that corroborate Brezihav’s tale and point out the cavern entrance, located at the base of a hill bearing on it’s brow a crown-like rock formation, “Crown Hill”.
The party sets up camp outside the cave entrance and in the evening, after the goatherds and their wards have retired from the locale, the party encounters a small pack of massive (9 feet tall), shaggy, lumbering primitive ape-hominids bearings huge stone tomahawks.
In the ensuing battle Fibzfin’s head is smashed into flinders and Azure is trapped in the cave by tumbled boulders as Floria flee back to the Yam Outskirts.
The two rest and the following day the fighting-woman Elsi is recruited, and the grizzled labourer and digging prodigy Digger is hired. The party returns to the cave to find that some party has dug out the cave entombing boulders and that Azure is dead and robbed of his gold and fancy azure cloak, bearing the wounds of having been beaten with a mace before having his throat slit. There was blood and the signs of punching through armor on the magician’s dagger to his credit. His diary does indicate that there had been no sign of a portal as Azure waited in the cave.
On their way back to Yam they encounter two enigmatic crow-people that seem amused with the party and after inquiry informs them that they had seen a flock of five man-things, including the “two-that are one,” walking back to Yam earlier, and one had been wearing an azure cloak.
Returning to the Yam Outskirts they spot a group of five warriors at a wine stand: three mail-clad mace-men; a pygmy archer riding piggyback upon a large blind eunuch controlled by the pygmy’s toes pulling and twisting the blind eunuch’s nipple rings; and a strutting shirtless oiled warrior with fancy clothes, a fancy spiked buckler, and fancy scimitar, and a fancy azure veil who was currently strutting about showing off his fancy new azure robe.
Floria refrains from fireballing them in the crowded souk, and the party enquires after the band of warriors’ identity,they are Veiled Death Bride Makhar and his Murderers.
The warriors leave while the party is distracted and they next seek of Brezihav the Beautiful who blanches at the sight of the party, ensaddening the disappointed and naive Patster, and admits to his role in a scheme to lure adventurers to the cave for Makhar and his Murderers to slay and rob. But, Brezihav stutteringly claims, he only did this because Makhar had threatened to murder him if he didn’t comply.