Following their elevation to paragon-status heroes of the land after their cleansing of the Garden of Graves, the members of the Silver Hand Time Department were contacted by Artaxerxes. He relayed information on behalf of the Syndicate of Khan.
An expedition, co-sponsored by the Syndicate of Khan and the mages of the Winter Circle—powerful wizards from across the sea, from the Western continent—was sent to investigate certain sites in the eastern deserts. However, they’ve missed their past three status reports and have not been reached through any magical means. Worse, the scouting party sent to investigate has not returned.
The party traveled into the eastern deserts and met with Philoxerxes, who had dug in with a small group at an advance camp. Philoxerxes mentioned his loss of all his forward scouts towards a dig site containing mysterious ancient ruins and noted the apparent symptoms of madness brought on by unknown forces in the swirling sands.
The party advanced towards the dig site through a near sandstorm only to find it abandoned; though they did manage to recover some digging equipment. However, while exploring the camp a massive horde of undead began encircling the area. Seeing no other option, the party retreated into the subterranean caves beneath the dig site.
Hoskar and Nathaea investigated some restorative blue moss while Adrian Belwynn scouted a sealed door emanating necrotic energy. Finding no way through the solid stone door, the party scouted southwards in the caverns to find a group of beleaguered scouts from the Syndicate of Khan. A distressed man named Salazeer claimed to lead them but seemed to being going mad. Several wounded scouts were healed by Hoskar from wounds suffered battling the undead. The party determined that Salazeer was deranged or mind-controlled and disarmed him and restrained him so the surviving scouts could hole up and await its return from the depths of the caverns.