"We followed the map as best we could, periodically checking our bearings using the chronograph and the sextants that the seer had given us. Eventually we found the deserted location that corresponded to the coordinates on the rapidly disintegrating map. And we began digging...
"We started a trench that went down about fifteen feet into the baking sand and headed due South. After a few hours our spades rang with the sound of steel on stone and as it did so the group gathered round to see what we had hit. Some hand digging revealed a dark black stone that had been carved with a strange texture on it's surface like a series of overlapping layers of petrified tendrils frozen for perhaps a thousand years. It looked and felt utterly alien, and yet our goal lay in the centre of this forbidding artefact.
Captain Blackthorn grimaced against the salt air that sandblasted his face. His men were weary, his ship was falling apart and the hold was replete with treasures beyond counting. It was time to head home and enjoy the bounty that years at sea had brought them. As he braced himself against the pressing squall he considered the conundrum of converting said bounty into a transferable asset that could easily be spent without arousing suspicion of the local militia or the jealousy of rival pirates. If only large amounts of wealth could be represented on something as light and unobtrusive as a piece of paper. But then Blackthorn had a idea:
"I know what we'll do! We'll bury it!…"
The air had grown chill the minute they descended into the strange valley, which was unmarked on any of their maps. It was so strange here, devoid of animal life and completely silent. The horses were nervous the entire journey through the vale. As they set about to collect firewood for the campfire they could hear their own voices as dim echoes through the eerie silence.
The food didn't taste anything that evening and their sleep was cold and troubled by nightmares. While they are clearing camp the next morning, one of them stumbles over a piece of stone jutting out of the ground nearby the horses. On closer inspection there seems to be runes engraved into the polished surface. The symbols true meaning is no more known among mere mortals and if they decide to dig deeper, they will discover that it is an ancient altar buried within the soil.
Any historically oriented party member will recognize the largest symbol to be the insignia of the powerful warlock who ruled this realm several centuries ago. At their departure from the area, something will seem amiss with one of the party members and all will remember the stories of the warlock's thousand curses.