The party reunited the following day as the As'Kim estate. Elmnal had gone to the Hall of Sands for an emergency session due to the previous night's events. When he returned, they exchanged some information.
Elmnal told them of some surprising political events. It seems that Sasha Odala (acting head of House Odala) had resurrected a tabled motion put forth some years ago by one of the lesser houses to mandate government sanctioning of all magic - the reason cited was the "magical" mayhem that had just befallen the city. What was particularly surprising about the discussion that followed was Emir Revnii's support of this motion. House Revnii had long been on good terms with House As'Kim who was, for obvious reasons, vehemently opposed to such meddling. A vote on the issue was to be held the following dawn, and it looked as though this proposition may pass into law this time.
In turn, the party told Elmnal of the cloaked figures they'd seen in the alleyways around Tisroc's apartment where one of the fires started and of the abandoned house they'd tracked him to as well as the encounter with the man outside it. Elmnal seemed interested and decided that the three should take him to the place so that they could investigate it more fully in daylight. If they found anything, perhaps it could relieve the political panic and keep the sanctions from passing.
The group proceded across the city to the abandoned house and carefully entered and descended through the large hold in the floor into the basement. After some searching, they found an area of the stone floor which was actually disguised wooden floorboards, and they were loose. They had just pried them up to see nothing but packed earth beneath them when they heard an ominous laughing from above them. "So you did return", the voice said, "Jigav said you would. I personally though you wouldn't be so stupid." At this, several thugs jumped down through the hole in the floor/ceiling above them while others pelted them with drugged darts.
The resulting skirmish was intense, but rather brief. The party was able to hold their own against the thugs, but there were simply too many of them and they were only able to shake off the darts' effects for so long. Eventually, they were overwhelmed.
When they awoke, they found themselves in a shallow basin somewhere obviously outside the city. Night had passed. It was after dawn and the heat was picking up. Their hands were bound and around the edge of the basin were cloaked figures. They were then addressed by an uncloaked woman who basically simply threatened them to stay out of the way. She then seemed somewhat startled to see Elmnal's unconscious form among the group. She hissed to the man standing beside her that she wasn't informed that he was among them. Tisroc recognized the woman as Sasha Odala.
The woman then disbanded the gathering and, with another thinly-veiled threat to "stay out of it", she left them in the basin. Several of the cloaked figures around her seemed to protest at the abrupt and anti-climactic ending to the gathering - the party guessed that they wanted blood - but she silenced them. As they were walking away, Tisroc noticed one of the cloaked figures had a snout like that of an animal protruding from the shadows of its cloak. After the figures disappeared, Elmnal began to regain consciousness.
It took the group a little while to determine where they were, but eventually they were able to find their way back to the city. It was approaching mid-day, however, and the oppressive heat had all but caused them to pass out by the time they reached the As'Kim estate. They all needed rest. Elmnal pointed out that he had missed the vote and that it had almost certainly passed.
After they had rested, they learned that this was, in fact, true. The state of Alina's temple was also somewhat chaotic as the death of the high priest had left a man called Sulab in charge and he was taking it upon himself to begin a crusade against whoever had attacked the temple - going so far as to call for "holy warriors". These factors, combined with Elmnal's prior mentioning of a location to investigate far to the east, led the party to believe that now as a good time to leave The City.
They spent the rest of the day recovering and gathering supplies for their journey. The next day, they headed out. Before they left, Elmnal gave Tisroc a secret spell - something unique to House As'Kim. It was a sort of oasis-detecting spell, lasting all day, and constantly indicating the direction and distance to the nearest significant water source within a 180 degree arc.
Mere hours after they had left the city, they encountered what seemed to be the remains of a patrol of savage humanoids - probably gnolls. There was known to be a tribe of Gnolls in the Salt March, but they were thought to be far to the north and none of the party had ever seen one. The creatures had met with a violent end, and were probably killed by each other or some other force bearing weaponry.
They camped to wait out the midday heat and continued on that evening. It was a while after dark and they were very close to the oasis to which they were headed when they entered an area littered with bones. It seemed to get significantly colder as they traversed this area, and after a short time they began to hear strange, disembodied whispers: "Water...", they said, "Water..." At this, they began hearing footsteps around them, and skeletons began walked out of the darkness and into the shadowy light cast by their lantern.
The group began smashing the skeletons but they kept coming. Then Alina got the idea to try giving them what they wanted. Concentrating, she used her miracle-working abilities to create a deluge of water over a couple of the skeletons. There was a loud hissing sound and they collapsed into the sand. Tisroc, seeing this success, created a cloud of mist around the area and when the skeletons entered it, they became inert for a moment, before collapsing back into the sand.
After this encounter, the party continued on to the oasis. It was a very small area, possessed of only a little grass and a few trees. It was home to a small spring which slowly fed a pool of water which in tern flowed out into the waste and was swallowed by it perpetual dryness.