After a fitful rest on a new world, the pair checked their surroundings before moving on. There was still no pursuit in sight but after peeking from behind a ridge they spotted a solitary figure moving through the sand. It was child-sized and appeared to be in some distress, meandering along and, if not injured, at least disoriented.
A short discussion ensued and Stroth and Roux decided to catch up to the figure. If it was a native, perhaps they could find civilization and at any rate, it appeared to be too weak to pose a threat. Still moving carefully in case of pursuit, they caught up to the wanderer in short order.
They didn’t have much time to investigate their target because at the moment they caught up a burrowing creature launched a surprise attack. The creature appeared to be some kind of insect but it was easily large enough to make a meal out of them. Their quarry was in no shape to fight but tried anyway, and the duo decided to step in.
After a short battle, the small figure collapsed and the two got their first good look. It appeared to be a brown humanoid, but with frog-like features. It was also obviously suffering from exposure and lack of water, so they helped with some of their own supplies. The frog creature started speaking excitedly in a language the pair couldn’t understand, but when Roux spoke to the creature in his own tongue, the creature perked up and started answering in Roux’s language.
The creature thanked the two of them for their help and explained that her name was Appia and she was indeed a native of this world. She had come from a village and could help them reach it, but couldn’t return until her quest was complete. She had been sent out to acquire relics of her people that were in the possession of some lizard men. Roux and Stroth agreed to help her in exchange for guiding them to her village.
After giving her time to recover, the trio made their way across the desert toward’s Appia’s destination. As they traveled she told them that the relics were the bones of an ancestor and that she had tried unsuccessfully to recover them twice. Not long after they began walking Stroth noticed a smell in the air that reeked of rot and, after a small discussion, they decided to investigate the source, although Appia seemed to already know what they would find.
The source of the stench proved to be the corpse of a person and his pack animal. They left almost immediately, but not before Roux noticed a ring on the corpse’s finger that he took with him.
After their minor detour the three of them continued on to the cave the lizard men had occupied. It was a small opening in the sand dunes, with a pair of torches lighting the entrance. The heroes made ready to go inside.