Although deprived of the advice of his genius for several days, Pavel accompanied the party in their “quest” [his word] to find the lost city of Xitaqa, supposedly with the hope of rescuing some hostages. (Pavel is beginning to believe that the hostages may have already perished—and for the greater purpose of bringing himself and his associates to this fabulous construction that could only be the work of Traldaran hands.) On the way, the party encountered a giant (whom they slew) and trolls (who slew, one of their number, the brave warrior Fyodor, and put the survivors to flight.) Disheartened, the party was on their way back to civilization, but decided to rest in the cave where they had encountered the giants. This cave was now occupied by a Traldaran warrior, name Spear Hunter, and an outlander whose name is characteristically unpronounceable. Pavel, once again animated by his guardian angel, declared that these two wanderers were worthy of trust and should be made fellows in the quest. The rest of the party agreed and their number was brought to six: Pavel Bishop of the Thicket; Knightly, the lady-priest; Martin the “Ineluctable” (Thyatian word meaning “half-breed”); Roger Agrippa, an honest Traldaran; Spear Hunter—who hunts the foes of Halav, Petra and Zirchos with his spears; and the short but strong Outlander whom Pavel believes may actually be a Traldaran under some kind of curse.
Resuming the quest for Xitaqa, the party spied a tower on the top of a ridge with a road cut into the escarpment. They avoided the obvious approach, and instead climbed the ridge several miles to the west and approached the tower from the side. They reached the outbuildings—small houses carved into the sandstone in the dry rivulets radiating out from the base of the tower.
This area was inhabited. The party came upon a group of goblins and baboons. The party killed the goblins—and despite Pavel’s attempts to win some simian allies—drove off the baboons. After poking around some of the buildings, the party at last found the monumental stone doors that appeared to lead into the tower itself.