Within minutes you sit down with the old man, while the rest of the small group sits a good distance away just in case something is amiss. The man sits directly on the dunes, despite the backing sun heating the sand to burning temperatures. The rest of you sit on the leather strips that most carry for the need, small leather and cloth squares they allow people to sit or kneel on hot sands without burning themselves. You pass the water to the old man who pulls a long draw greedily from its contents. Ezra is the only one still standing, switching his gaze from the old man to the dunes from which he came. The wind wipes around you and makes the smallest of musical tones as it hits any exposed metal.
“So you have news of the path ahead?” Chip asks finally.
The old man lowers the water and then wipes his hand across his lips. "Well. Rightly so its not a path you see. More a trail, or an outing. Depending on yer cantations. Soft in spots though. Came from the Half Moon, 2 days distant. Pinning for obsidian or salavage.
“Any luck?” Victor asks quickly.
The old man nods. A bit sure but we don’t talk salvage we talk trail." He then takes another swig and then looks at the bottle. “Good container. Barely tastes of shit.” He continues as if talking to himself. “Something dogged me. Stopped yer-day or maybe day before. Can’t swallow what it can’t see or hear. I can quiet step with the best o’ them. But it was searching. Heard it I did. Something sandy and metallic.”
You all look at one another. It could be anything really. Its not much to go on.
The old man takes one last drink than hands it back to you. “I warn you this. Heard some kind o whistling along with it. Out of tune…not sure why I noticed that but it was for all that matters.”
“Where are you headed?” Chip asks.
The old man thinks a moment then points straight ahead. “Seems obvious. Straight that way.”
“Sir!” One of the men at the back camps voice calls out over the dunes.
Chip stands up alerted by something in the man’s voice.
Without warning the dunes where the secondary camp is sitting explodes upwards, sending men and equipment 10’s of feet into the air, a massive erupting whistle breaks through the winds call and as the sand falls back to earth accompanied by the bodies of those that had been thrown into the air, you see before you a massive construct of bipedal form.
15+ feet tall, the thing is a mess of flesh and gears, half its skull is gears spinning and spitting sand and some black fluid into the air, the other side is a mockery of a man with a single baleful green eye casting all those within the group a diabolical eye. Its skin is a stony copper color and its body is almost fully encased in pockmarked greenish metal of some kind. With disdain it swings an arm and catches the remaining man who is falling to the ground in an almost lazy slap. With a sickening thud the man flies off into the distance, dead instantly if not already.
Behind you, in the pause between action and reaction, you hear the old man say very calmly, “Guess I wasn’t as quiet as I thought I was.”
Roll initiative and explain what the first action you want to take is.