"'... Are in need of my academic and administrative services for a while. Please know I am looked after. I will be back as quick as I am able. Very sorry for my sudden disappearance. Yours Truly...'" Dollus absently narrates as writes quite messily with a quill. Giving a moment to dry, he rolls then seals the scroll before handing it to the butler.
"Uh, can you arrange to get this to the academy, please?" He grins and doesn't stick around for an immediate answer before hastily making it to the door to meet with Pratchett and his allies once more.
Pratchett leads you out of the green hamlet you found his house in and into the countryside. It's a fair ways to the cave where we will find the first gem, please do your best to keep up!
Several hours in, you make a chance encounter: in the hillside, a young woman dressed in bright red traveler's clothes, leading a bull; the bull is decorated with flowers around its head.
"Oh, fellow travelers; but you are not headed in the direction of the festival. What brings you this way? Perhaps now is a good time to take a rest from walking, and share tales and rumors." She laughs.
Dollus is caught off guard. Things like this wizards didn't mention; hours of walking, getting thirsty and baking in the sun's heat and exertion! It made his usually comfortable clothes unwanted draped that stuck to his clammy skin. But the scenery was stunning, almost straight out of one of the paintings from the academy... Actually, he takes a look around to see if he recognises the area. ((I'll roll what I need here!))
Upon stumbling across the young woman in red, Dollus is glad they stopped. He adjusts the robe, now off and now slung over his shoulder, and straight up sits on the dusty road while greeting her warmly.
"Hey! Uh, yes... Uhm, travellers we are!" He grins. He searches his pockets for a bit of fruit, or waterskin he may have had on him by chance alone.
"No, not the festival. We're following Pratchett, he's leading the way... right?" Despite not getting up, Dollus looks around for the pseudodragon.
"Absolutely! I've heard a few tales. Someone's conducting experiments with us, they'll have a thing or two to share as well!"
"My name is Audett; nice to meet you." She smiles. "Be careful; up in these hills, strange things roam at night. One of our sheep was mauled to death by something just a few nights ago. Not eaten; just mauled. Very strange." She gets lost in thought for a few moments. "Oh! You have a miniature dragon! What's its name?"
They call me Pratchett, pleased to meet you.
"Oh, it can talk?! This is very strange, where did you travelers find him?"