A booming voice rings out over the arena where our heroes now find themselves. He announces himself as Rafaj, the Voice of the Pharaoh. He wields a cobra-headed staff and proclaims that Team Trust must complete three trials in order to be given free access to the city of Gruum.
As he finishes his speech, an enormous sand word bursts from the ground, and attacks our adventurers. An arduous battle ensues, with Slink nearly being eaten alive by the poisonous monster. With a mighty blow from Itto, the beast is felled, and the stadium erupts into applause.
The second trial, Rafaj announces, must be faced by one of their own: the Half-Orc member of the team, Itto. His allies are removed from the arena, and a group of chariot-riding Half-Orcs emerge wearing strange Elven masks. Forced to defeat his own kin, Itto manages to dismember and maim the fighters, and victory is awarded to the team.
The final trial, we learn, is not a battle to take place in the arena, but a quest to the Tomb of Gruum in the desert, to retrieve the Staff of Time: a Half-Orc relic said to come from the gods of old…Gruum, the first Pharaoh, who led his brethren to their current desert home. Before leaving the city on the mission, Team Trust is told to beware the exiled bandits led by the traitorous “”/characters/goddark-the-bold" class=“wiki-content-link”>Goddark the Bold" (the son of the Half-Orc Itto met at the Wall).
On the streets of Gruum, an odd merchant reveals a map to the fabled Cave of Wonders, said to contain a magical lamp in which lies an all-powerful genie (sound familiar?) Taking the map, Team Trust decides to delay this side-quest until after they have returned the Staff of Time to Rafaj. An Everyman encountered by Quinn also tells of a hive-mind group, known as the 40 Thieves, led by a strange sorcerer.
As they exit the city, the notice a strange storm cloud above the largest building in the city, the Pyramid, and Slink’s bag of holding glows blue, as he notices new pages to the Draconomicon being filled with information about the strange hallucination-inducing powers of the Blue Dragon…but no time for that now! There’s a side-quest to be quested!