Havinng dropped through a portal in Hall of Doors, the Travellers find themselves in a harsh desert landscape. The mage Tep assures the Travelers that his lore tells him that there is a community a day’s travel from the gateway.
The Travellers soon discover a great beast which dwells beneath the sands. It follows and attacks them, but they manage to defeat the beast. When they resume their trek to the native settlement, they discover (or are discovered by) a race of short, stocky humanoids. The Nelwyn are a tough and resilient people who dwell within the solid stones beneath the sands, and are an utterly practical people.
The Nelwyn display a mastery over the elements which they may “command” to do their bidding. Those capable of commanding a particular element are said to belong to a particular “season”. None hold power over life or death.
If one of their own is sick or envenomed by their enemies they are considered to be dead even before they actually expire. They know of none who survive the venom, so such victims are taken to the rest of their provisions – large “cold rooms” where both food and the dead are stored.