"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.
Five men are herding fifteen horses down the road. They won't be very talkative, but are willing to sell a horse, or more horses if the heroes are interested. These men are horse thieves. They are already sought by regional militiamen. Anyone with a stolen horse (all are marked) may get into trouble. If found guilty, horse thieves face prison or even a hanging execution. Similar thefts have happened only a month before, and a reward is offered.