The Walled Shrine is sacred ground to the maftets--and a safe haven for several other tribes of nomads who wander the Parched Dunes. The maftets are known to visit this site before going to Hut-Ra-Neskef. Another local tribe reports an infestation of genies there.
Kixexa is an efreeti noble whose followers have taken over the maftets' walled shrine. She has aspirations of becoming the uncontested mistress of the Parched Dunes, and has taken over the Walled Shrine as the base for her conquest.
A Maftet Tribe that frequents the region normally passes near Hut-Ra-Neskef twice a year--but the tribe was expected weeks ago, but has not arrived yet. The party must seek out their camp elsewhere in the parched dunes to assure their safety.
Naheeba is the elder of a tribe of human, merchant nomads. Familiar with the local maftet tribe, she is also concerned because they have not been encountered in half a year.
Picasi is an oread monk who has been travelling with Kixexa for several years--ever since the efreeti noble rescued her. While she has been loyal to Kixexa, she has also begun to question some of the noble's motivations and methods.
Session 12.1 - The road to the Shrine
Days more pass as the party's caravan ventures further into the dunes. The party comes to a well-cared-for rock garden, which they are careful not to disturb. In its vicinity, they also find a hole in the ground--the entrance to some creature's habitat; Jaeth explores the hole, finding it to be an abandoned drake's nest. As they party sets camp after witnessing these curiosities, they catch a glimpse of the walls of the shrine on the horizon beckoning them to enter ... tomorrow.
Session 12.2 - Entering the Shrine
After finding the ground floor of one of he shrine's towers to be empty, the party ventured into the basement--which would prove to house the shrine's altar. The first chamber below the tower was inhabited by a dim-witted earth elemental who had separated himself from the collective mind of the plane of earth (a fact that Jaeth found both appalling and fascinating). Quick conversation was enough to disarm the simpleton--who had accented the name Djo'ey from the sand drake in the courtyard.
Impersonating Djo'ey, Neskef ventured into the next room and "met" Picasi, the oread monk who had come to claim the underground shrine as her private chamber. The party soon followed Neskef into Picasi's quarters, which led to a minor bonding between Aloysa and the oread over their shared respect for the "bloodthirsty" matriarch of the catfolk. Picasi explained that her group had come here on Kixexa's orders, and had been working to keep the place safe from any intruders (including the people who built it). Aloysa confides in Picasi that they will have to battle Kixexa, a fact the monk concedes--though she refuses to participate.
Session 12.3 - Confronting Kixexa
While exploring the top the second tower, members of the party notice a humanoid figure wandering the desert, heading toward the caravan. Using Pleebit's eagle eyes, they quickly discover it to be Ekram Iffek, the Medjay soldier exiled from Peraten. When the party ventured down to the caravan to meet him, they find him unarmed and wanting to talk. It would seem that he has been looking for the party for some time in hopes of enlisting their help ... in attacking the Medjay. Since his exile, he has become a pariah, and he has finally come to understand the corruption in the Order.
Leaders of the Order have entered a sphinx-shaped temple, but the general membership have no idea what they are doing in there. Ekram believes this is the same temple that houses the final piece explaining the disappearance of the maftets. Unfortunately, the temple is not on the route to Tamisha--so the party will have to put their current journey aside to investigate.
Before they leave, Picasi is invited to travel with the party. She accepts the offer, and hints at a desire to fight alongside Jaeth, the chosen one of her elemental plane. His current cohort, known only as Neskef, volunteers to leave Jaeth's service in order to rehabilitate Djo'ey. With the blessing of the Elemental Plane of Earth, Picasi becomes Jaeth's new cohort.