Vosa looked down from his mount, which happened to be a large wolf-like creature with scales instead of fur.
The group was surrounded by about twenty armed humans – swords, shields, almost a ringmail-style armor.
Ordered to strip their gear. Once they were recognized as not being among the slaves, the dwarves were allowed to maintain their armor and equipment as “diplomatic envoys”. They did, however, surrender their weapons – including Zal’anyr.
Previous slaves were either dead or in the process of being taken away in shackles. Pregnant Kavina had already been shackled and was being led away. She had blood on her, clearly not hers, and no visible marks of injury on her.
Vosa watched the slaves being marched away. “You thought you could escape from the Sorcerer Queen? She owns you. She will do with you as he sees fit.
Led to large lizards dragging Cells on Skis. Ten per box. About eight boxes.
One of the slaves commented, “It’s a press gang.”
Loaded into crate. Human mumbled “Great, more of them.”
Solitary Dwarf in the back – Thauris Doomgrip. Was a member of the hunting team Raiders, thought to be dead. Skin was discolored, badly sunburned in places. His hair on the right side appeared to be burned away.
He spoke without facing the group. “Have you ever woke up after a night of ale, in a strange room, with a strange woman, and wondered how you got there? That’s me, with this.”
Mechanical left arm, thin cables weaving into his chest and into his neck. Two fingers, one thumb. Runes etched into the metal. Work of an artificer (King Anvilmar)?
“Guess I live up to my name. Good thing I wasn’t Thauris Crotchrot or something.” He looked at the arm and started talking to it. “Look, I’m sorry. This just takes a little getting used to. No, I don’t think you’re ugly.”
He was picked up about four suns ago, maybe five. Hard to keep track. No idea how long he’d been left in the sun, other than “quite awhile.”
Box was dragged for two days straight. Occasionally a basin of water was dropped through a hole in the roof. Brolan caught it, distributed it to the dwarves. Eventually the humans were given their share of rations.
On the eve of the second day, Lizards came to a stop. The Mage had returned and brought someone with him. Brolan felt the presence immediately.
Sound of disagreements. Guards were against setting up camp, but they’re doing as they were told.
Outside, they muttered but fell silent as someone approached. Footsteps walked up to the box and stopped. “This one” said the voice. “Bring me the contents of this box.” The Inquisitor Yotthl wanted to speak to them.
A Human was taken first. Brolan offered himself to go second, as the guards originally selected Thauris. The remaining dwarves were all brought next, led to a large round tent assembled in the sand.
Inside, the Human was kneeling in the far side of the tent. The Mage watched them from afar.
The hooded Inquisitor spoke. “Sorcerer Queen Velensca sent me here to discover all there was to know about the Zal’anyr. But your friend told me everything after I… picked his brain.”
Yotthl smiled and pulled back his hood. Skin and hair hung from the teeth behind the tentacles. “I’m sorry, do I have something in my teeth?”
Their weapons were in a nearby box. “I always feel generous after I’ve eaten. You two will not interfere at all, regardless of the outcome.” He raised Brolan’s waraxe, the green flame burned black.
The dwarven clan attacked with a fury unseen until now. The Mind Flayer quickly found itself in a bad way. He looked back at the Human and the Mage. “Well don’t just stand there, kill them!”
The dwarves killed Yotthl, the Human thrall, and the Mage. As the tent was being swarmed by guards, they grabbed Brolan’s body and cut their way out of the tent, fleeing into the desert and the darkness.