The determination was made definitively that the party is, in fact, in the Jarle Wastes. Due to a lack of visible landmarks, there was no way to determine the group’s exact location in the Wastes, and so they simply decided to head West since that is where their goal is located – Royce. After several days, the party encountered Torgnan at his camp, where he was alone. The group learned that he had previously been guarding a caravan traveling through the Wastes, and when asked about their fate, he declined to elaborate (much to the distaste of Ajani, who made his suspicion of Torgnan quite obvious). Not long after meeting Torgnan, just after the western mountains of the Divide came into view, the ground collapsed under Dar’Lomn and Ajani, and a massive sandworm erupted from the sandy earth. The party sprang into action, with Torgnan and Gawain both charging directly at the beast, weapons drawn and battle cries on their lips. The rest of the party hung back and sorely missed either their arcane casting prowess or their ability to sneak up behind creatures. As the worm was first bloodied, it began to thrash violently and another portion of the ground collapsed, taking Aelem and Beric down 30 feet next to a potentially deadly instrument of destruction. Aelem landed on the flat of his sword and snapped it in two. While Aelem successfully grappled with the sand and was able to remain out of harm’s way for a moment, Beric’s handhold gave out and he slid downward on a path to the worm. His left leg was caught underneath the worm’s body and mangled severely, eventually becoming completely detached. Bart informed Aelem of this over the sounds of the pitched battle, and he managed to dig his way under the worm to the other side where Beric lay unconscious from blood loss. While Aelem made a tourniquet out of his cloak, everyone above ground let the worm have it. Gawain, however, was attacked by the beast and swallowed whole. Burning alive in the worm’s acidic digestive tract, Gawain was unable to hack and slash his way out due to his use of a weapon incapable of both hacking and slashing, and he slipped into unconsciousness, certain that he was to die a hero that day. However, Frea felled the monster with a bolt from her crossbow, and Gawain’s limp body was cut from the ruin of the great beast. He was quickly restored to consciousness as Ajani and Dar’Lomn made their way out of the pit they had fallen into. Shortly afterward, with the help of the entire party, Aelem did so as well, hauling an unresponsive Beric from what was nearly his final resting place. The bleeding had largely subsided, but Beric was still pale and unconscious, and Aelem expressed concern that he might not survive the night.