The mysterious, robed stranger stopped in front of the house. After examining his chiseled, muscular body, the three women left their hiding place to meet with him. They discovered that he was named Vakin, and that the potter had hired him to come exterminate his mantis-warrior problem. He informed the party that they could join him if they liked. Narimbi and Cassandra followed him for rather primal reasons, and spent most of the journey walking behind him and never raising their eyes above his waist. Sheera, while disgusted with their openly lusty behavior for a total, untrustworthy stranger, trotted off with them to settle her own personal vendetta against the kreen, her racial enemy.
The day blazed on, and Vakin kept a steady, burning pace. When night fell, he stopped but refused to sleep, instead watching the fire that he made each night, usually via magical means. He spoke only rarely and generally as it pertained to the task at hand, hunting the thri-kreen.
The next day, before the red rock that covers most of Athas had been reached, the party was ambushed by two giant scorpions. The chitinous monstrosities lashed out with claws and vicious, poisoned tails. While the creatures were defeated, the party was sorely injured save Cassandra, who scouted around while the others rested and recuperated. What she ended up finding was her role in the party, which is to loot the various bodies and hoards before the rest of the characters have a chance. She came upon a small chest full of ceramic coins and bits, as well as a steel bastard sword. With the obscene rarity of metal on Athas, let alone good steel, she immediately latched on to the sword. She also gathered two of the scorpion eggs she found within, thinking that they could be sold to the Tyr arena.
They reached the border between sand and stone uneventfully after that. Another fire caught the attention of a pair of kreen who were out scouting and the party found itself under attack yet again in the night, this time with a fire cleric on their side. The two creatures savaged the party but were in turned felled after a brief but desperate struggle. That night, Vakin consulted the flames to determine where their enemies had come from. The price of the knowledge proved too high for Narimbi who lashed out violently as the fire cleric sacrificed a live sapling to his greedy spirits for the knowledge. He had a definitive answer, though. West, away from Urath and deep into the stony barrens of Athas.