The PCs decide to approach the villagers in the hope that they will be able to tell them more about the ruins since they live so close. There are some doubts expressed about how welcoming they will be and mentions about ducks and whether Chasina will float. Maksim takes on his raven form and sits on the cart, while Galen remains unusually quiet on the ride there. They are “greeted” by a group of 5 armed but seemingly relaxed humans and one Orc. The slightly older human male speaks to the Orc in English, although a variation several centuries before Chasina’s time, who then interprets the message of greeting into Anglish for the travelers. Chasina responds in English, which startles both the Orc and the human into a moment of stunned silence. The human, who does not give his name, is intrigued by anyone outside their community knowing the King’s English, even if it is a slightly odd dialect. The exchange between the two seems to go well for a bit, and Chasina learns they settled the colony once known as Roanoke:
_The Lost Colony of Roanoke was set up in 1585 and its first settlers lasted almost a year, until they went back to England with Sir Frances Drake. A small force was left to guard a fort.
A second expedition returned in 1587 to try again to establish a settlement. The guards were all missing. About 115 people stayed behind. When English ships returned three years later, all the people, and their buildings, were gone._
However, things take a turn for the worse when the man hears Chasina utter what he considers heresy and blatant admissions of having performed witchcraft. Things go from slightly tense to hostile as the human riflemen cock their wheellock rifles and point them at the PCs. He tells them to leave and to stay away from the ruins of the pointy-eared demons who once dwelled there or he and his men will destroy them and burn them and their possessions. The PCs turn and leave without another word (mostly because he threatened to shoot them if they did).
Undeterred by their threat of violence, they head toward the ruins of Beleg while asking Galen once again about whether he knew about these people. After Quiron threatens to bury him in the sand up to his neck, Galen says that while he and his men didn’t encounter this particular group, he ran into others much like them outside the ruins at Túrin. The others were far more aggressive and killed two of his scouts before saying a word to them. Galen is satisfied that his initial answer – knowing nothing about the villagers at Beleg – was technically correct/truthful (which to him, is the best kind of correct). The PCs decide that the villagers were far too zealous and would undoubtedly come to the ruins expecting them not to heed the warning. Quiron comes up with a strategic defense and they pile up building stones and create a bunker of sorts near one of ruined towers. They agree to give Galen a weapon despite his earlier lies of omission. Chasina spots the villagers heading toward the ruins, driving two wagons filled with enough wood to make an awful lot of s’mores and extra rifles with the patchwork magic aura.
The villagers are outclassed despite the fact that their weapons are able to pierce magical defenses. Maksim receives a minor wound, but Chasina is able to heal it with ease. She offers to heal the wounds of the villagers but they shrink back in horror at the thought. After stripping them of their magic weapons, the PCs let them take their wounded in one of the wagons and tell them not to return.
Maksim uses a lock picking spell to unlock the door on the one mostly-intact tower, but it needs an additional shove from Quiron (that knocks it off its hinges). They enter and check the second level before heading down the obvious trapdoor. Quiron manages to navigate the narrow, stone steps without falling. At the bottom, they see what appear to be empty sconces that cast a bluish light when someone with magical talent comes within 5m of them. They walk down a hallway and come to an intersection. Each of the 3 hallways leads to a room, the most curious of which holds a number of skeletons huddled in a corner of the room. Unlike the raiments found in the other two rooms, their clothes are dry and brittle and the floor near their skeletons is covered with a fine layer of sand. Maksim’s Magesight detects a small good luck charm on one of the skeletons, which he removes. The room with the two armoires has another door, which leads to a slightly larger room that has nothing more than a pile of sand in the corner. Quiron approaches the mound of sand with his shovel, ready to move it aside and uncover something fantastic. The mound, however, objects to being shoveled and attempts to grab his arm. He drops the shovel as he moves back a few steps and watches as his prize shovel is dissolved by the living sand. The strange, silicon-based lifeform is dispatched, but only after destroying Galen’s prized Great Pick.
This room has another door, which remains unopened….