Last Time On… Episode 1
They woke up naked. A dry, breathless heat filled the abandoned waystation they found themselves in. A fine layer of dust and sand covered their bodies, blown in from the abundant cracks in the shuttered windows and closed doors.
There was a mutual confusion among them. A short, heated conversation revealed that, indeed, none of them had any idea what had happened.
Searching the waystation, they managed to find clothing, weapons, and some basic supplies.
Outside, in every direction, were barren fields of dead, yellow grass. Sand and dust swirled across the plains, leaving small drifts. The only features were a mostly-buried cobblestone highway that lead to the east, and a large marker stone with some sand-covered inscriptions.
Hack the eladrin was the first outside, and the first to notice three goblins and two dog-sized fire beetles approaching the waystation. They had an unfamiliar reptilian pack animal in tow, burdened with supplies. Without pause, Hack swore an oath of enmity and charged into battle. He had recognized that he felt weakened, but didn’t understand how much so until his strike barely injured the goblin that he swung at.
The rest came to the same realization: Orra’s armor protected him well, but the enemies did not run from him in fear. Gaebriel simply felt deserted, suddenly unsure that he could channel the power he needed from within his own self. And where were Rosey’s reflexes? A blast from a fire beetle staggered him until Charley came to his aid.
They won the battle, but they felt defeated. They were more bloodied and winded than they had been when they finally slew Deathlung, Rellos’ dragon, just ten days ago. Was it ten days ago? They had lost so much.
Gaebriel walked to the stone marker by the side of the road. With a tattered sleeve (he was not fond of material things, but he did miss his vestments), he wiped the sand away from the face of the stone. Underneath, a carving read, “Goldrun – 20 miles”. That’s when a small piece of his mind seemed to break, like a wine glass underneath a warboot.
He had not been to Goldrun, but he knew that it was a medium-sized town known for three things: mining in the Adelbore Mountains, fishing in the mile-wide Goldrun River, and farming in the verdant fields. These verdant fields in which he now stood – dead grass and sand. The Adelbore Mountains, off to the east? Known for their beautiful snow-capped peaks? Gabriel could see from where he stood that they were grey and brown and barren, blasted by sand.
They wouldn’t survive here for long, not under this sun and this heat. Their only hope was to move on to Goldrun and try to make sense of whatever had happened.