The party, having found themselves once again under the burning sun of another time, stood bewildered. The parched and cracked ground radiated the heat back at them, and the air seemed too dry to breathe. As they scanned the area, a dwarven form appeared from behind the now-ruined Manor. Hands flew to weapons at once, but the dwarf held his empty hands before him, careful not to show any signs of aggression.
“Hail, good sirs, my name is Tonan Anvilwork,” the dwarf offered, “and who might ye be?”
Through tense introductions, the party sweated and baked, their weapons at the ready, but the dwarf seemed to be in the same predicament as they found themselves, so the party reluctantly accepted him into their ranks.
Exploring the ruins, the party discovered that every shred of wood had long ago rotted away, revealing gaping holes in the floor, and exposing the shadowed depths of the basement and cellars. Rummy lowered Mesmer into the gloom, and she found the old well, still wet, albeit far less full than they had previously found it. Mesmer proceeded to fill everyone’s wineskins until Anders got their attention, pointing to the road. Away in the distance, the group spotted a massive beetle pulling a rolling cage, with robed humanoid drivers walking alongside.
Scrambling out of the depths, Mesmer joined the party as they ducked behind the cover of the marble walls of the manor, watching warily as the caravan slowed and turned onto the paved approach to the manor grounds. Slowly, the beetle pulled it’s burden, the massive wooden wheels creaking under their load.
The original party members felt uneasy about revealing themselves, but the newcomer, Tonan, produced a set of dice he claimed were from his Goddess, Tymora, and proclaimed he would allow Her divine guidance to show him his path.
Rolling the dice, he was startled to witness the pips fade from view as they settled to rest showing eight, indicating, by his own prior determination (“One to six we reveal ourselves, seven to twelve we remain hidden”) they should remain hidden. Pocketing the dice, however, he felt a sudden burst of energy through his body, and felt a sense of luck unlike any he’d felt in months. [Tymora’s dice granted him a +2 bonus on all saving throws for an undetermined amount of time] With this new-found sense of luck emboldening him, Tonan was convinced he must have assigned the wrong decisions to his roll, and determined that his course was, in fact, to introduce himself to the approaching group. Rolling their eyes, and not quite trusting this odd dwarf, Badrick and Rummy accompanied him, their weapons at the ready, while Anders and Mesmer remained behind cover.
As the trio revealed themselves, the whip-cracking drivers signaled the beetle to stop, and three of the robed figures continued their slow, silent approach, their cowls hiding their features from view.
“That’s far enough!” Rummy declared, leveling an arrow at them as the hooded figures came within bowshot, but they continued, undeterred.
As the distance dwindled, Rummy reiterated his warning, but it went unheeded until he was forced to loose his arrow. As he released the bowstring, one of the figures raised his arms above his head and a dome of pale blue energy crackled to life overtop of he and his partners. The arrow sped from the bow, but sweat had soaked the fletchings, and the arrow veered off course, striking the glowing dome and deflecting harmlessly across the scrubland.
The central figure produced a pair of manacles, and tossed them at the companions’ feet, barking something in a guttural language, and pointing from the manacles to the companions and back again.
“Go fuck yourself!” Rummy yelled, and he, Badrick and the dwarf turned tail, darting into the cover of the ruins.
“Down!” Badrick urged, and nobody argued. The party quickly descended into the darkness, and took up hiding places in the deepest of the shadows.
The strange figures gathered around the opening above, but refused to venture into the basement. After more than an hour of waiting, they departed, and the party climbed cautiously out of their hiding places.
With the sun high in the sky, and the temperature climbing, the party decided to wait for nightfall to attempt to make their way to Ambroth, and reluctantly returned to the relative comfort of the slightly-cooler-than-a-blast-furnace basement.
As the sun made it’s way across the sky, and the temperature soared, then began to fall, the party got to know the dwarf a bit better, and compared their stories. When the sun had dipped below the horizon, the party climbed out of the hole once again, and headed toward the road.
Traveling was made easier by the fact that the dirt path they knew from Ambroth to the Manor was now a cobble-stoned road, and they trudged wearily toward their goal. Conversation was light, however, as each of them pondered the strange circumstances they found themselves embroiled in.